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3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 24 March 2017
Turned it off after ten minutes it's that bad.
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on 14 July 2007
Yes, indeed, this is weird stuff, but wonderfully entertaining and - dare I use an un-British word? - beautiful. It is based on the stage play rather than Stoker's original novel, with most of the action set in England. Mahler's music makes for a remarkable soundtrack, superb dancers provide the cast, and Guy Maddin delivers a truly original vision. Almost every scene is visually stunning - poetry in motion is, for once, an accurate description. There is also some sly humour (what is Van Helsing going to do with that frock?) social commentary, and subversive religious imagery. Throw in the scene in which Mina tries to perform a certain un-Stokerly act on Jonathan in a nunnery garden and you've got a Dracula that will, I feel sure, be recognised as one of the great movie versions. If not the greatest. Yes, it's that good. The R2 DVD comes with decent extras, including a Maddin short, 'The Heart of the World', which is rather spiffing.
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Blood! Crosses! Madness! Ballet! Bats! Garlic! And of course, VAMPIRES! "Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary" is exactly the sort of adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel that you'd expect from Guy Maddin -- an elegant, surreal silent film that plays with symbolism, light and splashes of color, as well as the interesting fact that it's all done in ballet.

The first half is the story from the point-of-view of Lucy Westenra (Tara Birtwhistle): she's a wealthy young woman with three suitors she must choose between. However, every night she is visited by Dracula (Zhang Wei-Qiang) until she rises again as a vampire, despite the best efforts of Dr. Van Helsing (David Moroni). You can guess what happens.

With the help of the clairvoyant Renfield (wha?), Van Helsing and the boys find out what is happening back in Dracula's hometown -- a real estate agent named Jonathan Harker (Johnny A. Wright) was attacked by Dracula's brides and imprisoned by Dracula himself. Now, his fiancee Mina (CindyMarie Small) is Dracula's next target.

Guy Maddin is best known for making silent, black-and-white movies in the German expressionist style, and "Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary" is one of those. But it's much more elegant, delicate and subtle than Maddin's other movies, although there are splashes of his surreal style here and there (Lucy's mom lives in a glass coffin/ventilator cranked by maids).

The movie is full of light and shadow, Victorian finery, creeping mists, splashes of brilliant color and some truly striking imagery that lingers in your mind (the body on a stake, bathed in morning light). There are some moments of dark humor ("Infants for supper?") but most of the story is very dramatic and romantic.

And almost everything is conveyed through ballet -- Lucy's dance with Dracula in a snowy graveyard, Mina and Jonathan's romantic dance in the convent, and the newly-vampirized Lucy's wild wanton dance with Van Helsing and her suitors. Downsides? Well, I honestly don't understand the whole "chest full of money" scene, and Maddin makes some of the story's themes a bit too explicit.

And fortunately the cast is brilliant, both as actors and dancers. Zhang Wei-Qiang is handsome, seductive and a sublimely powerful dancer, and Birtwhistle is wonderfully graceful both when she is and isn't dancing (her "sleepwalk"). Small's dancing is disrupted by a weird moment where Mina tries to unzip Jonathan's fly, but the rest of the dancers are great as well, right down to the Brides.

"Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary" is a beautiful blend of Bram Stoker's story and classical ballet, a dreamlike little story filled with beauty. Definitely a must-see.
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on 17 May 2004
Who would have thought that the medium of dance, in particular ballet, would provide one of the best ever interpretations of Bram Stoker's novel, 'Dracula'?
This wonderful movie is shot in a style reminiscent of the earliest movies, and is nearly all in black and white, with only blood and money given colour, red and green respectively. The sound is provided by classical music, with the occasional 'real' sound effect.
The action itself is on a large stage with a dreamy, romantic set, and the dancing itself is wonderful. The story is well told, without unnecessary detail added, and the male lead is full of charisma, as all 'Dracula's should be, in order that the seductiveness of his evil charm can be apparent.
If I could give 10 stars to this movie, I would.
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on 12 March 2009
Very enjoyable. At times rather (intentionally) funny, and beautifully observed in the way it echoes Nosferatu. It should be pointed out that, despite what some have said, this is in no way a faithful adaptation of Stoker's novel. To call it "perhaps the most faithful adaptation" implies a fair degree of unfamiliarity with the source material on behalf of whoever wrote the sleeve notes! A little pretentious, and very much one man's interpretation of what Dracula is "about", nevertheless a lot of fun for any fan of the Dracula story.
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on 5 June 2014
I found this film rather dull,although i respect those that do like it.
For me Dracula just has to be Lee,Schrek or Kinski i,m afraid,hell even Willem DeFoe was a better Count.
Not my cup of blood....Sorry,but arty farty
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on 9 March 2007
I watched this last night in bed and with it being a TV production I wasn't expecting much but I was surprised at how good it was.

I got this in a box set called BOX OF BLOOD in which Anchor Bay have done a marvelous job with. The front of the box as what is meant to be blood swishing to which side you hold it and inside it contains 1 documentary and 5 films: In Search Of The Real Dracula (Documentary), Dracula, Near Dark, Nosferatu: The Vampyre, Vampires: Out For Blood & Vampyres: Daughters Of Dracula.

Now back to the review of Dracula, it's a modern version of the story of Dracula with cars and mobile phones in it but this isn't as bad as it sounds and brings something fresh to the story.

Headed by brash young American investment banker Jonathan Harker and his fiancee Mina, a group of young adventurers are seeking new opportunities in Budapest. When the mysterious Count Tepes summons Jonathan to his castle in Romania for an important deal, little does the banker know what horror he is about to unleash on the world. Tepes is none other then Dracula, and he wants more than blood: he wants the souls of these vigorous young people. The only way they can prevent him from creating an army of undead is by probing into their own souls and accepting to sacrifice themselves for the good of humanity. But Dracula, a master of seduction and sensuality, knows exactly how to make people yield to his will.

With this being in a box set the version I have has no special features and the rating for this film is a 12 so there isn't much blood or violence in it and I can say there didn't need to be much because it still told the story well enough and if you have already seen countless other Dracula/vampire films then this needs to be another added to that list.

All in all a good film for a TV production that deserves to be seen by Dracula/vampires film fans.

Thank you for reading my review
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on 1 November 2016
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on 2 November 2014
I was very disappointed with this DVD. Not enough dancing in it.
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on 21 June 2016
Having difficulty wading through this version
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