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Bram Stoker's Dracula
Bram Stoker's Dracula
This article gives an insight into Francis Ford Coppola's, Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Dracula (also known as Bram Stoker's Dracula) is a 1992 horror-romance film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. It stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula in an ensemble cast, also featuring Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing and Winona Ryder as Mina Harker. A critical and commercial success, Dracula established Oldman as a popular portrayer of villains in American film. The film's score was composed by Wojciech Kilar and the closing theme song "Love Song for a Vampire" was written and performed by Annie Lennox.
Over four centuries later in 1897, Jonathan Harker (Reeves), a law firm clerk, travels to Transylvania to arrange the transfer of Carfax Abbey in London, Count Dracula's newest real estate acquisition. At the castle, full of bizarre, unnatural features and shadows that move by themselves, Harker meets Dracula, a wrinkled, pale old man in brilliant red robes. During the final signing of the real estate papers, the Count caresses a picture of Harker's fiancée Mina Murray (Winona Ryder), the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Elisabeta. Dracula then sets sail on the ship Demeter to England, leaving Harker captive by Dracula's bloodthirsty Brides (Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick), who systematically drink his blood and have sexual intercourse with him, leaving him too weak to escape.
Dracula arrives in London in a box of his native soil, which is transported to the Abbey, where Dracula emerges to ravish and drink the blood of Mina's best friend, Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost). Dracula, now a young and handsome prince, meets and gradually charms Mina, but refuses to bite her, instead offering her absinthe to aid her recollection of her past life. As the two fall deeper in love, Lucy's deteriorating health and noticeable behavioral changes prompts suitors Quincey Morris (Bill Campbell), Dr. John Seward (Richard E. Grant) and Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes) to summon Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins), who during a blood transfusion recognizes Lucy as a vampire victim. In Transylvania, Harker escapes to a convent and writes to Mina, who despite misgivings does as Lucy suggests and goes off to marry him. On the ship she writes that she still feels the presence of her "strange friend", and misses him. Dracula, grief-stricken and enraged, murders Lucy to transform her into one of his vampire brides.
After Lucy's funeral, Van Helsing leads Holmwood, Seward and Morris to the family crypt, where Lucy has risen as a vampire. Horrified, Arthur drives a metal stake through her heart while Van Helsing decapitates her with a large kukri knife. Newlyweds Harker and Mina return to London and join Van Helsing, Seward, Morris and Holmwood in hunting Dracula. They arrive at Carfax Abbey and destroy his boxes of soil. The Count, who watches from the shadows, travels to Mina and confesses that he is dead, a hunted creature and the murderer of Lucy. While confused and afraid, Mina still loves him and wants to be with him. He offers to transform her into a vampire by slashing his chest and allowing her to drink his blood, but then he hesitates, refuses to condemn her to life as an undead because of his love for her. Upon insisting to be taken away from a mortal life, she begins drinking blood from Dracula's chest. The vampire hunters burst into the bedroom, with Dracula claiming Mina as his bride before disappearing into the shadows. As Mina begins changing the same way Lucy had, Van Helsing hypnotizes her and learns via her connection with Dracula that he is sailing home. The Hunters depart for the port of Varna via train to intercept him, but discover that Dracula has read Mina's mind and evades them. The Hunters split up, with Van Helsing and Mina traveling to the Borgo Pass and the Castle, while the others try to stop the Gypsies transporting Dracula.
At night, encamped at the castle, Mina begins changing as the Brides hover nearby. After attempting to seduce Van Helsing she bares fangs, but is rebuffed with Holy Eucharist. As she returns to her human form, Van Helsing surrounds them both with a ring of fire, warding off the Brides until morning, when he wearily infiltrates the castle and kills the Brides as they sleep by decapitating them with his kukri. Hours later, as sunset approaches, Dracula's carriage appears on the horizon, driven by gypsies and pursued by the Hunters. Dracula, sensing Mina's presence, telepathically commands her to summon a spell that casts harsh winds to impede the Hunters. The carriage finally arrives at Castle Dracula and a great fight that pits the Hunters vs the Gypsies. One gypsy coats a knife with chloroform and stabs Morris, gravely injuring him. Just as the Hunters kill the last gypsy, the sun sets and Dracula bursts from his box. He fights with supernatural strength but cannot overpower Harker, who slits the Count's throat with his own kukri knife while Morris stabs him in the heart with his Bowie knife. As the Count staggers, Mina rushes to his defense with a rifle. Holmwood tries to attack but Van Helsing and Harker allow her to retreat with the Count, turning instead to Morris, who passes out while surrounded by his friends.
In the castle, in the same chapel where he renounced God centuries earlier, Dracula lies dying. His body ravaged by age, he rebuffs Mina's attempts to pull the knife from his heart. They share a last kiss, as the candles adorning the chapel miraculously light, and the desecrating damage he committed on the altar are repaired. As he asks Mina to give him peace, she shoves the knife through his heart. She is still in love with him so she then decapitates him as she becomes free of Elisabeta's soul. Mina then gazes up at the fresco of Vlad and Elisabeta Ascending to Heaven.
Differences between the 1992 film and the novel
Television Censorship versions
Broadcast on Fox
The first attack of Lucy is shortened in the televised version. It cuts out some footage of Lucy walking around the maze and Mina calling and searching for her. Dubbed in is Mina calling "Lucy" several times more. Also cut is the scene in which Mina sees Dracula raping Lucy. Instead it appears that he just bites her throat. Also, Lucy's clothes aren't torn. In several scenes Lucy has violent fits, causing her chemise to fall open displaying one or both of her breasts. In the televised version she is portrayed with chemise intact due to digital paint and editing. Lucy's destruction is only hinted at and heard, but never shown.
Several scenes regarding Van Helsing have been removed, and his exorcism of Carfax Abbey has been trimmed. Shots of Mina drinking from Dracula's heart are shortened. The seduction of Van Helsing, and the destruction of the Brides are kept intact. Towards the ending the final shot of the sword piercing Dracula has been trimmed to eliminate blood flow.
American Movie Classics
In 2002, American Movie Classics showed an edited version of the film, with all edits from the broadcast version, and including other small minor cuts and added footage. Examples include:
In addition to these cuts, this version was presented without commercial interruption.
Richard Corliss said, "Coppola brings the old spook story alive ... Everyone knows that Dracula has a heart; Coppola knows that it is more than an organ to drive a stake into. To the director, the count is a restless spirit who has been condemned for too many years to interment in cruddy movies. This luscious film restores the creature's nobility and gives him peace." Jonathan Rosenbaum felt the film suffered from a "somewhat dispersed and overcrowded story line" but that it "remains fascinating and often affecting thanks to all its visual and conceptual energy." Mick LaSalle, however, panned the film, writing: "Dracula is a lovingly made, gorgeously realized, meticulously crafted failure. It has big names, a big budget, big sets, a big, thundering score and even big hair. But it doesn't do it. It doesn't excite or fascinate but just lies there on the screen."
The film was a notable box office hit, grossing $82,522,790 domestically and $133,339,902 overseas for a total worldwide gross of $215,862,692, making it the most commercially successful adaptation of the novel to date.
Awards and honors
The film won three Academy Awards, Best Costume Design (Eiko Ishioka), Best Sound Effects Editing (Tom C. McCarthy, David E. Stone) and Best Makeup (Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, Matthew W. Mungle) and was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Thomas E. Sanders, Garrett Lewis).
Home video releases and merchandise
Dracula was first released to DVD in 1999 and again as a Superbit DVD in 2001. Neither release contained any extra features. A two-disc "Collector's Edition" DVD and Blu-ray was released in 2007. The "Collector's Edition" special features, identical on both the DVD and Blu-ray releases, include an introduction and audio commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola, deleted and extended scenes, teaser and full-length Dracula trailers, and the documentaries "The Blood Is the Life: The Making of Dracula", "The Costumes Are the Sets: The Design of Eiko Ishioka", "In Camera: The Naïve Visual Effects of Dracula", and "Method and Madness: Visualizing Dracula".
Other merchandising for the film included a board game, a pinball game, and video game adaptations for the Super Nintendo, NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Sega Master System, Amiga, Sega CD, and PC. A four-issue comic book adaptation and 100 collectible cards based on the movie were released by the Topps company with art provided by Mike Mignola.
Various action figures and model sets were also produced. In addition to these items, accurate licensed replicas of Dracula's sword and Quincey's bowie knife were available from Factory X. A novelization of the film was published, written by Fred Saberhagen.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Bram's Stoker's Dracula" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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