TR Review: Nosferatu (1979 German-Language Version)

By Luke Y. Thompson in Books, Movies
Friday, May 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm

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There's a tangible reality to the film that few vampire movies have: without matte paintings or CGI, it feels free of fakery. Castle Dracula consists of actual ruins, and Harker's house is fairly normal; the peasant lodgings along the way feel actually lived-in rather than any gothic creation. The only caricature here is the vampire himself, but Kinski inhabits him as a Gollum-like addict/pervert who is as tragic as he is nonetheless evil.

Like the 1930s Universal Dracula, which shot a Spanish-language version simultaneously on the same sets, Herzog's was filmed in both English and German. The German version, less-seen in this country, is the one that is currently traveling with a new 35 mm print, and available online at Fandor.com (which also has the English language version. As I watched this via an online screener, I'd be hard-pressed to discuss the film quality, except to say that it did not appear to be lacking relative to others I've seen on my computer monitor.

If it comes to your town, check it out, and don't fear the subtitles - the dialogue isn't that elaborate to begin with, and you probably already know the broad strokes of the story anyway.


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