Terence Fischer

T.It.: Dracula Il Vampiro; Sog: Dal Romanzo Omonimo Di Bram Stoker; Scen.: Jimmy Sangster; F.: Jack Asher; Mo.: Bill Lenny, James Needs; Scgf.: Bernard Robinson; Cost.: Mol- Ly Arbuthnot; Eff. Spec.: Syd Pearson; Tru: Phil Leakey, Roy Ashton; Mu.: James Bernard; Su.: Jock May; Int.: Peter Cushing (Dottor Van Helsing), Christopher Lee (Il Conte Dracu­la), Michael Gough (Arthur Holmwood), Melissa Stribling (Mina Holmwood), John Van Eyssen (Jonathan Harker), Carol Marsh (Lucy), Valerie Gaunt (La Donna Vampiro), Olga Dickie (Gerda), Charles Lloyd Pack (Dr. Seward), Janina Faye (Tania), George Woodbridge (Il Proprietario), Barbara Archer (Inga); Prod.: Anthony Hinds Per Hammer Films; Pri. Pro.: 8 Maggio 1958; 35mm. D.: 82′. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The restoration of what many fans call the best Hammer horror film required extensive research into reported censored scenes. Rumour and fact, not unlike the Dracula story itself, are intermingled. Our research into missing scenes led us to every conceivable resource from the vaults of Warner Bros to an archive in Japan. Scenes censored by the BBFC for the release of the UK version, but included in the US version, have been recovered. In addition, the US title, Horror of Dracula, had been attached to most theatrical and video releases. We have restored the original British release title with its distinctive illuminated “D”. Ben Thompson of the BFI National Archive film lab oversaw the restoration and it is due to his diligence and perfectionism that the film is restored. We owe special thanks to Richard Dayton and Eric Aijala of YCM Laboratories and Tim Everett, Ned Price, and Bill Rush at Warner Bros. The film was restored from the original negative, except for the original British title and the censored scenes, which were from dupe negatives found in Warner Bros’ vaults. The original prints were released on IB-Technicolor prints, and Richard Dayton at YCM Laboratories in Burbank worked with Ben to achieve this particular look. The restoration will have a UK theatrical release later this year, and Dracula will become one of the many thousands of films vital to British film history that are preserved at the BFI National Archive. The film was restored with the generous support of Simon Hessel.

Andreas Kalas, Senior Preservation Manager, BFI National Archive


After having restored to Britain the Promethean myth of Frankenstein and his creature, Terence Fisher also brought back to Europe the legend of Dracula, liberating it from Hollywood’s parodies and “Z” series movies. The film had a phenomenal, unexpected international success and inaugurated a long (and disappointing) succession of pictures. In the golden decade of the producers Hammer Films (1956-1965), Fisher resurrected an entire world of monsters (the Mummy, Mr Hyde, the Werewolf, the Phantom of the Opera, the Gorgon), but it was the vampire count who became perhaps the most emblematic figure of the British horror cinema between the Fifties and the Seventies. Director Fisher and writer Jimmy Sangster skilfully condensed the action of Bram Stoker’s novel, introducing some significant variations: Harker, at first presented as the hero who ventures into Dracula’s castle, is at once overcome and vampirized, and hence impaled by Van Helsing. In Fisher’s vision and in the “physical” and persuasive perform­ance of Christopher Lee, Dracula becomes an inexorable, magnetic seducer, of icy beauty and with the movements of a wolf, an erotic phantasm who magnetizes the desires and carnality of women (one thinks of the sequence in which Lucy tears with sensual delight at the crucifix while submitting herself to the pleasure of the bites).

The vivid chromatism of Asher’s photography and the effective, explicit cruelty of some sequences accentuate the visionary dimension which characterizes the film, in which Dracula’s menace is perhaps even more disturbing since he is effectively visible for only a quarter of an hour. The erotic charisma of the vampire and his power of sowing chaos is in counterpoint to the waxwork Victorian society without ever denying the predictable moralism of Fisher – who, in contrast to Dr Frankenstein (to whom he was to devote a whole saga), dedicated only two more films to the vampire count (The Brides of Dracula, 1960, without the Count and without Lee, and Dracula Prince of Dark­ness, 1965).

Roberto Chiesi

Copy From

Restored by
Original British title and the censored scenes from