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on 16 September 2017
You would think Donald Pleasance has enough on his hands, a wayward daughter, in charge of a lunatic asylum attached to his house. Then Laurence Olivier turns up half way through and tries to take over every scene in his usual way leaving poor old Don to suck lozenges in the wings. Thoroughly good film. Great blend of location photography and suspense with just right touch of theatricality and tongue in cheek to wash it down.

I preferred this to the Coppolla extravaganza as a cinematic extension or upcycling of the same ethos in the Hammer Horror series of films. You have to get used to the peculiar colour balance in the film and weird storyline - but thoroughly entertaining after that. The shipwreck scene and location/setting in general stunning and authentic.

Very watchable performances by Olivier, Pleasance, Langella and Trevor Eve in the thankless role of concerned ardent suitor. The girls are good too - but let's face it they are just bait in a Dracula movie - side roles for a deranged cockroach eating Tony Haygarth and a brief scene from our Jackie from Benidorm, Janine Duvitski. Wish you were here in the asylum!

Plus plenty of chirping live bats. Flying rats.
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on 20 May 2017
I recently watched through all the major Dracula movies, and this was not one I was looking forward to. From what little I had heard, I was tempted to skip this one.

I'm glad that I didn't. Langella's Dracula is a refreshing take on the role, playing him as a sharp and engaging aristocrat who also just happens to be a vampire. Donald Pleasance and Laurence Olivier are also brilliant to see on screen together.

The one problem is the colour grading - the version available is not the theatrical version, the director has revisited the movie and muted the colours significantly, resulting in quite a dull picture on screen. This didn't ruin the movie for me, but I wish I could have seen the more vibrant version that appeared in cinemas.
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on 26 May 2015
John Badham's 70s version of Dracula hasn't been especially well-loved: an adaptation of the popular Broadway revival of the stage version, it lacks one of the key things that made the stage version so memorable (Edward Gorey's monochrome production design), makes considerable diversions from the novel (being as it is based on the stage version, which does the same), and has a fangless Dracula - Langella refused to don the teeth.

BUT: it has Frank Langella, and he is majestic. Crueller sorts have compared him to a Lothario tennis-coach Dracula, but his charisma in this flows off the screen in abundance. His is a softer Dracula, sensual, enticing; a bit like Louis Jourdan in the earlier BBC version. Still brutal and animalistic but a lover more than a fighter.

Universal's bluray of this is profoundly disappointing: the most problematic issue is that it still features the director's revisionist version of the film. Unfortunately, since the laserdisc days, Badham has preferred to make his film available only in a desaturated version mimicking a near black-and-white palette. This would not be a problem if a) the film was shot like that, which it wasn't; Gilbert Taylor's cinematography was wonderfully lush and b) if he chose to make the original version available alongside it, which he neglected to.

Depending on your player and display, you can goose some colour back into the proceedings without it looking too artificial, but it's a poor solution.

This really is a crying shame as this 70s Dracula is a terrific romp, has a wonderfully magnetic performance from Langella, a rousing John Williams score (one of his best) and a great supporting cast (dour Trevor Eve aside). Just ignore the Maurice Binder-designed laser-tunnel disco love scene. Or turn up the volume to 11 and enjoy it for what it is, I certainly do!

Four stars for the film, three for the bluray incarnation. Shamefully, the UK bluray has also lost the special features (commentary, making of) present on the DVD and US bluray. Thanks, Universal!
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on 23 February 2015
Who is Mina Van Helsing???? The characters in this film have changed completely; she wasn't supposed to be the daughter of the vampire killer but Mina Harker, married to Jonathan. Instead they have her friend Lucy marrying Jonathan and therefor kill Mina off. All very confusing. The film is ok if you haven't read the original book. Also this film opens with the ship wreck so Mr Harker doesn't even initially visit the Count in Transylvania beforehand. Mr Jourdan plays his part as a romantic that the women are enchanted by instead of the monster in the book. Also he is seen in daylight, it wasn't dark when he was on his horse..... Enjoyable if not a bit inaccurate.
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on 13 October 2014
Haven't watched this for years, about 30 years. It's still a fantastic film about the Count and doesn't look too dated, in fact it still looks great. The HD transfer is fantastic.

The issue over the de-colourisation, which put me off buying it, isn't has bad as I thought. The main issue with that is that the lack of colour makes some scenes look almost green, rather than colour or black and white. i thought it would really put me off watching it but it didn't. I can see, in a lot of scenes, where the lack of colour actually does make it look better. However, other scenes, such as scenic moments outside could definately do with the colour putting back, it made the area and country side look far to bleak.

The acting, still great, Frank Langella makes for one of the most engaging, and attractive, Dracula's ever and Trevor Eve was great has Harker.

All in all, still love this film, still holds up after all these years and doesn't look that date, considering it was released in 1979. I now believe it is definately OK to buy it now, and not just rent it on Amazon Instant.
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on 22 November 2016
This is a movie based on the book written by Bram Stoker in the eighteen hundreds. It is old fashioned and beautifully presented. Dracula is gentlemanly and has style and elegance. If you don't know the original story, then this is the vintage movie for you. There are some familiar English faces in the cast. Fabulous product. Thanks
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on 6 January 2016
Remembering this film as being in full-colour I was confused by the unsaturated look, but this does seem to work in the end. There are striking resemblances to the later "Bram Stoker's Dracula", whether these are regular tropes for film adaptions I don't know but the "analogue" special effects are very similar.
If you can get past Langella's bouffant hair and the one or two effects that haven't aged well, you'll enjoy this film - possibly one of the earliest examples that explores Dracula's seductive side as much as the horror.
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on 26 January 2018
Wonderful Movie - if you want to see the book by Bram stoker followed reasonably accurately then this is the movie! Very romantic and beautifully played by Frank Langella and as for the atmospheric music by John Williams - well that simply enhanced the movie to the point of making it unforgettable!
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on 10 December 2008
This version of the lusty count isnt bad. Frank Langella makes for a sympathetic count and its perhaps this element that stops it from being really frightening. As dashing as Frank is he exudes little in the way of menace. However the British locations are sumptuous and the supporting cast of Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasance,Trevor Eve and Tony Haygarth as an excellent Renfield are all good. One complaint is that the late Lord Olivier is perhaps a bit to old to play Van Helsing, as the role usually involves a tussle with the Count. I enjoyed this film more than say Ford Copollas 1993 Gary Oldman version. Despite these grumbles I would still put it in the worth watching category.
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on 23 September 2014
one of the best, i watched it in the 1970s and found it to be really
good, frank langella is a very good actor and the film has a very good cast
one thing that stands out and really scared the c****p out of me
was when mina is discovered in the coal mine i jumped several feet
really awfull appearance well worth a look
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