In the beginning of the 20th century, a large ship crashes into a beach and the only survivor is a man known as Count Dracula. Count Dracula is the last vampire who is moving to England to live in an old castle. Dracula quickly becomes involved with a family after the young Mina finds him after the crash. Mina is the first to fall victim to Dracula's lusts.
It's been said multiple times that I'm not a huge vampire fan anymore, and I suppose that's justify with the way they act in modern films, right? "Dracula" from 1931 is most definitely one of my favorite vampire films, and no doubt my favorite adaption of the old novel (which I haven't read) by Bram Stoker. But there are still other entertaining takes on the story. I often prefer it when they take more from the character and less from the actual story, as it'll offer some twists and turns that aren't expected. That and even though the story is alright, it's rather boring after all of these years. If films are too close to that version then I just end up comparing - and there's no better Dracula for me than Bela Lugosi anyway.
This version of "Dracula" is based on a play, and said play was obviously based on the book. So it has gone through a few filters which has changed the story slightly, but still remaining a fairly true take. The story is about Count Dracula and how he comes to England, and becomes involved with the known characters Mina, Lucy, Jonathan, Van Helsing and Renfield. In this version Mina and Lucy has switched places, and Mina is the first one to get bit - and Lucy is the one he wants to be his eternal bride. No huge liberties have been taken, but I do think it was enough to make this adaption an alright watch. At times I knew what would happen (the big plot turns especially) but not at all times. I especially liked that this one skips the beginning period in Transylvania.
Frank Langella is actually doing a great job as Count Dracula, completely true to the character but with his own personal spin. He just fits the role in both looks and personality, and that alone makes it an easier film to watch. I do think this is a rather good adaption of the story, but as I said before: I prefer when they make their own story around the character instead. That's a weakness with this one too, as in the end you know what you'll be getting and it's just a matter of HOW you'll get it. With this one it came as a surprise to me how good it looks, in both photography and effects. I read somewhere that the director messed around with the colors for a release as late as in 2004. The thought of that annoys me but at the same, if the version I watched was the 2004 one, then it actually looked fantastic and added a lot of atmosphere. I loved the colors of the film - at times completely saturated, and at other times almost with psychedelic passages added. It gave it a life that felt respectful to the story, and still with an interesting spin. The cinematography overall is really slick, and some shots looks fantastic. They never steal the attention from the film, but give it an extra flare.
It's most definitely superior to Coppola's version from 1992, which I actually thought was rather scary when I watched it as a youngster, but now the thought of it bores me to death. Badham's version works as a take on the story, but I can't deny that I was bored at times because it still was the same old story. It's a nice production with some great looking locations, and it carries a fine gothic and creepy atmosphere. And the title character still remains the charming, sexual Dracula. I would definitely recommend this one to people who think the 1931 version is too old as this one is rather refreshing, even though it's from 1979.