How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
A young man is elected by a small village to be its parson. As part of his duties, he is required to marry the widow of the parson before him. This poses two problems--first, the widow is ... See full summary »
The judge in a Danish town sees his illegitimate daughter facing a trial for the murder of her newborn child, and is rather sure that she will be sentenced to death. She became pregnant ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Young traveller Allan Grey arrives in a remote castle and starts seeing weird, inexplicable sights (a man whose shadow has a life of its own, a mysterious scythe-bearing figure tolling a bell, a terrifying dream of his own burial). Things come to a head when one of the daughters of the lord of the castle succumbs to anaemia - or is it something more sinister? Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For much of the cast, this was there only film appearance since they were not professional actors. Henriette Gérard who played the vampire was a French widow, Jan Hieronimko who played the village doctor was a Polish journalist, Rena Mandel who played Gisèle was an artist's model. Even "Julian West", (real name: Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg) who played Allan Grey, was French-born member of Russian nobility who agreed to finance the film in exchange for the leading part. (He later emigrated to America where he became a powerful fashion journalist and mentor to designers like Calvin Klein.) See more »
At exactly 16 minutes (in the Criterion DVD) as the camera pans right, there is a reflection in a glass window of the camera operator cranking the camera. See more »
I can't improve on the fine reviews of the movie itself, but there are two major factors connected with the making of the film that may have been overlooked.
If by "poor quality," the reference is to the washed out, somewhat spotty look of the print, please be aware that this was deliberate. Cinematographer Matté had accidently opened a can of exposed film, and when Dreyer saw the result, he was delighted. It was just the effect he had been looking for.
"Vampyr" was originally shot as a silent. It was only later half-dubbed with voice-overs. Again, however, like the fortuitous "damage" to the print, the sparse and somewhat vague, even incoherent, dialogue contributes to the sense of dislocation which, I believe, is one of the great virtues of this genre masterpiece.
Like many, the first time I saw "Vampyr" I was put off by its obscurity and, yes, the "mutilated" video and audio. But as I saw more Dreyer and learned to stop trying to deconstruct the thing, I really began to like it. Now, I love it. If your first viewing of "Vampyr" leaves you the way it left me the first time, don't give up on it. It's on video, so buy a copy and pick your moments to watch it. You'll be rewarded.
An aside: Julian West, who played the lead, was also backer of the film and is credited, along with Dreyer, as producer. He is said to have been as spacey in real life as he was in character.
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