Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
on 10 August 2017
This is a review for Dracula [Blu-ray + DVD].
This is, IMHO, the best interpretation of the Dracula story (the novel is very, very long and somewhat turgid) and my all-time favourite Hammer film - closely followed by Quatermass And The Pit, The Devil Rides Out, The Hound Of The Baskervilles and Dracula Prince Of Darkness.
Apart from some instances of hammy/wooden acting by certain members of the ensemble (I'll leave it for you to discover the culprits!) this film is exemplary. The cast, sets, cinematography (Jack Asher), costumes, music (James Bernard), direction (Terence Fisher), etc., is perfect.
Christopher Lee was born to play this role - he IS Dracula (sorry Lugosi fans). From his haughty demeanour when he greets Harker, to his demonic appearance when he bursts in on Harker (who has just been bitten by Dracula's vampire bride) and, finally, his decaying demise at the end of the film, Lee is absolutely superb.
Peter Cushing is also fantastic as Dr. Van Helsing. In a scene, near the beginning of the film, Van Helsing is almost run down by a coach carrying Dracula's coffin and Cushing gives us an almost imperceptible shudder as if to indicate something supernaturally evil has just passed by.
Melissa Stribling is also outstanding as Mina Holmwood - outwardly straight-laced, but underneath there's a smouldering sensuality!
There is a very creepy scene in which the young daughter of Gerda (a servant in the Holmwood household) is 'called' to the woods by Lucy Holmwood who is the latest victim of Dracula. Tania: "I heard you call me, Aunt Lucy." Lucy (wearing a truly demonic smile): "Yes, dear!".
Many films interpret a vampire's death by sunlight as "burning up", but in this film Dracula's exposure to the sun causes accelerated decomposition until all that remains of his body is dust. The ending to this version of Dracula remains the best ever filmed. The DVD does contain both remastered theatrical (BFI 2002 Restoration) and extended (Hammer 2012 Restoration) versions of the film.
[DVD only] Film ratio is 1.66:1. Audio is DD 2.0 Dual Mono. The remastered picture quality is pretty good for a film that will be 60 years old in 2018. The sound quality is okay, but not great.
Languages: English. Subtitles: English (Hard Of Hearing).
Extras: Audio Commentary With Marcus Hearn And Jonathan Rigby. Documentaries - Dracula Reborn, Resurrecting Dracula, Censoring Dracula, The Demon Lover, The World Of Hammer: Dracula And The Undead. All Four Surviving 'Japanese Reels' (6-9) Unrestored. Janina Faye Reads Stoker At The Vault Festival. Stills Gallery Of Over 100 Fully-Restored And Rare Images. Booklet By Hammer Archivist Robert J. E. Simpson (PDF - DVD Only). Original Shooting Script (PDF - DVD Only).
This film truly deserves the accolade "classic". So, Hammer, fangs for the memories! :-)