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Dracula
Dracula (1979)
Credits
Title: Dracula
Directed by: John Badham
Written by: W.D. Richter
Produced by: Marvin Mirisch
Walter Mirisch
Music by: John Williams
Cinematography: Gilbert Taylor
Edited by: John Bloom
Production
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Released: July 20th, 1979
Rating: R
Running time: 109 min.
Country: USA/UK
Language: English
Budget: $12,164,000 [1]
Gross: $20,158,970 (US) [1]
$31,235,812 (Worldwide) [1]
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Dracula is an American/British romantic horror film directed by John Badham. It is loosely based on the 1897 Gothic novel Dracula by Irish author and playright Bram Stoker as well as the stage play written by John L. Balderston and Hamilton Deane. The film was produced by Universal Pictures and the Mirisch Corporation and released theatrically in the United States on July 20th, 1979. The premise of the film revolves around a Transylvanian nobleman named Count Dracula - a vampire, who relocates from his homeland to England where he begins to seduce the innocent, young Lucy Seward, whom he intends on turning into his vampire bride.

Plot Edit

In Whitby, England in 1913, Count Dracula (Frank Langella) arrives from Transylvania via the ship Demeter one stormy night. A sickly Mina Van Helsing (Jan Francis), who is visiting her friend Lucy Seward (Wikipedia:Kate NelliganKate Nelligan), discovers Dracula's body after his ship has run aground. The Count visits Mina and her friends at the household of Lucy's father, Dr. Jack Seward (Donald Pleasence), whose clifftop mansion also serves as the local asylum. At dinner, he proves to be a charming guest and leaves a strong impression on the hosts, especially Lucy. Less charmed by this handsome Romanian count is Jonathan Harker (Trevor Eve), Lucy's fiancé.

Later that night, while Lucy and Jonathan are having a secret rendezvous, Dracula reveals his true nature as he descends upon Mina to drink her blood. The following morning, Lucy finds Mina awake in bed, struggling for breath. Powerless, she watches her friend die, only to find wounds on her throat. Lucy blames herself for Mina's death, as she had left her alone.

At a loss for the cause of death, Dr. Seward calls for Mina's father, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Laurence Olivier). Van Helsing suspects what might have killed his daughter: a vampire. Moreover, he begins to worry about what fate his seemingly dead daughter may now have. Seward and Van Helsing investigate their suspicions and discover a roughly clawed opening within Mina's coffin which leads to the local mines. It is there that they encounter the ghastly form of an undead Mina, and it is up to a distraught Van Helsing to destroy what remains of his own daughter.

Lucy has in the meantime been summoned to Carfax Abbey, Dracula's new home. She reveals herself to be in love with this foreign prince and openly offers herself to him as his bride. After a surreal "wedding night" sequence (employing lasers and shot by famed James Bond title sequence designer, Maurice Binder), Lucy, like Mina before her, is now infected by Dracula's blood. The two doctors manage to give Lucy a blood transfusion to slow her descent into vampirism, but she remains under Dracula's spell.

Now aided by Jonathan, the elderly doctors realize that the only way to save Lucy is by destroying Dracula. They manage to locate his coffin within the grounds of Carfax Abbey, but the vampire is waiting for them. Despite it being daylight, Dracula is still a very powerful adversary. Dracula escapes their attempts to kill him, bursts into the asylum to free the captive Lucy, and also murders his one-time slave, Milo Renfield ([[|Wikipedia:Tony Haygarth|Tony Haygarth]]), for warning the others about him. Dracula now intends for him and Lucy to return to Transylvania together.

In a race against time, Harker and Van Helsing just manage to get on board a ship carrying the vampire cargo bound for Romania. Below decks, Harker and Van Helsing find the Count's coffin; upon opening it, they see Lucy sleeping beside Dracula. Again they try to destroy him, but the Count awakens and once more fights with them. In the struggle, Van Helsing is fatally wounded by Dracula as he is impaled by the stake intended for the vampire. As the enraged Count now turns his attention to Harker, Van Helsing uses his remaining strength to throw a hook (attached to a rope from the ship's rigging) into Dracula's back. Harker seizes his chance and hoists the Count up through the cargo hold and into the sunlight above, and Dracula suffers a slow and painful death as the solar rays burn his body.

Lucy, now apparently herself once more, reaches out to Harker, who stares at the dead Van Helsing. At this moment, she looks up to see Dracula's cape flying away in the wind, and smiles enigmatically which hints that Dracula may have survived.

Cast Edit

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • The tagline for this film is, "The story of the greatest lover who ever lived, died, and lived again".
  • Several of the character's names have been switched around in this version of the Dracula story, in contrast to their counterparts from the novel. In the novel, Lucy Westenra was the close friend of Mina Murray-Harker and the betrothed of Lord Arthur Holmhood (whose character has been excised altogether in this film). In the Badham version, Lucy's name is Lucy Seward, the daughter of psychiatrist Jack Seward. Mina Murray-Harker is renamed Mina Van Helsing, and is presented as the daughter of Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Renfield, whose first initials from the novel are R.M., is given the first name of Milo in this film.
  • This film switches the roles of Mina and Lucy in that Mina becomes Dracula's victim and Lucy is the one who becomes the interest of his affection. In the original novel, as well as most screen adaptations of the film, it is Lucy who is killed early on in the story, while Mina survives to become Dracula's unrequited love.
  • In addition to the character of Arthur Holmwood, the character of Quincey Morris has likewise been omitted from the film. Quincey is often left out of film adaptations of the novel, which is peculiar as it is he who actually delivers the death blow to the vampire Dracula in the novel.
  • Donald Pleasence, who plays Doctor Jack Seward in this film, is better known for playing the role of another infamous psychiatrist, Doctor Sam Loomis in the Halloween film series.
  • Actor Sylvester McCoy's name is mis-spelled Sylveste McCoy in the film's closing credits.

Recommendations Edit

Vampire films

See also Edit

External Links Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 IMDB; Dracula (1979); Box office & business