The recent Hammer restorations have been sparkling gems of old-school horror fun, and this release continues this happy trend. Giving the BFI’s 2007 restoration a blu-ray outing for the very first time, Lionsgate have provided fans with a real treat.
This is Hammer’s original 1958 Dracula movie (a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel), directed by Terrance Fisher. It is an assured, entertaining picture that introduced Christopher Lee’s performance of the character to an eager public. Instead of stepping on the toes of Universal’s iconic interpretation of Dracula, Hammer struck a deal with the American studio which led to prominent distribution and helped generate big box office success.
This new restoration of Dracula, which builds on the work done by the British Film Institute six years ago, has involved the reinstating of censored scenes previously unavailable in Britain. They were discovered on copies of the film in Japan and have been intelligently reinstated.
For those who are interested in the process of this reintegration of the once-lost scenes, there is a passionate and informative documentary devoted to shining a light on the process. It is wonderful to see that Lionsgate and Hammer appreciate the fact that for some viewers this type of content is pure gold.
In a perfect world, every blu-ray release of a remastered classic would receive the level of attention and dedication this title has been given. The extras are superb, the picture clarity fine, and the film a delicious pleasure.
Dracula (1958), directed by Terrance Fisher, is released on Blu-ray disc in the UK by Lionsgate and Icon Home Entertainment, Certificate 12.