Dracula (1968 TV film)
|Written by||Charles Graham|
|Directed by||Patrick Dromgoole|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||90 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Thames Television|
|First shown in||November 18, 1968|
Dracula is a video-taped television play adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, part of the series Mystery and Imagination (Season 4, Episode 3). Denholm Elliott (who later co-starred with fellow-Dracula Jack Palance in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) played Count Dracula with Susan George as Lucy Weston (another alumn of another version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).
The drama begins in an asylum in Whitby, England. A mysterious patient escapes from his cell and intrudes upon a small party hosted by Dr. Seward, referring to the guest of honor—Count Dracula—as "Master." Moments later he insists he does not know the Count and is led back to his cell. In conversation, it emerges the Count is sensitive to sunlight, has only recently arrived from abroad, and that Seward's fiancee Lucy finds him fascinating.
Lucy, meanwhile, greets her old friend Mina Harker, who is distraught over the disappearance of her husband, Jonathan. She is puzzled when Dracula insists that Harker left unharmed months ago. Later, the mysterious patient catches sight of Mina and calls her by name. He is the missing Jonathan Harker.
Dracula visits Lucy at night, feeding on her blood and forcing the two doctors to perform a blood transfusion. Van Helsing recognizes the signs of a vampire attack, but at first refrains from explaining this to Seward. When he does, the English scientist balks, but later comes to suspect Count Dracula of being the vampire. Lucy dies after another attack.
Mina sees Lucy, who insists she is happy and ecstatic, offering her the same "joy" as she bites her friend. Lucy vanishes and Dracula appears, offering Mina a chance to be one of the "elect."
Meanwhile, Van Helsing proves to Seward that Lucy has risen from the grave and drives a wooden stake through her heart. Now they focus on finding the vampire's sleeping place. Realizing Harker is under Dracula's power and that Mina has been bitten, they use the two as bait. Following Harker as he leads his wife to Dracula, the two doctors consecrate the grave Dracula has been using then hold him in place with a cross while the sun rises. Dracula dissolves, leaving behind ashes and his ring.
But as the story ends, Mina is staring at Seward's throat and clutches the vampire's ring in her hand.
Deviations From The Novel
This list is not exhaustive, but does intend to convey a sense of the differences between the film and the novel:
- A risen Lucy bites Mina.
- Quincey Morris and Arthur Holmwood are omitted.
- There is no final chase to Transylvania.
- The character of Renfield is omitted, with his role taken by Jonathan Harker.
- The ending is far more ambiguous.
- Denholm Elliott as Count Dracula
- Bernard Archard as Dr. Van Helsing
- Nina Baden-Semper as Vampire
- Michael Da Costa as Jenkins
- Susan George as Lucy
- Hedley Goodall as Swales
- Joan Hickson as Mrs. Weston (Lucy's mother)
- Tony Lane as Coachman
- Marie Legrand as Vampire
- James Maxwell as Dr. Seward
- Helena McCarthy as Mrs. Hoskins
- Phyllis Morris as Mrs. Perkins
- Valerie Muller as Vampire
- Suzanne Neve as Mina Harker
- James Pope as Rowse
- Corin Redgrave as Jonathan Harker