The Vampire (Vampyr – Der Traum des Allen Grey) [1932]

“This story is about the strange adventures of young Allan Gray [Julian West]. His studies of devil worship and vampire terror of earlier centuries have made him a dreamer, for whom the boundary between the real and the unreal has become him…One afternoon, during one of his aimless journeys, he arrived at a lonely inn close to the village of Courtempierre…”

Director : Carl Theodor Dreyer

Writer : Sheridan Le Fanu (book), Christen Jul (screenplay), Carl Theodor Dreyer (screenplay)

Cast : Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz, Jan Hieronimko, Henriette Gerard, Albert Bras, N. Babanini, Jane Mora, Georges Boidin

Story :  Allan Gray’s journey takes him to the village of Courtempierre, where at a local inn he rents a small room. But his sleep is soon troubled by strange voices, then by the appearance of an old man. He yells “She can’t die”  and leaves wrapped package on Allan’s desk with written on it “In case of my death to be opened”. A cry for help Allan Gray couldn’t leave unanswered.

What I Liked About It :

– this is one hell of a movie, absolutely stunning I couldn’t even believe I’m watching a movie made in 1932, there were some scenes, no, the last 15 minutes are pure cinema orgasm. A 15 minute long orgasm, it’s cinema orgasm, but still orgasm.

– I am sure that this was a terrifying watch for the people living in that era, I mean it had everything you needed, it had that true horror element and it is unbelievably realistic and in your face gruesomeness.

– the camera work was brilliant I would love to dig up that old man and kiss his feet that’s how good it was

– this movie shows brain, you can sense the effort, creativity and ingenuity put behind the story, the scenes; the story is told by so much trickiness and I absolutely loved the use of shadows, it was top-notch; I have seen quite a few movies which employed this tactic but until now the only one that managed to use it resourceful was Cat People[1942] (the swimming pool scene, different use, but you get the idea) ,but Vampyr tops it, tops it all. and for this I have to dig up Henri Armand

– it is truly a gem of movie which is far ahead of its time

– and I must talk about the actors, and if I say I must then you know we are treated to excellent performances, and more. Sybille Schmitz was the best of it all, you can see her for like 10 minutes, but man she has so much force in her expressions it was absolutely enthralling to watch her, there was a scene where her face just sent chills down my spines, she just radiates this one of a kind talent. But absolutely everyone gave great performances, I loved that half of the cast had a horrifying expression at one time during the story – usually associated with devil or death.

– and one more thing that won the crown for me was that the vampire was an old woman reeking of evil

What I didn’t like About It :

– I think it could have been longer, it is only 78 minutes long and due to this the story often feels rushed  and in addition it was such a pleasant watch I would have loved to last longer

Final Note :

4 of 4

Interesting Facts :

– The movie was dubbed into English, French, and German versions for different markets. Its actors came from varied national and linguistic backgrounds, and so in certain versions it appears that some of them are speaking their lines phonetically. Additionally, the film was shot fairly cheaply using an experimental sound process, and the technical quality of the soundtrack leaves much to be desired. Most versions in distribution through the late 1990s (including those on video) are composites of the German and French versions, which differ for cuts made by the censors in each of those countries. As of 2004, no prints of the English version are known to circulate. (imdb)

– In order to achieve the strange, dream-like photography, a thin gauze was put in front of the lens as a filter. (iimdb)

– This was the first talking picture directed by the Carl Theodor Dreyer (imdb)

– The dank doctor’s surgery and its abandoned, dirty look covered in cobwebs was said to be achieved by the director breaking jam jars on the floor then leaving the room shut off for a little over a month to attract various bugs and insects (imdb) – watch out for this one because it truly is a beautifully created

– Carl Theodor Dreyer preferred to work with non-professional actors, and most of the actors which appear in this film were amateurs that he met on the streets of Paris. The only professional actors in the film were Sybille Schmitz and Maurice Schutz. Henriette Gérard who played the vampire was a French widow, Jan Hieronimko who played the village doctor was a Polish journalist, Rena Mandel who played Gisèle was an artist’s model. Even “Julian West”, (real name: Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg) who played Allan Grey, was French-born member of Russian nobility who agreed to finance the film in exchange for the leading part. (He later emigrated to America where he became a powerful fashion journalist and mentor to designers like Calvin Klein. (imdb)

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4 thoughts on “The Vampire (Vampyr – Der Traum des Allen Grey) [1932]

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