Dracula (Region 2 HD Blu-ray)

Titles look different? The new DVD + Blu-ray Dracula (1958) 3-disc set from Hammer and Lionsgate is finally available. My copy arrived from Amazon UK this past week. The set is LOADED with extras that will take some time for me to get through, so this is a mini-review. I have not yet watched the Blu-ray disc. Peter Cushing_Van Helsing
Christopher Lee_Dracula Dracula_Face Claw Shot

DVD 1 includes the 2007 British Film Institute restoration and the 2012 Hammer restoration, which includes some of the “lost” Japanese reels footage, which includes the legendary “Face Claw” sequence during Dracula’s disintegration, and Dracula’s erotic seduction of Mina, also derived from the Japanese print.

Even more exciting, the surving Japanese reels 6-9 are included on the Disc 2 supplements. Be sure to watch these as you will notice that Hammer has not completely restored the 2012 print to include all of the Japanese footage (thanks Mike).

These reels were badly beat up, but select scenes were polished up and included in the 2012 restoration. Here’s a screen capture from the original (scratched) Japanese reels showing Dracula’s seduction of Mina:Dracula_Erotic Scene_Japanese Reel

The DVD also includes other features, including:

  • The original shooting script (PDF).
  • An Essay “First Blood – Hammer’s Dracula Begins” (Colorful PDF with nice images).
  • A new documentary “Dracula Reborn” (Highly recommended).
  • A documentary about the film’s 2007 and 2012 restorations and discussion on the Japanese Reels.
  • A documentary on the British censoring of the film.
  • LOADs of rare production stills and other images.
  • Other features that I haven’t gotten to.

The film looks superb and I can’t wait to see this on Blu-ray. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono audio on the DVD seems also to be an improvement from the American Warner Home Video disc from 2002.

Plenty to watch the next few days!

Artwork by Michael Tanaka (1999).

Artwork by Michael Tanaka (1999).

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