Dracula [1931/I]

Director: Robert Siodmak, George Melford, Lambert Hillyer, Erle C. Kenton, Tod Browning
Stars: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Kate Nelligan, Donald Pleasence, Trevor Eve
Genre: Horror, Romance
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 553 minutes

Chalk this one up as something that seemed like a good idea at the time. Frank Langella had just taken Broadway by storm in a revival of the play based on Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. He was tall, elegant, and almost painfully romantic--all qualities that failed to translate to this garish, tarted-up film version. The story remains the same, if told in greater length than in Bela Lugosi's version. The film even offered Laurence Olivier as vampire-hunter Van Helsing (in one of several roles he played during the period that required a middle-European accent) and a young Kate Nelligan as the woman whose love (and blood) Dracula most wants. But director John Badham, working from W.D. Richter's clunky script, makes a hash of most of it, relying on special effects to do the heavy lifting. --Marshall Fine

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