Skip to main content

A Retrospective Look At John Badham's 1979 Horror Classic, "Dracula"

Guest Post By Douglas Meacham - A Retrospective Look At The 1979 Classic, Dracula

DRACULA
U.S. Release Date: July 20, 1979
Starring: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence
Music by: John Williams
Directed by: John Badham

“I DESPISE WOMEN WITH NO LIFE IN THEM...NO BLOOD.” - Dracula

1979 was a bumper year for vampire movies with no less than five hitting the big screen that year.  The one that stood out was "Dracula" directed by John Badham.  Frank Langella takes on the role of the Count in this remake of the 1931 Lugosi film, based on the remake of the Broadway play. Langella portrays the character as a charming seductive Gothic romantic versus the mysteriously frightening take given by Bela Lugosi. Because of this, it’s the first time the Dracula tale is told as a tragic love story. Years later Francis Ford Coppola would take this concept and run with it in BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA.

Shot on location in England at Shepperton Studios and Black Park, Buckinghamshire.  The beautiful county of Cornwall was used to substitute Whitby in the story.  The mysterious Tintagel (for Seward's Asylum), and St Michael's Mount (for Carfax Abbey) were used for exterior shots. The Castle Dracula was a glass matte painted by Albert Whitlock.



John Williams’s score is one of his earlier underrated ones, buried under the blockbuster scores he was composing at the time including SUPERMAN and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. He says in an interview that he was inspired by the tale of Tristan and Isolde, another tragic love story.
The sets in this version come in second place to Lugosi’s film in my opinion. I love how Dracula’s Castle was a stand in for Carfax Abbey.

This incarnation was my introduction to Dracula, and therefore defined to me who the character should be. It wouldn’t be until later that I saw the more popular horror versions and read the novel. I remember seeing this film on TV for the first time as a young child, and it quickly became one of the movies I was obsessed with. Now that I think about it, I owe my charming ways to Frank Langella.

Dracula was nominated for five Saturn awards including best actor, best director and best make up but ended up winning in the "Best Horror" category.  The movie, although not classed as a hit at the cinemas actually brought in a profit.  The budget for the movie was approx $12 million and brought in over $30 million in box office sales but was still seen as a disappointment by the studio.

Douglas Meacham
Douglas is a HUGE movie fan and has a very insightful movie group on Facebook called, Meacham's Movie Madness.  Douglas is also a Patreon of The Bearded Trio and a very valuable supporter of the site.




The Bearded Trio - The Site For Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Williams and a whole lot more.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Star Wars VII Movie Poster - Every End Is A New Beginning

Just saw this Star Wars VII movie poster on Kyle Newman's Facebook feed.  The poster is by Lyndon Berresford and Paul Bateman. 
I am loving this.  Who do you think the two characters are?  Lando and Leia?  Han and Leia's children?

Have you seen other Star Wars VII movie posters?  Let me know.

Rob Wainfur
@welshslider


THE BEARDED TRIO ON FACEBOOK
THE BEARDED TRIO ON TWITTER
I need your Star Wars memories for a book

Did Paul Freeman Accidentally Eat A Fly In Raiders of the Lost Ark?

The Famous Indiana Jones Fly In Belloq's Mouth Scene.  Did It Really Happen? I've always wondered if Paul Freeman unintentionally consumed a fly in this scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark?  It's the scene where Indiana Jones shouts down to Bellosh...I mean Belloq and threatens to blow up the ark.  Did a fly go in his mouth?

I remember watching this scene back in the early eighties and my ten year old mind thought he definitely had a snack while filming.  I recall talking about 'flygate' in my school playground at the time and the general consensus with my friends was that Freeman definitely had a sneaky snack.

Paul Freeman talks about the famous 'fly' scene in an interview with TheIndyExperience.com and settled 'flygate:'

This is a bit of a dicey question so don’t get too upset. (Laughs) A movie’s always got bloopers in it, some have a lot, and some only have three or four. And the most remarkable blooper was right before the opening of the Ark scene.…

Pinewood Studios To Expand To The Usa

BBC News have reported that Pinewood Studios are to expand to the USA.  This is great news for the famous studio that is rich in movie history.


UK film studio Pinewood Shepperton has announced plans to build its first sound stages in the United States. The Pinewood Atlanta complex will be built on 288 acres of land south of Atlanta, Georgia, as a joint venture with a US investment company. Georgia has been among the US states drawing film-making away from Hollywood with tax incentives in recent years. The deal is the latest sign of expansion at Pinewood, the home of the James Bond franchise. Earlier this month it announced a joint venture with a Chinese media group, potentially giving it access to the fast-growing Chinese market.
Read the full article here.

THE BEARDED TRIO ON FACEBOOK
THE BEARDED TRIO ON TWITTER
THE BEARDED TRIO ON GOOGLE+