Mr. Del and I both loved this movie. I agree it was one of the best films I have seen in a very long time.
If lesa’s friend is a film buff and a fan of Murnau, then I think he would enjoy this movie. I was confused, though, that you mentioned that he might be surprised by the premise, since just about every ad and review I have seen for this film is very clear about the premise: that Max Schreck is an actual vampire.
The “surprise” for me was to see the sets, make-up and costumes of Nosferatu presented with such amazing attention to detail. It was a joy to see each new scene, and realize how painstakingly every tiny element of Nosferatu had been recreated.
I loved seeing the “behind the scenes” parts of the movie, those that showed the director and crew members working on the creation of a film in 1921. You could see how Murnau’s innovative ideas about film making, such as filming on location, struck his peers as so revolutionary, and even crazy. Now of course, many of these ideas have become standard elements of film.
Some of Pepperlandgirl’s questions touch on areas that I thought were the most interesting parts of the movie. Why can’t the vampire track down Greta Schroder? Several times it is mentioned that Orlok is a victim of his own age. He is ancient, and growing weaker. I think he needs Murnau to bring Greta to him. More intriguing, though, is that the vampire wants to be in the film. We were laughing so hard when Orlok is annoyed because Murnau doesn’t let him have make-up. Vampires are thought to be immortal, but here we see an old vampire, past the height of his powers, who sees the medium of film as a new way to capture immortality.
Why does Murnau trust him? Well, I don’t think he does. Murnau’s desire to have a real vampire in his movie is blinding him to the danger of getting mixed up with Count Orlok. The camera man may have been the first of the Count’s intended victims, and gives Murnau the first clue that perhaps this is a bad idea. Murnau then threatens Orlok not just by threatening to keep Greta away from him, but also with cutting him from the film. While Murnau has underestimated the danger of a real vampire, Orlok has also underestimated just how determined Murnau is to create his perfect artistic vision.
In addition to being very humorous (which we weren’t expecting, so that was also a surprise), this film was just breathtaking to watch. It’s a great film to look at, from the opening credits, with their vintage movie house look, to the juxtaposition of the modern film equipment in the old inn and castle. As for it being only 80 minutes long, I would much rather see 80 minutes of quality film than 120 minutes of fluff. I watch a lot of 2 hour movies where I wonder just why the director decided to pad his film with unnecessary footage.
My only negative (I guess) comment on this film is that it might fall into the “preaching to the choir” category. Mr. Del is an early horror film fanatic, and while I’m not that obsessed, especially with horror, I’m also very interested in the early days of film. I’m not sure that someone who wasn’t at least a little caught up in these interests would be at all captivated by this movie.