Count Dracula [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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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.
"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.
The plot adheres to the storyline of the original novel. Count Dracula is seeking to enact his evil plans, which involve him coming to England - which, in the Victorian era, was the hub of the civilised world. And so he seeks to ensure his safety - by buying various properties, mainly in and around London, that will serve as his 'safe houses'. To arrange the property transactions, a young solicitor - Jonathan Harker - travels to the Count's castle in Transylvania ... and it's with Harker's journey that this mini-series begins.
The high production values are obvious, and it is clear that both time and care were taken to ensure that this mini-series captured the 'feel' of Stoker's tale. The acting is also excellent - especially by the beautiful Judi Bowker (who plays Mina). My only point of (minor) criticism concerns the casting of Louis Jourdan as Dracula - for, although he offers a good performance, his Mediterranean looks and French accent don't quite 'fit' with the character of the east European Count.
This is the best dramatization of "Dracula" - and it remains a great piece of TV entertainment. It ought to be available on Blu-ray.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first seen this 2 part production of Bram Stoker's classic novel on BBC TV in 1977 and I fell in love with this superb adaptation from the start. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Robert Evans
ExcelLent just as I remembered it when it first came out the picture is very good qualityPublished 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
This version of the Vampire classic holds up very well. I saw this way back on it's original broadcast and it still is as impressive today. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Brian S.
I agree with other reviewers: They have done a nice work in making a movie from the novel, and being true to the novel. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Peter Mikkelsen
Purchased this as bit of nostalgia as I remember being allowed to stay up to watch this around Christmas 1977. What were my parents thinking? I was only 10!! Read morePublished 4 months ago by areyouthefarmer?
Watched this on tv 1970s scared the hell out of me.still one of the best Dracula DVDs I have watchedPublished 4 months ago by Francis Pike
Don’t let Richard Barnes and Susan Penhaligon’s poor acting in this lavish 1977 BBC production put you off. Definitely worth watching.Published 8 months ago by D P Cooper