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Well done, Mr. Franco!
DJ Inferno17 February 2002
A really good Dracula adaptation indeed! I liked it even better than Francis Ford Coppola´s multi million Dollar version of Bram Stroker´s classic novel! Unimaginable what Franco had done if he would have had a higher budget... However, it doesn´t seem to need much money to create a gothic atmosphere, which is so creepy that you can feel a cold breeze in your neck. Once more horror legend Christoper Lee is giving the demonic vampire lord and he´s as perfect as usual in the role, but the most impressive part has Herbert Lom as Dr. Van Helsing, what even makes Hollywood superstar Sir Anthony Hopkins looking like an old fogey! But Franco, who directed such mini classics like "Vampyros Lesbos" as well as awful turkeys, wouldn´t be the same of there wasn´t a bundled load of camp: Especially, I liked the plastic bats where you can clearly see the strings they were fixed on. Another problem is the part of acting genius Klaus Kinski: it´s a total riddle to me why Franco hadn´t stretched his brilliance more, because Kinski´s sitting the whole time in a rubber room, eats flys and has no text to say... A real waste of talent!! Nevertheless an underrated horror gem!! Really worth to be seen, even if you hate Franco..!
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The Most Faithful I've Seen
emwolf11 October 2006
This isn't a great movie, but probably the single most faithful screen adaptation of Bram Stoker's great story I've ever seen. It doesn't embellish or introduce a whole bunch of characters. It keeps the idea of Dracula being in an old man when we first meet him in Romania and getting younger as he drinks blood. I remember seeing it not too long after I had finished reading the book (the excellent annotated Dracula by Leonard Wolf (no relation)) and was hooked from start to finish. This is kind of an art house Dracula, faithful to story and spirit, short on special effect and expensive lighting. Kind of like Passolini's Gospel According to Matthew.
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"My favorite Christopher Lee film of all time."
flyboy-714 March 1999
This film has many flaws and gaffs but that makes it all the more interesting! "Count Dracula" has a superior atmosphere and direction by Jess Franco. Christopher Lee gives an excellent performance as Dracula and Klaus Kinski is fantastic as the insane Renfield! This film is forgotten by today's film history and most people pass it as being a cheap, beyond low-budget horror film, but I see it through a different light.

Herbert Lom makes Dr. Van-Helsing so interesting, you can't stop watching. Another great thing about the film was the dark and gloomy sets such as the Borgo Pass and Castle Dracula.

The score for the film was superb, and it goes right together with the fantastic film.

I hope the people who read this take my word and just watch, "Count Dracula", for what it is. It's a film that shouldn't be forgotton.
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one of the best and most authentic versions ever made
reasonbran2349 November 2001
this is an unjustly obscured, great horror film that does more justice to the novel than any of the Hammer versions but maintains their atmosphere perfectly and outdoes "the horror of dracula" by far. christopher lee looks just like the description of the Count in stoker's novel, and far from being 'funny' or 'cheap' as some of the other reviewers here have called it (did they watch the same movie, or what?), you don't doubt it's reality for a moment. the soundtrack is really eerie and appropriate to some of the truly horrifying scenes, such as the poor woman screaming outside the castle at dracula to give her baby back, and the surrealistic scene in which jonathan harker leaps out the castle's window. kinski is superb and utterly convincing (and i'm usually not all that impressed by him) as renfield, and it is really creepy to watch his behavior at times. (especially when he eats bugs and smears the friggin blood on the rubber walls. ick!) in fact, i could find very little wrong with this movie at all, and any true horror fan will revere it. not just a must watch, a must own.
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This film has the requisite quality of "creepiness."
Randolph-312 August 1999
Despite some relatively poor production values, this film has the requisite quality of "creepiness" that any good Dracula film really should have. Kinski is fine. This is also Christopher Lee's most accurate performance as the Count. Too bad the editing is so jumpy. It's almost like watching a documentary, or an antique silent film (but with sound). If they had just invested a little more money, this could have become "the" authentic film adaptation of the novel. As it stands, it is only for real devotees of the genre.
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Excellent version of Stoker's novel
inkybrown10 January 2002
Filmed in Spain and Germany, Jess Franco's version of the Bram Stoker classic has Count Dracula as an old man who grows younger whenever he dines on the blood of young maidens. This movie is quite faithful to the novel, unlike so many other Dracula films of the period. Starring screen legend Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, it also features Franco regulars Soledad Miranda, Fred Williams, Maria Rohm, Jack Taylor, Klaus Kinski, and Paul Müller. Franco appears in the film (as he does in many of his movies) as a servant to Professor Van Helsing. Franco contributes great direction and a perfectly eerie atmosphere to this low-budget film, which was one of Soledad's most prominent international roles. The talented cast and direction, as well as a fantastic score by Bruno Nicolai, make this one of the best filmed versions of the Dracula story and a great companion to Francis Ford Coppola's version made decades later.
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Copolla should have watched this before making his
moviejay-225 September 2000
With "El Conde Dracula" Jess Franco has made an extrordinary Vampire film. While not with out it's faults, the mangling of the plot and the compressing of some characters into each other, the film is saved by wonderful atmosphere and top notch acting- most notably from Christopher Lee as the titular Count, Klaus Kinski as the Mad Renfeild and Herbert Lom as Van Helsing. Lom, at first, appears to be walking through his role, but as the movie progresses, his Van Helsing becomes so subtly shaded as to rival Dracula for the viewers attention. A fine film that would have benifited from a larger budget (Note the German Shepherds which stand in for wolves!), "El Conde Dracula" can be enjoyed by the vampire novice as well as the enthusiast. This is the first major Dracula film to depict the Counts "Lizard Crawl" down the Castle Wall and the wolf attack on the grieving mother. Highly recommended.
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the regular Dracula, Commissioner Dreyfus, and Nosferatu
lee_eisenberg7 February 2006
Christopher Lee returns to his most famous role, this time portraying the count getting younger every time that he takes a bite. A little bit jarring in this movie is the presence of Herbert "Commissioner Dreyfus" Lom as Prof. Van Helsing. To add to that, Klaus Kinski plays Renfield a few years before he himself would play the count in Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu". But overall, "Count Dracula" is a pretty cool movie. Dracula fans should enjoy it. I have to admit that I don't know any other of Jess Franco's movies, but if this is any indication, they should be pretty neat.

All in all, the count bids you welcome...
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A True Classic!
P-Mac-200812 April 2003
Jess Franco's adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel is brilliant. It would take 22 years before Coppola made another version of the story, which is as fantastic as Franco's film.

Christopher Lee is astonishing as Dracula (as usual), while Herbert Lom excels as Van Helsing. The rest of the cast, including Maria Rohm as Mina, Soledad Miranda as Lucy and Klaus Kinski as Renfield, are superb.

The film works well because it relies on atmosphere and mood, rather than resorting to gore every few minutes. That's what you rarely see in a horror film these days, which is a shame, as films that use these techniques frighten more.

Christopher Lee is the greatest Count Dracula of all time, probably more famous than Bela Lugosi or Max Schreck, the bald-headed creature of the night in the silent movie Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens, also known as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror.

A marvellous vampire film!
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Count Dracula (1970) **1/2
JoeKarlosi1 March 2007
"El Conde Dracula" is Spanish director Jess Franco's faithful yet flawed take on the Bram Stoker novel, with Christopher Lee taking a break from his British Hammer series to play the infamous vampire. Lee had high hopes for the film because Franco intended to adhere closely to the book. I think there are things to admire about this version, beginning with Lee's accurate portrayal of an old Dracula who grows steadily younger as he drinks more blood. Many of the Gothic locations are impressive as well, and it's a plus to have Klaus Kinski as Renfield and Herbert Lom as Van Helsing. The problem is that this movie, much like the 1931 Lugosi film, starts out very well and has its best moments in the beginning (say the first half hour) before growing tedious. It's a shame too, because this could have turned out to be the most faithful Dracula adaptation ever done, had Franco tried a little harder. His overbearing need to zoom in to characters' faces becomes so repetitious that you begin to anticipate it after awhile, along with the same ongoing musical cues. It also has a disappointing climax.

It's certainly a Dracula movie worth seeing for fans of the genre, but it is hypnotically draggy at times (then again, so was the book!). It should be mentioned that the print used for the newly released Dark Sky DVD is missing a really effective sequence where a crying woman outside Dracula's castle pleads desperately for the Count to return her little baby to her. **1/2 out of ****
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Christopher Lee is fabulous!
elsbed-131 December 1999
It is sad that this film is so often's really a gem. Christopher Lee's portrayal of Dracula here is probably his best ever (at least in terms of following Stoker's book) as an aging vampire who progressively gets younger (20 years before Coppola's version). In addition, Klaus Kinski is brilliant as the insane Renfield. Lee's Dracula is given more of a human side that is missing in the Hammer films, where he usually barely speaks at all. There are some weak spots, but overall quite good, and a must for Lee fans really gives a different perspective of the Hammer legend.
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leevmlafn18 September 2001
Some of the best things about this version: Basically all the actors, Bruno Nicolai's score, and the fact that this Dracula appeared as Stoker describes him, which is a first.

Unfortunately, what I've heard about the production is that they changed producers in mid-shooting and he cut the budget back, so what could've been a fairly faithful rendition of the book now looks cheap and like the low-budget film it eventually became. This is no reflection of Jess Franco.
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COUNT Dracula (Jesus Franco, 1969) **1/2
Bunuel19766 May 2007
I'd been wanting to check out Franco's 'faithful' rendition of Bram Stoker's classic vampire tale ever since I came upon a review of it in two horror-film reference books from the mid-70s written by Alan Frank. When the Dark Sky R1 DVD was announced, I was overjoyed – but this was soon dissipated by reports that their print was missing some footage; I still intended to pick up that edition for the interesting supplements (Franco interview, star Christopher Lee reading excerpts from the novel), but an upcoming German 2-Disc Set is supposed to be complete as well as featuring an Audio Commentary with Franco and co-star Fred Williams! Anyway, having watched the film now – via the Spanish DVD – I don't think the additional footage was fair trade for the lack of an option to include the English-language track (or, at least, English subtitles); while I'm obviously familiar with the storyline, so that I had no difficulty following the proceedings, I missed hearing the Stoker dialogue – not to mention Lee and Herbert Lom's distinctive voices!

Its overall effect is worlds removed from the Hammer outings which starred Lee: these were actually still going on when COUNT Dracula was made, but he had become increasingly disenchanted with their approach. Low-key, deliberately-paced and hampered by severe budgetary constraints (resulting in shoddy effects and a distinct lack of props), the film nevertheless makes the most of its Spanish locations – even if Manuel Merino's shaky camera-work displays an unwarranted propensity for zoom shots (while an attack, ostensibly taking the vampire's POV, then bafflingly reveals Dracula to be coming from a totally different direction!). The soundtrack highlights Bruno Nicolai's typically reliable score (at once evocative and moody), but it's punctuated by weird – and amusing – slurping sounds during the vampire attacks! The Spanish DVD presents the film in its correct full-frame aspect ratio, though the transfer itself lends the whole an unrealistic orange hue (as opposed to the bluish tones, for night-time sequences, which have been mentioned online with respect to the Dark Sky edition).

It has been said that Lee's performance in COUNT Dracula is superior to his various interpretations in the Hammer films: while I certainly appreciated his different approach to the role, he is still given relatively little time in which to work his magic (no pun intended); interestingly, the vampire starts off as an old man here but is gradually rejuvenated through his bloodsucking habits (a concept originating in Stoker and picked up again by Francis Ford Coppola for his BRAM STOKER'S Dracula [1992], another would-be rigorous adaptation). The rest of the main cast is virtually a "Who's Who" of Franco's filmography during this time: Herbert Lom makes for an imposing Van Helsing (due to the language barrier, I didn't understand why he was suddenly wheelchair-bound – but, from the "Eccentric Cinema" review, I gathered that the character had suffered a stroke); Klaus Kinski is a creepy Renfield (able to create a character by saying almost nothing at all – he had already done similar duties for Franco as the Marquis De Sade in the 1968 version of "Justine" and, by the way, it's interesting that the actor would himself eventually play Dracula twice, in NOSFERATU, THE VAMPYRE [1979] and the Italian-made NOSFERATU A VENEZIA [1988]); Maria Rohm as Mina (looking ravishing but who's rather underused throughout); Soledad Miranda as Lucy (she only really comes into her own when turned into a vampire, which actually precedes her iconic turn in Franco's VAMPYROS LESBOS (1970) – itself a very loose adaptation of "Dracula"!); Fred Williams as Harker; Jack Taylor as Quincey; Paul Muller as Dr. Seward; and even Franco himself as Van Helsing's dopey-looking yet vaguely sinister manservant.

For all its shortcomings (it wouldn't be a Franco film if it weren't flawed), COUNT Dracula still provides a fair quota of memorable moments: Dracula silencing the wolves outside his castle; Dracula feeding a baby to his 'brides'; Dracula's attacks on Miranda, twice interrupted by Rohm (whom he eventually gets to, of all places, at an opera house!); Miranda's bloody demise in her coffin; the stuffed animals in Dracula's London home coming to life to scare the vampire hunters; Lom burning a cross-shape on the floor in his clinic to ward off the approaching vampire; blood spurting in Taylor's face from his staking of a vampire woman in Dracula's castle; Dracula's fiery come-uppance (actually similar to Miranda's – not to mention Bela Lugosi in the 1931 Universal classic – in that he's dispatched while at his most vulnerable, i.e. asleep in his coffin).

It's unfortunate that none of the companies who released – or are set to release – the film on DVD seem to hold the rights to CUADECUC, VAMPIR (1970), a documentary shot at the time of COUNT Dracula's production. By the way, I should eventually be following this viewing of the film with several more Francos, including alternate versions of two monster mashes on similar lines (but even more idiosyncratic), namely Dracula – PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN (1971) and THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN aka THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN (1972/3).
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Arguably The Most Loyal Adaptation Of Bram Stoker's Novel
Witchfinder-General-66619 November 2007
Although entirely different to Hammer's Dracula films starring Chrisopher Lee, Jess Franco's "Count Dracula" aka. "Nachts, Wenn Dracula Erwacht" of 1970 is a creepy and great film, and in many aspects the most loyal adaption of Bram Stoker's novel. Director Jess Franco must be one of the most prolific directors in the history of cinema (definitely the most prolific I know), and his 180+ movies include big-time stinkers as well as masterpieces. One of his great films, "Count Dracula" is a movie with a very creepy atmosphere, a great, eerie score and an excellent cast, starring Christopher Lee as Dracula, Herbert Lom as Van Helsing and Klaus Kinski as Renfield.

As mentioned above, this movie is probably the most loyal adaption of Bram Stoker's novel, so I don't suppose a further plot description is necessary. I am a huge fan of the Hammer Dracula flicks and the 1958 Dracula is one of my all-time favorite movies. Although this Jess Franco version of the story differs entirely from these great classics of British Horror, this is a highly atmospheric, creepy and original flick that must not be missed by a Horror fan.

Christopher Lee is, as always, brilliant in the role of Dracula. The prince of darkness is wearing a mustache this time, one more aspect in which this movie is loyal to the novel. Herbert Lom is a great actor and fits very well in the role of an elderly Van Helsing, although my personal opinion is that he can't compete with Peter Cushing, who will always be unmatched in the role of Van Helsing he played in the Hammer films. Last but not least, Klaus Kinski delivers a brilliant performance as Renfield. Kinski was predestined to play madmen, and the particular role of Renfield fits this great actor perfectly. The cast furthermore includes Paul Muller (Nightmare Castle), and beautiful Maria Rohm and Soledad Miranda, and the gloominess of the atmosphere is even increased by the great, eerie score composed by Bruno Nicolai. "Count Dracula" has a few cheesy moments too, but all things considered this is another great Dracula flick starring Lee, and definitely one of the best films directed by Jess Franco. Highly recommended!
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This Has To Be Lee's Best Role!
Elswet21 March 2007
I've been a fan of horror throughout my entire life; introduced to Dracula in the late 1960's, I've always been fascinated by the Vampire mythos itself, as much as the theatrical interpretations of those legends. While I believe Bela will always be the actor most commonly associated with the role, I also believe that Lee was the BEST Dracula.

Unfortunately, this director considers himself to be an "arthouse" worthy stylist, when in actuality, he ends up wasting at least 15 minutes of every film with his "arthouse" shots, which are usually superfluous and lend nothing whatsoever to the plot he is supposed to be shooting.

Fortunately, this time, he didn't bother with that mindless activity, and delivers an awesome bit of horror. Is this the best Dracula MOVIE? Well, not in my opinion. I'm one of those "story+great effects over atmosphere" horror fans, so in my book the best Dracula movie so far has been John Carpenter's Vampires because the effects were mind blowing and the story was just plain GOOD.

So why am I reviewing THIS movie? Simply because Lee's performance more than rates your time. If you are a Lee fan, or if you're a Dracula fan, or if you're a horror fan in general, this movie is worth the 2 hours' viewing time just to take in Lee's brilliance. As I've said, in my opinion, this is by far his best performance. (Loved him as Sauron, but this is still his best.) Check it out, if only for Lee's Performance. You won't be disappointed.

It rates an 8.8/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Bram Stoker's Count Dracula (Les Nuits De Dracula)
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki13 August 2013
Film has a few problems, but Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski (basically in an extended cameo, he doesn't appear on-screen until a half an hour in, and he has no lines of dialogue) are both fun to watch, the set designs and décor are mostly well done; good rainy/foggy, blueish tinged scenes of the castle. Grainy photography worked well, or was that just my version of it?

Opening train ride is well done, quite similar to sequence in original novel, as are several other sequences, primarily in film's first half. The screenplay eventually deviates a bit from the source material, but it is still a closer adaptation of it than others.

6'4" Lee looks quite convincing as Dracula, in white hair and Fu Manchu moustache, similar to novel's early description of a frail Dracula - until he begins drinking other's blood, which causes him to become younger and healthier.

Three-foot long candles covered in cobwebs seems a bit forced and clichéd, when everything else is clean. This effect looks a bit like a childish gimmick. The floors also looked out of place, like filmmakers had splurged on walls and furniture but then put them in empty warehouse.

Lighting and colour composition are assets, but it looks a bit too much like a photographed stage-play or a TV-movie, bound to its impressive sets.

But the good outweighs the bad here, and the movie is good fun to watch.
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Not bad, but not incredible either
MacDuff76221 December 2011
This was the first adaptation of Dracula that actually makes an attempt to follow the novel's finer points, and it does so rather well, especially considering the low budget used.

The film starts out very similar to the novel, picking up about where the novel's account begins. Of note is Christopher Lee's Dracula: costumed and made up almost directly in line with the book. His portrayal is equally good, if a bit flat at times.

At a certain point, though, the narrative deviates. Several characters are omitted from this adaptation, and parts of the plot change significantly from the novel. However, much of the sexual undertones of the original novel seep through regardless, which is almost expected given director Jess Franco's experience with "adult-oriented" films. Some parts of the new narrative also fall flat (resulting in at least two notable wall-banger moments), but overall it makes sense and is still somewhat similar to the novel.

Also of note is Klaus Kinski's portrayal of Renfield: not the best (that honor goes to Dwight Frye in the 1931 adaptation), but mysterious and well-done nonetheless. In addition, Herbert Lom does well as Dracula's foe Van Helsing, especially given later events in the narrative, and Lee's statement that they were never actually filmed together, on the same set.

Some other bad parts of the film include the aforementioned "wall-banger" scenes, Franco's obsession with shaky camera zooming, and some cheaply done special effects and sets.

These don't necessarily detract from the film, however, and it remains an enjoyable, if definitely flawed, film. Definitely rent it at least.
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Very well done by all concerned.
Hey_Sweden5 October 2012
"Count Dracula" is the legendary Jess Franco's stylish and opulent looking adaptation of the enduring Bram Stoker tale, done in such a way as to create a true sense of foreboding right from the outset. Not only does it look great, but it's beautifully atmospheric and elegant, and may appeal to lovers of classic vampire tales by keeping exploitative elements to a minimum. There are beautiful women and there's a tiny bit of gore, but Franco mostly makes this film all about the ambiance. Plus, it's hard to go wrong with any film that casts Sir Christopher Lee in the role of the nefarious Count (a dozen years after he'd began essaying the role in Hammer's Dracula series), Herbert Lom as the intrepid Van Helsing, who doesn't let a stroke deter him from doing what needs to be done, and the one-of-a-kind Klaus Kinski, perfectly suited to the role of the disturbed Renfield (but actually playing the role with a little more restraint than one might expect). The familiar story has lawyer in training Jonathan Harker (handsome Fred Williams) visiting the aged Count in his Transylvanian castle as the latter prepares to make the move to London, and the efforts of Jonathan, Van Helsing, and Quincey Morris (Jack Taylor) to vanquish the Count once they realize they have a problem. Franco gives his film a wonderfully ominous mood, which he maintains for 97 straight minutes, and creates some haunting sequences, such as Lucy's (Soledad Miranda) seduction of a child. Speaking of Ms. Miranda, it would also be hard to knock any film featuring such a lovely lady, as well as the equally delectable Maria Rohm as Mina. The period recreation is strong, the pacing efficient (Bruno Mattei is one of the two editors), and the music by Bruno Nicolai simply excellent. Mainly, though, the film serves as a fine showcase for the always dapper and always charismatic Lee, who gives Dracula a measure of dignity (he has one impressive monologue, done in close-up, as he relates some family history) as well as menace. Colourful, sinister, and featuring interesting touches (such as animal noises on the soundtrack as Jonathan and Quincey are surrounded by stuffed animals at one point), "Count Dracula" is worth a viewing for fans of old fashioned fright fare. Eight out of 10.
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Better Than Franco's Usual Efforts . . .
zardoz-1320 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The prolific Spanish director Jesus Franco, who has helmed over 160 films, makes marginal movies. Essentially, Franco's films contain only vestiges of drama, urgency, and sentiment. The mystery is that Franco has made so many films when most qualify as unremarkable. Franco's "Count Dracula" surpasses most of his monotonous movies, but it too suffers from anemia. Christopher Lee made a name for himself playing the most celebrated vampire in English literature, Bram Stoker's immortal vampire, and the elegant but imposing actor reprises his role for Franco as Dracula. Admittedly, Franco and scenarist Harry Alan Towers, a.k.a. Peter Welbeck, of "The Blood of Fu Manchu" strove for greater fidelity to the classic novel. Nevertheless, they do take liberties with the narrative the undermine "Count Dracula." Chiefly, the budgetary boundaries that they confronted compelled them to eliminate Dracula's voyage to England on the Demeter and they have omitted the relationship between Jonathan Harker and R.M. Renfield. Although Lee and fellow co-stars Herbert Lom and Klaus Kinski give "Count Dracula" some credibility by appearing in it, their marquee value is negated by the lackluster storyline. Aside from the solid cast, the only other asset that "Count Dracula" boasts is Bruno Nicolai's brilliantly atmospheric orchestral score that injects some suspense and tension into this dreary stuff. Among other things, Nicolai served as the arranger and conductor for the legendary Ennio Morricone on most of his best soundtracks.

The story takes place in 1897. Wannabe attorney Jonathan Harker (Frederick Williams of "A Bridge Too Far") travels from England to Transylvania where he confers with Count Dracula (Christopher Lee of "Horror of Dracula") about a real estate property that the nobleman wants to purchase outside of London. The early scenes show Harker traveling by train to see the Count. He doesn't understand why some of the people that he meets want to keep their distance from him. At his hotel, the innkeeper's wife warns him of his impending danger. Harker takes a stagecoach to Count Dracula's castle. The first coach deposits him in the middle of the wilderness. After a short wait, another arrives with a coachman, suspiciously resembling the Count, who offers Harker a flash of whiskey with which he may fortify himself. Harker refuses the coachman's offer and climbs aboard the vehicle.

Count Dracula (Christopher Lee) meets Harker at his castle. "Enter freely and of your own will," the Count bids him without explanation. No sooner has Dracula shown Harker to his room than the Englishmen is puzzled by an unusual sight. The mirror in his room casts a reflection of himself but shows nothing of the Count standing alongside him. Later, Harker asks the white-haired, heavily mustached Dracula why he has chosen to leave his castle in the Carpathian wilds, he replied, "I am not young, but I am restless." Harker's comments prompt Dracula to relive the exploits of his bloody past when he helped to repulse the invading Turks. Finally, Dracula concludes his monologue, "The wind blows coldly through these broken battlements. Although this is my home, I must move on." Harker observes that he could have sent the Count the real estate papers through the mail. Disagreeing with Harker, Dracula explains that he wanted to learn something about the people and customs of his new home and so he invited Harker as his guest. At this point, Harker's hackles rise at the howls of wildlife around the castle. Dracula utters his immortal line. "Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they do make." Later, Dracula intervenes when three of his women are poised to suck every last drop of blood from a supine Harker's throat. As it turns out, Harker has been dreaming. He decides to escape from Dracula's castle and does a header out of a window. The next time that we see him, he is a patient in Dr. Seward's sanitarium. Dr. John Seward (Paul Muller of "Lady Frankenstein") operates an asylum for the mentally ill and one of his consulting colleagues is Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Herbert Lom of "Mysterious Island") who has been studying the 'black arts.' Seward explains to Harker's fiancée Mina Murray(Maria Rohm of "Twenty Four Hours to Kill") that her future husband was brought to his sanitarium because of the outrageous stories that he told about Count Dracula and an army of bats. Mina has been accompanied by her friend, Lucy (Soledad Miranda of "She Killed in Ecstasy"), and she faints when she hears one of the patients screaming. Later, we learn that R.M. Renfield (Klaus Kinski of "Nosferatu") is kept there because he told a trip to Transylvania. Renfield's daughter died from loss of blood and has been insane and eating insect since her demise. Meantime, Dracula has moved into the house across the road from Seward's clinic, unbeknownst to any of the occupants until Harker realizes later that the count is residing there. Mina walks in on Dracula sucking the blood out of Mina and we get the scariest shot in "Count Dracula." Eventually, Harker and Lucy's fiancée, Quincy (Jack Taylor) pursue Dracula and burn him in his coffin.

Believe it or not, "Count Dracula" surpasses the typical Franco fiasco. Lee delivers a terrific soliloquy in his castle about his valorous combat against the invading Turkish horde, but he doesn't have half as many lines after he forsakes his castle. Lee appears appropriately sinister, but he is rarely frightening. As perfectly cast as he is as Renfield, Kinski seems wasted in a peripheral role, while Herbert Lom fares best with more substantial role as Van Helsing. "Count Dracula" is clearly an example of 1970's film-making. Franco's long-time collaborator, lenser Manuel Merino relies heavily on zooms to indicate surprise and tension. Meanwhile, Franco directs with his customary lack of fanfare and rarely covers a scene with additional shots. The Spanish production values are good, but there aren't any scenes set in London. Francis Ford Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is a far better retelling than Franco's "Count Dracula."
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Ambitious film but fails
kriitikko30 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In 1922 German filmmaker F. W. Murnau failed to get rights to film Bram Stoker's novel Dracula and so he made many changes in his vampire film "Nosferatu". In 1931 the most famous Dracula film, starring Bela Lugosi, was released. Instead of the book, it was more based on a famous theater play. In 1958 Hammer Films released its first Dracula film that was a greatly simplified version of the story. Christopher Lee, who continued to play the part of Count Dracula in many of Hammer's sequels, often complained that writers didn't use any of the great scenes and/or dialog from Stoker's novel. In 1969-70 a Spanish c-filmmaker Jess Franco (or Jesus Franco) agreed with Lee and begun to plan filming an authentic movie version of Stoker's book. Delighted Lee agreed to play the part in his film.

Franco's film "El Conde Dracula" (a.k.a. "Count Dracula", "Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht", "Verenhimoinen Dracula" etc.) has a very promising beginning. Although film is shot in Spain, Franco has found very Gothic looking places where to shot the film and on the background we hear Bruno Nicolai's powerful organ music. Jonathan Harker's (Fred Williams) journey to Dracula's castle follows Stoker's pages faithfully and Lee looks stunning with the white hair and mustache (Dracula appears as an old man for the first time in cinema history). When he starts speaking Stoker's lines, about Dracula's past and passionately tell how "Dracula's ancestors" defeated Turks, you can see Lee is having a time of his life, finally playing Dracula as he wanted.

Sadly, the first 20 minutes are also mainly the only good ones in this film. Apparently the producers backed out suddenly and Franco lost most of his budget. He has tried to keep most of his film faithful to Stoker, but the lack of money has forced them to make changes. After Harker escapes from Dracula's castle, he wakes up weeks later in a hospital ran by Prof. Abraham Van Helsing (Herbert Lom) and Dr. John Seward (Paul Muller). Soon Harker's fiancée Mina (Maria Rohm) arrives with her friend Lucy (beautiful Soledad Miranda) and her fiancé Quincey Morris (Jack Taylor). Count Dracula has moved to an old abbey very close to a hospital and his presence has an odd effect on Van Helsing's patient Renfield (Klaus Kinski, who actually played Dracula later in 1979).

As said, Franco tries to keep the film as faithful to Stoker as he can. However dreams of making a completely authentic adaptation were gone. Also the film is far from being even a good film. Poor supporting performances, Franco's annoying habit of taking many close-up shots and the general lack of money are too visible effects to ignore. Also after the castle sequence, Lee doesn't have much to do anymore. He does get younger which is interesting to see but he mainly just gives threatening glares. Herbert Lom, who has played different roles from Captain Nemo to Phantom of the Opera, is the saving grace here. His Van Helsing becomes the only interesting character here and Lom does put his best to the role, stealing the rest of the film from others. Klaus Kinski sadly just wastes his talents here, for he has no lines at all. Story tells that producer Harry Allan Towers would have tricked Kinski in the film by not telling him it's a Dracula film. Franco has denied this though.

Jesus Franco's "El Conde Dracula" is the first movie really trying to be faithful to Stoker's book. Unfortunately it doesn't reach it goals and is not even that great movie in the first place. God only knows that they might have done a lot better with more money. Now the only things memorable are performances by Lee and Lom, as well as the organ music.
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Jess Frank's acceptable rendition of the Bram Stoker classic with two extraordinary actors : Lee and Lom
ma-cortes21 April 2013
Jess Franco's version of the Bram Stoker classic has Count Dracula as an old count who grows younger whenever he dines on the blood of gorgeous maidens . Bram Stoker's Count Dracula" (1970) turns out to be an acceptable picture directed by Jesus Franco with a good cast as Christopher Lee , Hebert Lom , Maria Rohm and Klaus Kinski . It is a passable and average-budgeted version with splendid players , functional set design and brilliant costumes . The picture begins in a prologue: "Over 50 years ago, Bram Stoker wrote the greatest of all horror stories. Now, for the first time, we retell exactly as he wrote, one of the first--and still the best--tales of the macabre." A young lawyer named Jonathan Harker (Fred Williams) is assigned to go to a creepy castle in the mists of eastern Europe . Harker is captured and imprisoned by a strange character who is accompanied by his bloodsucker girlfriends (Emma Cohen , Jeannine Mestre) . He really is a vampire who lives on through the ages and gone back life . The undead vampire named Dracula (Christopher Lee) comes to England to seduce Mina (Maria Rhom) and Lucy (Soledad Miranda)and inflict havoc in the foreign land . As it is said that Dracula has extraordinary powers , but these supernatural powers have sinister origins ; and this is the first film in which , like in the novel, Dracula begins as an old man and becomes younger as he feeds. Later on , at a Sanitarium outside London: Harker awakens in bed with Dr John Seward (Paul Muller) at his side . Dracula goes London and starts a reign of seduction and horror, draining the life from Mina's closest friend , Lucy . But Dracula has not counted on young Lords (Fred Williams and Jack Taylor) acquiring the assistance of the Vampire hunter (Herbert Lom) .

European co-production between various countries as Spain | West Germany | Italy | Liechtenstein . This thrilling as well as terrifying film contains horrifying scenes , chills , lots of gore and red tomato was used for the blood . This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker's 1897 classic novel of the same title . Adequate version about the famous personage with an European all-star cast , poor cinematography by Manuel Merino though would have been necessary a photography similarly to Hammer Films , glamorous gowns and regular production design , including evocative sights on Victorian London , actually shot in Alicante, Barcelona, Cataluña , Estudios Cinematográficos Balcázar, Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain and Munich, Bavaria, Germany . Christopher Lee, who plays a splendid Dracula, and Herbert Lom, who plays stunningly Dr. Van Helsing , never saw each other during the filming. They shot all their joint scenes separately . Christopher Lee was reportedly tired of playing Dracula and was convinced to join the cast only after being promised that the film would be a faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel , the film, however, ultimately made numerous significant changes to the story . Filmmaker Jesús Franco's first choice for the role of Van Helsing was Vincent Price. He was not able to obtain Price due to his exclusive contract with American International Pictures and second choice Dennis Price was forced to withdraw through illness , Franco was able to get his third choice, Herbert Lom, for the role. Although the producer claims that Klaus Kinski was hoodwinked into playing Renfield when producers gave him a script with a fake title, director Jesús Franco says this was not true and he claims that Klaus Kinski ate real flies as Renfield instead of fake ones. Special mention to rousing and powerful musical score composed and conducted by Bruno Nicolai . Interesting script by writers Jesús Franco Erich Kröhnke , Harry Alan Towers as Peter Welbeck, also film producer .

Other films retelling the known legend based as originally conceived on this novel are the following : ¨ Dracula¨ (1974) by Dan Curtis with Jack Palance , Simon Ward ,Nigel Davenport , ¨Bram's Stoker Dracula'with David Suchet as Abraham Van Helsing , Marc Warren as Count Dracula and Sophia Myles as Lucy ; the best results to be Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula with Gary Oldman , Winona Ryder , Gary Elwes , Keanu Reeves and Anthony Hopkins and last version ¨Dracula¨2012 by Dario Argento with Rutger Hauer as Abraham Van Helsing , Asia Argento as Lucy , Unax Ugalde as Johnathan Harker and Thomas Kretschmann as Dracula .
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Well done Dracula
johnc21417 July 2010
Although not one of the hammer films that Christopher Lee starred in numerous times,this one was directed by Spanish director jess Franco who did many of the Christopher Lee fur Manchu films.this one is more like the original story by Bram Stoker with a few twists.very bloody and graphic.i have to say Christopher Lee played the best Dracula ever.even though i did'nt care for the last hammer outing;the satanic rites of Dracula(aka;count Dracula and his vampire bride)which is in public domain,i did get to see this one on google video in all its glory.this time the count sports a mustache,and there is a great cast,Herbert Lom as van helsing,Klaus Kinski as renfield,and Jack Taylor who played in many euro horror flicks.the ending is very different from the other Dracula movies,my only complaint is the soundtrack.i think they could've used a better score.i really don't like what they did to the vampire movies today like twilight and the more modern ones.after the blade movies they really buried the vampire movies,no pun intended.but i am a baby boomer who watched creature features and read the great magazine famous monsters of i really appreciated all the older horror films,especially from universal and hammer.i give jess Franco's count Dracula 8 out of 10.props to Mr Lee for all his great movie roles.
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Count Dracula
Scarecrow-883 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Franco's take on the Bram Stoker novel with Christopher Lee again portraying Count Dracula, except this production(..a meager one at best with Franco admitting in a recent interview that he had to front his own financing to finish the film!)is completely sub-dued from the acting to the presentation. Director Jesús Franco does exploit an obsession of his in this film..his love for the use of a zooming camera lens. During moments of dialogue Jesús Franco loves for his camera's eye to hone in on the faces of his casts, and even lingers on the mouth of Dracula as his fangs become slightly visible. I do think that this technique can work, but, to be honest, Jesús Franco does tend to go overboard a bit. It does seem like he has inferior equipment..his camera, at times, seems to have the jitters, and the focus & color occasionally obscure. But, I liked this film much more than I thought I would. I love the opening sequence with an elder Dracula "welcoming" Harker into his decadent castle. Dracula looks overwrought from the dead atmosphere of his ancestral home, where he belovedly speaks, with passion and authority, about his proud family and how they fought and won wars bravely. Yet, in that castle he remains, and I think that you can see it through Lee, a relic of a begone era. The blood of those in a completely different place far removed from home, will bring the youth he seeks. Like always, Lee can merely open a door and you stand at attention. That whole scene in his castle, before venturing off to seek fresh victims elsewhere nearby Van Helsing's mental institution, is probably my favorite of the film because it brings something different to the oft-filmed character, establishing this version of Dracula performed by Lee, as more than just a blood-sucker. If only Franco had been able to afford better special effects. He does use the location of Barcelona impeccably. I would've enjoyed a better confrontation between Lee and Lom, but to see them(..along with Kinski and Miranda)in the same film, even if they were often filmed separately, is enough pleasure for me.

For a long period of time in my youth, I only knew Lom primarily as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, the constant recipient of aggravation from Peter Seller's bumbling Inspector Clouseau. Since watching more 60's & early 70's horror, I've come to find Lom an icon of the genre. He can hold you captive with his mere presence, just as Lee. He's not as much a theatrical actor as this authoritative, commanding figure who draws you to him like a moth to the flame. I didn't mind Franco's constant zooming towards Lom's face because he has always delivers something interesting with his Van Helsing character. Lom is formidable and this really bodes well because there is a good portion of the film where Lee's Count is away from the screen. I think, in order to hold the viewer's interest(..or those who want to see Lee all the time), it's important to cast other interesting actors. This leads me to Klaus Kinski. I have to admit that I wasn't expecting this type of interpretation from Kinski as the often dementedly performed character of Renfield. Klaus, I don't think, ever finishes a complete sentence, preferring to show the terror on Renfield's face as he slowly awaits the arrival of Dracula. Even within a padded cell, you can see, through the facial mannerisms and hypnotic blue eyes of Kinski, Renfield's plight. Unlike past interpretations of Renfield, Kinski doesn't deliver deranged monologues about the Count, but channels the horrors of what he knows through silence(..often seen staring, almost mime-like in how he makes for the window of his cell as it faces the mansion with which his enemy resides)and gesture. Soledad Miranda's exotic beauty is definitely put to good use as Lucy, Dracula's chosen source of blood. Fred Williams, as Lucy's fiancé Jonathan Harker, and Jack Taylor as Mina's fiancé Quincy Morris, are more or less secondary characters. They're important as vampire hunters, urged by Van Helsing to stop Dracula before he can harm other innocents. The lovely Maria Rohm(Venus in Furs)has the role of Mina, but she is used mainly on screen to scream when she sees Dracula.
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Not Great, But It Does Have Its Moments
bayardhiler22 November 2012
Jess Franco's version of "Count Dracula" (1970) is one of those film versions of Dracula where one can't help but feel like we've seen all this before in the sense that it doesn't offer too many new things to the table. Despite being pitched as a faithful version of Bram Stoker's "Dracula", the film makers took a lot of liberties with the story, such as Jonathan Harker being put into a mental institution under the care of Van Helsing and then having Mina and Lucy live in the spare rooms of the institution which, it just so happens, is located across from Carfax Abbey. Another liberty that was taken includes the writers completely omitting Arthur Holmword and instead having Quincy Morris as Lucy's fiancé. One thing that they do get right from the book is having Dracula as an old man when we first meet him and then as a younger man upon draining the blood of Lucy, this being the first time we see this on film. Other positive aspects include some great set designs, such as Dracula's castle, a decently creepy music score, Klaus Kinski's great performance as a completely insane Renfield, some beautiful eye candy in the form of Soledad Miranda as Lucy (such a shame she died so young) and some bits of good dialog from Christopher Lee as Dracula. Sadly, like the Hammer movies, Mr. Lee is not given nearly as much dialog as he deserves, something that is a travesty since Christopher Lee has a wonderful, almost god like voice. And unfortunately, despite having some good set designs, there are instances where you can clearly see that this was made on a low budget, such as the part with Harker in Dracula's carriage where, instead of wolves running through the woods, we can clearly see that they are German Shepards. Umm, I'm not a filmmaker but couldn't they have at least tried to film the dogs when it was darker out so that their shadows would have looked like they might have been wolves? Its little things like that that damage the film. To sum it up, Franco's "Dracula" is one of those films that would not hurt to check out if you had some time to kill, however, its not one that you should desperately seek out.
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shock horror goth mock claptrap
servalansrazor12 January 2005
It took me years to find a VHS copy of this movie, i'd read about it in genre publications, biographies and comics for ages and so was not bothered in parting my hard earned sheckles for said tape. I took tape home, put it in the machine. Viewed. Disappointed, no, not really, excited ? No. Depressed? No, I watched Mark of the Devil instead, that had Herbert lom in it also. The thing about Franco's vision is that, well, he hasn't really got one. The furniture looks dusty, the actors look bored and dusty and I found myself rooting for the stuffed animals at one point. Another selling point of this movie, besides Mr Lee had been Klaus Kinski, I mean Klaus Kocking Kinski!! He made Dr Zhivago! For a few dollars more! Then i noticed he doesn't actually speak! Whats this? I cried (literally) Juicy flies and spiders!? What happened to the script? Was there a script? Would it have helped? A good film is the result of many things, writing, lighting, production even actors have been known to add to the overall effect. Franco's Dracula had the actors but apparently nothing else, shame, its reputation outlives the movie. Try reading the novel, it will never transfer to the screen intact!
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