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Dracula [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan, Trevor Eve
  • Directors: John Badham
  • Writers: Bram Stoker, Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston, W.D. Richter
  • Producers: Marvin Mirisch, Tom Pevsner, Walter Mirisch
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Dutch, English, Romanian
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: August 29, 2000
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (295 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6300182193
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,220 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description



Chalk this one up as something that seemed like a good idea at the time. Frank Langella had just taken Broadway by storm in a revival of the play based on Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. He was tall, elegant, and almost painfully romantic--all qualities that failed to translate to this garish, tarted-up film version. The story remains the same, if told in greater length than in Bela Lugosi's version. The film even offered Laurence Olivier as vampire-hunter Van Helsing (in one of several roles he played during the period that required a middle-European accent) and a young Kate Nelligan as the woman whose love (and blood) Dracula most wants. But director John Badham, working from W.D. Richter's clunky script, makes a hash of most of it, relying on special effects to do the heavy lifting. --Marshall Fine

Customer Reviews

One of the best Dracula movies I've seen.
Annette White
Finally, the characters' relationships, while bigger than life as befits a gothic story, are based on true emotions, and this is what breathes life into the film.
The ending of the movie is cool and will leave you guessing.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 175 people found the following review helpful By widowedwalker on August 7, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Odd how this 1979 little gem of a "different take" on "Dracula", based on Frank Langella's Broadway version, was fairly well-reviewed when it was first released, and considered a handsome and sumptuous updating of the old Bram Stoker chestnut, only this time with a mesmerizingly charismatic Count, with lush locations and costars like Laurence Olivier and Kate Nelligan.

Perhaps it wasn't perfect (they get Mina and Lucy, for one thing, mixed up--- but then, how many filmed "Dracula" versions are all THAT faithful to the book?!?) but it had a melancholy mood and texture that was quite absorbing and did quite well, justly, in '79.

It also became a top horror video rental in the '80s.

Today, it's reputation has fallen from 'good' to 'mediocre' to 'huh?'

It's been said that Langella's stage performance "gets lost" amongst "trendy special effects", and I have to confess that I never saw Langella do the Count on stage [I understand he turned taking-off his cape into an artform], but anybody who can virtually wipe even Olivier off the screen as Langella does in the movie can't have had ALL of his stage-presence removed in the film!
And as for "trendy special effects"? The "effects" are subject-appropriate; nothing excessive. Good job of directing by John Badham, and music score by John Williams.

Of course, I've yet to see the DVD quality-- hope it's good.

UPDATE 3 MONTHS LATER AFTER POSTING THE ABOVE REVIEW (8/04).... Well, guess what?--- it's NOT good (the DVD). I just got mine and what should I find? It's virtually now in black-and-white. And guess what else? Director John Badham did this DELIBERATELY for the DVD release.
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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 18, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
From 1979, this is the sensual Dracula...Frank Langella, repeating his hit stage performance in this John Badham directed version, plays the Count as seductive and irresistible...with his smooth as honey voice and flowing costumes. The first thing you see of him is his hand, slowly emerging from a fur cloak...it's one of my very favorite moments on film.
Kate Nelligan is stunningly beautiful as Lucy. She plays her as strong and liberated and a willing participant in the Count's plans. Laurence Olivier is wonderful as always, in a performance that's about as "over the top" as he'd ever done. Also good are Donald Pleasence, marvelously insubtle as Dr. Seward, and Trevor Eve, as a more "macho" than usual Jonathan Harker.
John Williams' lush score adds a lot to this film, which though it departs radically from the original book, has a lot of atmosphere, exotic sets, and sumptuous (though darkly hued) cinematography.
I find the Dracula legend fascinating, and don't think I've missed a single filmed version...this is one of the two I have watched the most, the other being the Coppola one, and both films get better with repeated viewings...so if you're a Drac fan, don't miss this voluptuous twist on the old tale.
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Luis M. Ramos on August 31, 2002
Format: DVD
The sreen is black. A wolf howls. The main credits start to appear with the images created by Maurice Binder (of James Bond fame). John Williams' majestic main theme sounds triumphantly. From that moment, I realized -and I still do -that I'm watching a movie version of "Dracula" that would be classically romantic and terrifying at the same time.
Frankly, I may never understand why people are so critical about this version. I mean, you have Frank Langella portraying a character that won him the Tony Award in Broadway, and he gives total charm to the bloodsucking count. There is Laurence Olivier, who plays a Van Helsing that appears to be giving poetic justice. I mean all the cast give a touch of class to this vision of Dracula. And then there is John Williams' majestic music score, giving a chilling romanticism that's very strange in horror films.
Many people may think John Badham's direction has been sloppy, and the dialogue from W.D. Richter may be weak, but I don't care: I simply love this movie version, one of my great guilty pleasures.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By "bd57" on June 29, 2001
Format: DVD
I am always amazed at others' reactions to this film. Some are upset that it doesn't follow the Lugosi version; some believe it follows it too closely. Some are upset that it doesn't follow the novel; some believe it doesn't hold a candle to the Coppola travesty.
I am a longtime scholar of the novel, the greatest of the post-gothic novels and probably the first modern horror novel, and am usually disgusted with the liberties taken in film versions. The Lugosi/Dean version, stage and screen, bears little resemblance to the novel, and is a pretty lousy flick if you discount Lugosi's mystique; the Spanish version produced at the same time is much more interesting. The Coppola version, supposedly faithful to the novel (only to those who haven't read the novel), actually reverses all the elements to produce one of the most perverse versions ever: every good character is presented as sleazy, inane, or insane, and Dracula is held up as some sort of hero instead of a monster! Add the ludicrous performances of Wynona Rider and Keanu Reeves, the over-the-top hamming of Anthony Hopkins, the impenetrable pseudo-accent of Gary Oldman, and the huge lapses in continuity (why does Reeve's hair keep changing color?), and you have an infuriating experience for the true Dracula fan.
John Badham jettisons the novel entirely, and thus frees himself from comparisons. The movie is visually stunning. Kate Nelligan is gorgeous and acts the hell out of the part of Lucy, a "modern" woman at the beginning of female suffrage. Frank Langella is the most beautiful, sexiest Dracula conceivable - the merest gesture of a finger speaks volumes. And for the first time ever, it is truly frightening to see Dracula crawling head-first down the wall!
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