I’m just going to throw out two words: Frank Langella.
Timothy, as many of you know, has an extensive collection of Vampire movies and television shows, but one I’d never heard him talk about was the 1979 Dracula. When you hear about classic leading actors playing Vampires, the names Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee come up, but you don’t hear the word sexy. Powerful and dangerous, sure — these Vampires took what they wanted, but Langella’s Dracula seduced.
Timothy and I watched his new Blu-ray of the movie early Christmas morning. He won’t admit it, but I think Frank is a favorite of his.
And why not? The first time you see him, it’s only his fingers — long, slow, and deliberate — reaching for Mina tenderly but ensnaring her all the same. I think it was meant to be creepy…like watching a spider, but you still wanted to watch. The second time he is whole: tall, well dressed, moving with precision. His eyes linger and caress…wow. And his voice! Louisa once told me she knew I had been transformed from the quality of my voice, hearing that extra component that makes it “irresistible.” But hearing Langella pouring on the charm? Hearing him read a software agreement would be captivating.
The movie itself? It’s confusing. Mina Van Helsing? Lucy Seward? Laurence Olivier played Van Helsing as if he were drunk the entire time. I kept laughing at the bat puppet flapping its wings and Timothy gave me scolding looks. It was 1979! No CGI and everything was a practical effect, but I will say the film looked as if it could have been made a decade earlier — it doesn’t look like it came out two years after Star Wars. Speaking of which, John Williams did the score, so that was good.
Yes, Dracula was being his usual evil self. He killed poor Mina first (don’t ask, it’s all reversed) and later turned his attention to Lucy played by Kate Nelligan. There’s no precognition or reincarnation back story here, just Dracula taking his latest bride. It looked to me like Lucy was willing to be seduced by the rock star quality of her seducer, and if she was making a choice, then good for her! There are no sexy Vampires like Frank, at least none that I’ve ever met or heard of, and certainly not these supernatural soap opera television types where they keep diaries battling witches and werewolves.
If there ever was a Dracula, I prefer to imagine he was exactly like Frank Langella.
Keep each other safe — you know that Frank would.