Thursday, January 21, 2010

Count Dracula (1970)

Decent reinterpretation of Bram Stoker's classic, with Christopher Lee turning in a characteristically great Dracula. Herbert Lom is a strong, wise Professor Van Helsing, and Klaus Kinski is a raving, yet surprisingly deep Renfield. Maria Rohm is a gorgeous Mina, and thoroughly fits in her Victorian environment in a way Winona Ryder and Sadie Frost struggled to. The story follows basically the same beats as the novel, however here, Jonathan returns to London before the Count, warning his loved ones; this deflates much of the tension of the Count's nefarious intentions, and makes the film more of a traditional cat-and-mouse tale than a detective story.

The production value, scripting, and direction are all standard rate for an early 70's B-movie. The sets are often stagey, the effects become obvious and gratutious by the end, and the supporting players are as stiff as surfboards. However, the central players do much to sustain ones interest in this juvenile rehashing of the classic saga; aside from Lee, Lom and Kinski turn in performances far more sophisticated and professional than the production warrants. It is not enough to make the film

Only for fans of Christopher Lee, Dracula films, and bad 70s cinema. For me, this was a good casual late night flick.

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