Monday, 2 May 2016

The Phantom of the Night

This weekend I've been poring over 4 newly arrived issues of Video Watchdog and I suspect the contents of these issues will strongly influence my viewing choices over the next few weeks. Tim Lucas' illuminating feature on Herzog's Nosferatu (and its various permutations) in #182 inspired me to finally watch my copy of the BFI Blu-Ray. On my last pass of the film, courtesy of Anchor Bay's 2000 DVD I noted a tired looking transfer so the Blu-Ray is a tremendous sight for sore eyes. The shift to HD always wrings out details I might have previously missed, and the BFI disc is particularly strong on skin tones and textures - those extraordinary shots of the slack-jawed mummies in the opening sequence, and Kinski and Isabelle Adjani's makeup, Adjani's especially in the film's climax where she lies on her death bed like a beautiful but lifeless porcelain doll. Seeing the film again, after an absence of a few years, I must conclude that something has gone badly wrong with the film's ending - the slain vampire crumpled up in the corner of the bedroom seems discourteous somehow, and worse still Bruno Ganz's Harker brandishing fangs and setting off (in daylight!) presumably to spread the vampire plague feels like cheap conclusion to an otherwise fine film.

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