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Jess Franco's Count Dracula (Special Edition)

57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Count Dracula is a highly atmospheric adaptation of the classic Bram Stoker novel, directed with panache by auteur Jess Franco (Venus in Furs, The Diabolical Dr. Z).

Screen icon Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) portrays the titular Count Dracula, who flees the cold confines of his Carpathian castle for the shores of England, where he must feed on the blood of beautiful Lucy (Soledad Miranda, Vampyros Lesbos) and Mina (Maria Rohm, 99Women) in order to grow youthful and stay alive.

Also featuring excellent performances by Herbert Lom (The Ladykillers) as Van Helsing and Klaus Kinski (Nosferatu the Vampyre) as Renfield, as well as an ominous score by Bruno Nicolai (Eugenie de Sade, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave), Count Dracula is presented for the first time on DVD in the U.S.

Jess Franco, the Spanish director known for soft-core films featuring vixens in various precarious situations, successfully incorporates Bram Stoker's Dracula into his repertoire with Count Dracula. Starring Hammer's Dracula Christopher Lee, this film is unrelated to the Hammer films, to its credit. This film may be the most accurate telling of Stoker's classic vampire story, so faithful is it to the novel, even to include many of the book's lines in the script. With an array of truly Gothic, medieval sets, and a cast well-versed in horror, including Klaus Kinski (Werner Herzog's Nosferatu) as Renfield, and Soledad Miranda (Vampyros Lesbos) as Lucy, Count Dracula authentically captures Stoker's careful blend of physical monstrosity and sexual fetish to portray the Count's quest for eternal life. For example, few vampire films besides Franco's take time to feature Lucy and her lover Quincy's blood transfusions that reinforce blood's metaphoric connection to sexual desire. Moreover, Maria Rohm plays Mina Harker with the proper innocence to serve as a foil character to her promiscuous friend, Lucy. Dr. Van Helsing, in this film, gets ample opportunity to sleuth vampirism. Franco relays the story of this Transylvanian count who leaves his castle in the Carpathian mountains for a house in England by accentuating the sexual aspects of the plot, which is what any Franco fan would hope for. Additionally enlightening is this DVD's featurette, in which Franco describes his theories about vampire films. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • "Beloved Count" Jess Franco featurette
  • Christopher Lee reads Bram Stoker's Dracula
  • Soledad Miranda essay
  • Still gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Klaus Kinski, Soledad Miranda, Maria Rohm
  • Directors: Jesús Franco
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Special Edition
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K7VL56
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,421 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Jess Franco's Count Dracula (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By RSMM on March 23, 2007
Format: DVD
In 1970, Christopher Lee was the reigning Dracula, but having already performed the role in three or four Hammer films, he was dissatisfied by the hissing, caricatured--though effective--version that had been created for him. He longed to interpret the role in a manner closer to Bram Stoker's 1897 novel. The opportunity arose in the film under discussion. Made with a small budget in Spain, an international cast, a director--Jess Franco--as deplored in some circles as he was revered, "El Conde Dracula" was, in fact, the closest adaptation of the novel that had been attempted to that date. Originally intended for Spanish television, the project became too formidable for the small screen, and became a theatrical production. However, it was filmed with the 4:3 TV screen in mind, and is intended to be seen in that 1.33:1 aspect ratio: Dark Sky presents it exactly that way--an honorable move to fulfill the film maker's wishes in these days of 16x9 TVs and frame-cropping vandalism. Lee is superb, looking and sounding exactly like he had leapt off the pages of Stoker's novel, almost all his dialogue actually lifted directly from it. The interpretation puts other so-called "authentic" Draculas to shame, like Coppola's ridiculous travesty performed for him by Gary Oldman. Only Louis Jourdan in the 1978 BBC adaptation--altogether the closest dramatization of the novel, is as impressive, in a different way, as Christopher Lee is here.

The opening scenes of the film are brilliant, with much subtle and striking imagery. As the film proceeds, budgetary constraints seem to have necessitated that the film and novel part company, with many omissions. Nevertheless there is much to recommend.

The new Dark Sky DVD is unquestionably the best the film has ever looked.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By S. Nyland on February 28, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
COUNT DRACULA is first and foremost a Jess Franco movie, many of the people logging complaints about the film are actually making complaints about Franco's filmmaking style. This is a great low-budget version of "Dracula" that is derived from the novel, not Hammer's pulp assembly line stories or some special effects creation. Christopher Lee gives his finest performance as the good Count, with excellent supporting work by Herbert Lom as Van Helsing and Klaus Kinski as a very different Renfeild. This was the first attempt to be faithful to Bram Stoker's novel and for that reason alone deserves to be seen.

What is too bad is Dark Sky's DVD treatment, which is what we really should be grading here. It is a 3 star effort: A decent looking transfer of the film, but a composite of an English language audio track with a foreign language print ... that was sadly missing a scene. Debate rages even now amongst the movie nerd community of Dark Sky was even aware of the omission, and there are some issues relating to filtering or other optical effects done to the movie in post-production which seem different on this release than any of the home video versions.

The one thing that Dark Sky did do that should be applauded was to frame the movie correctly at the 1:33:1 open matte fullscreen ratio that the movie was filmed in, the original intent being a television event film that was a bit better than expected & bumped up to theatrical. A letterboxed version of the film made with 16x9 screens in mind would have resulted in lost picture information by cropping. Dark Sky also collected some nice bonus material for their DVD, which is a lot easier for most people to find than the old home video releases, which like it or not are still of merit for those who adore this movie as much as I do.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By W. Jefferies on September 22, 2007
Format: DVD
Jess Franco's: Count Dracula (El Conde Dracula) 1970.

The year that Hammer gave us two Dracula films, Christopher Lee agreed to play Dracula again for a 3rd time, in Jess Franco's production of Count Dracula, on the condition that it was a faithful reconstruction of Bram Stoker's novel, & indeed the publicity at the time claimed that it was telling the story as Stoker wrote it. It was possibly the closest movie to Stoker's book up to then, even though there are still almost inevitably some differences.
In terms of portraying Dracula as written, Lee himself claims it's his best performance. Here, like the book, Dracula begins as an old man who gradually gets younger as he drinks more blood. In fact, i think Lee looks very striking as the older Dracula with white hair a thick white moustache. How different he seems to the Hammer productions!
With regard to the film as whole, i do have some mixed feelings about it. It has some good elements, but after the first half hour it does seem to get ponderously slow in places. The first notable scene comes about 10mins in, where Dracula, posing as the Count's coachman drives Harker to the castle amid the howling wolves & the swirling mist, & he gets off the coach & shoos the wolves away with a gesture, - his eyes blazing under the hat & scarf. Even though the 'wolves' are quite clearly alsatian dogs, i really like the whole sequence. It's very atmospheric, & remeniscent of the book. Dracula's first appearance 'proper', with the introductory scene at the castle uses well known lines from the book, & Lee plays it slightly differently to the introduction scene in the Hammer version. This Count Dracula is formally polite, but doesn't quite have the cordiality of his earlier version.
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