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Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932]


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Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1932] + Phantom/Die Finanzen Des Grossherzogs [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1922] + Schloss Vogelöd (aka The Haunted Castle) [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1921]
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Product details

  • Actors: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz
  • Directors: Carl Th. Dreyer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment LTD
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Aug. 2008
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00198BEG6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,402 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

The first sound-film by one of the greatest of all filmmakers, Vampyr offers a sensual immediacy that few, if any, works of cinema can claim to match. Legendary director Carl Theodor Dreyer leads the viewer, as though guided in a trance, through a realm akin to a waking-dream, a zone positioned somewhere between reality and the supernatural. Traveller Allan Gray (arrestingly depicted by Julian West, aka the secretive real-life Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg) arrives at a countryside inn seemingly beckoned by haunted forces. His growing acquaintance with the family who reside there soon opens up a network of uncanny associations between the dead and the living, of ghostly lore and demonology, which pull Gray ever deeper into an unsettling, and upsetting, mystery. At its core: troubled Gisèle, chaste daughter and sexual incarnation, portrayed by the great, cursed Sybille Schmitz (Diary of a Lost Girl, and inspiration for Fassbinder's Veronika Voss.) Before the candles of Vampyr exhaust themselves, Allan Gray and the viewer alike come eye-to-eye with Fate in the face of dear dying Sybille, in the blasphemed bodies of horrific bat-men, in the charged and mortal act of asphyxiation eye-to-eye, then, with Death the supreme vampire. Deemed by Alfred Hitchcock 'the only film worth watching... twice',Vampyr's influence has become, by now, incalculable. Long out of circulation in an acceptable transfer, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Dreyer's truly terrifying film in its film restored form for the first time in the UK. ----SPECIAL FEATURES----* New, high-definition transfer of the Martin Koerber / Cineteca di Bologna film restoration in its original aspect ratio (1.19:1) *New and improved English subtitle translation *Full-length audio commentary featuring film scholar Tony Rayns *Full-length audio commentary featuring Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro talking about one of his favourite films. *Two deleted scenes, removed by the German censor in 1932. *Carl Th. Dreyer (1966) a documentary by Jörgen Roos *Visual essay by scholar Casper Tybjerg on Dreyer's Vampyr influences *The Baron a short MoC documentary about Baron Nicolas de Gunzberg *Inspiration for the film - Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla - as an on-disc pdf. * 80-page book featuring rare production stills, a facsimile reproduction of the 1932 Danish film programme, writing by Tom Milne (The Cinema of Carl Dreyer), Jean and Dale Drum (My Only Great Passion: The Life and Films of Carl Th. Dreyer), and Martin Koerber (film restorer).

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. A. Whiteside TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Nov. 2008
Format: DVD
I remember buying this film on region 1 ages ago and just didn't understand what the fuss was about.I found it to be slow,gloomy and pretty poorly acted so I promptly sold it.Then I heard about this latest DVD release with many extras so I thought that I would give it another chance.I am really glad that I did and was quite shocked at how my opinion had changed.

'Vampyr' is really a nightmare captured on film with many strange but unsettling images.It isn't a long film but it does make you wish that it was perhaps 15 to 20 minutes longer.It is dripping with atmosphere and I have to admit that it probably won't appeal to modern viewers who are more used to blood and gore teenage slasher flicks now.Maybe that is unfair in a way because this is far more haunting than many a recent horror movie and it could still have an impact.

There are some very good extras with this DVD including a special booklet and a commentary from devoted fan Guillermo del Torro.There are a couple of deleted scenes and a choice of soundtracks(restored or unrestored).There has been a lot of good work by Eureka in putting this package together for their 'Masters Of Cinema' series so well done to them.Hardly any dialogue is spoken in this movie and it isn't needed as it is the images that count and in that respect 'Vampyr' is indeed a classic of the genre.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Jun. 2008
Format: DVD
The rat-toothed Nosferatu and the charming Transylvanian Count are the best known examples of early vampire movies, mostly because there weren't very many others at the time.

But more often than not, "Vampyr" gets passed over when you talk about early vampire movies -- and that's a shame. Carl Th. Dreyer's masterpiece (loosely based on the works of J. Sheridan Le Fanu) is a straightforward little story wrapped in a hazy cocoon of dreamlike imagery and haunting direction. From the very beginning, this movie clings to you like a spiderweb.

Occult student Allan Gray is staying at a hotel in the French countryside. But after being woken by a strange old man's cryptic warning, he finds that the inn is swarming with eerie supernatural happenings, including shadows that move independently. After he departs, a strange old man lets an ancient crone out of a closet.

And when Allan arrives at a nearby chateau, he finds that the owner has been murdered, and his daughter Leone is suffering from mysterious wounds. After the girl is rescued from a strange old crone, she begins acting predatory toward her sister Gisele -- and the weird old doctor says that only a transfusion will save her. But the doctor is in league with the vampire -- and is working to destroy Leone...

"Vampyr" has a pretty simple storyline, loosely based on a couple of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's short stories (including the classic "Carmilla"). But it's not the plot that makes this movie a classic -- it's the powerful, ghostly visuals that permeate it. And the beautiful real-life settings (the inn, chateau and church) don't hurt the atmosphere of it all.
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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Vaughan on 28 Aug. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well, I got this DVD (R2 MoC Version) - and gave it a longish spin last night. Given the number of extras I couldn't get through it all in a single sitting - so I'll revisit today probably.

Anyway - the print looks as good as it ever will, probably. Definitely decent (and Criterion are using the same print, so we know we're getting the best possible).

Firstly I watched the film with the restored soundtrack (an unrestored version is on the disc too). There's still some hiss, but when you take into account the history of this film, that's to be expected. For those that don't know, the film was shot silent, and then sounds were post-synced in three languages - English, German, and French. Only the German and French tracks remain - this disc uses the German version. Dialog is minimal.

As for the film, it's a classic, and so needs no hyping from someone like myself. It's a fantastic counterpoint to the Universal titles released around the same time. The Universal titles are hailed as classics (and they are), but they also gave us some of the first sound glimpses into what would become the customs and norms of narrative story telling, and of the language of film. However, there were alternative methods offered up, and cinema could have been quite different - Vampyr is as example of one of these alternatives (Un Chien Andalou offers a more radical approach from the surrealists). Vampyr plays with narrative structure quite a bit, and breaks all kinds of screen boundaries. Along with this we have a rather interesting and straight forward tale of a Vampire - so the film can satisfy both fans of straight up horror, and those interested in critical analysis and study.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MarkusG on 30 Dec. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Vampyr was made by Dreyer in 1930 when sound were new in cinema. And this shows because it mostly feels like a silent movie: there are few dialogues. This also has too do with the fact that Dreyer had to record the film in english, german and french, so scenes with speech had to be repeated. With the effect that those scenes were kept to a minimum. Vampyr was shot on location, in a castle, a flour mil, an ice factory and an inn, as I understand it. Economy was limited and the film was financed by baron Nicolas de Gunzburg, on condition that he played the lead (Allan Gray) in the film! And, as Guillermo del Toro says in his commentary: the baron looks just like HP Lovecraft!

The film itself is grainy, with intent capturing the right kind of light and fogginess. The speech sounds disjointed and the locations and logic of actions can be confusing to say the least. Vampyr was no success with the audience in it's time of release, and it's not too hard understanding why. The first time I was Vampyr I actually was disappointed because it felt so strange and a little silly with the vampire manual that Allan Gray reads from (a manual given to him by a strange man appearing in his hote room in the middle of the night). But undeniable is the visual impact because Vampyr looks really original and very dreamlike: one can actually discuss how much of the action takes place in 'reality' and in Greys mind with it's focus on the mystical and supernatural.

Some months after watching Vampyr I returned to it with the feeling that I didn't 'get it' the first time. Luckily it was the MoC DVD overflowing with extra material that I bought.
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