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Dracula (1992 film)

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Dracula
Dracpos.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola[1]
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola[2]
Fred Fuchs
Written by James V. Hart
Bram Stoker (novel)
Based on Dracula by
Bram Stoker
Starring Gary Oldman
Winona Ryder
Anthony Hopkins
Keanu Reeves
Music by Wojciech Kilar
Annie Lennox
Cinematography Michael Ballhaus
Editing by Anna Goursand
Glen Scantlebury
Nicholas C. Smith
Studio American Zoetrope
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Release date(s) November 13, 1992 (1992-11-13)
Running time 128 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Romanian
Greek
Bulgarian
Latin
Budget $40 million[3][4]
Box office $215,862,692

Dracula (also known as Bram Stoker's Dracula)[5] is a 1992 American Gothic horror-romance film directed and co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.[6] It stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula and Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, also featuring Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing, Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, and Sadie Frost as Lucy Westenra.

Dracula was greeted by a generally positive critical reception and was a box office hit. The film's score was composed by Wojciech Kilar and featured "Love Song for a Vampire" by Annie Lennox as the closing credits theme.

PlotEdit

In 1462, Vlad Dracula, a member of the Order of the Dragon, returns from a victory against the Turks to find his wife, Elisabeta, has committed suicide after receiving a false report of his death. Enraged at the notion of his wife being damned for committing suicide, Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness.

In 1897, newly-qualified solicitor Jonathan Harker takes the Transylvanian Count Dracula as a client from his colleague R. M. Renfield, who has gone insane. Jonathan travels to Transylvania to arrange Dracula's real estate acquisition in London, including Carfax Abbey. Jonathan meets Dracula, who discovers a picture of Harker's fiancée, Mina, and believes that she is the reincarnation of Elisabeta. Dracula leaves Jonathan to be seduced by his brides and sails to England with boxes of his native soil, taking up residence at Carfax Abbey. His arrival is foretold by the ravings of Renfield, now an inmate in Dr. Jack Seward's neighboring insane asylum.

In London, Dracula emerges as a wolf-like creature amid a fierce thunderstorm and hypnotically seduces, then rapes and bites Lucy Westenra, with whom Mina is staying while Jonathan is in Transylvania. Lucy's deteriorating health and behavioral changes prompts Lucy's former suitors Quincey Morris and Dr. Seward, along with her fiancée, Arthur Holmwood, to summon Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, who recognizes Lucy as the victim of a vampire. Dracula, appearing young and handsome during daylight, meets and charms Mina. When Mina receives word from Jonathan, who has escaped the castle and recovered at a convent, she travels to Romania to marry him. In his fury, Dracula transforms Lucy into a vampire. Van Helsing, Holmwood, Seward and Morris kill Lucy.

CountDracula6

Gary Oldman as Dracula.

After Jonathan and Mina return to London, Jonathan and Van Helsing lead the others to Carfax Abbey, where they destroy the Count's boxes of soil. Dracula enters the asylum, where he kills Renfield for warning Mina of his presence before visiting Mina, who is staying in Seward's quarters while the others hunt Dracula. He confesses that he murdered Lucy and has been terrorizing Mina's friends, but a confused and angry Mina admits that she still loves him and remembers her previous life as Elisabeta. At her insistence, Dracula begins transforming her into a vampire. The hunters burst into the bedroom, with Dracula claiming Mina as his bride before escaping. As Mina begins changing, Van Helsing hypnotizes her and learns via her connection with Dracula that he is sailing home in his last remaining box. The hunters depart for Varna to intercept him, but Dracula reads 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 the Count.

At night, Van Helsing and Mina are approached by Dracula's brides. They frighten Mina at first, but she gives into their chanting and attempts to seduce Van Helsing. Before Mina can feed on his blood, Van Helsing places a communion wafer upon her forehead, leaving a mark. He surrounds them with a ring of fire to protect them from the brides, then infiltrates the castle and decapitates them the following morning. As sunset approaches, Dracula's carriage arrives at the castle, pursued by the hunters. A fight between the hunters and gypsies ensues, and at sunset Dracula bursts from his coffin. Harker slits his throat while a wounded Morris stabs him in the heart with a Bowie knife. As Dracula staggers, Mina rushes to his defense. Holmwood tries to attack but Van Helsing and Harker allow her to retreat with the Count. Morris dies, surrounded by his friends.

In the chapel where he renounced God, Dracula lies dying in an ancient demonic form. He asks Mina to give him peace. They share a kiss as the candles adorning the chapel light up, and Mina shoves the knife through Dracula's heart. The mark on her forehead disappears as Dracula's curse is lifted. She decapitates him, and finally gazes up at the fresco of Vlad and Elisabeta ascending to Heaven together.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Ryder initially brought the script (written by James V. Hart) to the attention of Coppola. The director had agreed to meet with her so the two could clear the air after her late withdrawal from The Godfather Part III caused production delays on that film and led her to believe Coppola disliked her.[8] Coppola was attracted to the sensual elements of the screenplay and said that he wanted portions of the picture to resemble an "erotic dream".[9] In the months leading up to its release, Hollywood insiders who had seen the movie felt Coppola's film was too odd, violent, and strange to succeed at the box office and dubbed it "Bonfire of the Vampires" after the notorious 1990 box office bomb The Bonfire of the Vanities.[10][9] Due to delays and cost overruns on some of Coppola's previous projects such as Apocalypse Now and One from the Heart, Coppola was determined to bring the film in on time and on budget. To accomplish this he filmed on sound stages to avoid potential troubles caused by inclement weather.[9][8]

Coppola chose to invest a significant amount of the budget into costumes in order to showcase the actors which he considered the "jewels" of the feature.[9][8] He had an artist storyboard the entire film in advance carefully illustrating each planned shot, a process which created around a thousand images.[8] He turned the drawings into a choppy animated film and added music, then spliced in scenes from the French version of Beauty and the Beast that Jean Cocteau directed in 1946 and stills of paintings by Gustav Klimt and other symbolist artists.[8] He showed the animated film to his designers to give them an idea of the mood and theme he was aiming for. Coppola also asked the set costume designers to simply bring him designs which were "weird". "'Weird' became a code word for 'Let's not do formula,'" he later recalled. "'Give me something that either comes from the research or that comes from your own nightmares.' I gave them paintings, and I gave them drawings, and I talked to them about how I thought the imagery could work."[8]

Coppola brought in acting coach Greta Seacat to coach Frost and Ryder for their erotic scenes as he felt uncomfortable discussing sexuality with the young actresses.[8] However he did ask Oldman to speak seductively off-camera to Frost while they were filming a scene in which she writhed alone in her bed in ecstacy. She later classified the things Oldman said to her as "very unrepeatable."[8][11]

ReceptionEdit

ReviewsEdit

Dracula received considerable attention upon release, being greeted with generally positive reviews from critics. Based on 44 reviews collected from notable publications by popular review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an overall approval rating of 82%, with the consensus, "Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Bram Stoker's Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations — and features some terrific performances to boot."[12] Vincent Canby described the film as being akin to "the work of a precocious film student who has magically acquired a master's command of his craft."[13] 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."[14]

Roger Ebert awarded the film 3/4 stars, writing: "I enjoyed the movie simply for the way it looked and felt. Production designers Dante Ferretti and Thomas Sanders have outdone themselves. The cinematographer, Michael Ballhaus, gets into the spirit so completely he always seems to light with shadows." Ebert did, however, voice mild criticisms on what he felt were "narrative confusions and dead ends."[15] 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."[16] Empire's Tom Hibbert was unimpressed. Awarding the film 2/5 stars, he wrote, "Has a film ever promised so much yet delivered so little? There was so much potential, yet when it came down to it, Coppola made his Dracula too old to be menacing, gave Keanu Reeves a part and took out all the action."[17]

Box officeEdit

The film opened at #1 at the box office with $30,521,679.[18][19] However, it dropped off sharply in subsequent weeks losing 50.8% of its audience after just its first weekend in release[20] and falling out of the top five after just 3 weeks. Still, it managed to become a box office hit, grossing $82,522,790 domestically and becoming the 15th highest grossing film of the year.[21] It fared much better overseas, grossing $133,339,902 for a total worldwide gross of $215,862,692,[22] making it the 9th highest grossing film of the year worldwide.[23]

Awards and honorsEdit

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).[24]. It also won four Saturn Awards, with Best Director and Best Actor for Coppola and Oldman, respectively.

In 2011, Total Film named Oldman's portrayal of Dracula as one of the ten best performances of his career.[25]

SoundtrackEdit

Bram Stoker's Dracula: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Bram Stoker's Dracula (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).jpg
Film score (Digital download)/Audio CD by Wojciech Kilar
Released November 24, 1992
Length 54:59
Label Columbia Records
All music composed by Wojciech Kilar.


Home video releases and merchandiseEdit

In 1993 a special boxed set was released of Dracula, in the shape of a coffin. The box contained the film on VHS, which included a behind-the-scenes documentary, and the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker in paperback. Grey, gothic statue heads (as seen on the original film poster) adorned the front cover of the book against a grey stone background.

Dracula was first released to DVD in 1999[26] and again as a Superbit DVD in 2001.[27] Neither release contained any extra features. A two-disc "Collector's Edition" DVD[28] and Blu-ray[29] was released in 2007. The "Collector's Edition" special features include an introduction and audio commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola, deleted and extended scenes, teaser and full-length 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,[30] a pinball game,[31] 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.[32]

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.[33] A novelization of the film was published, written by Fred Saberhagen.[34]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : REALLY SCARY KIDS : Before the Crypt Opens on Dracula, a Little Surgery". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-06-07/entertainment/ca-284_1_count-dracula. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  2. "COMMENTARY : A Shtick Through the Heart : Francis Ford Coppola's sympathetic Count Dracula is a radical departure from previous versions. It's enough to scare horror-film traditionalists". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-11-15/entertainment/ca-662_1_count-dracula. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  3. "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : BITE THIS : Coming Soon From Coppola: More Hearts of Darkness". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-10-25/entertainment/ca-1098_1_coppola-movie. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  4. "How a Scribe and a Damsel Saved 'Dracula' from Cable". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-11-08/entertainment/ca-42_1_dracula-films. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  5. "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : QUICK BITES : Bet You Thought Bela Lugosi's Neck Biter Was True to Bram Stoker". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-01-26/entertainment/ca-1125_1_bram-stoker. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  6. "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : REALLY SCARY KIDS : Before the Crypt Opens on Dracula, a Little Surgery". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-06-07/entertainment/ca-284_1_count-dracula. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  7. "A look inside Hollywood and the movies. : QUICK BITES : Bet You Thought Bela Lugosi's Neck Biter Was True to Bram Stoker". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-01-26/entertainment/ca-1125_1_bram-stoker. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 Rohrer, Trish Dietch. Coppola's Bloody Valentine, Entertainment Weekly, November 20, 1992, accessed September 6, 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Maslin, Janet. FILM; Neither Dracula Nor Rumor Frightens Coppola, The New York Times, November 15, 1992, accessed September 6, 2011.
  10. Weinraub, Bernard. Coppola's 'Dracula' A Hit on First Weekend, The New York Times, November 16, 1992, accessed September 6, 2011.
  11. Diamond, Jamie. She's Hot, She's Sexy, She's Undead, Entertainment Weekly", December 11, 1992, accessed September 6, 2011.
  12. Bram Stoker's Dracula at Rotten Tomatoes
  13. Movie Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula - Review/Film; Coppola's Dizzying Vision Of Dracula - NYTimes.com
  14. A Vampire With Heart... - TIME
  15. Bram Stoker's Dracula review by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, November 13, 1992
  16. Bram Stoker's Dracula - Capsule by Jonathan Rosenbaum - From the Chicago Reader
  17. Bram Stoker's Dracula review by Tom Hibbert, Empire
  18. "Dracula Takes a Big Bite Out of Box Office : Movies: The Francis Ford Coppola production overshadows competitors with an estimated $32-million gross.". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-11-16/entertainment/ca-521_1_francis-ford-coppola. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  19. "Weekend Box Office `Dracula' Counts for Plenty". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-11-17/entertainment/ca-508_1_weekend-box-office. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  20. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=bramstokersdracula.htm
  21. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=1992&p=.htm
  22. Movie Dracula - Box Office Data, News, Cast Information from The Numbers
  23. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?view2=worldwide&yr=1992&p=.htm
  24. "The 65th Academy Awards (1993) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/legacy/ceremony/65th-winners.html. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  25. Winning, Josh. Best Movies: The film chameleon’s greatest moments. Total Film. 11 April, 2011. Retrieved 4 October, 2011.
  26. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula July 6th, 1999
  27. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula: Superbit Edition December 18, 2001
  28. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula: Collector's Edition October 22nd, 2007
  29. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula (Blu-Ray) October 4th, 2007
  30. Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Board Game BoardGameGeek]
  31. Williams Bram Stoker's Dracula Internet Pinball Machine Database
  32. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) The Comic Book Database
  33. Dracula: Rhino Bowie Knife - Factory X - Dracula - Prop Replicas at Entertainment Earth Item Archive
  34. Bram Stoker's Dracula by Fred Saberhagen FictionDB.com

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