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Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

 -  Drama | Horror  -  26 January 2001 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 30,613 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 333 user | 189 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

The filming of Nosferatu is hampered by the fact that the star is taking his role far more seriously than what seems humanly possible.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 20 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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Fritz Arno Wagner
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Aden Gillett ...
Henrik Galeen
Nicholas Elliott ...
Paul (as Nicholas Elliot)
...
Wolfgang Müller
Sophie Langevin ...
Elke
Myriam Muller ...
Maria
Milos Hlavac ...
Innkeeper (as Milos Hlavak)
Marja-Leena Junker ...
Innkeeper's Wife
...
Reporter 1
Norman Golightly ...
Reporter 2
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Storyline

Shadow of the Vampire is a film about the making of a German all time classic silent horror-movie from 1922 called Nosferatu-Eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu-a Symphony of Horror). The production of Nosferatu had to deal with a lot of strange things (some crew members disappeared, some died). This movie focuses on the difficult relationship between Murnau, the director, and Schreck, the lead actor. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An Unspeakable Horror. A Creative Genius. Captured For Eternity.

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality, drug content, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

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Release Date:

26 January 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Burned to Light  »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£42,539 (UK) (2 February 2001)

Gross:

$8,279,017 (USA) (30 March 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe) recites Tennyson's poem 'Tithonus' at one point: 'The woods decay, the woods decay and fall, the vapors weep their burthen to the ground...' This is apropos, because the poem is about a character from Greek mythology who was immortal even though he continued to age. Just like Schreck, this made him a tragic figure. See more »

Goofs

When Murnau first introduces Shreck to the other actors he says "his method is unusual" and informs them that Shreck would remain in character even off camera. While method acting was not well-known outside of Soviet Union at the time, Murnau could have been using a more general meaning of the word. See more »

Quotes

F.W. Murnau: Go ahead! Eat the writer! That will leave you explaining how your character gets to Bremen!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Steamer, a revolutionary machine designed and built to cure the foam prosthetics rapidly due to the very limited production constraints. A world first in foam latex curing within the film industry. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Profile: John Malkovich (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Tristan Und Isolde - Overture
Written by Richard Wagner
Courtesy of KPM Music Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An enjoyable piece of filmmaking.
11 July 2001 | by (Fresno, Ca. USA) – See all my reviews

Shadow of the takes the viewer to 1921 to "witness" the making of F. W. Murnau's silent classic vampire film Nosferatu. Shadow of the Vampire does not pretend to be a documentary; it is a highly stylized, fictional work that delves into its very own imaginative speculations about a filmmaker's creative process.

Having assembled his crew, Murnau (John Malkovich) travels to a small town in Czechoslovakia, where he intends to recreate before his camera the story of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". Set on creating the most realistic vampire film, Murnau secretly recruits a real vampire (Willem Dafoe), promising to recompense the creature with leading lady Greta (Catherine McCormack). Murnau cautiously introduces the vampire to his producer Albin Grau (Udo Kier) and scriptwriter Henrick Galeen (John Gillet) as "Max Schreck", a truly professional "method actor" trained by Stanislavsky. Schreck performs his scenes suspiciously well, only appearing on the set at night and in character, keeping his end of the bargain with the director. Soon, however, his blood thirst takes over and he fearlessly threatens to eliminate, one by one, Murnau's most dispensable crew members.

Shadow of the Vampire stems from the premise that its protagonist, the fictional Murnau (Malkovich), must hire a real vampire in order to ensure a truly authentic representation of the vampire character, "Count Orlock", for his film Nosferatu. The viewer who seeks a more accurate portrayal of the making of the real Nosferatu may find this premise strained and far-fetched, and may even consider the film's ensuing humor a bit aimless. However, Shadow of the Vampire integrates the humorous premise to its metaphorical exploration of the artistic process and of the inevitable struggle between the star, the director and the crew. (In one scene, Schreck tries to secure his interests --a new victim-- by negotiating with Murnau. He reflects: "I don't think we need the writer any longer.") Aside from the film's complex treatment of the film within the film and of the character within the character (where Shadow of the Vampire re-presents Nosferatu, and Shadow's cast plays Nosferatu's cast), the film's most enjoyable aspect is its careful reconstruction of specific Nosferatu scenes. When demonstrating how Murnau shoots these well-known scenes, Shadow's own shots shift between black & white and color; from a full-frame to one enclosed by an iris. Shadow's recreation of the classic scenes are often accompanied by Murnau's off-screen voice-over instructions to the actors, who in turn stop in mid-shot, enter, or exit the frame. These choices offer a fantastic depiction of silent film technique, and they as well add new life and a sort of magical dimension to the original Nosferatu scenes. Undoubtedly, Shadow of the Vampire may be most fully appreciated by the viewer that has already developed a sensitive appreciation for Nosferatu's unforgettable images. Still, Shadow of the Vampire may be enjoyed as well by those fascinated by filmmaking or --as Shadow's Murnau put it-- by "the science of the creation of memory."


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