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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best Dracula adaptations
As a child I could never understand why so many versions of Dracula strayed so far from the novel. As much as I loved Chris Lee's films etc film makers seemed determined to avoid the original plot.
When I settled down that Christmas years ago to watch the BBC's Dracula I was over joyed to see such a faithful adaptation and a brilliant one at that. All the classic...
Published on 29 July 2007 by Catzilla

versus
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Theatre of blood
The first thing to note about this two-part adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" is that it sticks closely to the original story - no forays into satanism, occultism, foreign virgins or teenagers anywhere to be seen! Bonus!

Overall, this is a good, fairly well made production. If you're looking for 'the story of Dracula as told by Bram Stoker', it's not a...
Published on 16 Dec. 2009 by Mr. M. Bloomfield


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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best Dracula adaptations, 29 July 2007
This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
As a child I could never understand why so many versions of Dracula strayed so far from the novel. As much as I loved Chris Lee's films etc film makers seemed determined to avoid the original plot.
When I settled down that Christmas years ago to watch the BBC's Dracula I was over joyed to see such a faithful adaptation and a brilliant one at that. All the classic characters are there (including Renfield), they filmed in Whitby, its gory, sexy, romantic and frightening. It's done with style and class. It is a proper vampire film unlike all these Super hero martial arts vampire flicks today.
I bought it when it appeared on DVD a few years ago. I am glad to see it coming out again and hope it reaches a whole new audience.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dracula adaptation that has bite, 19 Sept. 2007
By 
G. Pace (Halesowen, West Midlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
The BBC has always maintained a pretty solid reputation of providing great drama and adaptations of the classics and this 1977 version of stokers novel is a prime example.
"Count Dracula" is regarded by many as the most faithful working of the horror story to date and although lacking the menace of Christopher Lee's vampire, Louis Jourdan makes very good casting indeed.
But what really makes this adaptation so good? - well firstly the cast is a good one. Frank Finlay seems to be having a great time in the role as Van Helsing, while Judi Bowker and Susan Penhaligon make good vampire fodder. Also Jack Shepherd plays Renfield to perfection. But what i really love about this production are the outdoor locations. The shots of Mina and Lucy going up the huge flight of cliff steps at whitby and sitting on the clifftop bench overlooking the sea is just how you envisage stoker's novel- just as in the scene where Dracula first seduces a sleepwalking lucy in the clifftop churchyard in the dead of night. Also the confrontation between the vampire hunters and an undead Susan Penhaligon in londons Highgate cemetry is quite chilling, especially the scene where they drive a stake into her as it looks very convincing.
Lame special effects such as rubber bats and a dreadful mist effect coming though a bedroom window don't particularly help the production but one must think of the time this was made. All in all, a very good effort and this certainly ranks high above recent attempts at the dracula story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive adaptation, 27 Oct. 2008
By 
Princess Spider (Lancaster, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
After the disappointment at the BBC's 2006 version of the Bram Stoker novel, an antidote is now on offer in the form of the Beeb's previous visitation to the tale back in 1977 and one regarded by many as the best adaptation ever. Directed by Philip Saville, Count Dracula stars Louis Jordan as the titular vampire with Frank Finlay as arch nemesis Van Helsing. The BBC promised at the time that this would be the most faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's work ever and at a running time of two and a half hours (later serialised into three episodes for repeats) it certainly proved the case.

Jordan acquits himself with an understated performance that has had many praise him as one of the very best Counts. He wisely avoids the "Drrrracula" accent that Lugosi turned into a cliché and simply allows his French flavoured tones to signal his character's otherness. Jordan's youthful for his age looks also give the impression of a man older than he apparently seems.

Frank Finlay is memorable as Van Helsing, but any awards for supporting actors must go to Jack Shepherd as Renfield. Like Jordan, Shepherd avoids the usual over the top performance that most actors have invested in the part. This is a strangely calm lunatic, seemingly reasonable rather than ranting but with a power behind those eyes; a perfect foil for Jordan's Dracula. In the scene where Dracula kills Renfield in his own cell, the Count suddenly appears sat next to his servant and asks calmly why he betrayed him. More like someone giving counselling than about to take revenge.

An this is another point about Gerald Savory's script. While it stays close to the novel, it does not stick too close for its own good. The main problem in adapting Stoker's work is that Dracula has virtually no voice in the post Transylvania scenes. He is a distant figure in the crowd or a or an animalistic creature who snarls as he grabs his money from under the noses of those hunting him down. Indeed, Savory's translation of that scene is one of the production's highlights, as this transcript will demonstrate.

We are at Chesterfield Close in Mayfair. As Harker and Van Helsing are at work, the Count slopes in unnoticed and takes a roll of banknotes from a drawer. He slams the draw shut to attract their attention. Van Helsing produces a crucifix and recites a prayer of exorcism in the Roman tongue:

Dracula (laughs): Yes, yes it always sounds more convincing in Latin, doesn't it professor. You give an order to retreat.
Van Helsing: We guard ourselves from your touch.
Dracula: Using a cross as a talisman. An instrument of torture and humiliation.
Van Helsing: A Symbol of trouble and trial by which our Christian faith is tested.
Dracula: You seek to destroy me. Why?
Harker: Because of what you are and what you have done.
Dracula: We must survive, all of us. The blood of a human for me, a cooked bird for you. What is the difference?
Harker: The difference between good and evil
Dracula: I am bound to this earth, I make it my domain. You will die in a miserable and allotted span. I have centuries before me.
Harker: Why did you ever leave your castle?
Dracula: We must recruit disciples. Just as your leader has done.

Savory's dialogue furnishes the Count with a very convincing argument. Apart from dismissing the power of religious faith as a blanket of mystical sounding words and symbolism, Dracula makes the point that the Christian deity and his have more correspondence than Harker or Van Helsing will admit; after all, is not drinking the blood of Christ a integral component of catholic communion? While the idea of Dracula's trip to England being motivated by his own brand of missionary work carries a certain irony. A reverse colonisation.

Savory's material is expertly realised by director Saville who imbues the vamping scenes with a haunting poetry. The subjective experience of the victim being mesmerised or vamped is one of a surreal hallucinogenic trip, composed of distorted and conflicting memories; which makes some sense of why they seem to enjoy it. A pity Hammer never thought of that.

The only slight gripe with the thirty year old production is the shifting picture quality between the studio and location scenes. It was standard in British television back then for drama or comedy to be studio recorded on sharp definition videotape with outdoor scenes shot on grainier 16mm film. While we were used to this mixture of media back then, it seems a tad jarring now and begs the question as to why the BBC don't digitally re master the tape to give a consistent look of film throughout. They have the technology.

The BBC's Count Dracula is a must have for the DVD collection of any Bram Stoker buff. It is also a lesson to any future director as to if you are going to do Dracula again, this is how it is done.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Count., 5 Jun. 2010
By 
Armchair Pundit "Armchair Pundit." (Durham City, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
At last, although it's been a while since I last saw this. I had never forgotten it,
especially the scene where Harker looks out of his castle window and see's Dracula clinging to the walls.
Louis Jourdan breathes new life into the titular character.
(With just the right air of a European nobleman, polite, curteous but with an arrogant streak).
This was the first time I'd seen the delightful Judy Bowker on TV since Black Beauty.
The ever reliable Frank Finlay plays a wonderful Van Helsing.
(His 1971 Casanova is worth a look too.)
And Jack Shepherd really excels as Renfield.
If you have never read the novel, then this is the most accurate version I have ever seen.
Bram Stokers characters and prose are faithfully transferred to the small screen.
Production values are typically BBC late 70's, videotape and stagey, but it's the story and acting quality I buy for,
and not a slightly dodgy TV stage set!
Original airdate:~ 22/12/77.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Count Dracula!, 15 May 2008
This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
As previous reviews have stated this version is the Most faithful adaption of Stoker's novel. Although it lacks Coppola's budget, it makes up for it with some splendid location shooting in Whitby and London's HighGate cemetary. I was suprised at how intelligently scripted it was, when I studied Dracula at school we were shown Dan Curtis' version with Jack Palance. Why I'll never know because this is leaagues ahead.
I completely disagree with the previous reviewer who claims Jourdan was miscast. Jourdan gives Dracula a sinister charm that no other actor (accept Bela Lugosi) ever matched. His courtly manners and French accent make him seem authentic. And there is menace in his every line. This is a throughly evil Dracula, not a love sick fop. Frank Finley makes a good Van Helsing, but the scene stealer is Jack shepard as Renfield.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!, 25 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
This is truly the best ever production of Dracula ever produced. This is also the most true to the book. Louis Jordan is perfect as Dracula, seductive but with a hint of menace. Very atmospheric and some of the scenes actually filmed in Whitby and Highgate cemetery London. Totally brilliant!!!!!!!!!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars at last!-true to the novel, 11 Sept. 2007
By 
J. A. Cadman "jaycad" (skelmersdale,lancashire,u.k) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
this is far superior to the most recent bbc attempt at this classic tale-ok,the special effects(though very few)are worthy of an early 90's home camcorder effects but at least it stays true to the novel(apart from the non-appearance of lord godalming)which is more than can be said of last years misguided nightmare. worth a look!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, faithful adaptation of Stoker's vampire classic, 13 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
I can remember seeing this version of Dracula just before Christmas 1977 and it had stuck in my memory for many years - so after -re-watching it recently I concluded that this is a really excellent adaptation of Stoker's novel and without being slavish it's maybe the most faithful to the original narrative and furthermore very well produced, scripted and acted. Louis Jordan's portrayal of Count Dracula is understated, subtle and effective, conveying a real charge of cold predatory menace. The production values of 1970s Brit tv actually facilitate rather than hinder the atmosphere and even the special effects are judiciously used and actually rather striking. Unlike any other Dracula this includes the episodes at Whitby and even old Swales features. Judy Bowker's portrayel of Mina Harker is consummate and Susan Penhaligon as Lucy Westernra absolutely perfect. Somehow this adaptation more than the others captures the Victorian gothicism and darkly romantic mystique of terror with which Stoker's 1897 novel is suffused. I'm keen on various versions of 'Dracula' from Murnau's 'Nosferatu' to Lugosi's suave asssumption of the Count's cape in the 1931 Universal classic to the florid adaptations of the Hammer era with Christopher Lee's superb portrayal of the 'Prince of Darkness'. This less than well-known version is right up there as one of the more satisfying adaptations of Stoker's vampire classic, very possibly the best 'Dracula' of them all, especially so as it retains the authentic Christian ethos of the original so accurately, the heroic spiritual crusade against the powers of evil which Frank Finlay's Van Helsing leads so convincingly, culminating in the brilliantly powerful scene of Dracula being staked at sunset, a true vanquishing and exorcism of loathsome Satanic pollution. Well worth seeing and highly recommended. Perhaps this is, to date, the best version of 'Dracula'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Louis Jordan IS the Dracula from the book., 5 Mar. 2015
By 
Marian (West Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
I was 13 when I first saw this on the tv and it actually scared the life out of me. Louis Jordan was born to play the part of the Count and he brought to it a real touch of malevolence on the one hand and a simmering sexiness on the other. There is also a high intelligence and undeniable charm in Jordan's portrayal that sometimes doesn't always come through in other people's performances of Dracula. He's not just about getting on a boat to chase after a couple of girls in another country, he actually NEEDS Mina, and as he tells her in their exchange together she is "nourishment" to him, and not in the obvious way either. Why they made Mina and Lucy sisters in this adaptation is a mystery, because they seem to have got everything else right, but that's no matter here really because the acting is very good indeed.
Dracula's castle looks freezing cold and uncomfortable on the inside, unlike the Christopher Lee castle with a roaring fire and it looks like the maid has just been. This version gives one a real feeling of loneliness, decrepitude and abandonment when we first meet Dracula. You just know it's been ages since he's had a proper conversation with anyone. His three "brides" or "sisters" as they are called in this version are horrific in one scene. It was really shocking to see it in 1977, and the scene has not lost it's potency now in my opinion. Jack Shepherd is fantastic as Renfield and his meeting with Mina is really moving, almost heart breaking. This version for me has it all, intelligence, suspense, sexiness, horror and heart break. Oh and Frank Finlay as Van Helsing is absolutely brilliant, he is steady, reliable and calm and he knows exactly what is going on when he first meets Lucy. I found myself wishing that I had a doctor just like that. This is an excellent retelling of the book, it brought to life and accurately portrayed what my mind's eye saw when I was reading the book, and for me that's really something. Buy it. Believe me it will haunt your imagination for a very, very long time.....
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Count Kamal Khan..., 27 Oct. 2007
By 
Matthew Mercy (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Count Dracula [DVD] (DVD)
The BBC's 1977 adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel is probably the most faithful version of Dracula in all of TV or film. Genuinely scary in places and benefiting from some great location shooting (that done in Whitby, a major setting of the book, is particularly effective), this two-parter hasn't been seen on British TV in many years, and has therefore slipped into obscurity (though according to the IMDb it's a Halloween TV perennial in the US). It follows the book's structure almost exactly, and benefits from fine performances by Louis Jourdan (as a debonair Count), Frank Finlay (giving us a true-to-the-original Dr. Van Helsing), and Jack Shepherd (the only actor I've seen who doesn't slice some prime ham as Renfield).
Though its adherence to the book's plot is (rightly) championed by many, it has to be noted that a couple of changes to the story have been made; Arthur Holmwood and Quincy P. Morris have morphed into one character (`Quincy P. Holmwood'), whilst Lucy and Mina are here sisters, as opposed to the book, in which they are simply friends. Still, these changes don't affect the drama one bit. Far superior to the dire John Badham effort of two years later, the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola version, and even the 1931 classic with Bela Lugosi, this 156 minute TV movie is second only to Terence Fisher's 1958 film Horror of Dracula as the most enjoyable adaptation yet produced.
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Count Dracula [DVD]
Count Dracula [DVD] by Louis Jourdan (DVD - 2007)
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