Thursday, November 29, 2012
180. HORROR OF DRACULA (DRACULA, 1958)
There has never been a more formidable Dracula than Christopher Lee, who summons a vividly unholy energy as he roars through the library scene (pictured), and he is perfectly balanced by the firm Christian authority of Peter Cushing's Dr. Van Helsing, who complements Lee with a series of equal shows of panache, cutting into frame with a brandished crucifix and running the length of a banquet table to vanquish evil with the full brunt of sunlight. The secondary roles are likewise perfect and perfectly poised -- Michael Gough (uncommonly restrained) and Melissa Stribling as the devoted Holmwoods, Carol Marsh (so memorable in BRIGHTON ROCK) as Lucy both sweet and feral (how she makes us feel her hatred of the protective wolfbane strewn about her room, and her surrender to the Count's nocturnal visits to her neck), and even little Janina Faye as the innocence sought by her undead "aunt." Photographed by Jack Asher, this is one of the most unconsciously artful-looking of horror films; it is lovely but with a loveliness that only supports the enchanting quality of its storytelling, never becoming too noticeable for the film's overall good. I am so looking forward to the restored version.
Viewed on Turner Classic Movies HD.
at 6:56 PM