During the 1800s, paroled Brazilian bandit Cobra Verde is sent to West Africa with a few troops to man an old Portuguese fort and to convince the local African ruler to resume the slave trade with Brazil.
In the 1950s, an adolescent Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, forty-eight-hour ... See full summary »
Jonathan Harker is sent away to Count Dracula's castle to sell him a house in Wismar where Jonathan lives. But Count Dracula is a vampire, an undead ghoul living off of men's blood. Inspired by a photograph of Lucy Harker, Jonathan's wife, Dracula moves to Wismar, bringing with him death and plague... An unusually contemplative version of Dracula, in which the vampire bears the curse of not being able to get old and die.Written by
The characters Mina and Lucy have their roles reversed from what they were in the Bram Stoker novel. The same was true of Dracula (1979). See more »
When Dracula breaks in on Lucy Harker at night and talks to her, you can see the tips of his fingers being reflected in the mirror, as well as his face in the top right-hand corner, until Lucy moves in front of it. Later on, Lucy reads that vampires do not have a reflection. See more »
There is an English-language version which was dubbed, and is about 90 seconds shorter than the original German-language version. Some alternate takes were used, and written language appears in the correct language for that region. See more »
Another classic collaboration of Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski, Nosferatu is not just a remake of the F. W. Murnau silent classic, but an extension of it. Herzog not only develops the Stoker story more directly than the original did, but even reintroduces the original characters - Orlok becomes Dracula, and the Hutters become the Harkers.
Like many of the films involving Herzog and Kinski, Nosferatu is a period piece and creates the context of its plot through beautiful cinematography and a relentless but unhasty pace, not through the script. ThoughKinski dominates the screen just as he always does in these collaborations, the performances of fellow greats Isabelle Adjani and Bruno Ganz are also worthy of mention. Ganz's Jonathan Harker is certainly the most sympathetic character in the film, and Adjani's Lucy is beautiful, spooky, and just odd enough to fit the role perfectly.
Nosferatu is a retelling of the Dracula tale. Unlike its generally inferior competitors, Nosferatu - both the 1922 and 1979 versions - sticks very close to Bram Stoker's text - neither elaborating the focus on bloodsucking (obsessed upon by most American interpretations of Dracula), nor revising Jonathan Harker and Dr. Van Helsing as heroic characters, nor adding erotic or romantic elements to the depravity of the original concept. If you know what Stoker was about, you will thrill to the often forgotten aspects of Stoker's novel which are redeemed here - the plague rats, the gypsies, etc.
Kinki's intensity allows him to become a perfect Dracula. He understands his role perfectly and never once slips out of 'the hunter'. This is another very important aspect of the Stoker legend which has been sadly contorted by the popularization of the Dracula legend. Nosferatu's Count Dracula is not a charming eastern European gentleman with a quirky bloodsucking habit and a lovesick soul, he is a wily, terrifying, soulless, inhuman, obsessive, predator. And he has absolutely no concern for the affairs of Homo sapiens sapiens.
The film is mostly shot in Amsterdam's old city, which fits the mood of the film well. Other locations are in Germany, and Dracula's castle, for once, is an actual castle - even the interior shots! The wonderfully eerie and disorienting Popul Vuh soundtrack compliments the typically Herzogian picture-perfect visuals.
This is a great film for those seeking an accessible introduction to film-as-art, and the legendary collaborations of Herzog and Kinski. It will likely annoy those who think of Dracula as a good looking romantic guy with a nasty habit, but is highly recommended for fans of Stoker's original work.
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