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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
story.(it is in English)it's a low budget affair to be sure,but that
doesn't detract from it's quality as a film.you won't find any over the
top blood and guts in this one,and the acting is very subdued,but not
in a bad way.the movie itself is very haunting and creepy.i like how
the light and shadows were utilized.Klaus Kinski portrays Dracula and
brings an element of sympathy to the character,but also makes him more
tragic.Dracula is not depicted as a suave seducer of women in this
film.quite the opposite.he is actually just this side of hideous and
repulsive.the makeup dept did a great job with this character.Isabelle
Adjani portrays Lucy Harker,object of the count's desire,and new wife
of Jonathon(Bruno Ganz).Adjani is very effective in her role as the
haunting beauty best by nightmares and a sense of dread.Bruno Ganz as
Jonathon is also well portrayed,but the movie is really more a tragic
love story(although twisted) between Lucy and the count.the character
of Dr. Van Helsing is really a minor character here.the character of
Renfield played by Roland Topor,steals the show with his scenes,and not
always in a good way.the character is equal parts compelling and
annoying.that maniacal laugh wears thin sometimes,but Topor really
seems gleeful in the role.the movie is filled with dread and melancholy and
i think is much more accurate and faithful to the novel by Bram
Stoker.the only thing i didn't like about this movie is that the music
sometimes doesn't seem to fit.sometimes it's almost whimsical,when i
don't think it should be.also if you are expecting a fast paced
movie,you will be disappointed with this one.it can be very slow at
times.otherwise,it's a pretty decent adaptation.is it the definitive
version?possibly.for me,"Nosferatu:The Vampyre" is a 4/5
The usual Kinski/Herzog display of frustration is more subtle in this film than all the others probably because the beautiful Isabelle Adjani keeps Kinski distracted long enough for him not get angry with Herzog's cruel daily shoots to 'get it right' and deliberately making the actors and actresses angry for their performances. Here everyone just looks deathly sick and move extremely slowly. Even Adjani looks paler than Kinski at times. For some reason this has given Herzog a more controlled approach to this film with certainly less improvisation and 'on the spot' acting than any of his other collaborations with Kinski.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A good, but not great, colour "talkie" version of the classic 1922 'Nosferatu, A Symphony Of Terror' silent film. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Eddy B
While Klaus Kinski effectively plays one of the weirdest vampires on screen, as did the original Max Schreck, the movie just drags on. Read morePublished on June 3 2014 by B. Armitage
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... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2004 by Esn024
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 morePublished on July 1 2004 by Lauren B. Floss
"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 morePublished on April 22 2004 by Vagabond77
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 morePublished on Jan. 16 2004 by Alex Udvary
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 morePublished on Nov. 25 2003
What more can be said about tis movie? A true treasure. Klaus Kinski gives his best performance as Count Dracula. Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2003 by Dwayne Brue
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... Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2003 by BD Ashley