Day: April 18, 2017

Count Dracula – tape 1514

Here’s a repeat of the BBC’s adaptation of Dracula, starring Frank Finlay and Louis Jourdan.

I’ve never been particularly gripped by any direct adaptation of Stoker’s novel. Part of the problem is Jonathan Harker, our audience identification character. He’s so bland, I struggle to care, and he’s an estate agent too, so why should I?

It’s not helped here by Harker being played by a Peter Tork lookalike.

I’m amused by the slight temporal connection between this programme, and my earlier tape of my Whitby holiday because, of course, Count Dracula spends some of his time in Whitby when he arrives in England.

Oh god, we’re deep into the ‘let’s play with video effects’ period of TV drama.

“It’s such a lovely evening, why don’t you and Quincy take a stroll along the promenade?”

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 5th April 1993 – 21:00

Part Two follows, and at last we meet Van Helsing, as played by Frank Finlay. I hope things will perk up now.

At least we actually get some vampire slaying action, as Mina’s sister Lucy, seduced by the Count, becomes a vampire herself and has to be finished off in the usual way.

This show really suffers from the late 70s VT production. The sequences shot on film look fine, but the studio VT sequences are trying desperately hard to be moody and atmospheric, but the technology of the age isn’t up to it, so all the dark shots just look muddy. None of this is helped by the limitations of VHS, either.

Van Helsing is a very hospitable vampire hunter. Here he is making cocoa for his team, on a bunsen burner.

This really is tiresome stuff. Frank Finlay is now fending off the Brides of Dracula by drawing a circle in the ground and holding up two halves of a communion wafer.

Mina gets to do some sharpshooting.

To be fair to this adaptation, most of the problems it has come from the source material, but that’s also a fault of adaptation. If there’s not enough incident to fill two long episodes, don’t try, make it shorter, or make up more, interesting stuff to happen.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th April 1993 – 21:00

After this, there’s a trailer for Bookmark: Philip Larkin

Then, a 10×10 film called The Scotch Guard. It’s about geese.

The recording ends during this programme.

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