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Vampyr (The Criterion Collection 2-disc Special Edition DVD)

2 Ratings: 5.0
The Criterion Collection's DVD of Carl Theodor Dryer's 1932 horror film.

SYNOPSIS:   With Vampyr, Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer’s brilliance at achieving mesmerizing atmosphere and austere, profoundly unsettling imagery (The Passion of Joan of Arc and Day of Wrath) was for once applied to the horror … see full wiki

Genre: Foreign
Release Date: May 6, 1932
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Vampyr (The Criterion Collection 2-disc...

A valuable set, for a very intriguing film - an essential contribution to film history

  • Jul 27, 2009
A young man, fascinated by the occult, arrives at a small village where his dreams of the supernatural become a nightmare that threatens to destroy him. Drawing upon the worldwide fascination with legends of vampires that existed even in the 1930s, Dreyer set out to make a popular film, and brought his unique sensibilities to bear on a melodramatic subject. Completing his film in the wake of Murnau's Nosferatu and just before Tod Browning's much more straightforward Dracula, Dreyer produced images and effects that remain powerful and compelling today. A reaper, crossing the river. Shadows that dance. The point of view from a coffin. Dreyer manages to create and sustain an atmosphere of dread throughout, that nevertheless cannot mute the astonishment at the subtlety of his inventions.

Criterion's release of Vampyr has everything you could want. There is the German version of the film, with English subtitles, all meticulously restored and looking quite impressive. Additionally, there is an English version of the film, for which the intertitles have all been redone digitally into English - though the dialogue is still in German with subtitles. The commentary, by Tony Rayns, is quite useful - drawing special attention to the way that Dreyer constructs multiple and fragmented points of view in the film. The second disc holds a very intriguing documentary on Dreyer, which complements the more personal documentary ("Carl Th. Dreyer - My Metier") included with the Dreyer set, and an informative video essay on the history and background of Dreyer's take on vampires. Finally, the set includes the entire screenplay, written in a descriptive form that seems closer to a novel, with only the indented dialogue to remind that it served as a screenplay. Highly recommended for vampire enthusiasts and lovers of inventive cinema.

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