Dracula (1979), Nick of Time

I just, by sheer coincidence, watched 3/4 John Badham movies I own in a row. Completely at random.
I’d put a movie in, sit here to finish some thought, turn around and see “Directed by John Badham.”

It was sort of bizarre.

Anyway, I then read 2/3 of them slammed for absolutely moronic reasons.

I imagine those who hate his Dracula (1979, with Frank Langella) mostly don’t like that he has a non-menacing Dracula and the story deviates wildly from the novel. Fair enough.
However, FANS went on to denigrate the current DVD release for not being perfectly coloured–but, not as an ERROR, Badham WANTED the majority of the movie to appear washed out and nearly monochromatic. I admit, I did check the settings on the TV and worry it had started to fail, but it was stunningly beautiful. I made it a point to note the cinematographer (Gil[bert] Tayloer) and art director (Peter Murton) and see what else they had done. It introduces full colour at the perfect moment, too.
They hate it because it’s not what they remember–a complaint I hear about Blade Runner a lot. I also recently read of that that “Ridley’s ego ruined it” when he removed the narration. Now, the first words I ever heard about the changes made, specifically the narration, were my father calling it grating/irritating/bad/unnecessary. Something to that effect anyway. For some time after I continued to hear that. Suddenly in the past year I hear complaints about its absence. I’m a bit confused.

Then I watch Nick of Time, a pretty standard thriller with an assassination at its core. This is Johnny Depp, Christopher Walken and Charles S. Dutton primarily. Now, I then read “this is absolute garbage” more times than I can count. Really now. It’s mediocre at best (though it maintained its suspense quite well indeed, and the stylization was appropriate, the one dream sequence showed itself in its appearance and tone and thus was not a complete red herring, and was even a sort of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”) but it was hardly ‘absolute garbage.’
‘Manos’ the Hands of Fate is absolute garbage. A film that cannot maintain its own tone/setting/etc is absolute garbage. As we all know, I feel that films that are remakes and dumb down or violate the originals, or adaptations which replace the original media in popular consciousness are absolute garbage–but there my complaint is based around my great irritation at the loss of a quality piece of art in favour of the newer and/or higher budgeted, or the easier to digest, or simply the inferior make (again, The Ring ruined the best scene in the original and did it all wrong and destroyed the tension by announcing its intentions instead of just doing it). But it’s the replacement factor.

Here there’s nothing to inspire such vehemence. Claims to ‘bad acting’ (of those three…?!) and ‘bad directing’ (I think this is ‘I didn’t feel it was realistic enough’ mistaken for ‘direction’) are bizarre and unfounded.
Now, the one legitimate complaint was Walken’s tendency to appear at the drop of a hat. This is, in part, a stylistic device to show how aware he is and how trapped Depp is. It’s to show his commitment, skill and professionalism.
Also, to again fly in the face of these idiots who always yell “OMG ITS NOT RAELIZTC!!111”
This never claimed to be realistic.
It’s a goddamn suspense/thriller movie. Real life tends not to be that tense for 1.5 hours–and having a villain who has to take 10 minutes to catch up isn’t terribly suspenseful.

Anyway. Just felt the need to express all that.


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