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Count Dracula (1970)

Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht (original title)
PG | | Horror | 12 October 1973 (USA)
Count Dracula, a gray-haired vampire who regains his youth by dining on the blood of maidens, is pursued in London and Transylvania by Professor Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris after he victimizes them and their loved ones.

Director:

Jesús Franco (as Jesse Franco, Jess Franco, Jesus Franco Manera)

Writers:

Bram Stoker (novel), Erich Kröhnke (story) (as Erik Krohenke) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Christopher Lee ... Count Dracula
Herbert Lom ... Professor Van Helsing
Klaus Kinski ... Renfield
Maria Rohm ... Mina
Fred Williams ... Jonathan (as Frederick Williams)
Soledad Miranda ... Lucy
Jack Taylor ... Quincey
Paul Muller ... Dr. Seward
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Storyline

Count Dracula, a gray-haired vampire who regains his youth by dining on the blood of maidens, is pursued in London and Transylvania by Professor Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris after he victimizes them and their loved ones.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Finally! The Original Version! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

English | Spanish | Italian | German

Release Date:

12 October 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Count Dracula See more »

Filming Locations:

Murcia, Spain See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A late 1990s VHS version released in the U.K. used an image of Sir Christopher Lee from Horror of Dracula (1958) on the front cover. See more »

Goofs

When Dracula burns up at the end, the skeleton which remains has no fangs. See more »

Quotes

Count Dracula: [howling is heard from outside] The children of the night... what music they make.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits (English and Spanish prints only): "Over fifty years ago Bram Stoker wrote the greatest of all horror stories. Now, for the first time, we retell, exactly as he wrote, one of the first - and still the best - tales of the macabre." See more »

Alternate Versions

A 90-minute US version has the church-choir music removed from the climactic scenes, and tighter editing of those scenes. See more »

Connections

Version of Nosferatu (1922) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
COUNT Dracula (Jesus Franco, 1969) **1/2
6 May 2007 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I'd been wanting to check out Franco's 'faithful' rendition of Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale ever since I came upon a review of it in two horror-film reference books from the mid-70s written by Alan Frank. When the Dark Sky R1 DVD was announced, I was overjoyed – but this was soon dissipated by reports that their print was missing some footage; I still intended to pick up that edition for the interesting supplements (Franco interview, star Christopher Lee reading excerpts from the novel), but an upcoming German 2-Disc Set is supposed to be complete as well as featuring an Audio Commentary with Franco and co-star Fred Williams! Anyway, having watched the film now – via the Spanish DVD – I don't think the additional footage was fair trade for the lack of an option to include the English-language track (or, at least, English subtitles); while I'm obviously familiar with the storyline, so that I had no difficulty following the proceedings, I missed hearing the Stoker dialogue – not to mention Lee and Herbert Lom's distinctive voices!

Its overall effect is worlds removed from the Hammer outings which starred Lee: these were actually still going on when COUNT Dracula was made, but he had become increasingly disenchanted with their approach. Low-key, deliberately-paced and hampered by severe budgetary constraints (resulting in shoddy effects and a distinct lack of props), the film nevertheless makes the most of its Spanish locations – even if Manuel Merino's shaky camera-work displays an unwarranted propensity for zoom shots (while an attack, ostensibly taking the vampire's POV, then bafflingly reveals Dracula to be coming from a totally different direction!). The soundtrack highlights Bruno Nicolai's typically reliable score (at once evocative and moody), but it's punctuated by weird – and amusing – slurping sounds during the vampire attacks! The Spanish DVD presents the film in its correct full-frame aspect ratio, though the transfer itself lends the whole an unrealistic orange hue (as opposed to the bluish tones, for night-time sequences, which have been mentioned online with respect to the Dark Sky edition).

It has been said that Lee's performance in COUNT Dracula is superior to his various interpretations in the Hammer films: while I certainly appreciated his different approach to the role, he is still given relatively little time in which to work his magic (no pun intended); interestingly, the vampire starts off as an old man here but is gradually rejuvenated through his bloodsucking habits (a concept originating in Stoker and picked up again by Francis Ford Coppola for his BRAM STOKER'S Dracula [1992], another would-be rigorous adaptation). The rest of the main cast is virtually a "Who's Who" of Franco's filmography during this time: Herbert Lom makes for an imposing Van Helsing (due to the language barrier, I didn't understand why he was suddenly wheelchair-bound – but, from the "Eccentric Cinema" review, I gathered that the character had suffered a stroke); Klaus Kinski is a creepy Renfield (able to create a character by saying almost nothing at all – he had already done similar duties for Franco as the Marquis De Sade in the 1968 version of "Justine" and, by the way, it's interesting that the actor would himself eventually play Dracula twice, in NOSFERATU, THE VAMPYRE [1979] and the Italian-made NOSFERATU A VENEZIA [1988]); Maria Rohm as Mina (looking ravishing but who's rather underused throughout); Soledad Miranda as Lucy (she only really comes into her own when turned into a vampire, which actually precedes her iconic turn in Franco's VAMPYROS LESBOS (1970) – itself a very loose adaptation of "Dracula"!); Fred Williams as Harker; Jack Taylor as Quincey; Paul Muller as Dr. Seward; and even Franco himself as Van Helsing's dopey-looking yet vaguely sinister manservant.

For all its shortcomings (it wouldn't be a Franco film if it weren't flawed), COUNT Dracula still provides a fair quota of memorable moments: Dracula silencing the wolves outside his castle; Dracula feeding a baby to his 'brides'; Dracula's attacks on Miranda, twice interrupted by Rohm (whom he eventually gets to, of all places, at an opera house!); Miranda's bloody demise in her coffin; the stuffed animals in Dracula's London home coming to life to scare the vampire hunters; Lom burning a cross-shape on the floor in his clinic to ward off the approaching vampire; blood spurting in Taylor's face from his staking of a vampire woman in Dracula's castle; Dracula's fiery come-uppance (actually similar to Miranda's – not to mention Bela Lugosi in the 1931 Universal classic – in that he's dispatched while at his most vulnerable, i.e. asleep in his coffin).

It's unfortunate that none of the companies who released – or are set to release – the film on DVD seem to hold the rights to CUADECUC, VAMPIR (1970), a documentary shot at the time of COUNT Dracula's production. By the way, I should eventually be following this viewing of the film with several more Francos, including alternate versions of two monster mashes on similar lines (but even more idiosyncratic), namely Dracula – PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN (1971) and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN aka THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN (1972/3).


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