A wounded criminal and his dying partner take refuge at a beachfront castle. The owners of the castle, a meek Englishman and his willful French wife, are initially the unwilling hosts to ... See full summary »
A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed ... See full summary »
A young couple move into a new apartment, only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins controlling her life.
British couple Fiona and Nigel Dobson are sailing to Istanbul en route to India. They encounter a beautiful French woman, and that night Nigel meets her while dancing alone in the ship's ... See full summary »
Kristin Scott Thomas,
The elderly bat researcher, professor Abronsius and his assistant, Alfred, go to a remote Transylvanian village looking for vampires. Alfred falls in love with the inn-keeper's young daughter Sarah. However, she has been spotted by the mysterious count Krolock who lives in a dark and creepy castle outside the village... Written by
The murals in Count Krolock's hall show motifs of Peter Brueghel the elder's "Triumph of Death" (c. 1562). See more »
Abronsius and Alfred attempt to enter Count Von Krolock's crypt through an entrance on the ground floor, the crypt itself being located in the cellar. However, when apprehended by Koukol the Hunchback, they decide to go for a window entrance instead. To do this they scale the castle wall and enter a top floor window, with the crypt itself magically relocated to the top floor. See more »
That night, penetrating deep into the heart of Transylvania, Professor Abronsius was unaware that he was on the point of reaching the goal of his mysterious investigations. In the course of which he had journeyed throughout Central Europe for years accompanied by his one and only faithful disciple, Alfred. A scholar and scientist whose genius was unappreciated, Abronsius had given up all to devote himself body and soul to what was to him a sacred mission. He had even lost his ...
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what Poland once was, with a smile (revealing fangs)
Well, what is this movie about? To begin with: although the vampire was best popularized in the modern era by English writers, it is really a myth of Eastern European Roman Catholicism. (I could explain that better - and why the English so well co-opted it - but obviously not here.) This type of Catholicism (which finally produced a Pope in John Paul II) now only thrives (and none too well) in Poland - Polanski's home country. During the Second World War, Poland was utterly decimated. First, a large portion of its wealthiest citizens, who happened to be Jewish, were exterminated. The Polish catholics themselves were split radically between anti-semitic nationalists (who also, mistakenly, thought the Nazis would save them from the Russians) and pro-Communists who, mistakenly, thought the Russians would save them from the Nazis. Obviously, this was a no-win situation for the Poles. And yet the first cinematic impression of this disaster arrived in the form of - a comedy - Ernst Lubitsch's "To Be Or Not To Be" (later remade by Mel Brooks).
Does the reader really need to know all this to appreciate this movie? actually, yes. This film is laughter at death's door. The funniest and most memorable line in the film is from the Jewish vampire, responding to a threatened crucifix: "Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire!" Funny? - Hilarious. Unfortunately, if this Vampire had any grandchildren, they all died in Auschwitz.
Why am I playing such a heavy hand here? Because this really is a great horror-comedy, far better and far more important than the studio hacks at MGM who released this film (after chopping it up) could ever have understood.
There is unfortunately no rumor that there's a director's cut in the vaults; it is well to remember that Polanski nearly disowned this film on release, and really only reclaimed it after the brutal slaying of his wife, who plays such an important role in the film.
But even as shredded as it is (pay especially close attention to the discontinuities involving the Professor), this is still marvelously written, directed, and photographed - truly frightening at moments, utterly hilarious at others, but always grounded in a particularly Polish sensibility which is now, alas, a thing of the past; - the preservation of a culture that, at its best, was among the best in Europe.
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