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Shot on location and in three languages at a time when both practices were radical innovations, Dreyer’s haunting vision of the macabre was produced independently. Allan Gray (Nicolas de Gunzburg) is a young occultist who travels to Courtempierre, France, which has been cursed by a vampire (Henriette Gérard). She has much of the town under her spell, including Léone, a young village woman (Sybille Schmitz). With the help of Léone’s sister (Rena Mandel), Gray must break the vampire’s curse before the shadowy horror overtakes the sleepy hamlet. Shot in gauzy black-and-white by Rudolph Maté—who also lensed Dreyer’s legendary silent The Passion of Joan of ArcVampyr remains a horrifyingly beautiful masterpiece, a testament to Dreyer’s inventiveness and sensitivity to aesthetics and stylized storytelling. “Dreyer’s first sound film benefits greatly from silent film visual language—iris shots, double exposures, expressionistic lighting, claustrophobic set design, and a fluid, incredibly mobile use of camera movement. Somehow it is an entirely graceful film and languid. It feels not like a film of a dream, but a film which is a dream.”—Patrick Friel, Cine-file Chicago.

Genres: Silent Film, Horror

Other Films by Carl Theodor Dreyer


Dreyer’s final film, Gertrud, is last in a long run of masterpieces. A portrait of a woman in crisis, the film follows Gertrud Kanning (a marvelous Nina Pens Rode), a former opera singer looking for a way out of her loveless marriage to a neglectful man enraptured with his career as a lawyer. Strong-willed, independent


Ordet, or “the word,” follows the Borgen family, led by the widowed patriarch Morten (Henrik Malberg). The pull of a local religious sect, in strict opposition to the family’s practiced Christianity, underlies this profound story of faith and redemption. The eldest Borgen son (Emil Hass Christensen) experiences a crisis of faith when his wife (Birgitte

Day of Wrath

Made nearly ten years after Dreyer’s landmark Vampyr, Day of Wrath, set in the 1620s, charts the loveless marriage of Anne (Lisbeth Movin) and the Reverend Absalon Pederssøn (Thorkild Roose). When Absalon’s son (Preben Lerdorff Rye) returns to the small village, Anne is forced to reconcile her feelings for the young man with her marital

Master of the House

One of Dreyer’s early works, Master of the House was ahead of its time in its examination of marital relations and the power structure of the traditional family home. Viktor Frandsen (Johannes Meyer) is the arch-patriarch who requires perfect order in his home, much to the chagrin of his wife Ida (Astrid Holm) and the

Voices of Light The Passion of Joan of Arc

One of the most elemental and stunning silent films in world cinema, Dreyer’s examination of the trial of Joan of Arc remains as intense and affecting as it was 90 years ago. Legendary French stage actress Reneé Jeanne Falconetti delivers one of cinema’s greatest performances as Joan, the 19-year-old burned at the stake in 1431