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Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

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ON DISC
The filming of Nosferatu (1922) is hampered by the fact that its star Max Schreck is taking the role of a vampire far more seriously than seems humanly possible.

Director:

E. Elias Merhige

Writer:

Steven Katz
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Popularity
4,584 ( 169)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Malkovich ... Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Willem Dafoe ... Max Schreck
Udo Kier ... Albin Grau
Cary Elwes ... Fritz Arno Wagner
Catherine McCormack ... Greta Schröder
Eddie Izzard ... Gustav von Wangenheim
Aden Gillett ... Henrik Galeen
Nicholas Elliott Nicholas Elliott ... Paul (as Nicholas Elliot)
Ronan Vibert ... Wolfgang Müller
Sophie Langevin Sophie Langevin ... Elke
Myriam Muller Myriam Muller ... Maria
Milos Hlavac Milos Hlavac ... Innkeeper (as Milos Hlavak)
Marja-Leena Junker Marja-Leena Junker ... Innkeeper's Wife
Derek Kueter ... Reporter 1
Norman Golightly 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA | Luxembourg

Language:

English | German | Luxembourgish

Release Date:

26 January 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burned to Light See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$150,171, 1 January 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,293,784

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,155,214
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based in part upon a legend that Max Schreck was in reality a vampire which is why he played the role of Orlock/Dracula so well. Some variations of the legend suggest that Nosferatu (1922) was the only film Schreck made, though in reality he was already a stage and screen veteran by the time Nosferatu was shot, and would appear in many non-Vampiric roles before his death in 1936. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning one of Murnau's assistants calls him one of the greatest movie makers ever, with D.W. Griffith and Sergei M. Eisenstein. In 1921 Eisenstein had not yet directed any movie (his first movie is from 1923). See more »

Quotes

F.W. Murnau: Death of centuries! Moonchaser! Blasphemer! Monkey! Vase of prehistory. Finally to Earth, and finally born.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits end with the sounds of the camera filming and of the phonograph which set the mood for the actors. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Tristan Und Isolde - Overture
Written by Richard Wagner
Courtesy of KPM Music Limited
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User Reviews

 
An enjoyable piece of filmmaking.
11 July 2001 | by chrisbrown6453See 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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