Archive for June 19th, 2012

by Allan Fish

(UK 1977 160m) DVD1/2

Come freely, go safely

p  Maurice Barry  d  Philip Saville  w  Gerald Savory  novel  Bram Stoker  ph  Peter Hall  ed  Richard Bedford  m  Kenyon Emrys-Roberts  art  Michael Young

Louis Jourdan (Dracula), Frank Finlay (Van Helsing), Susan Penhaligon (Lucy Westenra), Judi Bowker (Mina Westenra), Jack Shepherd (Renfield), Mark Burns (Dr Seward), Bosco Hogan (Jonathan Harker), Richard Barnes (Holmwood), George Malpas (Swales), Ann Queensberry (Mrs Westenra),

For a quarter of a century this BBC version of Bram Stoker’s legendary tale had laid dormant, a cult building up about it, enveloping the popular consciousness like a mist over the Borgo Pass.  One almost had visions of the original tapes being buried in a chest filled with genuine Transylvanian earth in the Blue Peter garden at the back of Television Centre and there was a time when you thought it would ne’er emerge again from the depths of Shepherds Bush.  Yet finally, there it was, restored, released and revisited again and again by a delirious fan base.  It would be entitled to disappoint, but it didn’t, and that’s remarkable when one considers the numerous mediocre Counts we have had before and since on the small screen.  Those with long memories may recall the 1968 black and white version with Denholm Elliott a horribly miscast Count and a terribly young, on the cusp of stardom Susan George as Lucy.  Others may remember a hammy Jack Palance in 1973, and most recently, a truly atrocious revisit with Marc Warren as the Count and David Suchet devouring scenery as Van Helsing (why, oh why, did someone not think of getting David Tennant to play Renfield, a part he was born to play).  (more…)

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