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(Review originally written at 4 November 2005)

This 1979 version of Dracula is far from the best but it's also far from the worst. It has enough original touches to distinct itself from previous versions and is a perfectly watchable horror movie.

This is a very dark movie. Perhaps a bit too dark at times. It does provide some good atmospheric scene's but it also distracts sometimes from what's happening on the screen. On the other hand it also does provide some good looking horror moments at times. The movie is also perhaps looking older than it truly is. The movie was made in 1979 but by the looks of it, it could had also been filmed in the '50's. Perhaps this was done intentional as a sort of homage to the Dracula Hammer movies? Anyway it wasn't necessary and it makes the movie look a bit outdated already.

The story is good and original but it does has its flaws. The Jonathan Harker and Renfield story lines are heavily underdeveloped in this movie. The movie has a good opening and ending but the first part of the movie might be perhaps a bit slow and dragging at times. Only from the moment Van Helsing appears in the story, the movie truly becomes interesting and begins to take pace.

Frank Langella is a good actor but he doesn't have enough charisma as count Dracula. There were some good scene's between him and Laurence Olivier though, who played Van Helsing. Laurence Olivier is a fantastic actor and he puts lots of class in his character. Also the fact that he spoke with a Dutch accent and actually even spoke some Dutch words (Van Helsing is a Dutch character after all) delighted me. As a Dutchman I can tell you that he did a very good job creating a English-Dutch accent. The way he pronounced some of the words was spot on! Dutch wasn't a weird language to him anyway, he already played a Dutch speaking character in Richard Attenborough's "A Bridge Too Far", two years earlier. Also great was Donald Pleasence in his role as Dr. Jack Seward. Truly a wonderful supporting cast!

The cinematography by Gilbert Taylor was simply wonderful at times and the musical score by John Williams was totally fantastic! It truly uplifts the movie and makes the movie feel and look better than it truly is. Seriously, without John Williams his musical score I would had rated this movie an 6 instead of an 7.

A good and original enough take on the Dracula story! For the fans simply a must see.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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