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 »
Through examining Fini Straubinger, an old woman who has been deaf and blind since adolescence, and her work on behalf of other deaf and blind people, this film shows how the deaf and blind... 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
This Herzog adaptation of the Dracula story, filtered through the memory in particular of Murnau's "Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors", is largely a successful film. It is great in parts and in aspects, but doesn't quite amount to a whole that approaches superlative status. Klaus Kinski is rather good, but not quite spellbinding, in the much-donned cape of the old Count. He is not quite up to the vastly contrasting interpretations I have seen - Schreck and Lugosi. Isabelle Adjani? Hers is far from a terrible performance, as one commentator has said; she is, indeed, reasonable in a role often lacking embellishment in other adaptations. Of course, her striking good looks are certainly far from unwelcome. The chap playing Renfield (the madman, so amusingly and vividly portrayed by Dwight Frye in the 1931 Universal "Dracula") is effective in portraying an outright giggling madman - his laugh is one of *the* most absurd and insane sounds I have heard in film...! The use of music is wonderful, as is Herzog's visual direction - the plague scenes leave quite an impression on the mind, and most scenes are accorded impressive backdrops and appropriate visual textures. Popol Vuh's musical textures are dreamily beguiling, setting just the right tone for Herzog's imagery. The film's downside has to be in the dramatics really; the dialogue and subsequent delivery of, are far from great, perhaps owing to the fact that most of the performers' native tongues are not English, and here they have to speak just that language. There is never quite enough dramatic tension induced by the script or the acting; at times the Renfield chap and Kinski are compelling, but only fitfully.
Having said all this, it is a fine rendition on film of a rather old and, frankly, enduring story. Herzog must take the credit for its effective atmosphere, but perhaps also the blame for the lacking dramatics. Certainly an enjoyable, generally impressive film.
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