Friday, October 19, 2007

Louis Jourdan Dracula

We've been making do with a venerable VHS copy of the TV showing, but finally after all this time the BBC has made DVD copies of Louis Jourdan's Count Dracula available. We watched ours tonight, and it does include the complete show, even the scene with Dracula giving his wives the baby. Louis Jourdan makes a great Dracula.

Also in this movie are Judi Bowker (Brother Sun, Sister Moon) and Frank Finlay (Marley's Ghost in the George C. Scott A Christmas Carol, a character in one episode of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series, and Iago in Laurence Olivier's Othello)

The music and special effects are dated, but this is still one of the all-time great Dracula presentations, adhering fairly closely to the book as I recall. The DVD itself, although I'm grateful for its availability, is a huge disappointment, having no special features at all. There aren't even chapter divisions, just divisions into 2 parts. Ah, well, beggars can't be choosers, and it's much better than what I had before.

Moria discusses the character portrayals and says this of Jourdan: "Jourdan gives Dracula an unidentifiable foreignness that we can’t quite pinpoint. That and a controlled precision and a dangerous charm" and says,
With filmed versions of Dracula, it seems as though adapters are either stuck with remaining faithful to the story or else opening it up. By and large, the most successful versions of the book – Nosferatu, the Hammer version and Coppola – are ones that allow their respective directors to not worry too much about treating the story faithfully. Count Dracula is the only version that manages a judicious balance of both.
DVD Talk says it "remains one of the best-ever adaptations of Bram Stoker's novel and the DVD makes perfect Halloween viewing. Highly Recommended." Ferdy on Films has a review, which says, "Louis Jourdan is an amazingly good Dracula, the best, in my opinion" and closes with this: "By retrieving the story from the scream-inducing impulses of the horror genre, Count Dracula reinvigorates the vampire fable with universal consequences that haunt the human spirit." The audience rating at Rotten Tomatoes averages an 83%.

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