Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, September 12, 2008

DRACULA (2006)

NOTE: Occasionally Great Old Movies will review more recent films and TV productions that tie in with classic older movies.

DRACULA (2006). Director: Bill Eagles. Presented on Masterpiece Theatre.

Although this adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel takes a great many liberties, it is still a very well-done and entertaining version of the classic story. In this a Lord Holmwood (Dan Stevens) is engaged to Lucy Westenra (Sophia Myles) when he discovers that he was born with syphilis due to his infected parents. His far-fetched, if intriguing (and never really fully explained) solution is to bring Dracula to England from Transylvania because he believes the evil being can somehow cure his infected blood. Dracula, of course, has other ideas. In this generally fast-moving, somewhat sexed-up version of the story (see photo), Marc Warren makes an interesting alternative Dracula (very different from both Lugosi and Christopher Lee, and younger than either), while Dan Stevens and Stephanie Leonidas (as Mina Murray) play with great passion and conviction. Rafe Spall and Tom Burke also score as, respectively, Jonathan Harker (it is he who embarks on the journey to Dracula's castle) and Dr. John Seward, a friend of Holmwood's and Lucy's. David Suchet, who brilliantly played Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, offers another of his incisive characterizations as Abraham Van Helsing. While the definitive version of Stoker's novel has never been made, this is -- as heretical as it sounds -- much more entertaining that the Lugosi version.

Verdict: Very creditable. ***.

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