Dracula (1979)

Dracula (1979)

John Badham
Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasance

The vampire Count Dracula comes to England in search of a bride.

Some people don't like this movie, but, honestly, it's a contender for my favorite adaptation of the story. It's not as overblown as the Coppola version, there's better all-around performances than the '31 version, and Dracula really gets to show off, unlike the Hammer version. It's not perfect, but it's a dang good all-around package. You wouldn't think of Frank Langella being fit for the role of Dracula, but he's really pretty good. And we get no less a star than Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing and unlike many portrayals, he actually acts like he's a Dutchman. There's also Donald Pleasance as Dr. Seward, which brings prominence to an otherwise ancillary character. It's odd that Mina's role is given to Lucy, while Mina is made Van Helsing's daughter but otherwise playing Lucy's part. While it's a peculiar character change, it does give Van Helsing more personal investment in the action and plays out well. There are multiple confrontations that keep the story moving along. For those of you who like the idea of vampires as romantic figures, this version plays up that angle hard and rather effectively in my opinion. Let's not forget about the music, composed by the incomparable John Williams (yes, really, that John Williams). Definitely give this one a watch.

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