- Shadow of the Vampire
Infobox Film | name =Shadow of the Vampire
caption = Promotional movie poster for the film
E. Elias Merhige
Nicolas Cage Jeff Levine Richard L. Johns Jimmy de Brabant
Steven A. Katz
John Malkovich Willem Dafoe Udo Kier Cary Elwes Catherine McCormack Eddie Izzard
John Aden Gillet
music = Dan Jones
May 15, 2000(premiere at Cannes) United States: 29 December, 2000(limited)
runtime = 92 min
language = English
budget = $8,000,000 (estimated)
amg_id = 1:201815
imdb_id = 0189998
"Shadow of the Vampire" is a movie that opened in the
United Stateson December 29, 2000. It was directed by E. Elias Merhigeand written by Steven A. Katz, and it stars John Malkovich, Willem Dafoeand Udo Kier. The film is a fictionalized account of the making of the classic vampirefilm "Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens", directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, in which the film crew begin to suspect that their lead actor is not all that he seems.
The film is set in 1922. German director F. W. Murnau takes his Berlin-based cast and crew on-location in Czechoslovakia and Poland in order to shoot "Nosferatu", an unauthorized version of
Bram Stoker's 1897 novel " Dracula". He informs them that the person playing the part of the vampire Count Orlok, an obscure German theaterperformer called Max Schreck, is a highly professional method actor, but in order to involve himself fully in his character, he will only appear among the cast and crew in full make-upand character.
The main setting is an old
castlein Czechoslovakia. Schreck is there waiting for the filming team, and his appearance and behavior are truly disquieting. The cameraman soon starts feeling terrorized and sick, and has to be taken away and replaced. The other main actor is frightened of Schreck, but then convinces himself that he is simply a very good actor.
On one occasion, two members of the crew are sharing a drink under the stars, and Schreck approaches. They invite him to join them, and Schreck drinks with them. Jokingly they ask about his vampirism and Schreck reveals he is a real vampire, centuries old. When questioned, he tells the crew that he is so old, he cannot remember how he became a vampire, and cannot create more of his own kind. A
batflies by and Schreck catches it with a quick hand and bites it, ecstatically sucking blood from its body. The others are left impressed by what they still assume is talented acting.
As it turns out, Murnau has made a deal with a true vampire, in order to make his film absolutely realistic. Schreck has been promised the main actress Greta Schroeder as prize, provided he fulfills his role until the end of the filming. But the vampire is frequently uncooperative until eventually the entire production, stranded on an island in the North Sea, is at his mercy.
In the end, Schreck kills Greta Schroeder and the crew before being exposed to sunlight and dying, while Murnau, who has now lost his mind, finishes the film.
The film borrows the techniques of
silent films, including the use of intertitles to explain elided action and iris lenses. The scenes of "Nosferatu" being filmed are shot in black and white.
The real life Schreck was a German stage and film actor who appeared in several movies, including "Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs".
Members of the online community "The HollyWood Stock Exchange" were able to donate a small sum towards the film's production, in exchange for listing their name on the DVD release of the film as "Virtual producers".
John Malkovich– F. W. Murnau, the director of " Nosferatu".
Willem Dafoe– Max Schreck, who plays Count Orlok/ Count Dracula.
Udo Kier– Albin Grau, the producer and art director and costume designer.
Cary Elwes– Fritz Arno Wagner, the cinematographer.
Catherine McCormack– Greta Schroeder, who plays Ellen Hutter/ Mina Harker.
Eddie Izzard– Gustav von Wangenheim, who plays Thomas Hutter/ Jonathan Harker.
* John Aden Gillet –
Henrik Galeen, the screenwriter.
Nicholas Elliott– Paul
Ronan Vibert– Muller
Sophie Langevin– Elke
Myriam Muller– Maria
Milos Hlavac– Innkeeper (as Milos Hlavak)
Marja-Leena Junker– Innkeeper's wife
Derek Kueter– Reporter #1
Norman Golightly– Reporter #2
Patrick Hastert– Reporter #3
Sascha Ley– Drunken woman
Marie-Paule von Roesgen– Old woman (as Marie-Paul Van Roesgen)
Jean-Claude Croes– Murnau's crew (as Jean Claude Cross)
Christophe Chrompin– Murnau's crew
Graham Johnston– Murnau's crew
Orian Williams– Murnau's crew
Radica Jovicic– Murnau's crew (uncredited)
Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė– Micheline (uncredited)
"Shadow of the Vampire" won several awards:
Gran Angular Award
International Fantasy Film Award
Golden Satellite Award
Independent Spirit Award
LAFCA Awardfor Willem Dafoe
Bram Stoker Awardfor Steven Katz
Willem Dafoe was nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
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