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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
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 »
It is the age of the silent movie, and German expressionist director F.W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is determined to film his version of the Dracula story, whatever the cost to his cast and crew.
I've never really been a big fan of Nosferatu nor a particular admirer of Willem Dafoe, but this bizarre little movie has made me appreciate both much more. A fictionalised account of the making of F.W. Murnau's 1922 silent horror classic, Shadow of the Vampire toys with the notion that Nosferatu's star Max Schreck (played here by Dafoe) was actually a bona fide member of the undead.
This fanciful idea plays out a little too slowly, perhaps, but offers plenty of opportunity for dark humour, the cast delivering suitably offbeat performances that prove strangely intoxicating, with Dafoe's mesmerising turn as Shreck being the film's strongest suit, the actor's mannerisms and expressions played to perfection.
Casual movie fans who haven't seen Murnau's classic will probably wonder what the hell is going on, so I recommend seeing Nosferatu beforehand, just so that one can fully appreciate the magic of certain scenes and the brilliance of Dafoe's performance.
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