COUNT DRACULA (1977)
Article 4866 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Philip Saville
Featuring Louis Jourdan, Frank Finlay, Susan Penhaligon
What it is: The classic tale retold
A vampire comes to England from Transylvania and threatens the lives and souls of two women, Can the men in their lives save them?
For those who like their adaptations of classic novels to be faithful, this TV-Movie from England is the closest they’ll get to the original Bram Stoker novel. Which is not to say that there aren’t a few differences, the most striking of which is the combination of Arthur and Quincy into a single character, and surprisingly enough the resultant character is closer to the latter (he has an American accent, though not a very convincing one). Still, I’m not quite thrilled with this version; it doesn’t quite generate the level of suspense it needs to sustain its two and a half hour length, and some scenes are awkward and silly. It is surprisingly bloody for a TV-Movie, and occasionally lapses into artiness. On the plus side, it is anchored by some excellent performances; I really like the work of Jack Shepherd as Renfield, Judi Bowker as Mina, and especially Frank Finlay and Louis Jourdan as Van Helsing and Dracula; the movie works best when these actors are allowed to shine. Overall, it’s an interesting and ambitious adaptation, but it doesn’t rank as one of my favorites.