Sent by his employer to Transylvania to negotiate for a property owned by Count Dracula, Jonathan Harker leaves Holland, turning a deaf ear to his wife Lucy’s ill omens. When he arrives at his destination, however, he finds himself in a sinister, disquieting place. Dracula, after having loaded caskets onto a wagon, disappears, leaving Jonathan shut in the castle. Meanwhile in Wismar, a ship full of rats arrives; the rats spill out into the streets and spread the plague. Jonathan also makes it to the city, but is ill and incapable of expressing himself. Lucy senses the truth after reading a book about vampires and decides to sacrifice herself by keeping Dracula occupied until the first rays of sunlight break through. —Thessaloniki International Film Festival
One of the most influential filmmakers in New German Cinema and one of the most extreme personalities in film, Werner Herzog quickly gained recognition not only for creating some of the most fantastic narratives in the Film history, but for pushing himself and his crew to absurd and unprecedented lengths, again and again, in order to achieve the effects he demanded. Born Werner Stipetic in Munich on September 5, 1942, Herzog came of age in Sachrang, Bavaria, amid extreme poverty and destitution. After Herzog turned seventeen, a German film producer optioned one of his screenplays, then promptly destroyed the contract when he discovered the author’s age. Circa 1962, 20-year-old Herzog enrolled in the University of Munich as a history and literature student, and produced his first motion picture, the twelve minute Herakles, his second short Game in the Sand, and his third, the pacifist tract The Unprecedented Defense of Fortress Deutschkreuz.In 1963, he established his own production… read more
This, like other Herzog films I've seen, was wonderfully fragile and imperfect, in a very vital and exciting way. His films sort of feel like they could fall apart at any moment; then comes a scene of staggering beauty and mystery like Harker's ascent through the Carpathian mountains, where everything pauses to allow this wholly wondrous thing to occur. Filmmakers like Herzog help me see how boring perfection is.
The stony performances, limited camera set-ups, and harsh over-lighting evoke a television movie of the same vintage. It's a style that mostly fails to capture any of the charm or much of the atmosphere of the original and ends up being silly instead.. There are effective moments, but they are rare. I want to do the hike to the castle someday, though.
Not sure what to make of this. I appreciate the sardonic comedy that Herzog uses to goose the more well-worn plot points. But the mise en scene seems a bit out too lunch: strange blocking, wasted shots, pointless wide angles - and Wagner, really? And does the ending even work? But the best moments are undeniably great! So maybe this is a growing pains film, and maybe it just needs to grow on me a bit more.
A look at five varied musical compositions used by Werner Herzog as cues in his movies.