Great Performances

Count Dracula (1 Mar. 1978)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 716 users  
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For those familiar with Bram Stoker's novel, this adaptation follows the book quite closely in most respects. Jonathan Harker visits the Count in Transylvania to help him with preparations ... See full summary »

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Title: Count Dracula (01 Mar 1978)

Count Dracula (01 Mar 1978) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Mark Burns ...
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Richard Barnes ...
Ann Queensberry ...
Mrs. Westenra
George Raistrick ...
Bowles
George Malpas ...
Swales
Michael Macowan ...
Mr. Hawkins (as Michael MacOwan)
Susie Hickford ...
Belinda Meuldijk ...
Sue Vanner ...
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Storyline

For those familiar with Bram Stoker's novel, this adaptation follows the book quite closely in most respects. Jonathan Harker visits the Count in Transylvania to help him with preparations to move to England. Harker becomes Dracula's prisoner and discovers Dracula's true nature. After Dracula makes his way to England, Harker becomes involved in an effort to track down and destroy the Count, eventually chasing the vampire back to his castle. Written by Cameron Fairchild <fairchop@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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1 March 1978 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is notable for being extremely faithful to Bram Stoker's novel, although several liberties were taken, including: The characters of Quincy P. Morris and Arthur Holmwood are combined into a single character named Quincy P. Holmwood; Mina and Lucy are sisters in the film and friends in the novel; Dracula in the novel begins as an old man and becomes younger as he feeds on blood, and in the film this does not happen; Dracula is killed in the film by Van Helsing who drives a stake into his heart, while in the novel he is killed when Jonathan Harker cuts his throat with a knife and, at the same time, Quincey Morris thrusts a knife into his heart. See more »

Goofs

When Lucy is in her coffin her eye-lids flutter and her face moves. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Wilhelmina 'Mina' Westenra: You'll write often?
Jonathan Harker: Every day, Mina, I promise.
Wilhelmina 'Mina' Westenra: And I promise to study my shorthand so that I shall be able to do your letters when we're married.
Lucy Westenra: Jonathan! Jonathan! Time for you to go.
Jonathan Harker: Yes, of course.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are superimposed over the infamous German woodcuts depicting the crimes of the historical Voivode Vlad Dracula. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dracula: A Cinematic Scrapbook (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Excellent adaptation with a great cast
6 May 2009 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Jonathan Harker is sent to Transylvania to go over the finer details of a property purchase by one Carpathian, Count Dracula. On his journey he finds the locals making strange gestures in his direction, he asks a fellow coach passenger, the significance of this, he is told it is a sign that they wish you good luck. Harker questions why he was singled out for such a gesture, the passenger asks where is his journey taking him. Harkers reply that he is going to the Borgo Pass and then on to the home of Count Dracula on business, strikes fear into his fellow passengers, they urge the coach driver on through the grim forest, to make the pass before nightfall, where Harker is abruptly left. Out of the darkness he sees what seems to be two yellow eyes, but on closer inspection it is a coach to bring him up the hill to Dracula's castle. There he is met by the Count ( Louis Jourdan), a handsome man of some refine, together they exchange pleasantries and despite the late hour get down to business. Harker is asked to respect the history of the castle and not stray into certain rooms and under no circumstance fall asleep in the library. Harker naturally agrees to his hosts demands. The following evening, after some discussions, the count asks Harker to stay on for a month or so, Harker questions the need, but is convinced by Dracula to stay, but he soon regrets his decision and he realises just what his host is and that he is his prisoner. After the Count leaves for England with his vast shipment of ancient soil, Harker makes ready his escape without haste to stop the Count.

For a TV adaptation, the production values and attention to detail are evident from the start, the build up to our first meeting with the Count is beautifully crafted with tension and apprehension of what lurks in the dark mountainous forests of Transylvania, through Harker, we see the terrified eyes of superstitious locals, their fear of this as yet unseen man is palpable and thus we await our first glimpse, what shape of form will this evil take? Harker's journey takes him to the imposing castle doors, there we meet the evil one, its none other than Louis Jourdan. There have been many great cinematic Dracula's, Lugosi perhaps being the most famous, Lee didn't speak much, but to a certain generation there is no other, Oldman camped it up nicely, Langella was a more romantic Count, so to many the choice of Jourdan as Dracula might come as a surprise and not a good one either. The viewers fears are instantly laid to rest as Harker and Dracula get down to business in the dimly lit library, immediately we see he is no monster, he is just a man, he talks like a normal man, but he is also handsome, debonair and exudes an aristocratic class. Together their conversations are literary and at times rather profound. I enjoyed these scenes immensely, never having read the original novel, it gave me an impression of it, that I haven't found in other more famous adaptations. The first hour is taken up with the dealings in Dracula's castle before we move to England as Dracula makes his moves on Mina and Lucy, Harker someway behind in pursuit of the Count. Once there we are introduced to the dealings of the Westenra family and the local asylum where one Renfield seems to be telepathically in touch with the Count. He is a different Renfield to be sure, perhaps a more realistic portrayal of a mentally disturbed man. Soon after a heavy storm, Lucy begins sleep walking and remains for some time quite ill, in a desperate attempt to save her life, her former love, Dr Seward employs the assistance of his mentor Abraham Van Helsing (Frank Finlay), a specialist in rare diseases, once he arrives his methods instantly bring an air of calm. Van Helsing instantly deduces the problem and makes plans to protect Lucy from this unseen terror. Finlay for his part is a wonderful Van Helsing, he brings the right blend of knowledge, calmness and forthrightness under pressure that the role requires, strangely in his looks, he reminded me of an older Al Pacino. Getting back to the production, they are of a very high standard indeed, the majority of the sfx are pretty good for the time, some though it must be said are rather iffy, director Saville even resorting to a swirling animated entry to a room by the Count, there's also some very very rubbery bats. Still though these can be put down to budgetary restraints and Saville certainly does seem to have a visual eye and there are a number of memorable flourishes, like the invisible Lucy in the mirror trick and the reflection of a crucifix on the face of Dracula and also a raging plume of smoke from a coffin. The cast is way above average for such a production, there's even a nice score, but for me Jourdan and Finlay make the film, at 150 mins though it might be a little long or drawn out for some, I found it riveting, I felt like I was watching a really great stage play, the dialogue is always interesting and as such this is a great success.


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