The Golden Age of Hollywood

By which I mean, who's your favorite actor to portray the Count, of course. A possible but not exhaustive list of candidates:
Max Schreck
Bela Lugosi
Carlos Villarias ('31 Spanish-Language version)
The Manniquin in the Coffin in DRACULA'S DAUGHTER
Lon Chaney, Jr.
John Carradine
Francis Lederer (RETURN OF DRACULA, '58)
Christopher Lee
David Peel (BRIDES OF DRACULA, '60)
Denholm Elliot (BBC TV, late 60s...I know, I know, WHO has ever seen THAT?)
Paul Naschy (sometimes he played something else besides a Polish werewolf!)
Charles MacCauley (in BLACULA)
Jack Palance (TV)
David Niven (OLD DRACULA)
Louis Jourdan (BBC TV '76)
Klaus Kinski
Frank Langella
Gary Oldman
Willem Dafoe
Mark Warren (BBC TV, recently)
Richard Roxburgh (VAN HELSING)
I might reiterate that I mean the Count himself, not simply movie vampires patently based on the Lugosian tradition (such as Jonathan Frid in DARK SHADOWS, German Robles in the Mexican EL VAMPIRO films, the guy with the cardboard teeth in the Jean Rollin films) or of vaguely Nosferatoid visage (Reggie Nalder in the original SALEM'S LOT) and certainly not those that have played Vlad the Impaler, such as the Romanian Actor Stefan Sileanu in the Romanian film of the same name, or the guy on the USA Network movie whose name escapes me, nor ones who simply hijack the name, such as COUNTESS DRACULA.

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Wow. My curiosity is aroused. I do hope those productions were recorded. I would like to see one.
In the late 70's, I got to see a stage production of "Dracula". It starred two of the actors from the tv show "Dark Shadows". I can't remember which two it was, but one played Dracula and one Van Helsing. The sets, as I remember were wonderful. The play itself and the acting, was another thing. For some reason, whoever directed the play went for laughs. It was almost like watching a melodrama with a healthy dose of comedy thrown in. I remember being very angry about that. I wanted to see "Dracula" and experience "chills and thrills", not laughter and a melodramatic vampire. It was sad. It should have been so much better. I can only imagine what it was like to see Bela and even Frank, on stage. It must have been pure magic!
There are literally dozens of different stage adaptations of Stoker, many of which are written to be played for laughs. Last October they staged one at the University of the Ozarks, which near where I live, and I got rather excited about it until I noticed it had a huge cast and was obviously NOT the Deane-Balderston version, and one further reading discovered it was probably one of the comedic ones, so I didn't go.
THere was a Ballet version (a fitting idea)that came thru here a few years ago that looked pretty good..
Chris Lee
Bela Lugosi of course for any classic film in black and white. Gary Oldman in later films.
Christopher Lee is ultimate Dracula. He has an intensity that is off the charts.
No contest - Bela. He's incomparable, imho. He has the right looks, aura, voice, accent, everything - total perfection. Second to his portrayal, would be the great Max Shreck's - truly scary - actually much more frightening than Bela's! I am not a fan of the later actor's versions of him - they lack mystery and are too overheated for my tastes. To each his own, of course!
Does Count Chocula count?
Sure! So does the "Counting Count" on Sesame Street.
I have to say Bela Lugosi, with Christopher Lee a close second. Francis Lederer was actually pretty good (RETURN OF DRACULA is underrated) and no matter what everybody else thinks, I say Lon Chaney Jr. did a pretty good job.
I must agree Lon Chaney Jr. was an under rated actor and did a heck of a job as Dracula.



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