Thursday, July 27, 2017
NOSFEREVIEW, "AN ENIGMATIC WEIRDNESS"
The Christmas Day 1929 issue of Variety includes a review of the German silent film, NOSFERATU THE VAMPIRE (a title not included in IMDBs list of titles used in U.S. releases), which had been released in the U.S. on 3 June of that year. Called "skillfully mounted and directed", the review goes on to explain the origins of the film and how it was inspired from "Bram Stokes" (sic) novel, Dracula and Liveright's play from 1927 (which was produced 5 years after NOSFERATU was filmed!).
Lauded for its "extremely effective symbolism", the review also extols, "One shot of the sun cracking at dawn is an eye filler. Among others of extremely imaginative beauty is one which takes in a schooner sailing in a rippling stream photographed in such a manner that it has the illusion of color and an enigmatic weirdness that's more perplexing than the ghost action of the players."
Overall, though, the picture is called, "a depressive piece of art made even more incompatible for bourgeois theater fare misspotted and poor titling." Ironically, audiences had no idea how lucky they were to view a film where all copies had nearly been destroyed through legal channels by an over-protective widow Stoker.