Just picked up a cheap DVD of the late 70’s early 80’s version of Dracula starring Frank Langella and Sir Laurence Olivier haven’t seen it since it’s original release and I recall Kate Nelligan coming to my attention in it. I recently watched the DVD of Dracula that the BBC did in the mid 70’s starring Louis Jourdan and Frank Finlay and I was shocked at how dated that film was and how bad the special effects were.
After finally sitting down to watch, I have to say that for me Tony Haygarth stole the limelight. His portrayal of Renfield was excellent and without doubt the most memorable in that role I can recall. His comedic touch as the mad man quickly eating the cockroach he secreted away from the hospital orderlies was brilliant.
Kate Nelligan, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasance, Trevor Eve and Jan Francis were all good in their roles, and after seeing the interview with the producer, director and Frank Langella now contained on the DVD I must admit I wasn’t aware that Frank had appeared on stage in the part originally. I can appreciate his need to never put the cape back on ever again as he quite possibly could have been typecast like Christopher Lee. This is especially true after the effect he had on the two ladies I was lucky enough to watch the film with.
I can sympathise with the producer over how they expected it to do better business than it did because it was a quality version apart from when the little bat flew around, lol. As they said though Love At First Bite the George Hamilton and Susan St James spoof, kind of stole some of their thunder. I was also surprised to see a young Sylvester McCoy in a small role in the film way before he got the nod as Dr Who.
It was an enjoyable version of a well known story and in particular it has a strong cast of quality actors and their accents are actually really English. Worth watching, but be careful if watching it with a date she may just drool over the Young Frank Langella a little more than you’d like.