DraculaDirector: John Badham, Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence
In the late '70s, Frank Langella starred in the hit Broadway play Dracula, written by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. Langella's charisma and the surreal, black-and-white sets designed by cartoonist Edward Gorey were the chief outstanding features of the play, which was otherwise undistinguished. While this film production of the play boasts performances by stage veterans Lord Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasance, as well as Frank Langella as the suavest of counts, it was neither a critical nor a box-office success, doubtlessly because expectations ran too high. One highlight of this production is its skillful use of special effects. The standard story of Bram Stoker's original novel is re-created here: the undead count arranges to move from his home in Transylvania to Whitby, and once there, a reign of terror begins. He is opposed by the canny Doctor Van Helsing (Laurence Olivier), who eventually triumphs.
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- Original Release:
- Universal Studios
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Cast & Crew
|Frank Langella||Count Dracula|
|Laurence Olivier||Abraham Van Helsing|
|Donald Pleasence||Jack Seward|
|Kate Nelligan||Lucy Seward|
|Trevor Eve||Jonathan Harker|
|Jan Francis||Mina Van Helsing|
|Kristine Howatih||Mrs. Galloway|
|Joe Belcher||Tom Hindley|
|Frank Henson||Demeter Sailor|
|Gabor Vernon||Captain of Demeter|
|Brian Ackland-Snow||Art Director|
|Roy Arbogast||Special Effects|
|Robin Gregory||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Julie Harris||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Peter Murton||Production Designer|
|Tom Pevsner||Associate Producer|
|Anthony Waye||Asst. Director|
|Albert J. Whitlock||Special Effects|
|John Williams [composer]||Score Composer|
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If you get past the hokey 70's style, the movie is unforgettable! If Bela Legosi made Dracula a classic evil character, Langella made him the most sensual. He makes you wish you could offer up your neck for a bit of chewing on and sucking! Ummmmmm... Wish he were REAL.... I'd throw away the garlic powder in the kitchen! HE has bedroom eyes, and a sultery voice most women dream of... Ooooo....
Frank Langella is the sexiest and most effective modern Dracula ever. His eyes, his voice, his seduction, well, he IS Dracula.
This version was barely a blip on the radar when it came out, but I saw it 3 times, at least, in the theaters. This film takes a few liberties with the story, but then, most retellings do. I don't mind though, because it is visually lush, with deliciously detailed sets, awe-inspiring locations, stirring, mournful music and a very compelling and original interpretation of the main character. This is the tragic Count Dracula...maybe written by DuMaurier or a Bronte sister. This is also the Count with the velvet voice, the astonishingly soulful (souless?) eyes, the quiet yet commanding manner. This is the Count I would leave the window open for, quite frankly. It is my favorite version: Not particularly scary, but very tense...both with impending menace and with measured and heavy sensual energy. It is a love story, really. I've loved it for years. I now own it. Great 'making of' featurette (In which Badham attempts to explain away the gaffe of the vampire-reflection scene he left in, and the 'artistic' reasoning behind the bleached-out color...boo hissss). The ending is a bit weak, but that is just my bias showing. Better than Coppola's by far. Langella IS Dracula.
Putting aside that, it was confusing to see them trade off names--the real Lucy is now Mina...If you get can get past that, you can follow...by far, the most seductive of all the Dracula's, Frank Langella is superb. I saw it at the movie theatre in 1979..I went back to see it twice. I didn't understand why it wasn't a box office success..but this sort of thing happens. Look at the movie "Somewhere in Time". I saw this movie at the movie theatre 11 times! it wasn't a box office success, but it has become a real cult classic and people have been buying-first, the VHS-- and for years now, the DVD's. So, you never know.. I think this movie is definately worth having in your collection. I know that it is not the way it was written...but neither was the 10 Commandments, or Ben-Hur...none of the great films have ever stuck to the REAL thing... Read: The Bridges of Madison County-- A very weak, non-emotional, non descript book...However, buy the film of the same name with Clint Eastwood and you will fall in love with it. Great film. You never know...
When I was young I saw the Broadway Dracula Play though I didn't see it with Frank Langella but with actor Raul Julia of The Addams Family movies playing Dracula and it was a great play! I saw this movie and though it's not really that faithful to Bram Stoker's book I still liked this movie and thought that Langella was superb! If you can get past the fact that they switched the names of the two female characters and made the character that was actually Mina in the book become Lucy and vice versa, well you will probably like this movie and If I remember correctly the same switch of characters names was also done in the play.
Throughout history Dracula has filled the hearts of men with terror and the hearts of women with desire.This stylish new production of the classic gothic horror tale stars Frank Langella,as the blood-sucker himself,Count Dracula.Laurence Olivier stars as the devout vampire Hunter Van Helsing who is Dracula's nemesis,and Kate Nelligan as Miss Lucy who becomes Dracula's desire.A great cast,fine direction,and a superbly atmospheric musical score makes this film the ultimate DRACULA.A must see.