Friday, September 25, 2009
Movie Review: Bram Stoker's Dracula
The year 1492. Prince Dracula is off fighting the Turks when his wife, believing him dead, flings herself into the river, committing suicide so that she may unite with him in the afterlife. Dracula returns home, learns of her death and renounces the Church because they pronounce her to be damned.
Flash forward to England 1897. Jonathon Harker is being sent to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to conduct business and upon his return plans to wed his fiancee, Mina. While he is away, she is to stay with her friend Lucy. Lucy is a debutante that is concerned only with the prospect of marriage proposals from her 3 suitors. Jonathon is disturbed to learn of the many unusual qualities with his new employer and his house. He encounters Dracula's brides and learns that they are all vampires, which threatens his sanity. Back in London, Mina is dealing with Lucy's strange behavior- nighttime wandering, weakness and malaise. Dr. Seward consults Van Helsing and both men try to solve the mystery of Lucy's illness. Meanwhile, Mina meets the charming Prince Vlad and feels puzzled by her attraction. When Jonathon escapes the brides, he contacts Mina and she rushes to his side, despite her growing affection for Prince Vlad. Mina and Jonathon wed in a hasty ceremony. Dracula is enraged by this and takes Lucy for his bride instead, fully turning her in a vampire. When she rises from the grave, Van Helsing convinces all involved that they must behead her. Then the battle is on as Dracula tries to lure Mina back to his side. They share blood while Mina is being kept at Dr. Seward's sanatorium, but are interrupted by Van Helsing, Seward, Harker, Morris and Holmwood before Mina is completely turned. Dracula escapes, but the men use Mina to track him. In the end, Dracula is defeated and he begs Mina to end his suffering. He just wants peace. Out of love, she drives the knife fully through his heart and they are both freed.
I love this story and this movie. The casting, adaptation, costumes- all brilliant! From the moment Dracula first sees Mina's picture to the end scene where Mina frees his soul, Coppola captures the tumultuous emotions of passion and the enduring quality of love. The score, composed by Wojciech Kilar, is haunting and alluring, and the closing theme by Annie Lennox is achingly beautiful. One of my favorites: the absinthe scene where Mina remembers her past as Elizabeta, and Dracula turns her tears to diamonds. I'm also fond of the scene where Dracula wrenches her head back and plunges his fangs into her neck. Hot!
Favorite scenes? characters? What is your favorite version of Dracula on film?