Bram Stoker’s Dracula Essay
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
The traditional view of Dracula as an old man who is played by Gary Oldman in the film is a man who is almost invincible and completely ruthless. Dracula’s appearance in the film compared to the novel by Bram Stoker is quite similar in some ways. The appearance of Dracula doesn’t differ that much and gives roughly the same picture as to how Dracula would look like in comparison from the film to the novel. Dracula is portrayed as an old man in the first scene; Jonathan goes to visit Dracula in his castle which is based on the border of Romania.
As Jonathan is on the train, he reads out the letter which Coppola allows the audience to hear non- diegetically. As Jonathan is reading the letter, Dracula’s eyes appear in the sky as if he is watching Jonathan. The mise- en- scene is again clear. The music changes into the ” war music”. This is to show that danger is approaching. The sky is red and also shows danger. Jonathan is dropped off in a deserted, scary forest. The colours used are dark and consist of black and blue. The music used is natural sounds e. g. wolves howling, animal sounds. The sounds are diegetic. He is dropped off by a few gypsies who are dressed peculiarly.
The woman gives Jonathan a Cross and says it keeps the evil away. Jonathan then waits for a carriage to come and he doesn’t have to wait long. When Jonathan asks if the carriage is going to Dracula’s castle, the mystery man who doesn’t show his face grabs Jonathan and unrealistically puts Jonathan in the carriage. This was as if the driver was expecting Jonathan. The driver then takes Jonathan on a ride he was very uncomfortable with! The carriage was centimeters away from falling off a 300 foot cliff, chased by wolves and passed through a blue inferno as Jonathan approached the castle.
Jonathan finally arrives at Dracula’s castle and as he enters the doors, they open by themselves- this is what would happen in traditional Dracula movies. There are sounds of water dripping to make the castle feel cold and empty. As the doors open, there stands Dracula with a lamp in his hand. The camera angle on Dracula is a close-up. This is to show Dracula’s facial expressions and the way he reacts when he finally sees Jonathan. The use of lighting e. g. the lamp, shows that Dracula’s castle is very dark, dull and mysterious. When we first see Dracula, he is an old man.
Normally, an audience would think he is weak and has no power but as revealed later on in the film, we see that Dracula has an immense amount of power and can do almost anything. The director uses the lamp to show Dracula’s whole figure. This symbolizes that the castle is very dark. A major thing in the whole story of ” Dracula” is the shadows. As Jonathan is filling out some forms for Dracula, Dracula’s shadow moves completely differently to how a normal person’s would. At one point, Dracula creates a shadow of him craving for Jonathan’s head. This shows that Dracula is interested in Jonathan’s blood.
This happens when Dracula realises Jonathan is engaged with Mina. As Dracula’s shadow moves differently to his own, this symbolises that Dracula is not amongst normal people, but in a dark, unnatural world of his own. When Dracula is a wolf, this represents him being full of lust and his main victim is Lucy. Like any other traditional Dracula film, the women are the main victims and rely on the men to save them. This is exactly the same in Copppola’s film. Dracula transforms into a wolf when he thinks about Lucy and when he sees Lucy, he sees red blood.
This is shown by a close-up on red blood cells. When Dracula turns into a wolf, the colours turn very dark to represent evil and death. If Dracula is unable for any reason to come to Lucy, he uses his powers to bring Lucy to him. This is shown in the garden where mina is trying not to let Lucy lose her mind over Dracula. Yet still Lucy gets deeper and deeper into her hypnotic trance and Mina can no longer help. Lucy arrives before Dracula in the centre of Lucy’s Garden maze. This is where Dracula seduces Lucy and sucks her blood.