This Jofa Film Studios film is all about the filming of a film. The movie that is being filmed is known as Nosferatu. The Shadow of the Vampire is not a hundred percent accurate to the movie directed by Friedrich Murnau. This movie gives the viewer a look at what is going on behind the scenes. This movie may seem more appealing to the viewer than the original movie, Nosferatu. The movie is not in black and white and it also has sound and color. This movie is also a lot more modern than the other one. The characters remain the same, but the actors have their own names that they go by.
The lighting and camera angles give the movie a dark and gloomy tone and mood. The lighting shifts from neutral lighting and low-key lighting. In all the scenes where Max Schreck, who plays Count Orlock, is present, the lighting is very dim and many shadows are prominent. This use of low lighting gives off a sort of eerie and spooky mood. Also, the fact that none of the other cast and crew has met Schreck before the actual filming of the first scene that includes the Count makes them and the viewer feel uncomfortable. There are almost always shadows when Schreck is in the scene, which characterizes him as a mysterious character. Most of the viewers of the movie already know what his character should be like anyways. There was only time when Count Orlock was in the scene and there was actually light.
This took place at the end of this movie right before Schreck died. From when he was first introduced when he came out of the dark cave, to when he had the encounter with Albin and Henrich, the producer and script writer of Nosferatu, according to this movie, he was always either shown in a dark place or at night. Friedrich even told everyone before they met Schreck that he would stay in full makeup and costume at all times and would only film his scenes as Count Orlock at night. The camera angles were usually at eye level, but at times it would shift in between a low angle and a high angle. The camera movements at times were very sudden. They were extremely so when Max Schreck was in the frame. This movement of the camera adds on to the ghastly and superstitious mood and tone of the atmosphere.
There is dramatic irony taking place. If the viewer has already previously read Bram Stoker’s novel or Friedrich Murnau’s movie, they have obtained background knowledge of the story and are able to use this to aid their thinking processes when watching this film. They, unlike others who have no idea what the story is about, are able to piece together every event because they know a lot of information that the characters in the movie themselves are not aware of.
All of the viewers of the movie know beforehand that Friedrich and Max Schreck have an agreement. They learn the points to their bargain before the other cast and crew members came to know of what was going on. Ironically, as soon as the others found out, they all ended up dying. In the end, when Schreck was killing all of the remaining cast and crew, Friedrich was just standing there. Then, all of a sudden, he thought it would be a great idea of getting it all on film; so he watched what was going on right in front of him, flabbergasted. He was in a sort of daze while he was filming it all. Ironically, Friedrich did not get killed by the Count thanks to the natural light that was let in by some people opening the door.