Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Bram Stoker's Dracula |
Actors: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula is a feverishly inventive movie that often overwhelms its own narrative flow, yet proves irresistible to watch. Coppola's baroque, operatic set design, costumes, and cinema... more »
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Actually, I come down on this as James V. Hart's "Dracula"
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 10/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Bram Stoker's Dracula" or, more properly, "Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula"? The assumption was that the title was chosen to stake a claim to being the film adaptation closest to Bram Stoker's original gothic novel, but the reason was more mundane. Another studio had the rights to the title "Dracula," so a qualification was necessary. Since this 1992 horror film would have the same characters along with the same general plotline as the novel, this seemed reasonable enough. But screenwriter James V. Hart added a significant element to Stoker's novel that justified the movie's potent tagline, "Love Never Dies." As director, Francis Ford Coppola provides the stylistic flourishes, which are this movie's best parts, but Hart is the one who is responsible for the derivations.
In the novel Count Dracula only makes vague reference to the historical Vlad the Impaler, son of the prince known as Dracul (the Dragon), hence the name Dracula (son of the Dragon), when he tells his guest Jonathan Harker of the history of his family. Hart takes advantage of what we know about the historical figure to craft the film's prologue. Vlad (Gary Oldman) is fighting the Turkish invaders, not simply as a prince of Wallachia, but rather as more of a true Christian knight. He succeeds, but the exaggerated rumor of his death reaches his beloved Elisabeta (Winona Ryder), who throws herself to her death from the castle walls. As a suicide she cannot be buried on consecrated ground, and an outraged Vlad renounces God and is somehow transmorgraphies into a vampire as a result of his blasphemy. Then we get to the beginning of the novel.
Harker (Keanu Reeves) is traveling to Transylvania to Dracula's castle to complete a series of real estate transactions that will allow the Count to come to London and live in style. Something not very nice happened to the previous member of Harker's firm to make this trip (can you say Renfield?), but the old Count only seems eccentric. However, when he sees a picture of Harker's fiancée, Mina Harker (Ryder), the Count knows that she is the reincarnation of his beloved Elisabeta. Now Dracula has reason to not only travel to London, but to make himself young again so that he can woo his woman.
Once we move from Transylvania to London, we meet the rest of our cast of characters. Mina's best friend, Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost), is being courted by Dr. Jack Seward (Richard E. Grant), who runs his own little asylum, Lord Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes), a handsome nobleman, and Quincey P. Morris (Bill Campbell), who hails from the American West. However, before Lucy can choose from amongst her beaus, she becomes the new bride of Dracula instead. Fortunately, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) knows more about medicine than what is found in science books and knows what is to be done in this situation. Meanwhile, Count Dracula manages to run into Miss Mina, and the seduction is on.
The production design on this film is fantastic. When it first came out on DVD I would use it as a prime example of what could be down with sets and decor: Thomas E. Sanders and Garrett Lewis were nominated for an Oscar. The film won Oscars for Eiko Ishioka's Costume Design, and the Makeup of Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke and Matthew W. Mungle, as well as the Sound Effects Editing by Tom C. McCarthy and David E. Stone. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus deserves to be mentioned despite similar notice. The bottom line is that this is a great looking film, which is one of the things we come to expect in Coppola's work.
Oldman's performance as Dracula is interesting. Given all the actors who have come before from Max Schreck and Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee and Frank Langella, it is hard to stake out new ground in the role. But Oldman bases his characterization on not only the romantic but also the tragic elements of this particular Dracula. Unfortunately, the performances of the cast are the weakest part of the film. Reeves is far and away the most wooden, but Ryder does not create a woman worth waiting for as far as I am concerned, which is the true weakest point of the film. Hopkins follows Laurence Olivier in the Van Helsing role and in a similar vein creates an eccentric ethnic know-it-all who spends a lot of time basically telling the gang of fearful vampire slayers to shut up and do what he says.
When "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is over you will be struck by how gorgeous the film is from start to finish. That will make up for so many of the actors being as wooden as the stakes used to dispatch the vampires. Hart's twist on the tale helps improve Stoker's original ending, which was basically a race to kill Dracula before the sun sets. The tragic element established by the prologue is adequately played out in the ending. This film might be another example of the triumph of style over substance, but given the depths that some vampire movies can reach, it is nice to have one that aspires to such artistic pretensions.
The Best Dracula Movie I've Ever Seen!
KMFL90C@prodigy.com | Lakewood, California, USA | 07/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Francis Ford Coppola does an excellent job retelling the Dracula tale using actual history blended with legend. Gary Oldman is excellent as the Count. Oldman's portrayal of the Count as a tortured man longing for the lost love of his life acutally had me feel sorry for the man. When he observes the portrait of Mina(Winona Ryder) and remembers his lost bride it is truly an awesome scene. Oldman's Count can also be bloodthirsty as well! Sir Anthony Hopkins as Professor Van Helsing is very fun to watch. To say that Van Helsing is a little nuts is an understatement! The music is also classic and it really sets the mood during the entire film. Winona Ryder as Mina playing a woman torn between the Count and her intended husband(Kneau Reeves) is well done. The most awesome scene is when the Count receives Mina's letter saying that she'll never see him again. You can feel the heartache and pain in the Count and also feel his anger. Awesome! A must see for the true Dracula fan!"
FINALLY- I've been waiting for this for years!
Cedric M. Klein | Madison, IN United States | 09/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Certain scenes from promo materials & in the script never made it to final editing- Harker swinging a shovel at Old Dracula springing from his crypt, Harker's escape from the Brides, Van Helsing holding the Brides' heads- plus I've heard there's LOTS of Tom Waits' Renfield scenes that have yet to be seen. Between this & the DVD of BBC's COUNT DRACULA with Louis Jourdan, this Halloween is gonna rock!"
Gary Oldman makes this movie work
Shelley Gammon | Kaufman, Texas USA | 07/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Not since Bela Lugosi has there been a Dracula this sexy, handsome, ugly, lovelorn and pure evil at the same time. Whether portraying the young count in the 16th century or playing himself as a late 19th century ogre of a man with a big white bufont hairdo (with a handsome window's peak to boot) and Edward Scissorhands fingernails, Oldman makes this film what it is. His acting is exquistite as the tortured soul who longs after his lost love and lusts after the taste of human blood.Post-Lagosi vampires in cinema have always seemed to get the best of the good guys, but in this film taken from Stoker's 19th century novel, good does triumph over evil. Copola endeavored to stick with older cinema effects and he did a superb job. There are some scenes that you will never forget ... a marriage between simple effects and creativity gone wild... especially when the elder count's shadow acts on its own accord. More suave than gory, but there is gore... this is the best production of the tale of Dracula since the invention of color film. If Anne Rice's spin on the vampire tale is more your speed, this film will probably not be up your alley. Violence and sexual inuendo make this a film not suitable for kids."