08/08/2005

VINTAGE REVIEW =- NOSVERATU (another no reflection)












It is difficult to give any kind of modern criticism to a film that's nearly eighty years old, one's only hope is that the film in question has aged as well as it could. By this reckoning, Nosferatu (both the film and the character) is a sprightly old codger, with plenty to offer the patient viewer who is willing to set aside their own lifetime's indoctrination. No longer valid are the rapid edits, the radical camera movement and above all … the surround sound, that really makes modern horror films hump at you.

The world of silent cinema is one not often appreciated on the internet, but it needs to be said that there's a curious, perhaps even quaint pleasure to be had in watching the earlier produce of the then-infantile medium.
Simplistic though it may seem to his unimpressionable mind, it certainly keeps the attention, as does the intelligent pacing of its director, F W Murnau. Even in such a new art form as cinema, he knew how to build a feeling of suspense and when to repay the audience's patience with moments of what in the 1920s would have been unspeakable savagery.

It's certainly the idea of the film that is the really creepy thing, abetted by a measured and chilling (and unfortunately by modern terms amusing) performance from Max Schreck. He emits an aura of menace, though, that Nosferatu would surely miss were it not for his presence.
It's dark, it's moody, it's a piece of cinema history, but most importantly of all, its fidelity to Bram Stoker's Dracula lends it a familiarity that has helped it survive in living memory to a ripe old age. It’s worth noting the familiarity to the Dracula legend incited legal action from the Bram Stoker’s widow. Some of which can be encountered in the fictional film shadow of the Vampire.

Throw in a few effectively atmospheric optical effects, and generally speaking, Nosferatu well deserves to be in such elevated company. Available in re-mastered DVD, it makes a welcome edition to any collection for a real film
fan.

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