Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht – 1979
Dir. Werner Herzog With Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani and Bruno Gantz.
This film marks the second paring of legendary German director Werner Herzog and his “best friend” Pole-Jew Klaus Kinski. The pair worked together six times through the span of their chaotic career. After Kinski’s death, Herzog made one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen entitled, “My Best Friend – Klaus Kinski” about his love/hate relationship with Kinski. Expect a review on that soon. “Nosferatu” is a remake of the 1922 silent film that has been studied and hailed as one of the best films ever made. I agree. This reworking puts Kinski in the role of the legendary Count Dracula and the wonderful Bruno Ganz as Jonathan Harker, the man who travel’s to Dracula’s castle to finialize the sale of a home in Germany. Kinski is extraordinary as the infamous Count Dracula. The way Kinski can bring Dracula to life, the way he lurks in the shadows, the impeccable timing in the way he can deliver Dracula’s dialogue. Kinski remains to be an actor that should be studied, and should not be forgot about. The horror factor in this film isn’t over the top, it’s more subtle, more eerie, and we have Kinski’s performance to thank for that – as well as Herzog’s choice of camera angels. The production value is very low on this film, so low in fact it feels almost as if it’s a documentary. What we’re shown seems so real, there aren’t any special effects or fancy editing, the story is told through the actors. Ganz still remains the greatest living actor in German cinema and it’s apparent why, while watching this film. I had never seen this film before I bought the Herzog/Kinski boxed set and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I have never been a huge fan of remakes, but this one is well worth your time.
The special features are weak on the DVD aside from director’s commentary by Herzog and yes, Herzog speaks English in the commentary. Aside from that, you have your run of the mill theatrical trailers as well as subtitles and sound options.