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Dracula [DVD] [1979]

Release Date:10/19/2004
The sexy 1978 film production of Dracula hits DVD for the second time with this release from Universal Home Video. Controversy has surrounded the picture ever since the original laserdisc release, when director John Badham desaturated the original vibrant photography to try and finally realize his original stark vision for the film. This disc finds the helmer tweaking away once again, though the results are actually quite startling. While the theatrical film struck a chord right at the height of the garish disco era, this new version's look and feel evokes the classic mythos far more effectively than the released print (though the colorful psychedelic love scene is still intact). The good news for the black-and-white detractors is that at least this time, the film is presented in its original 2.35:1 widescreen format, (updated from Image's previously cropped 2.15:1 disc) and its anamorphic face-lift is impressive to say the least. The disc has the benefit of a few new bonus features that prove Universal's dedication when it comes to their reissues, starting with the inclusion of Badham's audio commentary. The newly recorded track finds the director a few years older and wiser as he looks back at a film from his early career. Coming straight off of Saturday Night Fever, Badham was shocked to find himself directing a quite frail Sir Laurence Olivier and a stern leading man (Frank Langella) whose battles with the producers are now legendary. The 40-minute "Revamping of Dracula" featurette delves even more into the production and contains interviews with Langella, John Williams, and others, while the photo gallery is packed with incredible production designs as well as behind-the-scenes photos and promotional advertising. This release might scream of the same kind of questionable revisionism that rocked the Star Wars set, but it does right in giving the film much more love than what was there before, and that is certainly a good thing.

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (9 out of 9)

    Special Features

    • Feature commentary with director John Badham
    • "The Revamping of Dracula"
    • Photo gallery


    In the late '70s, Frank Langella starred in the hit Broadway play Dracula, written by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. Langella's charisma and the surreal, black-and-white sets designed by cartoonist Edward Gorey were the chief outstanding features of the play, which was otherwise undistinguished. While this film production of the play boasts performances by stage veterans Lord Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasance, as well as Frank Langella as the suavest of counts, it was neither a critical nor a box-office success, doubtlessly because expectations ran too high. One highlight of this production is its skillful use of special effects. The standard story of Bram Stoker's original novel is re-created here: the undead count arranges to move from his home in Transylvania to Whitby, and once there, a reign of terror begins. He is opposed by the canny Doctor Van Helsing (Laurence Olivier), who eventually triumphs. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Frank Langella
      Frank Langella - Count Dracula
    • Laurence Olivier
      Laurence Olivier - Abraham Van Helsing
    • Donald Pleasence
      Donald Pleasence - Jack Seward
    • Kate Nelligan
      Kate Nelligan - Lucy Seward
    • Trevor Eve
      Trevor Eve - Jonathan Harker

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.