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SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE

 
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At Theaters: 1/26/2001 On Video: 5/29/2001
Rated: R Length: 1 hr. 24 min.
Internet: Web Site Movie ID: 259910
Studio: Lions Gate Films
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Storyline Heading

Visionary filmmaker F.W. Murnau is struggling to create his silent masterpiece, "Noseratu" --the cinema's first and perhaps still greatest vampire film. Obsessed with capturing authentic horror, Murnau has employed a real vampire, Max Schreck, explaining his bizarre behavior as method acting. Then the crew starts disappearing...

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DETAILED STORYLINE
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Movie Type (Genre) Heading
Drama Horror Thriller - A gothic horror comedy that combines a vampire story with a look at how silent movies were made. The premise has a vampire preying on the cast and crew of the 1922 film Nosferatu.
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Cast and Crew Heading
John Malkovich THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC
William Dafoe AMERICAN PSYCHO, SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL
Director: E. Elias Merhige BEGOTTEN
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Production Notes Heading
About The Production
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Content Heading
PROFANITY: (Unavailable)
SEX/NUDITY: (Unavailable)
VIOLENCE: (Unavailable)
DRUGS/ALCOHOL: (Unavailable)
ACTION: (Unavailable)
COMEDY: (Unavailable)
DETAILED CONTENT
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Critic's Review Heading
Very Good
In addition to having a wonderful conceit as the basis of the plot and featuring two superlative lead performances, Shadow of the Vampire pays homage to its inspiration, the silent film Nosferatu, by carefully re-creating many of the most memorable scenes. Movie buffs have always accorded Nosferatu a special place in film history, and director E. Elias Merhige's vision adds another quirk to the legend. The smart, witty script does justice to the central idea, making Shadow of the Vampire an appreciation of the art of both silent filmmaking and vampirism. The film's strength lies not only in the essential cleverness of the premise, but in the effective way in which that premise has been realized. It would not surprise me if a new urban legend has been born. Certainly, a new director has come to prominence, riding the coattails of artists who have been dead more than a half-century - or have they?

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DETAILED CRITIC'S REVIEW
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D ETAILED S TORYLINE

F. W. Murnau (John Malkovich) is struggling to create his silent classic NOSFERATU on location in Eastern Europe. The director is obsessed with making this the most authentic vampire movie ever. To that end, Murnau has employed a real vampire, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), explaining to the crew that he is the ultimate of that new breed, the "method actor" -- trained by Stanislavsky himself. Schreck will appear only in character and only at night. If Schreck delivers a great performance -- and keeps his more unseemly urges under control -- Murnau has promised him the delectable neck of the film's star, Greta (Catherine McCormack).

It soon becomes obvious that Schreck is unwilling or unable to control his bloodlust. During the very first night shoot, cinematographer Wolfgang Muller (Ronan Vibert) mysteriously takes ill and collapses. Murnau takes him to a hospital in Berlin and looks for a replacement. During the break, producer Albin Grau (Udo Kier) and scriptwriter Henrick Galeen (John Gillet) are sharing some schnapps when the strange Schreck joins them, answering their questions "in character." He tells them about his wife who died in childbirth but still returned to him at nights, and made him what he is now.

As the director returns with a new photographer, Fritz Wagner (Cary Elwes,) Schreck continues his silent assault on the crew. Galeen realizes the truth behind Schreck's "method acting," but too late. Having gone to such extraordinary lengths in the name of authenticity, Murnau must engage in a battle of wills with his monstrous male lead -- the ultimate in demanding movie stars. As Murnau finally admits the truth to the crew, they realize they are stranded on an island. Their only hope of survival is to finish the film and let Schreck take Greta...

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