Dracula | Chicago Reader

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John Badham, of Saturday Night Fever, directs a traditionalist version of the Bram Stoker novel—traditional even when Badham evidently thinks he's doing something new, like putting in sex. Frank Langella is the count, in a performance that reportedly differed from his Broadway interpretation: less campy, more glamorous. Still, Badham hasn't made much of him. The character is presented well, but never developed; his sinister charm degenerates into strained politeness. Laurence Olivier, as Van Helsing, turns in another quaintly accented fussbudget, continuing his run of Albert Basserman imitations, and he's so distractingly mannered that he brings the film to a dead halt. The best effects are the work of Albert Whitlock, whose matte paintings have the romantic extravagance the film sadly lacks (1979).

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