Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht
Werner Herzog, 1979
They filmed this simultaneously in both English and German. Get the German version because German people living in Germany act better speaking German. In comparison with the silent original I will say that I liked this better. And I really like the original but much of its power came from Max Schreck being onscreen or the suggestion that he was about. All the elements they traded out from the original is replaced with something as effective and the new added in is worthy. Herzog’s version has a pervasive dread throughout that grows and subsides but never goes away completely. Aside from all the shots that he lifted straight from the original, because why mess with perfect shots when one doesn’t need to, Herzog tries to make this as much of a silent movie as possible. Dialogue is minimal and always effective when spoken. People speaking when they have something to say. Klaus Kinski plays Dracula.
This brings up one nitpicky thing on my end. The original was an unauthorized film version of Dracula and when Bram Stoker’s widow caused a fuss, the filmmakers had to change the title and all the character names so Count Dracula became Count Orlok and so on. By the time of the remake Dracula had fallen into the public domain so they could use all the Dracula names for it but I kind of wish they had used the re-names instead.
Anyway, Klaus Kinski plays Dracula. Klaus Kinski is best known as a raving lunatic in real life who played raving lunatics onscreen. This movie and a movie called “The Great Silence” (stunningly good Western) shows that he has this quiet range that works, a whispering menace just as enthralling as his head on fire explosiveness. Loved it.
-Daniel Von Egidy, 2011