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Count Dracula

Count Dracula by Philip Saville (1977).
Count Dracula is a British television adaptation of the famous novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. It first aired in December 1977. It is among the more faithful of the many adaptations of the original book. Louis Jourdan played the title role.

Louis Jourdan gives a tremendous performance as the Count. He brings a subtle menace to the role that few actors have ever been able to do

Directed by Philip Saville
Produced by Morris Barry
Written by Gerald Savory
Music by Kenyon Emrys-Roberts
Editing by Richard Bedford
Distributed by BBC
Running time 150 min.
Country UK
Language English

* Louis Jourdan as Count Dracula
* Frank Finlay as Abraham Van Helsing
* Susan Penhaligon as Lucy Westenra
* Judi Bowker as Mina Westenra
* Jack Shepherd as Renfield
* Mark Burns as Dr. John Seward
* Bosco Hogan as Jonathan Harker
* Richard Barnes as Quincey P. Holmwood

Critical reaction to the film has been mostly positive. Film historian Stuart Galbraith IV said that "Count Dracula remains one of the best-ever adaptations of Bram Stoker's novel" despite a "couple of missteps", remarking that "the cast is excellent", in particular praising the performances of Frank Finlay and Louis Jourdan, who he calls "especially good." Critic Steve Calvert agreed that Count Dracula was "one of the better versions" of Stoker's novel, calling it "perhaps even the best." He felt that "few actors have ever played the role [of Van Helsing as] convincingly" as Frank Finlay, that "without doubt, [Jack Shepherd is] the best on-screen embodiment there has ever been of the fly-munching Renfield", and remarked of Jourdan's performance, "[His] Dracula ... exudes a quieter kind of evil. A calculating, educated evil with a confidence and purpose all of its own."

Brett Cullum of DVD Verdict said the special effects were the film's "biggest downfall" and that it was "perhaps the least visually interesting" Dracula adaptation, though he offered a mostly positive review, remarking that there is "plenty to admire in the production", in particular the "sublime acting". MaryAnn Johanson of was less positive, writing: "Maybe it had more of an impact in the 70s ... but today, while it remains a stylishly surreal reinterpretation of Bram Stoker’s novel, there’s something a bit dated and stodgy about it."

There was a surreal quality to this film. For example, several times the character of Dracula is shown as a negative image, especially when angry or feeding. When Lucy is visited by Dracula, she is shown dancing in slow motion to eerie music with Dracula's face superimposed over the screen. Likewise, when Harker falls asleep in the library, he sees Mina in the corner, brushing her hair. Often shots of particular moments (like the entry or exit of Dracula from a scene or room) are shown several times on top of one another, with slight changes of color, speed, angle, etc.