What was your favorite version of the Count? Pedestrian as they may be, my choices are Lugosi, Lee, and Oldman. Each one of these men brought something special to the role of the undead master of the night. If there were no rights issues with the estate of Stoker, the Count from Nosferatu 1929 would be on this list, but alas this is my favorite Dracula list.
While the 1931 film gave us a mysterious figure, it was a very one-dimensional story. The only thing that made it a classic was the portrayal by Bela. From the haunting cadence of his speech, due to having learn his lines phonetically, to his aristocratic gravitas, he brought something special to the role. This original Universal monster, will always have universal appeal.
Christopher Lee’s interpretation of Dracula was more as a force of nature, and not something that had any other purpose than to be. Lee didn’t have much dialog, in his first film as the character, in 1958. The movie relied more his stature, than his commanding voice, and I find that to be a shame. If the plot were more complex, and the writing was made to play to the lowest common denominator, Lee could have really spread his wings on this one but Hammer Films had so much to hammer out.
I am at a loss for words on Gary Oldman’s role from 1992. First there was the writing. It gave the character a reason to be, one that we could feel empathy for. While this movie was the most fantastical of the three, it held a bit more reality as well. It also was a bit more truer to the Bram Stoker’s novel of ninety five years earlier. While there were plenty of visual effects, and action scenes, Gary’s performance of Vlad Tepes took the lead. Speaking of effects, there were the obvious ones, but I am still drawn to the more subtle shadow play that Francis Ford Coppola chose to employ. This Dracula had depth and played well with fact and fiction.
So, who was your favorite? Or top three. Perhaps you enjoyed Dracula as he was portrayed in a Comic Book, or on TV? You could be a Novel purist, I would be interested to hear from you.