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Count Dracula (1970 film)

 

Count Dracula (1970 film)

Count Dracula
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jesús Franco[1]
Produced by Harry Alan Towers[1]
Screenplay by Augusto Finocchi[1]
Based on Dracula 
by Bram Stoker
Starring Christopher Lee
Herbert Lom
Klaus Kinski
Susann Korda
Music by Bruno Nicolai[1]
Cinematography Manuel Merino
Luciano Trasatti[1]
Edited by Bruno Mattei
Derek Parsons[1]
Production
company
Fénix Films
Filmar
Corona Filmproduktion GmbH[1]
Release dates
  • April 3, 1970 (1970-04-03) (Germany)
[2]
Running time
97 min.
Country Spain
Italy
West Germany[1]

Count Dracula (German: Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht / At Night When Dracula Awakes) released in Italy as Il conte Dracula, in Spain as El Conde Drácula and in France as Les Nuits de Dracula, is a 1969 Spanish-Italian-German horror film (released in 1970), directed by Jesús Franco and starring Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom and Klaus Kinski. It was based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Although Count Dracula stars Christopher Lee in the title role, it is not a Hammer production like his other Dracula films, being produced instead by Harry Alan Towers. Klaus Kinski, who would play Dracula himself nine years later in Nosferatu the Vampyre, is also featured in the film as Renfield. Count Dracula was advertised as the most faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel.[3] Among other details, it was the first film version of the novel in which Dracula begins as an old man and becomes younger as he feeds upon fresh blood.

Contents

  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
  • DVD release 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Plot

The story starts with a shot of Count Dracula's castle and the following text:

Over fifty years ago, Bram Stoker wrote the greatest of all horror stories. Now, for the first time, we retell exactly as he wrote, one of the first — and still the best — tales of the macabre.

Later, Harker goes to sleep. He wakes in an ancient crypt where he is seduced by three beautiful vampiresses. Dracula rushes into the room in a rage and orders them to leave Harker alone. Dracula explains, "This man belongs to me," then gives the vampiresses a baby to feed on. Harker wakes up screaming in his room and assumes it was a nightmare, but two small wounds on his neck indicate otherwise.

Harker soon realises he is a prisoner, and tries to escape by climbing out of his bedroom window. He finds his way back to the crypt where Count Dracula and his three brides rest in coffins. Harker runs out of the crypt screaming, and jumps out of the castle's tower into the river below.

Harker wakes up in a private psychiatric clinic outside London, owned by Dr. Van Helsing, in the care of Dr. Seward. He is told he was found delirious in a river near Budapest. Naturally, no one believes his story about Castle Dracula until Van Helsing finds the two punctures on Harker's neck. Harker's fiancée Mina and her close friend Lucy also arrive at the hospital to help take care of him. Unbeknownst to them, Count Dracula has followed Harker back to England and now resides in an abandoned abbey close to the hospital.

As Mina nurses Harker back to health, her friend Lucy's health strangely declines. Dracula has been secretly appearing to her by night and drinking her blood, growing younger as he feeds off his victim. Quincey Morris, Lucy's fiancé, joins Drs. Seward and Van Helsing in an attempt to save Lucy by giving her a blood transfusion from Quincey.

One of the patients at the clinic, R. M. Renfield, becomes of considerable interest to the men. Renfield is classed as a zoophagus: he eats flies and insects in order to consume their life, believing that each life he consumes increases his own. He reacts violently whenever Dracula is nearby.

Lucy eventually dies while her men helplessly look on. As Van Helsing suspected, Lucy has become one of the undead and murders a young child, but the ordeal is put to an end when Quincey, Seward and Van Helsing ambush Lucy in her tomb, stake her through the heart and decapitate her. Harker, restored to health, joins the group who now are sure that Count Dracula is a vampire.

Dracula turns his attention to Mina and begins corrupting her as well. Van Helsing suddenly has a stroke and remains in a wheelchair. Dracula visits the weakened man, mocking his attempts to destroy him. Quincey, Harker and Seward track Dracula to the abandoned abbey, but he has fled to Transylvania with the aid of a traveling Gypsy band.

As Count Dracula's Gypsy servants take him back to his castle, he is trailed by Harker and Quincey. After battling the Gypsies, the two heroes find Dracula's coffin and set it on fire. Dracula, unable to escape in full daylight, is consumed by flames.

Cast

Reception

Robert Firsching of The New York Times wrote, "This doggedly faithful adaptation is plodding and dull. Even Christopher Lee (in an uncharacteristically weak performance as Dracula), Klaus Kinski (as the mad Renfield), and seven credited screenwriters cannot make this confused, distant film worthwhile. Franco appears as a servant to Professor Van Helsing (Herbert Lom), and though certainly literate, the film nevertheless fails as both horror and drama.[4]

Brett Cullum of DVD Verdict wrote, "For curious Dracula fans, Jess Franco's Count Dracula is a neat find. It's a stellar cast working under a low budget, and it comes off entertaining if not a classic. It's a Count Dracula is flawed in many ways, but for fans of gothic horror, it’s still irresistible ... Barcelona naturally allows for some truly handsome scenery and an appropriate castle for Dracula to dwell in, and the performances of the international cast are above average."[7]

Dracula scholar [8]

DVD release

Count Dracula was released on DVD in 2007 by Dark Sky Films. Special features include an interview with director Jesús Franco, a reading from Bram Stoker's Dracula novel by Christopher Lee, and a text essay on the life of actress Soledad Miranda.[5] The DVD has come under criticism for omitting the scene in which a distraught mother pleads for her baby's life at the door of Dracula's castle.[6] The DVD also uses the Italian credits for the film but with the French title card Les Nuits de Dracula.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht". Filmportal.de. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht". Filmportal.de. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Horne, Philip (2006-11-27). "Great Adaptions - Dracula". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  4. ^ [2] New York Times Review
  5. ^ a b DVD Verdict Review - Jess Franco's Count Dracula
  6. ^ a b Eccentric Cinema | COUNT DRACULA (1970)
  7. ^ Count Dracula (El Conde Dracula) 1970 - DVD Drive-In
  8. ^ Klinger, Leslie S. The New Annotated Dracula. W.W. Norton & Co., 2008. ISBN 0-393-06450-6, page 561

External links

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