Vampires and Fair Maidens

20Feb08

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror: F W Murnau (1922)

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German Expressionism, it is said, rose not because of an artistic revival but because German film makers found it hard to compete with the extravagance of their Hollywood counterparts; so they resorted to symbolism and darker subtexts. F W Murnau‘s Nosferatu was one of the earlier expressionist forays into film making and is widely considered a masterpiece. It is not the plot per se that strikes one, but the imagery; beautifully shot in black and white (well, they didn’t really have a choice there) and a genuinely creepy performance by Max Shreck as Count Orlock.

One of the primary reasons I watched the film was thanks to 2000’s Shadow of the Vampire, where Willem Dafoe plays a fictionalized version of Max Shreck. At 78 minutes, the film is quite easy to sit through and for a 1922 silent era film, quite entertaining too.

Say Anything: Cameron Crowe (1989)

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If there’s one genre that’s well and truly dead, it’s the romantic comedy genre. What passes off as romance these days is mostly crammed with fart jokes and gratuitous sex. What happened to the days when the hero was an upright, optimistic and by and large ethical gentleman? Say Anything, Cameron Crowe‘s (Jerry Maguire) 1989 directorial debut is a surprisingly smart, adequately mushy and thoroughly quotable gem. John Cusack plays (a younger version of a role he would play in High Fidelity) an extremely average, kickboxing enthusiast of a 19 year old grappling with career choices et al when he falls hook, line and sinker for the over achieving Ione Skye. I could say that it’s devoid of cliches but the fact is most later films in the genre have lifted something or the other from this one.

Cameron Crowe’s films have all had amazing soundtracks and this one’s no exception. Add to that a very likable couple, a great scene involving a boom box and some very memorable lines; almost as good as High Fidelity. Almost.

Nobody thinks it will work, do they?
No. You just described every great success story.

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2 Responses to “Vampires and Fair Maidens”

  1. Interesting, I didn’t realize the movie was in the public domain.

    Btw, off-topic on High Fidelity, here’s an interview with Nick Hornsby on NPR:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16579433

  2. Is it me or does Hornby sound a bit like Alan Rickman?

    Thanks for the link…


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