"Dracula" on PBS. Huh?

Dracla fascinates me. One Halloween, I sat down and watched every version I could get my hands on One of the most faithful, of course, was the PBS version with Louis Jordan. There have been lots of versions since, and they always seem to come nearer Bram Stoker’s weird – in many ways - vision. Not a trivial task. The book “Dracula” goes off in a dozen directions, has too many characters, too much happenstance, and laughs at the notion of Unity of Space. So I’m always curious to see how anyone tries to drag the entire thing together into a short, coherent production. Usually they condense or leave out scenes and characters, and explain a lot. So when I heard PBS was at it again, I was curious to see how they’d try to pull it off this time.

They did something unusual. They threw out the book and wrote an entirely new story using people with the same names as the characters. It’s the Starship Troopers/I, Robot approach to storytelling. Godalming suffering from Syphilis? Harker stowing away aboard the Demeter as in the 1931 film? The vampirized Mina emphasizing her bosom almost as blatantly as in the Mel Brooks parody?
This is PBS?

According to PBS materials on this one, it’s called an “adaptation” not “filming of the book.”


So was it any good? I was confused by their “A night of NATURE and MONSTERS!” commercials and didn’t end up watching.

In my book, if I make a movie about two guys in a Civil War company and name one of them “Rhett” and the other “Scarlett”, I haven’t done an adaptation of “Gone With the Wind”. I haven’t done a slavish “filming of the book”, but it isn’t really clear what it is I have done.
There’s a lot of room to explore aspects of the book and the writer’s world, I’ll grant you, but I didn’t see them doing that. I wouldn’t call it an “adaptation”.

“Inspired by” is the best I’d give them.

And, no, I didn’t think it was all that good

Any links?

Masterpiece Theatre “Dracula”

The worst thing was what they did to Van Helsing. In the novel, he’s decribed as having “indomitable resolution” and “iron nerve.” In the Masterpiece Theatre production, he’s just a scared little kitten.

It sounds like my cup of tea and it’s on tonight :slight_smile:

Not only that it was David Suchet – David Suchet – playing that character! What a waste!

There have been so many vampire movies that it’s hard to find anything new to bring to the party. And when they try, they wind up leaving out something essential to the character. Recent Draculas have been done as either a tragic, romantic hero (not giving the victim any particular reason to be afraid of him), or just a generic bogeyman (in which case, why bother with a vampire).

But I liked two things about the Masterpiece Theater version. Arthur is the one who arranges and finances Dracula’s trip to England, hoping that a transfusion will cure his syphilis. (Eternal life would be tempting, especially for someone whose natural life doesn’t seem to have many pleasant moments left in it.) And once Dracula arrives, he turns out to be a right bastard, killing the people who aided him and pretty much helping himself to Lucy.

Not great, but interesting.

I’m watching it now from taping it last night- NOT as bad as I expected. Alas, they invented a occultic priest as Dracula’s agent, where a version of Renfield would’ve sufficed. Btw, that character bears more than a passing resemblance to Max Schreck.

Marc Warren looks too much like Gary Oldman’s elderly Dracula in the early phase and too much like Billie Joe Armstrong in the latter phase.

Twists on Holmwood, Seward & Harker very interesting. Van Helsing’s origin story is unfortunate but he shapes up pretty well later.

One aspect I really was impressed by- early accounts said that the Christian
aspects of the story were going to be downplayed to emphasize the sex & syphillis aspect.

NOT AT ALL. This is totally Christ-saturated, with Dracula holding aspirations of being the AntiChrist.

PBS is making it available on DVD, maybe they’ll do the same to the much-more-faithful Louis Jourdan version!

4 thumbs down from my family.
To suggest a different complaint than has been raised yet, I didn’t care for the filming. Plenty of abrupt cuts between scenes. And at some point my son observed that he wasn’t trying to pay any attention to the location captions. I think it is pretty much a rule that if a film needs 3 or more location captions in the first 5 minutes, chances are they aren’t using the media effectively to tell the story.
Didn’t see Mina get vampirized or bare her bosom, Cal. That might have made it worth watching!

Sorry – Lucy, of course. But she didn’t bare it (although her costume was slight enough), but she traced her fingers around it when she was trying to seduce them. In modern movies they emphasize the sexual element. It’s certainly an undercurrent, but it’s unlikely Stoker or his contemporaries ever intended it to be so overt. See the many commentaries by David J. Skal – Hollywood Gothis, V is for Vampire, etc. – on this aspect. Skal devotes an entire entry in the latter to “Decolletage”, but he makes a good case that, when the story first came out, Dracula wasn’t exactly a sex symbol, and I buy it.

All networks are merging into the Double D Network.

Found the entire “Horny Lucy” theme amusing.
Now that was one chick who desperately wanted some!
Felt sorry for her - would have been glad to help her out…

By far the best part of the show.

I never say this about Masterpiece Theater (unless they try to cram an entire Dickens into two hours) but it moved too quickly. Gothic horror needs time to build atmosphere and since they threw out nearly the entire book they should’ve plotted it better to fit the time available. And if they threw out most of the book they should’ve gone the rest of the way so viewers who know the story aren’t distracted by characters who are completely different from the originals, like a cowardly van Helsing or Mina and Lucy who are obviously not sisters?