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Dracula
Directed by Bill Eagles
Produced by Trevor Hopkins
Written by Stewart Harcourt
Bram Stoker
Starring Marc Warren
Rafe Spall
Stephanie Leonidas
Music by Dominik Scherrer
Cinematography Cinders Forshaw
Editing by Adam Recht
Distributed by BBC
Granada Television
WGBH Boston
Running time 90 minutes
Country UK
Language English

Dracula is a television adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula produced by Granada Television for WGBH Boston and BBC Wales in 2006, it was written by Stewart Harcourt and directed by Bill Eagles.

Contents

Plot

This adaptation explores the ideas of corruption, lies and sexuality in repressed Victorian England.

Cast

Plot summary

In essence, the plot is about Arthur Holmwood's efforts to cure the syphilis with which he was born and which killed his father. Arthur learns the truth soon after becoming engaged to Lucy Westenra. He contacts an occult group called the Brotherhood led by a man named Singleton. They say they can indeed clean his polluted blood, but at a price. Lucy's best friend is Mina Murray. Her fiancee, Jonathan Harker, has just passed his solicitor’s exams. Arthur hires his firm to convey several properties in England, with Jonathan himself to bring the documents to Count Dracula in Transylvania. Not long after Jonathan leaves, his boss is murdered and all documents about the transaction vanish. Singleton calmly admits to the deed, telling Arthur the "young man" will never return from Transylvania.

In Transylvania, Jonathan meets Dracula, but survives only long enough to attract Dracula's attention to Mina. Energized by Jonathan's blood, Dracula is soon en route to England aboard the Demeter. A newly married Lucy watches the wreck of the ship as it arrives in a storm. With her is Mina, visiting Holmwood Castle in Whitby so the two friends can comfort each other.

The Demeter seemingly contains nothing but its dead captain and some cargo. Mina and Lucy both meet a stranger, Count Dracula, at a nearby graveyard. Arthur, enraged to find Dracula in his home (invited by Lucy for dinner), finds himself powerless as Lucy suddenly falls victim to the vampire. Arthur's old friend, Dr. Seward, suspects Arthur is somehow involved when he refuses to take Lucy to the hospital and forces Seward at gunpoint to give her a blood transfusion. Lucy dies and Seward is convinced Arthur is in some sense guilty.

Seward investigates and finds the Chelsea home of the Brotherhood, where Singleton and others have been murdered. In the basement, surrounded by crosses made of twigs, he finds Van Helsing living like an animal, insisting they must flee at once.

He was employed as a folklorist by the Brotherhood to investigate vampires. He found one, and was released with a message to the Brotherhood. The vampire would come to them if invited but wanted property. Frightened of what happened to Van Helsing they sent an innocent (Harker) and locked Van Helsing away.

Seward confronts Arthur and the truth comes out. As the three go after Lucy (presumably a vampire now), Dracula manages to get to Mina as she lets her cross slip. He is about to bite when Arthur stakes and kills his now-undead bride. Dracula feels it, allowing Mina to escape.

Mina now joins them as all four go to Singleton’s home. In the cellar, they confront Dracula who brutally kills Arthur. Seward manages to stake Dracula from behind. Van Helsing panics, asking if he got the heart and Seward confirms he did. The vampire melts away. The film ends with Van Helsing returning to Holland, pleased with their victory. He bids Seward and Mina farewell. Mina has said her final goodbye to Jonathan, with a hint that she may have a future with Seward.

One of London's countless beggars looks up as the two of them pass, revealed to be the withered Dracula of the beginning.

Reception

Critical reaction to the film has been mixed. MaryAnn Johanson of FlickFilosopher.com called the film "fresh and erudite" and "a valuable new angle on an old story."[1] The SF, Horror and Fantasy Film Review wrote that "the film does finally gain some sizzle when it comes to the scenes of Marc Warren’s Dracula seducing Sophia Myles’s Lucy" but added that "Warren occasionally creates a dark magnetism, but mostly looks too cute and boyish to fill a role as big as Dracula."[2] Felix Vasquez Jr. of Cinema Crazed said, "Your best bet for your fanged fix would be to sit down and watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula, instead, and for the hell of it, Horror of Dracula, and Universal’s Dracula, because they’re worthy variations. This isn't. ... It's not awful, but it's still rather anemic."[3]

Release

It aired on 28 December 2006 in the United Kingdom. It premiered in the USA on PBS as part of the WGBH series Masterpiece Theatre on 11 February 2007.

Background

One member of the cast, Sophia Myles, had actually portrayed a vampire before this production (in the motion picture Underworld). Marc Warren had previously worked with David Suchet in the film Five Little Pigs for Poirot, while Donald Sumpter had appeared in The ABC Murders.

Deviations from the novel

  • Holmwood is a far more central character and is portrayed in a much more negative light. His infection with syphilis, contacts with occultists and secret connection with Count Dracula do not appear in the book.
  • The characters Quincey Morris and Renfield are omitted.
  • The final confrontation takes place in London rather than outside Dracula's Castle.
  • Unlike in the novel, Jonathan Harker is killed, having been victimized by Dracula.
  • Dracula has no Brides. And the entire section of the book in which Jonathan Harker visits Castle Dracula is cut down from a major portion of the novel to a few brief scenes.
  • Lucy and Lord Holmwood actually do marry, and much is made of the fact the marriage remains unconsummated. In general (and somewhat typical for later adaptations such as Bram Stoker's Dracula) there is some discussion of sexual matters between Lucy and Mina, as well as a sense of the sexual lives of the characters in general.
  • Singleton is an entirely new character.
  • Van Helsing is a prisoner of a sect, rescued by Dr. Seward in the course of the story, rather than Seward's mentor as in the novel.
  • Dracula has allies in an occult sect who sought him out and stage managed his arrival in England.'
  • Dracula kills Holmwood
  • Dracula survives at the very end.

See also

References

External links

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