Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1958: Christopher Lee in Horror of Dracula

Christopher Lee did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Count Dracula in Horror of Dracula.

Horror of Dracula is a bit sloppy retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula almost as if the writer had not read the novel in a long time and just retold it from memory as it has some of the moments of the story but in the most random of ways.

Christopher Lee of the amazing voice and has a magnificent presence, but I have to say his roles always seem to be more minor than one would hope. This is certainly the case for his premier portrayal of one of his most famous roles that being of course Count Dracula. Despite being one of the most noted depictions of the character Lee's initial appearance is quite sparse as the film basically portrays Dracula's actions as pretty random and the film really does not have a particularly natural flow about it. Dracula kinda just does things and he appears from place to place without much logic at all. This version of the story really undercuts Dracula as a character through its ridiculously rushed pace, but it is still interesting to take a look at Lee's performance especially when compared to the other actor who have played the vampire Count.

There was Max Schreck's portrayal as basically a monstrous personification of despair and decay. Then later there was also of course Bela Lugosi, who is perhaps the most iconic, take where he combined a certain allure along with a menace. Also of course there was Gary Oldman's rather tongue-in-cheek that took elements of the other portrayals and took them to an extreme. Lee's performance is more limited than those other three since the films uses him so sparsely. Lee only has a few lines of dialogue throughout the film, and even that is mostly to the point dialogue that does not really try to build the character. Lee mainly has to create his Dracula just through his physical portrayal and even in that case he has to do it very quickly since his screen time is so ridiculously sparse in the film.

Lee performance is relatively simplistic as there just is not enough material available to him. Lee though still does create his own take on Dracula even in these fairly ridiculous confines. When he is acting "normal" Lee carries himself with enough innate menace simply from his presence although I have to say he certainly moves far swifter than the usual portrayal of the Count. I suppose this factors into his portrayal of Dracula when the monster comes out in a more obvious fashion. Lee's plays Dracula in the monster mode in a very animal like fashion as the thirst for blood is quite clearly in his expression as he seeks his prey. Lee is very effective in this regard as he brings such an intensity in his portrayal of the vicious vampire, and it is an interesting take on the character. Unfortunately the film only let's him go so far with this, and that is not very far at all considering his sparse appearances in the film. It's a solid performance by Lee to be sure, but very much wasted by the film.

15 comments:

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Imma edit my predictions slightly, 'kay?

1. Welles
2. Ives
3. Attenborough
4. Donat
5. Lee

luke higham said...

1. Welles
2. Attenborough
3. Ives
4. Donat
5. Lee

JackiBoyz said...

1. Welles
2. Attenborough
3. Ives
4. Donat
5. Lee

RatedRStar said...

I liked the film a little more than you did, um I should say that I am a bit of a Christopher Lee fan but can anyone blame me lol, I think he is good in everything that he has ever done, he is a legend in every sense of the word. =D


Christopher Lee and Sir Ian Mckellen should have dinner together they would be awesome to listen to =D.

Michael McCarthy said...

Louis, I don't know if you saw this earlier but I was wondering what are your ratings for

Boris Karloff in The Criminal Code

Dan O'Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe

Fredric March in The Desperate Hours

Van Heflin in 3:10 to Yuma

Claude Rains in Twilight of Honor

Cary Grant in Charade

Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan's Express

Peter O'Toole in How to Steal a Million

John McEnery in Romeo and Juliet

Walter Matthau in Charley Varrick

Robert Shaw in Force 10 from Navarone

George C. Scott in Changeling

Mel Gibson in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Ray Winstone in Sexy Beast

Mark said...

1. Welles
2. Ives
3. Attenborough
4. Donat
5. Lee

Anonymous said...

I have a question, what do people think is the better version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, the 1934 or 1956 version?

Michael Patison said...

I guess I'll jump on the Welles bandwagon too:
1. Orson Welles
2. Burl Ives
3. Richard Attenborough
4. Robert Donat
5. Christopher Lee

Michael Patison said...

Michael: O'Herlihy was nominated for Robinson Crusoe, so you should just look at his review on his 1954 (I believe) proper page.

Michael McCarthy said...

Ahhh, so he is, thanks, you can ignore that second one Louis haha

Louis Morgan said...

Boris Karloff - 4.5

Fredric March - 4.5

Van Heflin - 4

Claude Rains - 4.5

Cary Grant - 4.5

Frank Sinatra - 4

Peter O'Toole - 4

John McEnery - 4

Walter Matthau - 4.5

Robert Shaw - 4

George C. Scott - 4.5

Mel Gibson - 4

Ray Winstone - 4.5

Anonymous said...

Louis , What do you rate the Cast of Hook 1991 ?

Michael McCarthy said...

I swear this is the last time I'm gonna do this...

What are your ratings for

Martin Sheen in The Subject Was Roses

Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

Jacques Perrin in Cinema Paradiso

Charles Bronson in The Indian Runner

Harrison Ford in The Fugitive

John C. Reilly in Magnolia

Stephen Tobolowsky in Memento (I thought it might have changed since you moved him up)

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in In the Mood for Love

Haley Joel Osment in A. I. Artificial Intelligence

Tom Cruise in Minority Report

John Hurt in The Proposition

Jason Butler Harner in Changeling

Benedict Cumberbatch in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Colin Farrell in Seven Psychopaths

One last question, are there any performances other than Peter O'Toole in The Stunt Man and Maximilian Schell in Judgment at Nuremberg whose ratings you changed when you moved them to a different category?

luke higham said...

The only one, that I can think of is Ethan Hawke in Training Day.
Original - 4 Updated 4.5

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Williams - 2.5
Hoffman - 3.5
Hoskins - 3
Basco - 3
Korsmo - 2.5
Roberts - 2

Michael McCarthy:

Martin Sheen - 4.5

Steve Martin - 4

Jacques Perrin - 4

Charles Bronson - 4

Harrison Ford - 4

John C. Reilly - 4.5

Stephen Tobolowsky - 4.5

Tony Leung Chiu-Wai - 4

Haley Joel Osment - 4.5

Tom Cruise - 4

John Hurt - 4.5

Jason Butler Harner - 4

Benedict Cumberbatch - 4

Colin Farrell - 4