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Thread: Dracula (1958)

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    The Real Dracula



    As many of you may be aware I am a big British horror film fan, Hammer and others, mainly those featuring Count Dracula in whatever guise or flavour, and his spin off evil do-oers. I recently found some information on the net about the origins of the real person the legend and story was supposed to have been based on, and so thought I'd share it with you all:



    In 1560 Elizabeth Bathory was born into one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Transylvania. Her family had many powerful relatives; a cardinal, princes, and a cousin who was prime minister of Hungary. The most famous relative was Istvan Bathory (1533-86) a prince of Transylvania and king of Poland from 1575-86.



    It has been said that at around the age of 4 or 5, Elizabeth started having had violent seizures, possibly epilepsy or a similar neurological disorder, and may have something to do with her behaviour later in life.



    When she was 15 Elizabeth married Count Ferenc Nadasdy who was 11 years older. The count took Elizabeth's surname so that she could keep her family name and influence and they lived together in Castle Cséjthe, which in Slovak is Cachtice.



    The count spent a great deal of time away from home fighting wars and for this he was nicknamed "The Black Hero of Hungary". While her husband was away Elizabeth's manservant Thorko introduced her to the occult.



    The first ten years of their marriage, Elizabeth bore no children then around 1585, Elizabeth bore a girl whom she named Anna, and over the following nine years gave birth to two more girls, Ursula and Katherina and her first and only son, Paul. Judging from letters she wrote to relatives, she was a good wife and protective mother.



    In 1600 Count Ferenc died in battle aged 51, and thus began Elizabeth's period of atrocities. Elizabeth couldn't tolerate her domineering mother-in-law and she sent her away from the Castle. With the help of her old nurse Ilona Joo, she began to take pleasure in torturing the servant girls. Her other accomplices included the major-domo János Ujvary, Thorko, and two witches Darvula and and Dorottya Szentes.



    By this time it is thought that she had dabbled into some forms of sorcery, attending rituals that included the sacrificing of horses and other animals. Elizabeth, now 40 years old, grew increasingly vain and she feared the thought of aging as she may lose her beauty. One day a servant girl accidentally pulled her hair while combing it and Elizabeth slapped the girl's hand so hard she drew blood. Blood fell into Elizabeth’s hand and she immediately thought that her skin took on the freshness of her young maid. She believed that she had found the secret of eternal youth. Elizabeth had her major-domo and Thorko strip the maid nude and then cut her and drain her blood into a huge vat, in which Elizabeth later bathed to beautify her entire body.



    Elizabeth's henchmen continued to provided Elizabeth with new girls for the blood-draining ritual and her blood baths. She went out of her way to see to it that the dead girls were given proper Christian burials by the local Protestant pastor, at least initially. As the body count rose the pastor refused to perform his duties in this respect, because there were too many girls coming to him from Elizabeth who had died of "unknown and mysterious causes." She then threatened him in order to keep him from spreading the news of her "hobby" and continued to have the bodies buried secretly. Near the end, many bodies were disposed of in haphazard and dangerously conspicuous locations; nearby fields, wheat silos, the stream running behind the castle, the kitchen vegetable garden etc.



    One of her intended victims managed to escape and told the authorities about what was happening at Castle Cachtice. King Mátyás of Hungary ordered Elizabeth's own cousin, Count György Thurzo, governor of the province to intervene. On December 30, 1610 the governor’s men raided the castle and they were horrified by the terrible sights. One dead girl in the main room drained of blood, and another alive whose body had been pierced with holes. In the dungeon they discovered several living girls, some of whose bodies had been pierced several times. Below the castle, they exhumed the bodies of some 50 other girls.



    A trial was held in 1611 at Bitcse, and Elizabeth, who refused to plead either guilty or not guilty, never appeared. At this trial Johannes Ujvary, major-domo, testified that about 37 unmarried girls has been killed, six of whom he had personally recruited to work at the castle. The trial revealed that most of the girls were tortured for weeks or even months. They were cut with scissors, pricked with pins, even prodded with burning irons and placed on to short spikes in a cage hung from the ceiling to provide Bathory with a "blood shower". Sometimes the two witches tortured the girls, or the Countess did it herself. Elizabeth's old nurse testified that about 40 girls had been tortured and killed. In fact, Elizabeth killed 612 women and in her diary she documented their deaths. A complete transcript of the trial was made at the time and it survives today in Hungary.



    Of the people involved in these killings, all but Countess Bathory and the two witches were beheaded and cremated. Due to her nobility Elizabeth was not allowed by law to be executed, but her two accomplices had their fingers torn out and were burned alive. The court never convicted Countess Elizabeth of any crime, but King Mátyás II demanded the death penalty. Her cousin the prime minister agreed to an indefinitely delayed sentence, which meant solitary confinement for life in her torture chamber. Stonemasons were brought in to wall up the windows and doors with the Countess inside. They left a small hole through which food could be passed.



    On July 31 1654 Elizabeth dictated her last will and testament to two cathedral priests from the Esztergom bishopric. She wished that what remained of her family holdings be divided up equally among her children, her son Paul and his descendants were the basic inheritors though. Late in August of the year 1614 one of the countess's jailers wanted to get a good look at her, since she was still reputedly one of the most beautiful women in Hungary. Peeking through the small aperture in her walled-up cell, he saw her lying face down on the floor. Countess Elizabeth Bathory was dead aged 54.



    Her body was intended to be buried in the church in the town of Cachtice, but the grumbling of local inhabitants found abhorrent the idea of having the "infamous Lady" placed in their town, on hallowed ground! Considering this, and the fact that she was "one of the last of the descendants of the Ecsed line of the Bathory family", her body was placed to the north eastern Hungarian town of Ecsed, the original Bathory family seat.



    All records of Elizabeth were sealed for more than a century, and her name was forbidden to be spoken in Hungarian society.



    Unlike most females of the time, Elizabeth was well educated and her intelligence surpassed even some of the men of her time. Elizabeth was exceptional, becoming "fluent in Hungarian, Latin, and German... when most Hungarian nobles could not even spell or write...Even the ruling prince of Transylvania at the time was barely literate"(20). Some modern scholars and contemporaries of hers postulated that she may have been insane, thus accounting for her seemingly inconceivable atrocities, but even a brief glance into her past reveals a person fully in control of her faculties.



    Dracula, created by the Irish author Bram Stoker, was based, albeit loosely, on the Romanian Prince, Vlad Dracula, the Impaler. Raymond T. McNally, who has written four books on the figure of Dracula in history, literature, and vampirism, in his fifth book, "Dracula was a Woman," presents insights into the fact that Stoker's Count Dracula was also strongly influenced by the legends of Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary. Why, for example, make a Romanian Prince into a Hungarian Count? Why, if there are no accounts of Vlad Dracula drinking human blood, does blood drinking consume the Dracula of Stoker's novel, who, contrary to established vampire myth, seems to appear younger after doing so? The answers, of course, lie in examining the story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory.



    It was largely Slovak servants whom Bathory killed, so the name "Csejthe" is only spoken in derision, and she is still referred to as "The Hungarian Whore.



    It's a shame Oil of Olay wasn't on the market then it would have saved a few hundred lives!

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    (Fran @ Oct 12 2005, 12:00 PM)

    The Real Dracula



    In 1560 Elizabeth Bathory was born into one of the oldest and wealthiest families in Transylvania....


    According to this review on Amazon, Ingrid Pitt's character was based on Bathory:



    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B...3133284-2429413



    It would make more sense for a woman, than for a man, to want to continue her youth by drinking the blood of other younger (virginal) women.

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    (red squirrel @ Oct 13 2005, 08:58 PM)

    According to this review on Amazon, Ingrid Pitt's character was based on Bathory:



    http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B...3133284-2429413



    It would make more sense for a woman, than for a man, to want to continue her youth by drinking the blood of other younger (virginal) women.
    Yes and it's easy to see where the movie link with vampires and lesbians started from, although there iis no evidence of any sexual "goings on" in the Bathory folklore, apart from severe BDSM and torture. I suspect it was poetic licence to feature lesbian vampires in the 70s, and no doubt it added another dimension to the story and helped boost audience figures at a time when such things were fairly new and shocking.



    A couple of female friends of mine role play as vampires, to such an extent that apart from the obvious things like wearing Ingrid Pitt type period clothing, they also have many artefacts like metal goblets, candleabra, daggers, a table covered in red silk for mock human sacrifices, and other implements of destruction and they even have a Gothic looking (fibre glass resin) stone coffin at their home in the garage! It sounds pretty wierd but several of their friends are also into the vampire culture in a similar way that Star Trek fans become Trekkies, and you can imagine what fun their fancy dress (or undress) parties are, especially the Halloween ones!



    I think such activities are a little strange to say the least, but if they enjoy it why not?

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    Maybe Eileen Daly could step into Ingrid Pitt's role for those too young to appreciate the camp of Hammer Horror.



    Yes and it's easy to see where the movie link with vampires and lesbians started from, although there iis no evidence of any sexual "goings on" in the Bathory folklore, apart from severe BDSM and torture. I suspect it was poetic licence to feature lesbian vampires in the 70s, and no doubt it added another dimension to the story and helped boost audience figures at a time when such things were fairly new and shocking.
    Vampryos Lesbos (which I haven't seen) was made in the same year apparently (1970):



    http://www.play.com/play247.asp?page=title...p=57&g=72&pa=sr



    It might be worth a view once, but I'm not sure I'd watch it more than that!



    (Fran @ Oct 14 2005, 09:41 AM)

    A couple of female friends of mine role play as vampires, to such an extent that apart from the obvious things like wearing Ingrid Pitt type period clothing, they also have many artefacts like metal goblets, candleabra, daggers, a table covered in red silk for mock human sacrifices, and other implements of destruction and they even have a Gothic looking (fibre glass resin) stone coffin at their home in the garage! It sounds pretty wierd but several of their friends are also into the vampire culture in a similar way that Star Trek fans become Trekkies, and you can imagine what fun their fancy dress (or undress) parties are, especially the Halloween ones!



    I think such activities are a little strange to say the least, but if they enjoy it why not?
    A lot of girls go through a gothic phase. You sometimes see them in the daylight at record fairs all in black - apart from the 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' t-shirt - looking for Bauhaus stuff and the like. I bit their undress parties are great. I wonder if they go to they Whitby gothfest!



    Incidentally, I wonder if the notion of a Countess Dracula drinking the blood of virginal women is related to menstruation, ie a form of HRT for a post-menstrual woman. In which case would her victims need to be killed and would that be where the adoption of lesbian sexuality into the stories comes in? Yes I know what I am intimating at sounds gross, but the whole issue of vampires is entwined with sexuality in any case.

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    (Fran @ Oct 14 2005, 09:41 AM)

    Yes and it's easy to see where the movie link with vampires and lesbians started from, although there iis no evidence of any sexual "goings on" in the Bathory folklore, apart from severe BDSM and torture. I suspect it was poetic licence to feature lesbian vampires in the 70s, and no doubt it added another dimension to the story and helped boost audience figures at a time when such things were fairly new and shocking.
    Well, to be fair to COUNTESS DRACULA, that movie doesn't really feature lesbians (or even Vampires come to that, well not the traditional Undead type!) as Pitt's motivation is hetrosexual passion. I guess the movie gets bracketted with the contempory Hammer Karnstien triology because of the prescence of Pitt, which is a bit unfair as it's a more straighter, 'serious' story.

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    I'm a goth, and I wouldn't call it a phase - I'm thirty two and have dressed much the same way all my life. Several of my goth friends are in their fifties and sixties. Goths don't necessarily have anything to do with vampires, and a lot of us get sick of the association, which is based merely on a shared visual aesthetic (though many goths don't go in for velvet or corsetry at all). The reason the Whitby goth festival (which I'll be attending in a couple of weeks) is held there is simply that, since the locals were used to Dracula fans visiting, they'd be less likely to be suspicious of and/or aggressive towards people in black.



    I think that lumping people like Countess Bathory, the Marquis de Sade and the Yorkshire Ripper together creates more confusion than it resolves - these are people with quite different motives and ideas. When we write them all off as unknowable monsters, we should remember that we cannot hope to anticipate or defeat what we don't understand. This is a persistent flaw in films about killers and torturers, though it's probably fair to assume that their producers are generally less interested in psychology than in visceral horror and, often, the titillation of the audience.



    Jennie

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    (Jennie_Kermode @ Oct 15 2005, 01:37 PM)

    I'm a goth, and I wouldn't call it a phase - I'm thirty two and have dressed much the same way all my life. Several of my goth friends are in their fifties and sixties. Goths don't necessarily have anything to do with vampires, and a lot of us get sick of the association, which is based merely on a shared visual aesthetic (though many goths don't go in for velvet or corsetry at all). The reason the Whitby goth festival (which I'll be attending in a couple of weeks) is held there is simply that, since the locals were used to Dracula fans visiting, they'd be less likely to be suspicious of and/or aggressive towards people in black.



    I think that lumping people like Countess Bathory, the Marquis de Sade and the Yorkshire Ripper together creates more confusion than it resolves - these are people with quite different motives and ideas. When we write them all off as unknowable monsters, we should remember that we cannot hope to anticipate or defeat what we don't understand. This is a persistent flaw in films about killers and torturers, though it's probably fair to assume that their producers are generally less interested in psychology than in visceral horror and, often, the titillation of the audience.



    Jennie
    Maybe I blame it on Bauhaus, who weren't really goths at all, though they did perform 'Bela Lugosi' at the beginning of 'The Hunger', the Bowie / Deneuve film. A lot of goths do have a shared taste in Hammer-type horror films and the like, as well as Sisters of Mercy / Mission - style music.



    I wouldn't lump Peter Sutcliffe in the category of de Sade, who was something of a sexual 'libertin' or that of Countess Bathory, whatever is known of her. Blake Morrisson's 'Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper', written in West Riding dialect, exposes his alleged 'God told me to do it' story for what it was.



    I watched Countess Dracula on video last night, for the first time in ages. No, its nothing to do with vampires, the late PC. Her heterosexual passion is driven by the desire to be young and beautiful and of course, to titillate the audience with Ingrid Pitt's fit bod! It is ridiculous that Hammer films still have a cert 18, when even a 12 year old wouldn't be shocked by them. They are just colour versions of the camp theatrical genre that Bela himself started, violent deaths being implied not shown. They are not Freddie Kruger-type slasher movies.



    Fran, having found your favourite film on play.com:



    http://www.play.com/play247.asp?page=title...p=57&g=72&pa=sr



    is it an English-language film or something dubbed into English (of the Jess Franco variety)?

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    (red squirrel @ Oct 15 2005, 05:32 PM)



    Fran, having found your favourite film on play.com:



    http://www.play.com/play247.asp?page=title...p=57&g=72&pa=sr



    is it an English-language film or something dubbed into English (of the Jess Franco variety)?
    It is an English language film but the two main actresses, despite being English, were dubbed and I'm not sure why because their real voices sounded better than the dubbed ones. Perhaps their lack of experience was the reason, and the director maybe chose them purely for their physical attributes, Anulka was a former Playmate of the Month in Playboy. They both suited their roles very well, and the dark haired one, Marianne Morris definitely had a vampire/horror film look about her face. The lesbian scenes were very weak but at the time fairly shocking, and having watched the documentary with the DVD, Ms Morris was not too happy about doing them. I always thought that the two women were very attractive and had just the right look for horror films.

    The Spanish director was Jose Larraz who also did Black Candles, which was terribly violent in certain scenes. As far as I know everyone in the Vampyres film was English and it was filmed at a creepy old house near London. The cast were:



    Marianne Morris Anulka Dziubinski Murray Brown Brian Deacon

    Sally Faulkner Michael Byrne Karl Lanchbury Margaret Heald

    Gerald Case Bessie Love Elliott Sullivan



    Michael Byrne I've seen in many other things, but most of the cast are unfamiliar to me. Anulka Dziubinski was the wanton landlady's daughter in The Likely Lads spin off movie.



    I don't know why I put it as my favourite film, probably because Ms Morris' character is also called Fran, and not many people have seen it and my real love is the common or garden Hammer horrors. If you watch a Hammer like Vampire Circus for example, the amount of work that has obviously gone into making it; the sets, costumes, lots of scenes, historical accuracy and additional stuff away from the main plot etc is something that you don't see much of today and of course the colour is just fantastic. Today's films get in quick, straight to the point, then out again and are always shot very dark and dismal !

    There is Hungarian historical film called The Round Up made by Miklos Jancso in 1965, and although I've never seen it I would like to get hold of a copy. East European history is fascinating and many of the horror movies I enjoy are loosely based on the folklore of countries like Hungary.

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    (samkydd @ Dec 5 2005, 07:37 PM)

    Having worked in many African countries in recent years I would say to everybody, don't send any aid at all. The money all goes into Swiss bank accounts for senior officials so that when they're driven out by a US funded coup, they can live in exile in the better parts of Paris in a luxurious apartment complex! Any aid in the form of goods or foodstuffs is either distributed to loyal party members so they can sell them on (this happens in Zim), or they're just re-exported for cash to another area of need!



    Why we bothered with Saddam is a mystery, he's a pussycat compared to Mugabe, who on his own is a weapon of mass destruction! I could tell you some real life horror stories but I feel ill just thinking about that evil man!
    I am 100% behind you on that one,Sam. I hold no brief for Saddam Hussein at all. However,while I am not getting into the debate about the intention of the invasion was for oil,I often ask myself WHY IRAQ? Did Bush and Blair close their eyes and dropped a pin on the middle east,open their eyes and found out where it landed. It nows turn out Saddam was not fond of the Al Quaida,nor did he have any WMD's. Yes he was a murderous brute with no clemence of human rights,but then again the same applies to Mugabe,North Korea (the real threat to the world) and a load of other despotic lead nations. The war on terror is a fight I believe in,but the invasion of Iraq was not only a soft target - it was the wrong one,and the detour has not helped us in the real fight.

    Mark

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    I wouldn't care,I didn't mind Daddy Bush - not the greatest of US Presidents I grant you,but he was the Dr Jekyll to baby Bush's Mr Hyde. I even preferred that old rogue,Clinton,to the present incumbent of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Ta Ta

    Marky B

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    How can we in Europe trade with people in China and the Far East who actively encourage child and almost slave labour in appalling conditions ,when within the confines of the EU it would not be tolerated. But it's okay for European companies to make workers redundant and close European factories so they can move manufacturing industries to such unrestricted hell holes simply because of cheap labour and zero health and safety regulations, to make even more profit!
    "MONEY DOSEN'T TALK IT SWEARS"



    This is the price of free trade,the people of China are leaving the countyside in their millions to work in these "hell holes".they would climb over each other to get a job with slave wages because it is better than starvation wages.We made the transition from "dark satanic mills" to a regulated manufacturing industry,maybe in time they will.



    It makes my blood boil and I refuse to buy anything from those awful countries
    There are hundreds containers full of goods bound for the high street shops which come from these countries every day.

    My eleven year old daughter wears shoes which are probally made by an eleven year old.

    From the coffee I had for breakfast to the lightbulb I will turn off before I go to sleep, will come from places whose conditions of employment are a horror to me,Unfortunately a "made in" label is no guarantee that the component parts didn't come from these countries.



    There is nothing new going on here,when I was young the "made in Japan" labels on goods were an indication of cheap labor ,but not anymore.



    China is unique in that it is communist country moving towards having a capitilist economy.we can only hope that when the people have greater personel prosperity,they will demand more Liberty.Health & Safety are secondary considerations when your belly is empty,as our forefathers who went down the mines or worked in the factories would attest if the could.Refusing to buy their goods will not put food in their stomaches.



    Asia is rising fast we better find ways to compete or have services to sell or I fear that my great grandchildren will be living in a Third world economy desperate for the chance to work for slave wages in factories that make goods for the rich Asain countries

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    I thought you all might be interested in this. Is there any truth in it?



    Quoted and sourced by Dave Hartley at DVDManiacs



    "We all know that Dracula is a fantasy but surely no-one ever expected the British Film Institute to dream up such a fantastical press release. There is not a shred of truth in these assertions. The BFI did not restore the 1958 Hammer Dracula. This was done by Warner Bros. (the copyright owners) about six years ago, and was, by all accounts a very straightforward procedure, requiring no research, as the negative they worked from (of the American release version) was complete and in good condition. All the “BFI National Archive? did, in reality, was to have a laboratory in California add the British main titles to the American release picture, thus producing a hybrid that was never, ever in distribution. So much for the BFI’s policy of enhanced curatorial control. Such a decision – to create, in effect, a new work without clearly documenting the modification – would be anathema to any right-thinking archivist elsewhere in the world. In the BFI’s new fantasy land, though, it seems that anything goes."



    http://www.filmarchiveaction.org/news.htm

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    Not being an archivist or a restorer I don't actually know, but I find it hard to believe....as the head of the restoration team has specifically stated in that release that the restoration was taken from the original British negative, and that only the scenes censored in Britain (and thus missing from the original negative) were taken from the Dupe negs that Warners did their restoration from. Why lie??

    Technically it's correct that it's a 'hybrid that was never..in distribution' but would you rather see it restored fully censored to 1958 standards, or as originally intended by its director?? I would go with the BFI on that one.

    I signed up pretty early to Fim Archive Action, it started as a good lobbying group, but it does at times seem to go OTT....this may be one of them.

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    Senior Member Country: Scotland silverwhistle's Avatar
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    Anyone know if/when the restored version is going to be issued on DVD?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverwhistle
    Anyone know if/when the restored version is going to be issued on DVD?
    Eventually. I'm sure it was supposed to be doing a limited UK cinema run after Cannes.

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    Thanks! I wonder if GFT will get it?

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    Lobby for it??

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    As Senior Curator (Fiction) at the BFI National Archive, I'd like answer the points raised over our work on DRACULA. The work undertaken by Warner Bros in the mid-1990s was not a restoration as such but simply the preparation of digital materials for a DVD release. The BFI has prepared new preservation materials on film from the original negative. The new version, incorporating the original UK title sequence, benefits from additional technical work that has been carried out on both picture and sound. Furthermore, we have reinstated a brief sequence which was cut from the UK release version by the BBFC. None of this is a secret and we are pleased to offer the film to UK audiences in as complete a form as is currently possible. You can see the film at the Cambridge Film Festival on July 8, and a theatrical and DVD release are planned for later this year.

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    Fantastic.



    If I besmirch BFI's reputation further, can I get more and more films released?!!



    Or will I need to keep my pitchfork and torches for those long, lonely foggy-night mountain path climbs?







    (I'm not opposed to either method, by the way... especially if more theatrical and DVD releases can be gained!)

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    If the brief sequence cut for UK release by the BBFC (as mentioned by Penfold) is simply a more complete version of Lucy's staking (apart from the titles, it was the ONLY difference between the British version known as "Dracula" and the international version known as "Horror of Dracula"), it's not a big discovery, as "Horror of Dracula" was never a lost picture. In fact it was this complete version, with this title, which was released in France in February 1959 for instance.



    To the other hand, the restored copy can have much better colors than the Warner DVD in USA - and (if you plan to release this restored version on DVD) a better respect of the image ratio, the US DVD being hideously matted above and below to obtain an inaccurate wide-screen effect.



    For a time, by "restored", I was hoping that the new version would include some shots never included in ANY version, but seen on stills, like the hideously tranformed Jonathan Harker in the coffin, or Christopher Lee in mid-decomposition at the end of the movie, but apparently those segments are lost for ever (if they were really filmed).

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