Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Palance as Dracula: Dracula the Mack Truck
"There is no way... in this life... to stop me."
Here's another Dracula that doesn't get enough attention: Dan Curtis' Dracula, starring Jack Palance.
Yes-- Jack Palance, the quintessential American bad guy, played Dracula in 1973 in a feature film by Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, and the results are mixed but have several things to recommend them.
First, this is the first movie to provide a "reincarnation gambit" to Dracula's motives, so that Dracula is angling for the female protagonist (here, Lucy) because he is convinced he is his reincarnated lover. This is such a common trope now that it's amazing to think it's not in the book and didn't make it into movies until Matheson, the creator of I Am Legend, came up with it.
Second, it has at its center a tour-de-force performance by Palance, who more than perhaps any other actor resembles the historical Dracula in physical bullishness -- Dracula was a large, imposing man, and so many of the film Dracula's are extremely slender. That's a valid interpretation, but it's interesting to see Palance come at his foes like a train. You get the sense that he's ready to explode at any moment.
I recommend this Dracula for your next Draculathon. :)