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Christopher Lee, cinema's Greatest Dracula is SOTM


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there should be an airing of the restored BFI cut of the 1958 hammer horror classic instead of the usual obligatory inferior americanized version.

 

Christopher Lee fans like myself deserve the best possible presentation of Lee's landmark first dracula film.

 

 

 

"now tell me I'm wrong." -lee j. cobb, twelve angry men

 

:)

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Christopher Lee, cinema's Greatest Dracula

 

Bela_lugosi_dracula.jpg

 

"Vat?"

lugosi must remain 2nd to christopher lee.

 

imo lee is unmatched on screen as the count.

 

I certainly doan blame lugosi for todd browning's stupid weaknesses.

 

example, browning's mark of the vampire is a visual masterpiece but at the end he dilutes the whole thing with the acting troupe HS.

 

why???

 

there is this positively amazing scene in MOTV where jean hersholt and lionel atwill are checking out the graveyard and right behind them we see a white dog sneak pass them as per vampire folklore. positively brilliant on the part of browning but he ruins the whole thing at the end with the theatrical ruse nonsense.

 

stupid.

 

of course seeing dracula for the first time as a kid the most positively laughable demise of lugosi's dracula...

 

 

a weezing asthma noise that's supposed to be dracula getting staked by van sloan.

 

I have never been able to think very much of the film after that.

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Horror of Dracula, the first of the Lees, is my favourite Dracula film by far.

 

However, Lugosi's interpretation of the same role remains one for the ages, no matter what the directorial flaws of his 1931 film version may be, and he was at least the equal, if not the superior, to that performance when he played the Count a second time in A & C Meet Frankenstein.

 

Lugosi's Hungarian accented English makes one think of the far off  Carpathian mountains in a manner that Lee's perfect English diction never would. Lugosi had a far away expression in his eye and the bearing of an aristocrat that made the melding of actor and role that much more convincing.

 

The Lee Draculas had moments of considerable shock value, at times, but for real satisfaction I lean more towards the eerie other worldliness, languid pace and stark atmosphere to be found in the Castle Dracula of the '31 Universal version (no matter how much Tod Browning's static direction turned the latter part of the film into a snooze fest).

 

Dracula%2525201931%252520Bela%252520Lugo

 

One of the indelible moments in horror film history, with a delivery uniquely Lugosi's. In that role as the Count, what music he made.

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Lugosi's Hungarian accented English makes one think of the far off Carpathian mountains in a manner that Lee's perfect English diction never would. Lugosi had a far away expression in his eye and the bearing of an aristocrat that made the melding of actor and role that much more convincing.

 

Nicely put.

 

We really do have to give Lugosi props for taking ownership first.

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I have no interest or desire in minimizing bela lugosi as dracula but I still say lee is the man.

 

and somebody give lugosi some kudos for his priceless colorful portrayal of ygor which we will see on display tonite in son of frankenstein.

 

:)

sggyzr.jpg

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TomJH--I don't have to fight off sleep during the Lee Dracula films.  Lugosi is a fine Dracula also, but I  am always fighting sleep after they get out of the Carpathians--it's like two people directed the film.  The Browning who directed the first half hour is very good; the Browning who directed the rest--what Happened?

 

NipkowDisc--Lugosi is very good as Igor in "Son of Frankenstein" (1939); he and Karloff make a memorable pairing.

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The Lee Draculas had moments of considerable shock value, at times, but for real satisfaction I lean more towards the eerie other worldliness, languid pace and stark atmosphere to be found in the Castle Dracula of the '31 Universal version (no matter how much Tod Browning's static direction turned the latter part of the film into a snooze fest).

 

 

TomJH--I don't have to fight off sleep during the Lee Dracula films.  Lugosi is a fine Dracula also, but I  am always fighting sleep after they get out of the Carpathians--it's like two people directed the film.  The Browning who directed the first half hour is very good; the Browning who directed the rest--what Happened?

 

 

 

Seems to me we're pretty much saying the same thing here, film lover.

 

dracula-matte-painting.jpg

 

The carriage in the Borgo Pass approaching Castle Dracula.

 

dracula1931-08.jpg

 

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there are a lot of good documentaries on HAMMER FILMS on youtube, one moment in one that i saw seemed to encapsulate both the strengths and the faults of the studio's approach to making movies-

 

if you pay close attention to the sets in HORROR OF DRACULA, you'll see that a lot are re-used and redressed for other scenes. example- the entry hall is the same set as the library with the same staircase, they just remove that strange almost-eastern arched-domed partition...

 

and really, when you get down to it- the first four films of their DRACULA series are all the same movie, basically, just a few tweaks here and there.

 

i think Lee was excellent as Dracula and I have seen all seven Hammer Draculas, i own them all on DVD, but- the thing is- i don't think any one of them is fully satisfying, they all have excellent moments and parts, but could've used a stronger hand in the directing and writing...and Hammer's obsession with the bottom line (the business end of things) often trumped elements that would've helped in the overall results of the films (case in point, the CHEAP and utter lack of special effects for Lee's death in TASTE THE BLOOD...)

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there are a lot of good documentaries on HAMMER FILMS on youtube, one moment in one that i saw seemed to encapsulate both the strengths and the faults of the studio's approach to making movies-

 

if you pay close attention to the sets in HORROR OF DRACULA, you'll see that a lot are re-used and redressed for other scenes. example- the entry hall is the same set as the library with the same staircase, they just remove that strange almost-eastern arched-domed partition...

 

and really, when you get down to it- the first four films of their DRACULA series are all the same movie, basically, just a few tweaks here and there.

 

i think Lee was excellent as Dracula and I have seen all seven Hammer Draculas, i own them all on DVD, but- the thing is- i don't think any one of them is fully satisfying, they all have excellent moments and parts, but could've used a stronger hand in the directing and writing...and Hammer's obsession with the bottom line (the business end of things) often trumped elements that would've helped in the overall results of the films (case in point, the CHEAP and utter lack of special effects for Lee's death in TASTE THE BLOOD...)

the thing is lee was so good the few pitiable moments hammer allows him on screen as dracula he had the capacity to transcend and be dracula.

 

there are alotta things to dislike about all the hammer dracula films. lee not having any dialogue and no one hammer dracula film has the same castle dracula meaning zero regard for any visual continuity.

 

and peter sasdy's taste the blood of dracula is an absolute disgrace. there's some good stuff in there like geoffrey keen making life miserable for his wife and daughter and being miserable himself.

 

but dracula getting 2 babes to do his hard work for him while he just stands there on the sidelines is so damn dramatically lame.

 

those years audiences here and abroad were just itching for someone at hammer to let the great christopher lee loose and command the screen as count dracula.

 

and who is this aida young? maybe she's responsible for hammer's decline. she weren't exactly no anthony nelson-keys or michael carreras if you ask me.

 

nobody and I mean nobody has ever been as intense on screen as dracula than christopher lee...

 

and hammer just squandered him and his great talent.

 

helluva shame.

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nobody and I mean nobody has ever been as intense on screen as dracula than christopher lee...

 

Lee made a very intimidating Dracula. Lugosi was ethnically closer to the literary character, and there were a few moments of creepiness to his performance, but Lee was more menacing. Until the Coppola version, the closest Dracula to the novel was Christopher Lee's turn in 1970's Count Dracula, which wasn't part of the Hammer series. 

 

I have read that Hammer gave Lee so little dialogue because they were paying him based on the number of lines he had, and the fewer the lines, the smaller the paycheck.

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Frank Langella was a wonderful Dracula in a clunky property.

I would have loved to see him in a brighter production, with sharper dialogue, a brisker pace. (Although - and I write this fully aware it is generalization based on a small sample size- based on the fellow members of my theater arts classes, the old, dull and stilted Dracula worked for the less cynical young romantics, just as long as they could stare at Langella for a couple hours.)

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Frank Langella was a wonderful Dracula in a clunky property.

I would have loved to see him in a brighter production, with sharper dialogue, a brisker pace. (Although - and I write this fully aware it is generalization based on a small sample size- based on the fellow members of my theater arts classes, the old, dull and stilted Dracula worked for the less cynical young romantics, just as long as they could stare at Langella for a couple hours.)

I too think that frank langella was quite good right behind christopher lee and jack palance.

 

:)

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Lee made a very intimidating Dracula. Lugosi was ethnically closer to the literary character, and there were a few moments of creepiness to his performance, but Lee was more menacing. Until the Coppola version, the closest Dracula to the novel was Christopher Lee's turn in 1970's Count Dracula, which wasn't part of the Hammer series. 

 

I have read that Hammer gave Lee so little dialogue because they were paying him based on the number of lines he had, and the fewer the lines, the smaller the paycheck.

To be fair, both were excellent in their own way with each having a unique and measured take on the Bram Stoker character. I liked that Lee chose to have his cloak lined with red to distinguish him from the Lugosi oeuvre.

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The 1979 Universal remake has some merits- the liberties they take with the story are mostly intriguing (although swapping the names of Lucy and Mina is distracting and the novelty wears off quick), I like the costume design, the John Williams score is not what I'd've gone with-but I can see how some might like it (although it has intrusive moments), i really like the production design and the cinematography- which is a matter of some controversy- apparently it was originally intended to be a "black and white color film"- which is to say, in color, but with greys and white and black as the primary colors, which I think is marvelous...

 

but then there are those damn lasers.

and the lava lamp.

and Olivier is outacted by Donald Pleasance.

and Langella...I'm sorry, but I've never been impressed by his acting in either the beefcake or dumptruck eras of his career.

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The 1979 Universal remake has some merits- the liberties they take with the story are mostly intriguing (although swapping the names of Lucy and Mina is distracting and the novelty wears off quick), I like the costume design, the John Williams score is not what I'd've gone with-but I can see how some might like it (although it has intrusive moments), i really like the production design and the cinematography- which is a matter of some controversy- apparently it was originally intended to be a "black and white color film"- which is to say, in color, but with greys and white and black as the primary colors, which I think is marvelous...

 

but then there are those damn lasers.

and the lava lamp.

and Olivier is outacted by Donald Pleasance.

and Langella...I'm sorry, but I've never been impressed by his acting in either the beefcake or dumptruck eras of his career.

I can't stand that they change Mina and Lucy's roles. And when did Dracula become handsome? I just finished the book. I enjoyed it very much. I think the next novel should have been The Adventures of Mina Harker.

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