On the 2006 BBC Dracula

The Sophia Myles film festival continues!

In 2006 Myles appeared as Lucy Westenra in a new BBC adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with a cast that included Marc Warren as the sanguinary count, Rafe Spall as Jonathan Harker, and David Suchet as Van Helsing.

Oh my god, what a piece of shite!

What the hell this muddled mess has to do with Dracula I couldn’t tell you.

The first half hour is filled with the machinations of Arthur Holmwood, who apparently was a 19th-century douchebag (which I never picked up on in reading Stoker, sorry) as he curses god for giving him syphilis, treats his fiancée-then-wife Lucy Westenra like dirt, and joins a Freemasons-like secret society of vampire worshipers. Then Jonathan Harker is sent to the continent, his employer gets a bullet through the head (the secret society’s doing, actually), and his fiancée Mina Murray is questioned by the CID as to Harker’s whereabouts and possible involvement in the murder. And then, of course, there’s weird goings-on in Transylvania at Castle Dracula.

What the hell some of this shit — and I am going to call it “shit” because it’s downright shitty and I’m not going to mince words on this fucker — has to do with Bram Stoker’s book, I don’t fucking know. I’m sorry, but Potato Moon makes more sense than this.

Yes, it looks great. The BBC does costume drama very well, as I said in regards to Doctor Who‘s “The Girl in the Fireplace.”

But there’s little recognizable in the story from Stoker except the names of the characters, and the direction is downright turgid.

I gave up on this turkey after half an hour. Life’s too damn short to waste it watching bad Dracula movies. Yes, Sophia Myles looked fantastic. But the movie was so damn boring I just couldn’t stick it out for some fang action. Now I feel like watching the original Universal Dracula just to scrub my brain of this complete botch.

On that note, this brings the Memorial Day Weekend Sophia Myles Film Festival to a close.

I had considered watching Underworld, but her role amounts to about two minutes of screen-time. I also considered watching some Moonlight, which I really didn’t like at first, but gradually came to really enjoy, but I don’t feel like watching all sixteen episodes or so. Of course, I could watch Art School Confidential, but considering the rest of the Sophia Myles Film Festival was costume dramas and period pieces, it wouldn’t really “fit.”

Why the Memorial Day Weekend Sophia Myles Film Festival? I have a coworker to thank for that.

On Thursday at work, I was watching the trailer for Outlander. I was really looking forward to sitting down this weekend and watching. My coworker wanted to know what I was watching. I told him.

“I bought that. It wasn’t good.”

My eyes boggled, I’m sure of it. “What do you mean, ‘It wasn’t good’? It’s got Vikings and aliens and Ron Perlman!

“You see Pathfinder? It’s like that, but worse.”

“But! But! It’s got Sophia Myles!” 😯

(I should mention, by the way, that I have a miniature of Sophia Myles as the Madame de Pompedour on my desk at work.)

The name rang no bells with my coworker. So I started rattling off her filmography, and it occurred to me that I have a surprising amount of it on DVD.

So in my coworker’s honor, because he dissed Outlander and didn’t even know who Sophia Myles was, I decided to have a Memorial Day Weekend Sophia Myles Film Festival.

And tomorrow, we’ll return to your regularly scheduled allyngibson.com lunacy. :cheers:

3 thoughts on “On the 2006 BBC Dracula

  1. I wrote at the time:

    In David Mackenzie’s, Hallam Foe (which I saw during a preview tonight), Jamie Bell plays a slightly eccentric young man with peeping tom tendencies attempting to get over the death of his mother. He’s kicked out of the big house his father (Ciarán Hinds) shares with a new young wife (a reptilian Claire Forlani) when he accuses her of murder and seeks his fortune in Edinburgh were he meets and becomes obsessed with a hotel staff manager, Sophia Myles, who is a dead ringer for his dead mum.

    This is a warm hearted and sympathetic piece of work, never quite tipping over into the needless quirkiness which the title suggests and offering Bell’s best ever work, a multi-layered portrayal of someone who’s inherently shy but putting on a front in order to survive. That could also be a decent description for Myles character too — she has both and private facades — and once again the actress demonstrates just how underrated she is (this time showing off her Scottish accent) and what a loss to our industry when she’s off in the US doing network television.

    The third star though is the landscape, both in the highlands and Edinburgh in a slight return to the underworld seen in Trainspotting. Bell spends much of his time on the rooftops of the city and like Boyle’s film we’re presented with a side of place totally missed by the festival tourists. When he gains employment in a hotel we never meet the guests who’s presence instead is signalled through dirty dishes and over-abundant luggage.

    Giles Nuttgens’s photography comes into its own at night, as like the little matchstick girl, Bell looks into the glowing windows of apartments from the cold darkness outside. As cityscapes go, Edinburgh is one of the best and it’s refreshing to see the story not simply being defaulted to London and for this unfamiliar place being used in a kind of non-specific way in a film which isn’t necessarily about Scotland. Indeed with it’s slightly continental storytelling it could have worked just as well in Paris or Madrid.

    Hallam Foe was unfairly treated by the critics when it opened the Edinburgh Film Festival some of whom suggested it teases more than it delivers which is a nonsense given that it never tries to present easy answers to its questions of psychological ultimately noting that nothing in life is ever truly resolved, there’s always some emotional niggle left handing. If the film dips towards melodrama at its climax, within the rest of its pleasingly short running time, it’s a charming, warm and funny piece of work which suggests that even though you’ll never get exactly what you want out of life, some people will leave you along the way, but that in the end, that’s ok.

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