“Our battle, our struggle, is to create art. Our weapon is the moving picture. Because we have the moving picture, our paintings will grow and recede; our poetry will be shadows that lengthen and conceal; our light will play across living faces that laugh and agonize; and our music will linger and finally overwhelm, because it will have a context as certain as the grave. We are scientists engaged in the creation of memory… but our memory will neither blur nor fade” – F.W. Murnau
Number of Times Seen – 1 (14 Oct 2018)
Brief Synopsis – A movie director hires a man to portray a vampire but it seems as if he is taking the part much too seriously.
My Take on it – This is a film that I heard about when it came out and had no interest at all in seeing.
As I’m trying to get through the films where actors were nominated for Best Supporting Actor, I came across this one and decided to finally give it a try.
This is yet another film that is highlighted by a great performance but the film itself isn’t all that great.
They give us an interesting look at the behind the scenes of how films were made nearly a century ago in Germany and there are many similarities and differences of how things are done now.
They do a nice job showing how a director, hampered by the rights of a famous novel, could still persevere and create a similar themed film using new kinds of characters and the end result is somewhat intriguing eventhough I have never seen Nosferatu (1922) and things look very over the top in the methods used.
John Malkovich does a nice job playing the ego-maniacal Director Hell bent on getting his masterpiece filmed no matter what and does all expected from him.
Willem Dafoe in unrecognizable yet stands out in his scenes as Max Schreck and makes us constantly question whether he really was a vampire or not by this performance.
The film is lacking but the performance was definitely worthy of getting a Best Supporting Actor Nomination at the Oscars.
Bottom Line – This is an interesting look at behind the scenes of how movies were made back in the 1920’s in Germany. The way that they show how a director could try and create a masterpiece despite being hampered from using the story of Dracula is intriguing to watch even if things feel a bit too over the top far too often. Malkovich plays the ego maniacal director like one would expect him to but Dafoe stands out here in a role that he really loses himself in and is hardly recognizable as Max Schreck who may or may not have been a real vampire. He deserving was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role even if the film itself is somewhat lackluster and average.
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Murnau’s line, “If it isn’t in the frame, it doesn’t exist”, is a paraphrase of a piece of advice the real Murnau gave to the young Alfred Hitchcock when the latter visited the Ufa Studios in Berlin before becoming famous. Hitchcock never forgot this advice and was still quoting it when making his final movie in the mid-1970s. The use of the quotation in the context of “Shadow Of The Vampire” is a distortion of what the real Murnau meant. (From IMDB)
Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)
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