Top positive review
on 10 August 2017
This is a review for Dracula [Blu-ray + DVD].
This is my absolute favourite interpretation of the Dracula story (the novel is very, very long and somewhat turgid) and my favourite Hammer film - closely followed by Quatermass And The Pit, The Devil Rides Out 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, lighting, costumes, music (James Bernard), direction, etc.
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, to his decaying demise at the end of the film, he is superb.
Peter Cushing is also fantastic as Dr. Van Helsing. There is a scene, near the beginning of the film, where Van Helsing is almost run down by a coach carrying Dracula's coffin and Cushing gives us, the viewer, an almost imperceptible shudder as if to indicate something supernaturally evil has just passed by.
Melissa Stribling is also outstanding as Mina Holmwood.
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 calling 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 versions of the film.
[DVD only] Film ratio is 1.66:1. Audio is 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. There is an informative commentary track and an extras disc packed with documentaries, photos, etc.
This film deserves the accolade 'classic'! So, Hammer, fangs for the memories. :-)