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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone pick this up yet? Anamorphic and, hopefully, bright colors, as opposed to the toned-down pseudo-"black&white" version John Badham engineered for the last (first) DVD issuance, as well as the version I saw on TV last weekend. I can't find any reviews yet, though.


This is the Frank Langella and Laurence Olivier version.

http://www.dvdreview.com/html/breaki..._9-27-98.html:

Yet, another good example, or maybe even the best of them all, down these lines is, when director John Badham literally mutilated his own 1979 film “Draculaâ€. Badham tried to achieve a sad and somewhat bleak look for his film, somewhat reminiscent to the stylish black and white classics. Badham decided to desaturate the film’s colors alltogether and the result is, well, let’s call it, very bleak. It get’s to the point where the film loses all its charm and atmosphere whereas the untouched film was rich in colors with fantastic atmospheric lightings. All these attributes were sadly lost in Badham’s director approved version, mostly because the cinematography was designed with rich colors in mind and doesnt’ work too well in this undersaturated version. This version of the film is available on DVD from Image Entertainment if you’re interested to see how a really good film has been single-handedly devalued by its own creator.
 

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Man I wish we could just get DVDs that contain the original version of films as they were projected in theaters ... I'm tired of this stupid game where I have to try to figure out if THIS Dracula is the one I saw in 1979, or the messed up version mentioned above ...

The 1979 film was pretty decent, though it had a silly ending and Langella as Dracula didn't even have fangs. Still, there were plenty of female vampires with fangs, and a great shipwreck scene, and a great scene set in a graveyard, and plenty of other spooky stuff perfect for Halloween viewing. It's probably the best modern film adaptation of Dracula (LEAGUES better than Coppola's ridiculous effort, maybe tied with the first Christopher Lee film.)


I'm going to try to track down a disc that ISN'T desaturated to add it to my Halloween marathon and would recommend others do the same.


Thanks for the warning about the f_cked up version, eweiss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The old OOP DVD release is the desaturated, non-anamorphic one.


This new one (released yesterday) is anamorphic, and supposedly has the full original color.
 

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Awesome!


I'll be swinging by Bestbuy, I guess. Wish I knew which version Netflix had.
 

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Empiredvd will have it as 2.35:1 anamorphic November 2, I have the old one, this the one that Frank Langella starred in, it's in color at $9+ change and free shipping.
 

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There is no proof at all that it will be any different than the first release. We can only hope the Lord shows us mercy (or that Badham does).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, it WILL be anamorphic. That is a difference. But I sure hope it's not the pale gray-green of the last one. Maybe I should drive to BB and buy it and let y'all know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
From a review of the OLD DVD:


I recommend the film highly - it is a damn sight better than Coppola's 1992 effort - but I can't really say much for the DVD. It sounds pretty good, despite being in Dolby Surround only, but it looks horrible. All the colours have been faded so that the image almost looks black and white. This was at the request of the director, but it just doesn't work. When I saw the film in the cinema in 1979, it looked wonderfully rich, but here it looks limp. The print quality is adequate, although some artifacts crop up from time to time and prove rather distracting in the night scenes. No extras apart from scene selection, which is very depressing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Verdict/Answer:


I just bought and opened and popped in the DVD:


The bad news: It is (or must be) the desaturated, muted-color version everyone has griped about. This is certainly NOT bright color. I don't have the previous DVD, but I assume this is the same color brightness and intensity. Also, it's only DD 2.0 Surround.


The good news: It's anamorphic. On a quick spot check I could not see any edge enhancement around the scenes/shapes that usually exhibit it (mountain ranges, dark objects against light backgrounds) - though I did just now see some on the zoom in to the castle shot at the beginning. Not distracting at all, though. That's good.


So, if one accepts the director's "vision" of how it's supposed to look, and realizes that it does make it look like a "classic" vampire/horror film, and sort of like those tinted photos of old, then one can enjoy this nice inexpensive anamorphic DVD of one of the better movie versions of Dracula. Easily worth $9.99 imo, if you're a fan of the genre, no matter what you think or dislike about the muted colors.


And ... I found that if I increase my COLOR all the way to 63 (my Video Essentials setting, which I've programmed as my "Reset" setting, is at the halfway point for the Sony PRO setting - i.e., 31 or 32 ticks out of 63), the color is quite nice. So for this one movie, for all but the bright red scene, I suspect, where he sucks Lucy's blood and they "fly" together, the full color setting can overcome the drab color palette if you absolutely hate it. THAT'S good news.


It has an audio commentary by John Badham, and a 40-minute "making of" bonus feature. Frank Langella now has almost no hair, and his beard is white.


- - -


I splurged and paid $14.99 for the new DVD of THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, too. I've only seen this movie once, more than 30 years ago.
 

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As I mentioned above, I saw this in the theater and was impressed with it then. Later I watched it on VHS and was still impressed. I'm guessing that the VHS version was NOT desaturated, at least I don't remember it being so. I might get this just to have the anamorphic copy, but it really does suck - no pun intended - that the color has been drained away. I might try eweiss idea and crank up the color on my projector ... but if it was desaturated, my guess is the tint is probably a little different too ...

That review you quoted, eweiss - about the Badham version being superior to the Coppola one - is absolutely spot on.
 
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