Puberty test...

Snowing lightly outside, nothing but crap on TV... I'm going to go do some needlework and watch a DVD of Dracula. Not the Lugosi version, or (god forbid) the George Hamilton version, but the Frank Langella version. This is the sexual/sensual R-rated version that makes the perfect test of whether your kid has reached puberty or not. If his/her jaw drops and a flushing of the face occurs, you know you're in for trouble.

Looking at Langella now (he played Nixon in the recent docudrama about Nixon and David Frost) you would not take him for a romantic leading man. He's aging well, but not in a 'beautiful' way. But when this movie was made, he was handsome enough to curl the toes of just about every 'straight' woman with a pulse. Redford was handsome in a wholesome way; Langella was 'bad-boy' handsome, the kind of guy who, if he took your daughter out for the evening, you weren't sure she'd come back quite the same.

It's almost a given that remakes are not nearly as good as the original. "Fun with Dick and Jane" was, in my opinion, way better in the original. Nothing can beat Nicholson in the low-budget b/w "Little Shop of Horrors" or Steve McQueen in "The Blob." Can you imagine anyone improving on the original cast of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?"

But now and then a remake comes along that is magic. "The Taking of Pelham 123" with Vincent D'Onofrio is one. (And hard to find...) Frank Langella's "Dracula" is another.

As pointed out in Langella's interview in the Bonus section of the DVD, it was somewhat eclipsed by "Love at First Bite," a parody with George Hamilton in the title role. But while the latter has faded, thankfully, Langella's version has become a cult classic. I'm not sure what earned it an "R" rating - maybe it's the very tasteful sensuality that, nonetheless, leaves no hormone untweaked. Maybe it's the not particularly explicit violence. Certainly not language... the Count was much too classy for that. Maybe the folks who do the ratings looked at it and thought, 'uh oh...here comes trouble...especially for the 17 year olds..."

Do rent it. Only this one...accept no substitutes. It's stunning.

1 comment:

  1. I own it. I saw it in the theater when I was 12. My mother took me (didn't realize it was rated R I imagine). If I hadn't been their yet, I was ushered into puberty in the darkness of the movie theater that night. :)