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Scenes Used In Shadow of the Vampire

Part Two - Orlock's Castle and a few little scares

Max Schreck's Entrance

In Shadow of the Vampire Murnau keeps the identity of his Orlock a secret until the last minute. We see Murnau, Albin, and his cameraman slinking through the entrance to the castle. By keeping his vampire in hiding until the filming has started Murnau gets a more convincing reaction from Hutter. The scenes where von Wagenheim interacts with Schreck are his best. Perhaps von Wagenheim was really frightened of Schreck?

Here we see Hutter arriving at the castle and the mysterious entrance of its sole inhabitant. Due to the limitations of film cameras of the day, Murnau was forced to shoot in daylight. Silent films were frequently tinted to clue the audience as to the setting. Blue tinted scenes represented night, sepia tones; day, yellow represented sunset and red tints represented danger. Several of the restored versions of Nosferatu have this scene tinted blue. The interstitial title also tells us that it is night.

Dinner with Count Orlock

Hutter's first meal with Count Orlock is interrupted when he cuts himself accidentally with the bread knife. Malkovich as Murnau talks Gustav through the scene. "... now pick up the knife, start cutting, keep cutting, keep cutting..." Finally the knife reaches his thumb and we see blood. Wait, blood, precious blood! We have our first faux attack.

Was von Wangenheim really that stupid? In Shadow of the Vampire, Eddie Izzard gives us a wonderfully awful portrayal of a simply awful actor. It must have been difficult to play a bad actor well. It's clear enough that von Wangenheim was in over his head. Although I have to admit his scenes with Schreck do work well.

Maybe Keanu Reeves is well suited to the same role in Bram Stoker's Dracula for the same reason. Not to say that Reeves is a bad actor, but he has the ability to portray the same endearingly hapless character that makes this role so effective. Just a simple guy trying to do his job and not the least bit prepared for Vampire attacks, time travel, the matrix. Wait, there is no knife!

Sign the Deed

In this scene we see Malkovich as Murnau struggling to bring Schreck to life through simple props. A picture of Hutter's wife Ellen falls out of his pocket. Murnau wants Schreck to focus on "Ellen's beautiful neck" and he seems to have other parts in mind. The scene quickly deteriorates into an unplanned attack on Hutter. This is one of the comical parts of Shadow of the Vampire that seems at first oddly out of place. It's doubtful that the real filming of this scene went down this way. But then again it's doubtful that Max Schreck was really a Vampire. (But we can't rule out the possibility.)


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Carlos Garza © 2000, 2001 Silent Orchestra