Sunday, October 31, 2010

336. DRACULA (1958)

Running Time: 82 minutes
Directed By: Terence Fisher
Written By: Jimmy Sangster, from novel by Bram Stoker
Main Cast: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling, Carol Marsh

"I VANT TO SUCK YOUR BLOOD!"

Yet another "Dracula" movie makes it's way into the pages of the "1001" book, and this time it's your typical Count Dracula affair, except this one has an outstanding performance by Peter Cushing.

I'm going to omit the plot synopsis portion of this review, as we ALL know the story of "Dracula" and if you don't, you can read my previous review of Tod Browning's "Dracula" from 1931. I'll use the normal plot synopsis paragraph to, instead, draw some comparisons to the Browning version. We might as well start with the man himself and I'll say flat out that I think Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the blood sucker from Transylvania was better than Christopher Lee's. Honestly though, the character of Dracula in this film really didn't have much screen time and it was almost a treat to see him appear on camera. The real star of Fisher's version is Peter Cushing who plays Dr. Van Helsing and knocks one out of the park, in my opinion anyway. Having never really seen a Cushing movie (or at least not one that I can think of), I was pleasantly surprised by the guy, as he was a total intellectual bad ass and was the definite shining actor of this movie. In fact, with the exception of Lugosi, I really don't remember any great acting coming out of Browning's version. So despite Lugosi's epic portrayal of Dracula, this one still gets the acting points, as Cushing was amazing and Lee wasn't bad either. Although Michael Gough was pretty freaking annoying as Mr. Homewood.

SPOILER ALERT!

I also liked the ending of this version better. If I recall correctly, Browning's version has Count Dracula being staked at the ending and we don't even see it, but rather just hear the screams of the Count coming from the castle. In this version we get a pretty suspenseful little tussle between Van Helsing and Dracula, which leads to drapes being drawn and some nice special effects to show the withering of Dracula's body in response to sunlight. I enjoyed how this one kind of went it's own way and made some very minor changes. In fact, just enough minor changes that we weren't just seeing the same movie rehashed thirty years later, although still sticking to the basic plot points of the original novel.

Let's face it guys, as good as "Dracula" was, this entire story just isn't my cup of tea. I've now watched three versions of this film and all three have only managed to get mild approval out of me at the most. I liked this version, but in my opinion, the creators of the "1001" book should've picked one definitive Dracula story and put it in, omitting the rest. I can say that this version was probably the best I've seen, but even it wasn't anything to write home about and without Peter Cushing it probably would've been a big failure with me.

Have my reviews been getting shorter? I think they have. Maybe it's just the horror movies and usually it doesn't take much to sum up a scary movie.

RATING: 6/10 I gave the Browning version a '7/10' and in hindsight that was way too generous and really it should've been like a '5' or '5.5'.

MOVIES WATCHED: 177
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 824

October 31, 2010 4:02pm

3 comments:

  1. Oh poor you movie man.. I think you still have 2 more Dracula flicks to go.. And, in my humble opinion, you have done the best ones.
    You are a dedicated man to do a genre you dislike so much. That I beg to differ is imaterial...Just a bit sad you would wish to down grade the Browning version so much in retrospect.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sure you've seen a Cushing film before - a movie called "Star Wars"

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yep, I've seen "Star Wars", but it has been a LONG TIME and dont necesarilly remember Cushing standing out in that one.

    ReplyDelete

SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #66: La piscine/The Swimming Pool (1969)

Running Time: 120 minutes Directed By: Jacques Deray Written By: Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, Alain Page Main Cast: Alain Del...