Good films, lousy DVD
Sean Brady | Victoria Australia | 07/15/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"These two Dan Curtis productions are well worth watching, particularly Dracula which features a great performance by the underrated Jack Palance as the Count. However....The reason I have given this such a low rating is because of the appalling quality of the transfers. Dracula starts out so dark that you can't see anything. My VHS copy (not from MPI but a UK tape) clearly shows a lake, Castle Dracula, and a pack of dogs running to the castle. Here, we hear the dogs but the screen is almost pitch black. Things don't get any better later on as brighter colours bleed (no pun intended) into each other, particularly reds. There's barely a moment in the film where I wasn't distracted by the lousy transfer.Jekyll and Hyde's problems lie with the source material and is marginally more watchable. It was filmed on videotape and looks like a second or third generation copy. This is more forgiveable considering that the original print may have been in poor condition, but no restoration work has been performed which is a shame. Hopefully Dracula will get another DVD release sourced from the same print used for my VHS copy. It's not perfect, but at least it's more watchable than MPIs terrible DVD version. I have no idea what the later single MPI DVD release of Dracula is like, but I'm assuming it's of exactly the same appalling quality as this one."
Very good adaptations of two horror classics
W. Oliver | Alabama | 02/15/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This two sided dvd contains two films from producer Dan Curtis (who was responsible for the famous gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows"). The first is a very good adaptation of Bram Stoker's "Dracula". This novel seems to be an awkward one to film because almost every version you see changes the plot somewhat or takes liberties with the characters, especially Lucy and Mina. This version is actually the closest I've seen to the original novel. The only plot change from the original novel (that I recall) in this version is the way Dracula is killed. In addition to the faithfulness to the novel, this is a handsome production. It was made for television (in the U.S.), so you do have the awkward editing (for commercial breaks) and zoom shots. It has an excellent gothic feel to it and was filmed in beautiful houses and castles in Europe. Jack Palance plays a great Dracula - he is hulking and menacing and brings a sympathetic edge to the character. Also included is the original European theatrical trailer and brief interviews with Dan Curtis and Jack Palance.
The opposite side of the dvd is "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" which also stars Palance. This production also has handsome production values but was filmed on videotape, so you feel like you are watching a PBS drama. Also, Palance's transformation to Mr. Hyde is somewhat humorous - his makeup job makes him look like the Joker from "Batman". Acting is good all around, especially Denholm Elliot and Billie Whitelaw, who was introduced in this film.
On the technical side, these films apparently have not been restored and there is some nicks and scratches (especially on "Dracula") but not enough to distract. Many of the outdoor scenes in "Dracula" are very dark. Some enhancement on these scenes would have been welcome.
A recommended purchase, especially for "Dracula"."
Double the Palance, Double the Fun
Eric Pregosin | New Carrollton, Maryland United States | 01/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2fer disc is definietly worth it's weight in gold. Produced by Dan Curtis (the man behind Dark Shadows) these 2 movies originally aired on television in 1968 and 1972. The Dracula was improvised making the woman Dracula goes after as the reincarnation of a lost love (ala Barnabas Collins and Josette Dupres). I would love to know Jonathan Frid and Kathryn Leigh Scott's opinions of this movie. The Jekyll/Hyde was shot live on tape in the same way Dark Shadows was. In fact several of the sets and music can be recognized from Dark Shadows. Definitely an improvement over the VHS releases of both which were included with commentary by Elvira, which if you ask me was a waste of time and energy. Important note: to anyone who buys 2 sided discs by MPI Homevideo. The feature usually listed as being on side A is usually on side B and vice versa. In other words, the side labeled as Dracula is the side with Jekyll and vice versa. I've had this experience with 2 sided MPI discs before and have already emailed them about this. Although they replied with gratitude of pointing this out, I don't know if they rectified newer copies. Buy this disc by all means, but watch out for this."
Jack Palance As Dracula? YES!
James M. Loveday | Bastrop, Louisiana United States | 11/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember waiting for "Dracula" to air on network television. The creator of the Dark Shadows soap opera was bringing the novel of Bram Stoker's "undead stalker" to the small screen. Jack Palance was announced to play the lead. To tell you the truth, this would not be the first name that would come to mind to cast the role that has been played over and over, but Palance makes one of the greatest "Counts" of all! There is just enough sympathy created for the character to make you almost care, but they don't overdo this element. He's still a bloodthirsty vampire stalking victims. This is a great DVD to add to your horror collection. The companion "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" was equally good for atmospheric sets, acting, and great direction. I was glad this became available."