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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favorite Dracula Movie...oops meant to say Frank Langella movie...or was that 'Sphinx'?Published 1 month ago by Kathlena F. Mailloux
Excellent movie. More erotic than other Dracula movies. Good actors, spooky mood.Published 4 months ago by Mike Cremedas
SO much fun watching this on Halloween and so excited to finally find it. Has some great back story items too.Published 6 months ago by Constance Ferrari