Thursday, February 19, 2015


RIP to Louis Jourdan, who embodied Gallic charm—though more than once with a nasty reptilian undercurrent—in films like Letter from an Unknown Woman, Gigi, Can-Can, The Best of Everything, Julie, Octopussy, etc etc. It’s not always remembered that Jourdan, who departed on Valentine’s Day at 93

Monster-of-the-Week: ...was also one of the better screen Draculas, small screen division in this case, playing the title role in Count Dracula

…a rousing (and arousing) BBC production that played in the U.S. on Great Performances back in the ‘70s. This version is unusually faithful to Stoker’s novel, even featuring the scene of Drac climbing the wall like Spiderman…

…and along with Jourdan’s subtle, genuinely creepy underplaying as the Count, it also featured one of the best Van Helsings in Frank Finlay, a very sexy Lucy Westenra in Susan Penhaligon, and a superlative Renfield in Scottish actor Jack Shepherd. The guy who plays Texan Quincey Morris overdoes his accent hilariously, and there are some amusingly old-school special effects—indeed, the whole thing has that glaringly lighted shot-on-video look of ‘70s TV—but even so this version can get to you.

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