Victor Frandsen is a domestic tyrant. His wife Ida has to work as a slave for him and the rest of the family. She rises early to prepare everything for the day, she toils all day long, and ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
A historical view of witchcraft in seven parts and a variety of styles. First, there is a slide-show alternating inter-titles with drawings and paintings to illustrate the behavior of pagan... See full summary »
It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom ... See full summary »
After seeing D. W. Griffith's epic Intolerance, Denmark's greatest director, Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr), was inspired to make his own four-episode historical ... See full summary »
Young traveler Allan Grey, a student obsessed with the occult, arrives in a remote inn 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 owner of a nearby castle is dying of what appears to be anemia - or is it something more sinister? Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
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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