I'll join the chorus singing Jeff's praises. Those 30s lists are tops.
I decided to stop diddling around and get serious like Jeff. I decided to start with his #1s from each year. I decided to start with my copy of Vampyr that I bought a couple of years ago at a Hollywood Video going out of business sale and have never watched.
What a stupid idea.
I went in with high expectations.
I'm trying to start most of these sentences with "I" to indicate how subjective this all is. I hope I'm getting through to you.
I disliked Vampyr.
I feel guilty. I feel like I should feel more guilty. I feel like I don't care.
Apparently, Vampyr was considered a terrible mistake, the absolute low point, in Dreyer's career for decades. I agree with this assessment.
Unfortunately, recently, Vampyr has been critically rehabilitated and everyone loves the damned thing.
I think it's a mess.
There are some fantastic images and some interesting camera motion.
The narrative is lame. Lame. Lame. Lame.
The use of so much text is not some quaint throwback to the silent era. It's a weird crutch that delivers lots of information that that makes sense of the film which is otherwise senseless. A man delivers a book that says, "open if I die" (or something stupid like that), then the man dies and we get pages and pages of the book to read that let us know that we are dealing with a scary vampire. Seriously, Dreyer, you're really good at making images. Why so much text? The vampire story is stupid. Heck, I'd probably like the movie better if it made less sense and was just a series of dreamy images strung together. The text reveals the bald face of the stupid story.
I feel like I should log this thing on GoodReads instead of posting about it here.
Maybe I'm just angry at Dreyer for making something so trashy and low-brow and trying to pass it off as an art pic.
Some people say that this should just be enjoyed on the level of "mood" or "atmosphere." My problem is that I couldn't get into any mood or atmosphere. If I'd been in one of the original audiences, I would have had fun howling insults at the screen and laughing while throwing jujubes and popcorn.
"It is incomprehensible that Mr Dreyer has spent time, money and talent on this screenplay which is not worthy of the effort. (…) However, the generally macabre tone of the film makes it difficult for the acting to change the overall impression that we are here dealing with some fantastical nonsense […]. It is worth neither clapping nor hissing at."
Of course, I feel inadequate railing against all of you uber-film-nerds who really understand Dreyer and how special Vampyr is.
Next up: L'Age d'Or. I can't wait to smack Jeff around and tell him how wrong he is about that one. :)