Sunday, May 09, 2010
First aired: 1968
Mystery and Imagination was a series of horror based plays that ran from 1966. Whilst this episode, an adaptation of Dracula that formed part of the fourth season, has survived the ravages of time it is sad to note that currently (and probably forever) lost is the adaptation the series created of Carmilla.
The series replaced “armchair theatre” and we must note that the idea was to produce a three act play. Consequently there is a stagy feel and the majority of the episode was filmed at Teddington Studios. Thus we get some set wobble occasionally, a recoiled Dracula makes a wall wobble, a gravestone does shift ever so slightly etc. I mention that now and say that I can live with this, it was occasional, noticeable but forgivable. To add to the normal “contains spoilers” note, I will say that my expectation is that you, dear reader, will know Dracula as a story and my aim will be to show how this differed from the book and what it did well, so it will be fairly blow by blow.
Coppola version. Not so groovy is the accent, which does slip occasionally. For the main this is a very English production, and the mainly plumy accents reflect that, but Elliott and Bernard Archard as Dr Van Helsing do affect other accents and neither is really that wonderful – not enough to spoil the show but enough to mention. During these scenes Elliott manages to get in the “I do not drink… wine” line. We also get a shot, unseen by the characters, that evidences to us that Dracula casts no reflection.
Nosferatu style teeth. With Dracula they worked… however… I have mentioned them in terms of the brides (who seemed not to sport front fangs) and when Lucy turns (for she will, that is still in this version) we see a few fang shots and one of them is too close and you can see they are a moulded set. The other Lucy/fang shots do work, to be fair.
All in all this version has been too long out of the public eye, despite a few minor flaws it is a fine version of Dracula (though not the best) and was, for its time, quite a bloody and sexually charged production. 7.5 out of 10.
The imdb page is here.