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Dracula (1958)

AKA's: Cauchemar De Dracula, Le / Dracula 1958 / Dracula Il Vampiro / Horror De Dracula, O / Horror Of Dracula / I Draculas Klor / Vampiro Da Noite, O

Release date: 1958 UK
Running time: 78' (cover 79') - Source: VHS PAL
Rating: Germ.: 12; UK: 15; US: NR
Main Crew: Director: Terence Fisher (Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed 1969; The Devil Rides Out
               1968; Dracula: Prince Of Darkness 1965; The Bridse Of Dracula 1960)
Producer: Hammer Film
Score: James Bernard
Writer: Jimmy Sangster (based on Bram Stoker's novel)
Director of photography: Jack Asher


Summary: Dracula (Christopher Lee), a centuries-old nobleman damned to an eternal half-life, travels from his native Transylvania to London. In the lurid nightlife of his adopted city, he finds new victims. He also finds Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), a scientist who becomes the count's implacable foe in a deadly game of bat-and-mouse.
Note: - Starting in 1957 with "The Curse Of Frankenstein", Britain's Hammer Films would begin to resurrect most of the old thirties' Universal Studios monsters, "Dracula" being the second in the series. Eventually they would include a host of sequels, as well as reinventions of the Mummy, the Werewolf, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and others.
- This is the first of the Christopher Lee outings as Dracula (the first vampire film made in colour and the first screen Dracula to sport fangs). He still holds the record for most film performances as the Count. He has appeared in a total of ten vampire films. Apart from this film he played Count Dracula eight more times, and also appeared as a vampire in Tempi Duri Per I Vampiri (1959).
- The original version of "Dracula" was shot with two scenes that were either edited out completely, or abridged, for distribution in Britain, the U.S., and other anglophonic countries. The first scene concerns the destruction of Jonathan Harker by Van Helsing, after the former, now a vampire, is found by Van Helsing to be lying in Dracula's sarcophagus. Due to its graphic nature, British censors forced Hammer to edit the scene entirely. The second scene is also the most famous: the destruction of Dracula in the shaft of sunlight that Van Helsing unleashes by leaping onto, and tearing down, a set of drapes covering a rather large window. This scene was incredibly detailed and really focused on Dracula's disintegrating body second-by-second. The censors had a field day with this scene as well, and it was consequently edited to omit some of the more ghoulish details. Meanwhile, these original scenes were maintained in the film's foreign release in the continental European countries, and elsewhere.
- Many people have mentioned the inaccuracies in this film in comparison to the Bram Stoker book (among others, Renfield and the madhouse have disappeared entirely). Because Universal had the rights to the book, these changes had to be made. And, as Sangster later said, the reason so much of the novel was left out was simply because "There was no room for it".
- The film was shot in just 25 days for less than ´┐Ż 100,000. Christopher Lee (who decided against watching Bela Lugosi's "Dracula" before production) was paid just ´┐Ż 750 for his role as Dracula. For budgetary reasons, there were no transformations by Dracula. He never turned into a bat, wolf, etc.

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