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Count Dracula

1977

Count Dracula
 

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Movies from the 1970s

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The Movie

Directed by Philip Saville
Adapted for the screen by Gerald Savory from
Bram Stoker's novel Dracula
Produced by Morris Barry

Cast:
Louis Jourdan as Count Dracula
Frank Finlay as Abraham van Helsing
Susan Penhaligon as Lucy Westenra
Judi Bowker as Wilhelmina 'Mina' Westenra
Jack Shepherd as Renfield
Mark Burns as Dr. John Seward
Bosco Hogan as Jonathan Harker
Richard Barnes as Quincey P. Holmwood
Ann Queensberry as Mrs. Westenra
George Raistrick as Bowles
George Malpas as Swales
Michael Macowan as Mr. Hawkins
Susie Hickford as Dracula's Bride
Belinda Meuldijk as Dracula's Bride
Sue Vanner as Dracula's Bride
Bruce Wightman as Coach Passenger
Izabella Telezynska as Coach Passenger
O.T as Coach Passenger

Original Music by Kenyon Emrys-Roberts
Cinematography by Peter Hall
Film Editing by Richard Bedford
Production Design by Michael Young
Costume Design by Kenneth Morey
Makeup artist: Suzan Broad
Sound editor: Anthony Sloman
Visual effects designer: Tony Harding
Special video effects: A. J. Mitchell)
Script editor: Sally Head
Editor (video): Derek Miller-Timmins
Production assistant: Roselyn Parker

Review

So far as I am aware, no other attempt has been made to film Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, without fairly major changes in the plot. One or two have claimed to do the deed, and have failed to notice, for example, that the plot was largely set in England. I have always maintained that such a lenthy and detailed novel, veering from diary, to letter, to third person account, simply could not be filmed with any degree of faithfullness to the original.

Well, this has been one excellent attempt.

Some detail has inevitably been lost, but other whimsical moments have survived - such as Dracula crawling down the wall of his castle.

The characters have been kept largely intact, except that Stoker's two superfluous males, Quincy P. Morris and Arthur Holmwood, have been combined to become one superfluous male, Quincy P. Holmwood. I'd have gone for Arthur Morris, but you can't win them all!

The story moves at a fair pace, which really impressed me, and the casting and acting really was superb. Louis Jourdan, often described as the first English Speaking French Dracula (and probably the last), plays the Count sympathetically; we think he's evil - but he doesn't; indeed, as Jourdan once said "I think Dracula should be played as an extremely kind person who truly believes he is doing good. He gives eternal life."

Non-Brits may not be aware that Frank Finlay (van Helsing) was the definitive British Casanova, as well as inspiring an early, spooky Blackadder as the Witchsmeller Persuivant. Susan Penhaligon has a rare beauty combined with powerful charisma, and uses both to good effect. Judi Bowker is probably the best 'Mina' of them all. Simply fabulous!

The other male leads are weaker characters - but that's how Stoker made them! Renfield felt less relevant, somehow, I'm not sure why - but it was a charming performance for all that.

All in all, absolutely essential viewing for all students of the Vampire universe.

The DVD

Originally made as a three-part miniseries, Count Dracula was re-edited ito a single movie for VHS, and briefly on DVD. Copies of a VHS to DVD transfer have been seen.

How To Buy This DVD

  • So far as I'm aware, this DVD is not available 'new' - I buy rarities from ebay

The Vampyreverse 10 January 2016 Copyright Andrew Heenan Privacy