A quite dry Bruno Gaz does well, and an unforgettable Roland Topor as Dracula's loyal servant totally cackles like an on edge hyena. While the first half of the moving the parts spent getting to, set in and leaving Transylvania lack the same unnerving intensity as this film's antecedent, the second half the parts spent in Germany after the count's arrival are significantly better. Although at times over acted at moments the music goes along perfectly with the mood of the scenes. I pretty much agree with others when they say it's a hard one to put into clear and concise words. Well I don't think we should debate whether it can beat it, Herzog never intended to remake Nosferatu for debate. He drinks the blood of Jonathan and navigates to Wismar, carrying coffins with the soil of his land, rats and plague in the ship.
The use of music is wonderful, as is Herzog's visual direction - the plague scenes leave quite an impression on the mind, and most scenes are accorded impressive backdrops and appropriate visual textures. Ganz's Jonathan Harker is certainly the most sympathetic character in the film, and Adjani's Lucy is beautiful, spooky, and just odd enough to fit the role perfectly. Still, like its predecessor, the star of the show is death and the scenes with the rats and the people dancing away their last days, the coffins carried through the streets, are as striking as any performance. When Mina Martje Grohmann dies, the town officials say that she died from the plague. The man, Herzog, knows how it's supposed to be done. This was a matter much pondered by Francis Ford Coppola when considering his adaptation.
Nosferatu, more than any other version of Dracula, shows the sad and hopeless existence in this creature of darkness destined to die as a direct result of his own desire. It is great in parts and in aspects, but doesn't quite amount to a whole that approaches superlative status. In all of the films of his, I have never witnessed a single clichéd nor trite scene, image, nor even moment. It also appears to be a salute to the great German Expressionist films of the early 1900's. Herzog must take the credit for its effective atmosphere, but perhaps also the blame for the lacking dramatics. The street sequences as the plague has ended almost an entire civilization with pigs and lambs walking around as rats join together in massive armies in corners and traveling in packs. The dialogue is spoken very soft and slowly.
What I admire most about Herzog is that he doesn't rely on special effects to make his movies visually interesting. He is the ultimate scavenger, feeding off the dead and hiding in the darkness. His own great 1979 film Nosferatu, Phantom Of The Night Nosferatu, Phantom Der Nacht , which was released in America as Nosferatu, The Vampire, is less a classic vampire film and more a Post-Apocalyptic tale, having more in common especially image-wise with films like On The Beach, The Quiet Earth, the Vincent Price classic The Last Man On Earth based on Richard Matheson's I Am Legend , and even the first Night Of The Living Dead, than with the Hollywood Dracula mythos, and even its silent filmic predecessor, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's 1922 classic Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horrors Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie Des Grauens , because Herzog is a filmmaker not afraid to turn his camera eye on ugliness, and use that as a way to limn reality better and more clearly in his search for his own 'ecstatic truth. The movie is a must see. Then of course we have the second strongest point in many of Herzogs films. This really isn't a full remake of Murnaus film because what this film really does is mix both Murnaus film and Bram Stokers novel. The ending seems rather rushed and not very well thought-out; a true downer which basically nullifies the film.
In the original film, her excessive pining for Hutter threatened her health and, while she managed to trick Orlok into death, did so passively. Listen to how Kinski delivers the words regarding death and the loneliness. Herzog's use of music and how he photographs every single shot just stunned me to silence as I looked on in wonder and amazement. It is very peacefully moving film, purposely avoiding any great horror scenes and thunderous music that makes adrenaline run. In the remake she has become a strong, resolute woman who commands the attention of her husband rather than his dismissive chiding , resists the temptations of the vampire, vigilantly guards her turning husband and pro-actively traps Dracula. Simply put, this is one of the finest vampire movies ever made.
Indeed, Herzog made the most of his budget. Klaus Kinski is one of the scariest Dracula of cinema history. Several of Herzog's films were done this way, including Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo. One change in this than other versions is that Lucy is the one who motivates the destruction of Dracula, not Van Helsing. Since pity, however, always implies weakness or inferiority in that which is pitied, pitiful and pitiable are often used, by an easy transition, for what might awaken pity, but does awaken contempt; as, a pitiful excuse; he presented a pitiable appearance.
Likewise the film doesn't play so much to our sense of excitement and adventure or even to our intellectual logic, rather it intrigues us with its seductive dreamlike reality created through the techniques of cinema. From hereon in Herzog presents the viewer with a variety of striking images ranging from sweeping shots of a sailing ship to shaky hand-held close-ups of dancing plague victims, there are haunting shots of mountain landscape, majestic rivers and hordes of rats. Werner Herzog found the stuff dreams are made of, and discovered a means of channeling it through his camera to weave a glorious tapestry of romanticism and expressionism. The guy goes to a mountain deep in the middle of nowhere, he looks for the most beautiful and exotic location possible and then shoots his film there. Herzog's film moves at the pace of a fever dream, lingering long on shots of misty mountains and majestic rivers that some like myself will find breathtakingly beautiful, and others will find stunningly dull.
Don't look for action here - and don't be scared. Most vampire films today portray the vampire as a super powerful and inhuman monster. This is a story that really never was told correctly before until Herr Herzog took hold of it. Count Dracula wishes to finalize the transaction for a Wismar residence in person, with an agent. What artistic brilliance upon Werner Herzog's behalf, but Klaus Kiniski and Isabelle Adjani stamp their lasting marks as well. I love how the darkness is almost a character in this photo. Sadness is often caused by a discrepancy between where you are and where you want to be.
ThoughKinski dominates the screen just as he always does in these collaborations, the performances of fellow greats Isabelle Adjani and Bruno Ganz are also worthy of mention. It could be considered a pity that the only film that sits upon its coattails is its predecessor of the same name. This is another very important aspect of the Stoker legend which has been sadly contorted by the popularization of the Dracula legend. It not only maintains the eerie horror that the genre deserves, but also achieves a beauty and mystique that has been lost over the years. Herzog will stay focused on things for long periods of time so you can really transport yourself to the moment. Meanwhile back in Germany, Jonathan's wife Lucy Isabelle Adjani feels the presence of an approaching death. Kinski in the make-up, a young Werner Herzog and a whole lot of atmosphere.