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Film / Count Dracula (1977)

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Count Dracula is a television adaptation of Dracula made in 1977 by The BBC, starring Louis Jourdan in the title role.

Originally broadcast as a single film, it was split up into a three-part Mini Series for subsequent re-airings. In the United States, it was shown on PBS' Great Performances.

James Rolfe has ranked this adaptation as the most faithful to the Dracula novel.


  • Adaptation Expansion: The film opens with a prologue scene of Jonathan saying goodbye to Mina before he heads abroad.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Somewhat; Dracula is still evil but his relationship with his brides is rather less antagonistic than in the novel. When he finds them seducing Jonathan, his reaction is akin to a father's stern rebuke to his wayward children. Likewise, when they claim "he never loves", it's more a playful interaction between the four and he embraces them when he tells them of his plans to head to London.
  • Affably Evil: Dracula in the novel occasionally loses his temper and rules his undead brides with an iron fist, but here is he almost always polite, calm and composed and even shows his brides some affection. This arguably makes him even creepier, as it makes his behaviour seem less normal and human when, for instance, he simply smiles and ignores Jonathan when the latter attacks him with a shovel in his coffin, while in the novel he becomes enraged; he is perhaps more dangerous for it as he makes being turned into a vampire sound more tempting.
  • Age Lift: While every character is either played by an actor of the appropriate age or an example of Dawson Casting, Renfield (59) is played by Jack Shepherd (37), making this either an age lift or an example of Underage Casting.
  • Badass Cape: Dracula, of course.
  • Composite Character: Quincey P. Morris and Arthur Holmwood are combined into Quincey P. Holmwood.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Dracula is killed by Van Helsing driving a wooden stake into his heart, while in the novel he is killed by Jonathan Harker cutting his throat with a knife and, at the same time, Quincey Morris thrusting a knife into his heart.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Lucy's gradual withering away as Dracula feeds on her is realistically portrayed here as an agonizing infectious disease, causing her endless confusion, pain, and suffering as she slowly succumbs to the vampiric plague.
  • Face Framed in Shadow:
    • When the brides try to claim Mina and are unable to thanks to Helsing's holy made barrier. The lighting on their faces turn darker as they keep attempting to reach her while letting off inhuman growls and hisses.
    • Inverted at one point when Helsing and Harker confront Dracula and shine a cross on him, the cross casting a glow across Dracula's shadowed face.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Dracula alludes to this when Van Helsing and his allies ask why he feeds on humans. His simple answer is "We must recruit disciples, just as your leader has done." The fact that he says "We" and not "I" suggests that Dracula is himself the servant of a higher evil power. Although Pop-Cultural Osmosis through later adaptations and usage of the character often tends to elevate Dracula to the status of Lord of all Vampires, no such allusion is made either in this film or the original Stoker novel. This makes sense in-universe, as—apart from Renfield—Dracula doesn't seem to have much in the way of a network of human servants outside of his castle (or inside of it, for that matter).
  • Missing Reflection: Twice.
    • First, in Castle Dracula, Jonathan is shaving only to be startled by Dracula appearing behind him. Dracula actually picks up the mirror, laughs it off and claims that it is broken, then throws it out the window, an early sign that he isn't going to let Jonathan leave.
    • Second, after Dracula's final attack on Lucy, when Helsing comes to check on her. He realizes he's too late to save her when he looks at a nearby mirror and see she has no reflection.
  • Nerves of Steel: Dracula himself. When Jonathan Harker begins to suspect his true nature, he is unmoved and continues his affable facade. When Harker directly accuses him of keeping him prisoner and lying to him, Dracula is unmoved and continues his affable facade. When Harker finds him resting in his coffin and attacks him with a shovel, Dracula merely smiles and goes back to sleep. No matter what the heroes do, nothing can make Dracula suffer even the slightest Villainous Breakdown, though he does scream when he is staked.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Dracula seems to have this view of himself and Christianity. He derides his enemies as fools clinging to a "2000 year old superstition", is skeptical of the existence of a soul, mocks Van Helsing's prayers as sounding "more convincing in Latin", and compares himself favourably to Christ with the people he turns to vampires being his own "disciples". From his point of view, he already HAS eternal life, so religion is pointless to him. Despite this, crosses and and holy wafers still hurt and ward off vampires as normal, so his beliefs might be closer to denial.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Vampires in this movie sport them. The female vampires in particular go red colored when vamping out.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Rather then childhood friends in the novel, Mina and Lucy are sisters in this story.
  • Rise from Your Grave: The movie opens with a shot of a coffin bearing the name of the title character. After a lighting flash, we see his hand coming out of the coffin. It then cuts to a presumably dead woman resting in her coffin...until she opens her eyes.
  • Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: When Harker stumbles upon the vampires' resting chambers, he finds the brides' eyes are all open as they slumber in their coffins. Two even slightly react to his presence. Though since the sun is up, they can't attack him.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Lucy does so as always, but Mina in this version is shown to be more affected by Dracula than in the novel as well, to the point that it's implied that when she and Van Helsing are attacked by the brides in the woods, in this version she was actually luring Van Helsing into a trap rather than them simply being hunted.
  • Truer to the Text: Despite combining two characters, this version is considered to be the most faithful adaptation of the story.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods:
    • Jonathan gets seduced by the brides while he stays up writing a letter.
    • Dracula's second bite on Lucy has this overtone.
  • Vampire Refugee: Much more blatant in this version. When Lucy is first bitten she begins to notice fangs forming into her mouth and they fully form right before her natural death. Mina likewise showcases this change after Dracula bites her.


Video Example(s):


CD '77 [Lucy Bitten]

Count Dracula (BBC 1977) - Lucy sleepwalks out of her room and into a nearby graveyard where Dracula, having just recently arrived in London via boat, finds her and goes to feed on her. Mina, Lucy's friend, goes to find her and barely has time to glimpse Dracula before he flees. When Mina takes Lucy home, she find she suddenly had to pinpricks on her neck.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

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Main / VampireHickey

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