Count Dracula (Phillip Saville, 1977)
So, onwards with our journey through the cinematic world of Bram Stoker’s Vampire Count, with a look at the BBC’s first adaptation, from 1977. Sadly, I have to start on a negative. The one thing that lets down the BBC’s sterling archive of literary output more than anything else, in my opinion, is the medium of professional videotape. To a modern audience it makes the otherwise sublime look unfortunately cheap.
That problem was one I could see here, alongside some unfortunately dated video effects. Overall, however, this TV version stands strong against the more lavish or classic product.
Louis Jordan is a surprising choice to play the Count, but proves quite effective, using charm and manners as an effective and manipulative veneer. Also in the cast are a pre- Clash of the Titans Judi Bowker, and a pre-Emmerdale Susan Penhaligon, both of whom turn in very watchable performances. Frank Finlay is also more than fine as Van Helsing, but elsewhere the performances are not as strong. Richard Barnes’ turn as Quincy is often unintentionally corny, with a rather amusing American accent. Barnes’ role is actually a combination of the characters of Quincy and Arthur Holmwood ). Continue reading