A lonely and bitter young heiress - jealous of her cousin's engagement to another woman - becomes dangerously obsessed with legends surrounding a vampire ancestor, who supposedly murdered the young brides of the man she loved.
Young Carmilla is jealous of her friend's engagement, and her obsession leads her to the tomb of a female vampire. The vampire possesses her and leads her to kill and terrorise the inhabitants of the estate. But is it all in her mind, or is she really under the control of an ancient vampire ancestor?Written by
Christopher Lee was originally considered for the role of Count Karnestein (probably to make the film marketable for fans of his Hammer vampire films) but the part eventually went to his friend Mel Ferrer. See more »
In three shots from the same scene, the bloodstain on Carmilla's dress moves from the right to the left side, then back to the right side again. See more »
The US version of the film eliminates both the original epilogue and prologue as the Professor tells the story of Carmilla, as well as almost every scene with Martha and Marie. That version also includes a totally different ending on which Georgia herself becomes a vampire, as well as an all new voice over narration by Millarca herself. See more »
I'm mad about this film...might just be my favorite vampire film of all. It's not straight LeFanu, but it has an elegiac air that is. Doing LeFanu 'straight'--as in VAMPIRE LOVERS-- does not necessarily make for a better film as Hammer proved.
When I first saw B&R 15 years ago, I was disappointed because I wanted it to be a direct telling of the source material. Later, I saw the film, again, and it seared in to my consciousness. For no explicable reason, it suddenly "made sense" and "glammed" me; and, in particular, Annette Stroyberg's performance suddenly "clicked in." The combination of her detachment, passivity, out bursts of passion, child-like felicity, and, of course, beauty recall her literary namesake. Her profound sorrow and knowledge of being pushed aside from all that she loves--not just Leopoldo but her whole life, really--is heart-rending.
Vadim's Carmilla is always described as "jealous" or "bitter," though I don't see that. I do see deep disappointment and despair. It's refreshing, too, to see two women, rivals for one man's affection, treat each other so civilly, so kindly. Worse, Carmilla is slowly ostracized from people that she has grown up with and loved all because of her love of Leopoldo and, then, Georgia. Top that off with being possessed by a vampire, and I think dismissing her as "jealous" or "bitter" is a bit heavy-handed and easy.
I'm not quite sure why this film is considered "exploitive"--was Vadim "exploiting" Annette and his divorce from BB? Was LeFanu's "Carmilla" exploitive? It actually had far more explicit descriptions of Carmilla's breast-centric vampirism of young woman, but I don't recall the novella ever being described as "exploitive."
There are a couple of jarring moments in the film that don't sit right with me, for instance, Carmilla and Leopold doing the comic piano duet about fishing, and some parts of the celebrated "dream sequence"--just too "art house," even Bergman-esquire, and certainly screaming Cocteau.
But, in the end, the film is enchanting, ravishing, and harrowing. As others have noted, the score is exquisite and sets just the right tone, and makes me think of "pavane" and "dead princess" at the same time. Definitely in my top 10.
Just hoping that the delay in releasing BLOOD AND ROSES on DVD has to do with a pains- taking restoration and accumulation of extras on Paramount's part--this film is long overdue on DVD.
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