4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Vampyr, Eureka Masters of Cinema # 25 - A masterful dreamlike film, and another great presentation from Eureka.,
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This review is from: Vampyr [Masters of Cinema] [DVD]  (DVD)
Any film that Hitchcock deemed `The only film worth watching - twice' has a lot to live up to. And when I first viewed this recently it did not disappoint.
We are taken on a strange journey, where we follow the adventures of one Allan Gray, student of the arcane. Staying in a village inn he has a series of strange visitations, and is slowly drawn into the world of the local Chatelain and his attempts to protect his two daughters from an unknown terror that threatens to destroy them in this life and the next. The plot seems quite straightforward, but it is presented in a superb surreal fashion.
Allan Gray wanders around as though a man in a dream. Seeing many strange visions, including his own burial, there is a feeling that he is a man under a dark spell, and the film is the story of his struggle to break free. The cinematography is masterful, with most of the film deliberately overexposed and filmed through a gauze to produce the dream like feeling. There are many trick shots and cinematic illusions which stand up well, even today, and really add to the surreal feel of the piece.
Made in the very early days of talkies, this feels a lot more like a silent film. The dialogue is sparse, and much of the plot is exposited via intertitles and an old book that one of the characters reads. What dialogue there is was recorded on very basic equipment, and as such sometimes sounds a bit distant. \Far from being a problem, this only serves to heighten the dreamlike quality of the film.
This is yet another super release from Eureka. The film has been restored and is presented in the best possible quality. The sound is pretty good, although it does cut out in one or two places for a few seconds. This did not affect my viewing pleasure though. The film is presented in the correct aspect ratio. There is a host of extras, including some extended scenes that were originally censored, two full length commentaries and some documentaries about the film and it's star Julian West, AKA Baron de Gunzburg. There is also a PDF of the book that inspired the film. Finally there is an extensive book with many cast photos, essays and interesting info. All of these are mere garnish though, the main attraction is the excellent presentation of this classic and adsorbing film.