DRACULA

The very best version is the 1979 film starring Frank Langella (reprising his successful 1977-78 Broadway role), Sir Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan and Trevor Eve.

Set in Whitby, England (circa 1920's) Count Dracula arrives via the Demeter one stormy night. A sickly Mina Van Helsing, who is visiting her friend Lucy Seward, discovers Dracula's body after his ship has run aground. Praised by the Count as his "Saviour", he then visits Mina and her friends at the household of Lucy's father, Dr. Jack Seward (whose clifftop mansion also serves as the local asylum). At dinner, he proves to be a charming guest and leaves a strong impression on the hosts, Lucy especially. Less charmed by this handsome Romanian count is Jonathan Harker, Lucy's fiance.

Later that night, while Lucy and Jonathan are having a secret rendezvous, Dracula reveals his true nature as he descends upon Mina to drink her blood. The following morning, Lucy finds Mina awake in bed struggling for breath. Powerless, she watches her friend die only to find wounds on her throat. Lucy blames herself for Mina's death as she had left her alone.

At a loss for the cause of death, Dr. Seward calls for Mina's father, Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing soon begins to suspect what might have killed his daughter: a vampire. Moreover, Van Helsing now begins to worry about what fate his seemingly dead daughter may now have since her encounter with the vampire. Seward and Van Helsing investigate their suspicions and discover a makeshift tunnel within Mina's coffin (clawed by hand) which leads to the local mines. It is there that they encounter the ghastly form of an undead Mina, and it is up to a distraught Van Helsing to destroy what remains of his own daughter.

Lucy meanwhile has been summoned to Carfax Abbey, Dracula's new home, and soon she reveals herself to be in love with this foreign prince and openly offers herself to him as his bride. After a surreal "Wedding Night" sequence, Lucy, like Mina before her, is now infected by Dracula's blood. However, the two doctors manage to give Lucy a blood transfusion to help prevent her vampirism, but nothing can stop the inevitable now.

Now aided by Jonathan, the elderly doctors realise that the only way to defeat Dracula (and save Lucy) is by destroying him. They manage to locate his coffin within the grounds of Carfax Abbey, but the vampire is waiting for them (despite it being daylight Dracula is still a very powerful adversary to his enemies). Dracula escapes their feeble attempt to kill him and bursts into the asylum not only to kill Renfield for his betrayal, but to free a captive Lucy, and to take her to his home, Transylvania.

In a race against time, Harker and Van Helsing just manage to get onboard a ship carrying the vampire cargo bound for Transylvania. Below decks, Harker and Van Helsing find the Count's coffin; upon opening it they see Lucy sleeping beside her new "husband", Dracula. Again they try to destroy him, but the Count awakens and once more fights with his assassins. In the struggle, Van Helsing is fatally wounded by Dracula as he is impaled by the stake intended for the vampire. As the enraged Count now turns his attention to Harker, the dying doctor uses his remaining strength to throw a hook (attached to a rope, from the ship's rigging), into Dracula's back. Harker seizes his only chance and hoists the Count's body up through the cargo hold and into the sunlight above. Dracula then suffers a slow and painful death as the solar rays burn his body.

Lucy, now apparently herself once more, reaches out to Harker for support, but is coldly rejected by her one time suitor. It is at that moment that she looks up to see Dracula's cape flying away in the wind, where she smiles enigmatically, hopeful that her true love is not quite so dead after all.

FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

Based on Thomas Hardy's 19th century novel, Bathsheba Everdene is a willful, passionate girl who is never satisfied with anything less than a man's complete and helpless adoration. And she captures the lives and loves of three very different men: Gabriel Oak (Alan Bates), a sheep farmer who is captivated by her beauty and proposes marriage; William Boldwood (Peter Finch), a prosperous man in his early forties and a confirmed bachelor; and Sergeant Frank Troy (Terence Stamp), a handsome, reckless swordsman given to sudden fits of violence.

     

FINDING NEVERLAND

Finding Neverland is an Academy Award-winning film which was released in 2004, starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman. It is a semi-fictional account of the experiences of Peter Pan author J. M. Barrie that led him to write the children's classic. In the movie, he befriends a young widow, and more importantly, her sons, and their experiences together give him the ideas for a story about boys who do not want to grow up.

FROM HELL

Jack the Ripper's escapades are undeniably the most fascinating, and most famous, unsolved case in history. After over one hundred years there are still new theories, new books and new movies.

It is 1888 in London, and the unfortunate poor lead horrifying lives in the city's deadliest slum, Whitechapel. someone is brutally murdering and dissecting prostitutes. Harassed by gangs and forced to walk the streets for a living, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) and her small group of companions trudge on through this daily misery, their only consolation being that things can't get any worse. Yet things somehow do when their friend Ann is kidnapped and they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine. The kidnapping is soon followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Polly, and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one.

Scotland Yard Inspector Fred Abberline (Johnny Depp), an opium addict and a man known for his weird ways of solving a case, is called to the case. When "chasing the dragon," he is able to have visions of the future, a certain psychic ability that allows him to solve cases. He quickly realizes that there is more to it than meets the eye, and he sets about finding a murderer that has strong ties to London's most influential.

Sinister even by Whitechapel standards, Abberline becomes deeply involved with the case, which takes on personal meaning to him when he and Mary begin to fall in love. But as he gets closer to the truth, Whitechapel becomes more and more dangerous for Abberline, Mary, and the other girls. Whoever is responsible for the killings is not going to give up his secret without a fight. Will they be able to survive the avenging force that has been sent after them from hell before Mary Kelly is the next victim?

Johnny Depp was impressive and brilliant ... but then, isn't he always?

       


Regency Victorian & Edwardian Themed Films