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Dracula (Classic BBC Radio Horror) Audio CD – Audiobook, 7 Oct 2010
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About the Author
Abraham "Bram" Stoker (1847-1912) was born near Dublin. His first book, "Under the Sunset," was written in 1882. "Dracula" is his best-known work, and one of the classic novels of the horror genre. He died on April 20, 1912.
Top customer reviews
Firstly, this review is for the Classic BBC Radio Horror from Radio 4. Secondly, I am a huge fan of the novel by Bram Stoker. Thirdly, I am a huge fan of BBC Radio 4 plays. You can probably guess where this review is going now but for what it's worth ...
This is an excellent version of the story. Not 100% faithful (not that it could be in just a bit over 3 hours) but remarkably faithful nonetheless. An eerie opening has Jonathon Harker waking to find himself in a monastery after the events of the first act of the novel. On first listening to this recording I was immediately concerned that my favorite parts of the novel had been unceremoniously cut. This made the subsequent flashbacks that related the events of the novel's first act, when they did come, even more welcome. Using a flashback structure also added an emotional element that is not in the novel and suggested that this was going to be something special. My hunch was not wrong. The way the story unfolds genuinely captures the spirit of the novel in ways that other versions have failed to do (I have my sights set on you, Mister Coppola!). Fantastic performances convey every aspect's of the novel's mystery, horror, and romance. And a particular mention for Frederick Jaeger whose almost otherworldly performance so wonderfully captures the strange exoticism exuded by the count. The use of sound effects is minimal but engaging, from the opening Gregorian chant that accompanies Harker's stirrings to the howling winds that blow through the Borgo pass, ensuring that you not only have a very real sense of where you are but adding an eerie undercurrent to some all ready disturbing scenes. There are other BBC radio plays (Frankenstein, The War of the Worlds) that are almost as good, but none that are better. Quite simply, if you love the book ...
so eloquently I have long held Mr Stoker's tale of the
redoubtable Count in high esteem and with fond affection.
First published in 1897 'Dracula' continues to thrill and
fill us full of the very best kind of fear more than a
century later. The novel has been well-represented on the
silver-screen : Mr Murnau's 1922 'Nosferatu' (Mr Herzog
also had a good stab at it in 1979!); Tod Browning's
wonderfully atmospheric 1931 revisioning starring the
incomparable Mr Lugosi and (my own favorite) Mr Coppola's
masterful 1992 production with the splendid Mr Oldman,
(and his ill-fitting shadow!) doing a truly terrific turn.
Beyond film, however, a radio adaptation offers a wonderful
opportunity to play with our minds from the inside out; to
feed us sounds from which we are obliged to create our own
visions. The BBC have almost always done this consumately well
but they have failed on this occasion and failed miserably
with the release of this sadly lacklustre 1992 broadcast.
The sound design is shoddy (the wolves are particularly
disappointing!); the acting is so ham that you can almost
smell the bacon frying and (moreover) it just isn't scary!
Frederic Jaeger as The Count reads his lines without passion.
His lack of engagement with the part left me quite cold (and
not in a good way!) Bernard Holley as Mr Harker works hard
(and my goodness how hard he works!), from his convent bed,
at stirring us with the memories of his horrific experiences but
in giving us so very much more than his all my ears and patience
became so exhausted that I could find little sympathy for his
predicament. Phyllis Logan tries to breathe a bit of life and
credibility into the character of poor Ms Murray but her efforts
are swept away by an enormous tidal wave of amateurish bathos.
Writer Nick McCarty and director Hamish Wilson have wasted a
great chance of bringing a Classic story to life in a medium which,
had it been better conceived and reaslised, might have given us
all a week or two of sleepless nights.
This, however, is a Dracula who should
have remained well nailed-down in his box!
There's not much wrong with it per-se, but the cast do seem to be in rehearsal rather than 'live' as their lines are delivered rather flatly. Some of Stoker's prose is a bit hammy and I've heard many productions tip it from melodrama into farce, but here is the opposite problem, the Count doesn't seem all that scary or bothered!
Some of the sound design is also a bit mis-judged, for instance the wolves' 'Children of the Night' howling isn't very convincing and detracts from the atmosphere of the piece.
Not a bad introduction to the work, but I think fans of the original will find it adds nothing new to the novel, while for newcomers to the fanged fiend, there are much more accomplished takes on the story out there.
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Remaining faithful to the original Bram Stoker story this top quality CD draws you right in to the...Read more