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Welcome to William Schoell's GREAT OLD MOVIES blog. Feel free to leave a comment regardless of the date the review was posted -- I read 'em all. Or if you prefer -- and especially if you have any questions directly for me -- email me at tawses67424@mypacks.net and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Click on a label link (labels can be found at the bottom of each post) to find other movies from that year, the star, that director or genre and so on. Or enter a title, director, genre, star or supporting player in the small Blogger "search blog" box at the far left up above and click search blog. [NOTE: While this blog mostly reviews films -- and TV shows -- that are at least twenty-five years old, we do cover films up until the present day.] HAVE FUN AND THANKS FOR DROPPING BY. William.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

HORROR OF DRACULA


HORROR OF DRACULA (1958). Director: Terence Fisher.

Peter Cushing (the sole name above the title) is Van Helsing and Christopher Lee appears for the first time as Count Dracula in this creditable version of the venerable old story. Jimmy Sangster's screenplay is an intelligent reworking of the basic storyline with an occasional flash of black humor. A big difference between this Hammer version and the Universal version with Lugosi, is that Dracula has hardly any dialogue and is nearly a mute role (Lee only gets a few lines when he first appears to Jonathan Harker -- John Van Eyssen -- in his castle). There are no parlor scenes with Dracula interacting with or talking to any of the other characters -- he is only seen skulking about or preying on them. The movie is fast-paced and occasionally scary and some key scenes, such as the climax and the killing of undead Lucy (Carol Marsh) in the crypt, are well-staged. One minus: Harker arrives at Castle Dracula in bright sunlight, and some of the sets, especially crypts, are over-lit. The cast is uniformly good, however, and Lee makes a ghoulish and powerful -- if not very sinister -- Dracula. Michael Gough is as delightfully intense as ever as Lucy's brother, Arthur, and Melissa Stribling is fine as his wife, Mina. James Bernard's music is a big help as well.

Verdict: Quite good in fact. ***.

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