Dracula (1979)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Horror, Gothic Film  |   Release Date - Jul 13, 1979 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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This oft-criticized take on the classic Bram Stoker story is probably its most controversial adaptation. W.D. Richter's screenplay toys with the source material in some interesting ways -- like making Lucy a proto-feminist -- but it suffers from a muddled third act and reduces Harker to a nonentity, a flaw compounded by Trevor Eve's lackluster performance. These flaws keep this version of Dracula from reaching classic status, but the film remains worthwhile because it gets several other things right. Frank Langella makes an excellent Dracula, creating a figure whose seductive nature is a key part of what makes him frightening. Sir Laurence Olivier matches him note for note as Van Helsing, bringing a delightful theatrical touch to his sparring matches with the evil count. Best of all, John Badham directs the proceedings with a true flair for gothic melodrama and gives the film a tremendous sense of atmosphere. His work is aided immensely by a thunderous (and rather atypical) score from John Williams and the lush, moody cinematography of Gil Taylor. Ultimately, the pros outweigh the cons in this version of Dracula and it remains worthwhile for fans of old-fashioned horror.