Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Romance of Dracula; a personal Journey of the Count on celluloid

Here's an example of a Kindle book that I loved on Kindle but would be even better on paper because you could flip through it at leisure. The Romance of Dracula; a personal Journey of the Count on celluloid is a series of essays on the key film versions of Dracula, including: NOSFERATU;
DRACULA (1931) and its Spanish version; Hammer's 1958 DRACULA (AKA Horror of Dracula in the US); COUNT DRACULA (El Conde Dracula, 1970); the 1973 DAN CURTIS' DRACULA; Coppola's 1992 BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, and more.

I really enjoyed the fact that Charles and Eddie Butler have organized their book by actors-- after an initial recap of the origins and contents of Stoker's novel, the following chapters are headed with the Dracula in question: Lugosi, Lee, and so on. Each chapter is separated into a recap of the film followed by a review. What I liked here is the chatty voice and attention to detail-- it's great to read about the limitations of the Spanish EL CONDE DRACULA and the problems of the 1979 Langella Dracula in one book. (And since this is a book that essentially studies multiple versions of the same story, the similarities and themes "pop" more for their recurrence.)

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Collector's Edition)I love that this is a new exploration of Dracula on film, so we get a fresh look at these films.  For instance, I've long wanted to see someone try to explain why the 1992 Dracula is so beloved-- I remember hating it when it came out but have softened towards it in time, but I too have often wondered why this version above all has been revered as closest to the book, whatever people take that to mean. Butler makes a sound argument that the movie's place in the canon has less to do with the obvious talent of Coppola than with the fact that by 1992, there hadn't been a Dracula in about fifteen years-- unlike in, say, 1979, when Langella's Dracula came barely six years after Christopher Lee's last outing.

I also completely agree with Butler's argument that Gary Oldman was a poor choice for Dracula, whereas giving Udo Kier a grown-up return to the role would have been a smasher. But then, but then.

This is a cool e-book; Dracula fans should check it out.
One minor note-- I wish the Kindle edition had a working Table of Contents-- that would make a huge difference in the Kindle enjoyment of the book. But you can't have everything!

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