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Nosferatu the Vampyre (Widescreen)

Klaus Kinski , Isabelle Adjani , Werner Herzog    DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 93.49
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Werner Herzog's remake of F.W. Murnau's original vampire classic is at once a generous tribute to the great German director and a distinctly unique vision by one of cinema's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. Though Murnau's Nosferatu was actually an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Herzog based his film largely on Murnau's conceptions--at times directly quoting Murnau's images--but manages to slip in a few references to Tod Browning's famous version (at one point the vampire comments on the howling wolves: "Listen, the children of the night make their music."). Longtime Herzog star Klaus Kinski is both hideous and melancholy as Nosferatu (renamed Count Dracula in the English language version). As in Murnau's film, he's a veritable gargoyle with his bald pate and sunken eyes, and his talon-like fingernails and two snaggly fangs give him a distinctly feral quality. But Kinski's haunting eyes also communicate a gloomy loneliness--the curse of his undead immortality--and his yearning for Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) becomes a melancholy desire for love. Bruno Ganz's sincere but foolish Jonathan is doomed to the vampire's will and his wife, Lucy, a holy innocent whose deathly pallor and nocturnal visions link her with the ghoulish Nosferatu, becomes the only hope against the monster's plague-like curse. Herzog's dreamy, delicate images and languid pacing create a stunningly beautiful film of otherworldly mood, a faithful reinterpretation that by the conclusion has been shaped into a quintessentially Herzog vision. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

Herzog shot the English and German language versions simultaneously, the actors performing the spoken scenes separately for each language, and Herzog edited them individually, resulting in slight differences in pacing and performance. The films both run about 107 minutes.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Belief and Science Clash April 29 2004
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht directed by Werner Herzog, is really a color remake of the 1922 film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens directed by F.W. Murnau. There are a couple of name changes: Count Orlok became Count Dracula; Jonathan's fiancée Nina became Jonathan's wife Lucy. The original film was silent and in black and white, where the 1979 version is in color and is in German with English subtitles.
However the plot is close to Bram Stoker's book on Count Dracula which has a very similar plot line and story. F.W. Murnau bought the movie rights to the film; however these rights were owned by Bram's widow Florence and she refused to allow the use of the name and storyline. Even though Murnau had changed the major names of the main characters (Count Dracula, Thomas and his wife Ellen) and location enough similarity remained that Florence took the case to court and in July of 1925 the German court ordered all the copies of the movie destroyed. However a few copies did manage to survive.
While the film starts off slow it shows spectacular scenes of an ocean voyage, and waterfalls experienced during Jonathan (Bruno Ganz) Harker's journey to Count (Klaus Kinski) Dracula's castle. The contrast with his return trip is startling, since he was healthy when he started, but on the return is very sickly and barely alive. The Count's journey is very stark, his companions' death and rats board another ship, which glides into port with no one left alive on board except the rats. As the rats depart the ship one reminded of the story of Ben, where the rats were everywhere and out of control.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nosferatu: A Symphony Of Pretence Aug. 3 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This 1979 German sound remake of the 1922 Murnau silent classic (The making of which was later to be the basis for the ficticious film SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE) is again closely based on Bram Stoker's novel DRACULA.
Klaus Kinski plays the Count as a victim doomed by circumstance to be one of the undead. A lonely, brooding soul craving love. After a meeting with businessman Jonathan Harker, the Count soon sets upon his fiancee Lucy (the stunning Isabelle Adjani) to be his next conquest/unsuspecting prey.
Written, Produced and Directed by Werner Herzog; the film begins promisingly with its hypnotic & chilling opening credits; but despite eeriely effective photography by Jorg Schmidt-Reitwein this version is slow, arty, pretentious and just not scary.
The movie's highlight is the sequence featuring the pack of rats. Apparently there's some deep meaning to it- probably tied in to the sickness and decay brought on by the plague. But I'm not in a deep and meaningful frame of mind at the moment. When a movie is this self-absorbed, is it truly deserving of that kind of analysis?
This version is poorly dubbed in English and is 10 minutes shorter than the German print. The ending does come as a surprise however.
The classical score is also worth noting, as Herzog appears to be using it as a means to pay homage to the Max Schreck version: Murnau's superior feature was sub-titled A SYMPHONY OF TERROR.
But in the long run you're probably better off watching the original version or Coppola's BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA instead. Kinski is good in the role (his interpretation of Count Dracula is closer to Jack Palance's than Lugosi or Lee), but even this slightly truncated version will test the patience of horror fans who prefer lashings of blood & bulging bodices in their vampire flicks.
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3.0 out of 5 stars I saw the English version. Sept. 4 2004
By Esn024
Format:VHS Tape
Although there are some great atmospheric shots in Nosferatu, as well as major creepiness any time the vampire himself comes onto the screen, there are long periods when the film just seems to stutter and die. This is not simply due to the generally slow pace of the film, although that does play a part sometimes. Rather, there are just too many minor annoyances that pile up. There is far too much "moralizing", especially towards the end of the film. The trouble is that these moralizing speeches come across sounding like the characters who are speaking them are utterly uninterested in what they are saying; ex. when Mary says to Dracula "salvation must come from within ourselves", she says it so matter-of-factly that any effect that the statement might have had on the viewer completely dissappears. And on and on.
Perhaps these scenes sound better in the German version; I don't know.
Also, for such a serious movie it's quite hard to take some of the actors in it seriously; the madman who joins Dracula when he comes to London has a laugh that is so ridiculous by the end of the film that it's just not possible to not crack up laughing at his acting (probably not what Herzog had intended). I was also quite dissappointed with Van Helsing's character in this movie, who during half of his time on the set rambles on about how Science (with a capital S) has DISPROVED everything supernatural (which, apart from being completely at odds with his character in the original book, is also a very stupid statement).
Scenes that were important in the original movie (such as the ship's journey to England) are given short shrift here.
Also, Herzog doesn't seem to mind introducing continuity problems for the sake of atmosphere.
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Most recent customer reviews
A good, but not great, colour "talkie" version of the classic 1922 'Nosferatu, A Symphony Of Terror' silent film. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Eddy B
2.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this....
While Klaus Kinski effectively plays one of the weirdest vampires on screen, as did the original Max Schreck, the movie just drags on. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bill F. Armitage
4.0 out of 5 stars a low key affair,and very effective version of the Dracula story
this is one different movie.it's Werner Herzog's version of the Dracula
story.(it is in English)it's a low budget affair to be sure,but that
doesn't detract from it's... Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2007 by falcon
5.0 out of 5 stars Good remake!
Remakes don't get much better that this, lets give a round of applause to the drictor, it's hard to make a remake of a classic film. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Lauren B. Floss
5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Art-House Version of Dracula
For our second outing between Kinski and Herzog we find that the director has chosen to remake, or rather retell, his favorite film of all time - 'Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des... Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by OverTheMoon
3.0 out of 5 stars Vamps that don't suck
"Nosferatu the Vampyre" is the 1979 remake of the 1929 silent film classic. I have read a lot of reviews comparing the two, but I can't; I never saw the original. Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by Vagabond77
4.0 out of 5 stars "Dracula" Dead & Loving It?
The first thing I need to point out before I write one word about this film is apparently there are two versions of this film. One in German another in English. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2004 by Alex Udvary
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the most overated film ever
This is a critics' darling. Don't get me wrong, I love great films and count Godfather Part I, Citizen Kane, La Strada, and Schindler's List among my favorites. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreamlike Fantasy
What more can be said about tis movie? A true treasure. Klaus Kinski gives his best performance as Count Dracula. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2003 by Dwayne Brue
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as the original
Yes I know the original is a classic. But no one said you couldn't try to improve. And Klaus Kinski (you should see him with makeup on) is a natural. Read more
Published on June 26 2003 by bernie
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