AKA: Dracula `79
movie starts with the arrival of the Demeter in England, the vampire
Count Dracula being the only "survivor" of a catastrophe
nobody can get to the bottom of. The next night he is invited to
have supper with the Seward family. Soon he takes possession of
Mina van Helsing whose good health fades away quickly. Only a few
days later Dr. Sewards good old friend, Abraham van Helsing has
to come to assist to his daughter's funeral. Being an expert knowing
quite a lot about the occult he soon recognizes the real character
of the smart Count after having put an end to the foul work of his
now undead daughter. But the gallant blood sucker is already on
his way to the Carpathian Mountains, having his beloved Lucy in
his luggage. On the ship that was supposed to bring them to Transsylvania,
van Helsing hunts him down. Dracula becomes entangled into a pulley
and swinging on top of the mast of the ship he dramatically and
effectively turns into dust, where we once again see Murnau's influence.
Dracula from 1979 differs in quite some aspects from his predecessors.
It's not only that Badham has dramatically shortened Stokers novel,
him and the author of the screenplay, Richter, changed whole passages,
cut out some scenes, added some scenes, all in all, there's a lot
that is different from what we have seen so far.
completely leaves out the beginning of the story in Transsylvania
and transfers the story to England of the Fin de Siècle.
Most of the Characters are completely different as well: here we
see Dracula as lonely monarch, yearning for life and company. He
doesn't attack his victims but seduces them in a charming and gallant
way. Lucy is a self confident young woman who isn't satisfied with
the role of the victim. Mina is even Van Helsings's daughter. Similar
to Weiland in Brownings movie version, Harker only plays the role
of Lucy's lover.
spite of great stars such as Kate Nelligan, Laurence Ollivier, or
Donald Pleasence, in spite of great and impressive pictures and
in spite of, or perhaps due to the new aspects brought into the
well-known story , in 1979 Badhams Dracula was no block buster.
Frank Langella was a new, quite up-to-date Dracula, beautiful and
cultivated, but at the same time powerful, for example when he coolly
breaks the neck of his servant. Anyway, the fans stay true to "their"
Christopher Lee, which is sad, as this quite different Dracula is
one of the most original ones.