This fairly close adaptation of Bram Stoker's vampire novel has not held up as well as I thought it would. When first shown over the Christmas period in 1977, it was in two 75-minute episodes, but was later repeated as a mini-series in three 50-minute episodes. (Doing the story at length without rushing through it was a real plus.) Louis Jourdan was well-cast as Dracula, and Frank Finlay had a fine gravitas as Van Helsing, but when this version is seen today - it was repeated in the 1990s and has been issued on DVD - its budgetary deficiencies and poor special effects are rather obvious. One anticipates a rather more spectacular demise for the Count than he actually gets, whilst the shipwreck is almost laughably inadequate. Best is the opening, with the innocent Harker travelling across Transylvania and receiving incomprehensible warnings from locals - very atmospheric and gripping. Whatever its faults, this version is vastly to be preferred to the quite ghastly recent version done by the BBC, starring Marc Warren and David Suchet.
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