4 Stars

John Badham’s 1979 production of Bram Stoker’s original 1898 masterpiece of horror literature is a very interesting, if imperfect take on the subject.

Especially with Frank Langella in the lead, and Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing. Kate Nelligan makes an interesting Lucy.

Shout Factory has given us two takes on the subject. First the original 1979 film, as released, and then (on a separate disc, Mr. Badham’s desaturated version (1991), which I rather enjoy.

Presumably derived from the same IP, both versions are a pleasure to watch, albeit never fully cleaned of detritus, cob webs and blood spatter.

For those who may have never encountered this version, you’ll find it a worthwhile expenditure of time.

A wonderful score by John Williams.

Image – 4

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA)

Pass / Fail – Pass

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RAH

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noel aguirre

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Forgive me for asking but why is the 1991 version considered “desaturated”? Is it trimmed down from the original? Thanks.
 

Dick

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Badham muted and desaturated the colors for its DVD release--but the film was acclaimed for its more dramatic hues.
By whom? Pure black and white would have worked better than this "desaturated" crap. Spielberg can get away with it, but Badham and his DRACULA redux look like crap to me. Sorry, RAH. Great to have debates here!
 

Johnny Angell

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By whom? Pure black and white would have worked better than this "desaturated" crap. Spielberg can get away with it, but Badham and his DRACULA redux look like crap to me. Sorry, RAH. Great to have debates here!
Seemed more like a rant then a debate to me.

What is a cow web?
 
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Dick

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Nice to hear from the two of you...I respect your positions. I already have the de-satch version and have kept it for the commentary...now I want to purchase the original. Generally, if a movie is made in color, I want to see color. I get that directors like to manipulate the look and mood of color in order to achieve a particular atmosphere, and that is their right. This goes back at least as far as 1956 with Huston's MOBY DICK (which, of course, looked as it does since its original release). But the altered DRACULA didn't do a thing for me except to piss me off. Same with Friedkin's redux of THE FRENCH CONNECTION. However, as long as the original theatrical appearance is made available, I have no objection to these modified transfers.
 

Billy Batson

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By whom? By me! :) If this blu hadn't included the desaturated cut I'd have zero interest in it.
But...but, the desaturated version has been out on Blu-ray for five years, surly if you were just interested in that, then you would have bought it by now, & have absolutely no interest in this new release.:)
 
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davidmatychuk

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I saw the first showing of this "Dracula" at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on a July Friday afternoon in 1979. The John Williams credit in the opening titles got a big, unexpected but deserved ovation from the audience. I also remember some grumbling about the reflection of the vampire in the puddle. The film I saw back then did not have any Gorey-ish desaturated look to it and though I understand (and kind of like) the look of the DVD and the older Blu-Ray, I've wished to retire my laserdisc copy in favour of something with better resolution because of the memory of my theatre experience. So I'm in for Scream's 2-disc set, and the additional extras are icing on the de-desaturated cake for this fan.
 

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Revisited the wonderful ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ on Saturday night with my family. In the scene where the simmering volcano of a network chief, Frank Langella, enters the lift with Ed Morrow’s producer Fred Friendly (George Clooney), my daughter said that Frank Langella always terrifies her in every role, yet his commanding screen presence and voice is so mesmerising that she can’t possibly want to look away.

I agreed with her completely. Can’t believe I still haven’t seen him in this, as Dracula, a role that would seem tailor-made for him based on my daughter’s summation. Shall have to rectify this omission presently.
 

Thomas T

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But...but, the desaturated version has been out on Blu-ray for five years, surly if you were just interested in that, then you would have bought it by now, & have absolutely no interest in this new release.:)
Duh! Of course I have the DVD. :) But it's a film I like enough to upgrade to blu. If it didn't have the desaturated version I would have just stuck with the DVD.
 

Worth

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Duh! Of course I have the DVD. :) But it's a film I like enough to upgrade to blu. If it didn't have the desaturated version I would have just stuck with the DVD.
Maybe you missed it, but it's been available on blu-ray since 2014.
 

Malcolm R

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Duh! Of course I have the DVD. :) But it's a film I like enough to upgrade to blu. If it didn't have the desaturated version I would have just stuck with the DVD.
He's not talking about DVD. This film was already released on blu-ray several years ago. The disc discussed in this thread is a re-release special edition by Shout!

If you only want the desaturated version, you can likely find the old blu-ray for a lower price.
 

warnerbro

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My favorite Dracula film after the 1931 original. I saw it in its original theatrical release and loved the color and was disappointed to see the desaturated home video releases. It has a conflicted history because it was filmed in vivid color but the director requested they desaturate it for home video releases because he had originally wanted it filmed in black and white. I'm very excited for this release and it is nice to have the film in its original form.
 

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I've never seen this and will probably pick it up. I like much of the Hammer types and older classic horrors for that matter.
 

Douglas R

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I've never seen this and will probably pick it up. I like much of the Hammer types and older classic horrors for that matter.
It's the complete antithesis of the Hammer films which is one reason why I like it so much. I can't stand the Hammer monster films.
 

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And you will notice the press release states that only the theatrical version is a new 4K remaster. I take it to mean that the desaturated disc is the old master which means those who only care about that version need not bother to upgrade.
 
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