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Dracula in Istanbul (1953)

Drakula Istanbul'da (original title)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Annie Ball ...
Güzin Arsoy
Cahit Irgat ...
Turan
Ayfer Feray ...
Sadan
Bülent Oran ...
Azmi
Atif Kaptan ...
Kemal Emin Bara ...
Doktor Naci Eren
Kadri Ögelman ...
Usak
Münir Ceyhan ...
Doktor Afif
Osman Alyanak ...
Tiyatrocu
Eser Tezcan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Bülent Oran Seslendirmesi
Esref Kolçak ...
Dansci
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Fantasy | Horror

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Release Date:

4 March 1953 (Turkey)  »

Also Known As:

Dracula in Istanbul  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Annie Ball can't speak Turkish except a few words. She's dubbed. See more »

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There's no ringing sound when the phones ring throughout the movie. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dracula IN ISTANBUL (Mehmet Muhtar, 1953) **1/2
19 January 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I first heard about this (and became sufficiently intrigued by it) over the Internet; it is virtually the only vintage Turkish film to be given reasonable exposure in recent years, apart from the Genghis Khan reworking KIZIL TUG (1952), which I also own but have yet to watch.

This, then, joins the ranks of other foreign-language adaptations of the Bram Stoker horror classic – such as the two German NOSFERATUs (1922 and 1979); two from Spain i.e. Dracula (1931; albeit filmed concurrently with the quintessential Hollywood rendition on the very same sets!) and COUNT Dracula (1969; its director, Jess Franco, even made an updated distaff version in VAMPYROS LESBOS [1970]) and the Pakistani THE LIVING CORPSE (1967; which is actually just as obscure and which it most resembles in the long run, not least in the numerous musical interludes). Unfortunately, the copy I viewed was in very bad shape (which perhaps enhanced the expected pervasive mood of dread and inherent strangeness): an exceedingly dark and splicy print, marred even further by combing issues and subtitles that went out-of-synch for considerable stretches!

While the obvious model for this one was the Bela Lugosi milestone (down to refraining from showing the vampire's ultimate come-uppance…but, then, the camera focuses squarely on the heroine's shapely figure while she changes into 'something more comfortable' soon after!), it proved most interesting in what differed from the usual blood-sucking fare. As for Dracula himself, he is atypically played by a bald-headed fellow (albeit resembling Brian Eno much more than the Max Schreck of the original NOSFERATU!) whose role, once the scene shifts from Romania to Turkey, is so severely diminished that he virtually becomes a supporting character in his own 'star vehicle'(!!) – for the record, he can disappear and manifest himself at will, as well as take any animal form he wishes (though, understandably, we are only ever shown one very brief bat mutation throughout) via a simple flashing of the cape over his face…which, at the end, results in unintentional hilarity, when he loses the emblematic garment and is thus forced to literally run for his life (incidentally, here we also have the very first depiction of the famous moment in Stoker's tale where the Count is seen scaling his castle walls, not to mention an off-screen reference to the equally renowned baby-feeding scene)!

To get back to what is novel here vis-a'-vis the source material and the myriad movie versions before and after: Dracula's properties in Istanbul are amusingly referred to as "kiosks"; the Count's hunchbacked servant back home eventually turns on him, and pays with his life, in an effort to protect the victimized hero (which is not even appreciated by the latter!); most hilariously, the vampire is warded off not by the traditional cross but rather mere garlic (lots of 'em!)…but, then, characters are made to freely bestow blessings upon one another (perhaps a requisite of the country's religion?)!; the 'Mina' counterpart is a blonde "Follies" dancer (the girl is forever excusing herself to perform for some Red Cross benefit activity!), and she is even made to give a private show, under hypnosis, for Count Dracula!!; another unusual setting is the sea-side one reserved for the 'Lucy' substitute's initial attack (later on, however, it takes her boyfriend and the obligatory elderly vampire-hunter three separate visits to her crypt in order to ascertain the girl's return from the dead!).

Given the number of classic films that were inspired by Stoker's original over the years, it is unlikely that this particular version will ever be included in that pantheon – but it is certainly enjoyable along the way and weird enough to withstand more than a cursory viewing from horror aficionados.


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