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Discuss the ways the filmmakers have presented the story Dracula.

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Introduction

Discuss the ways the filmmakers have presented the story Dracula. There have been many film adaptations of the novel 'Dracula' written by Bram Stoker (1897) the most well known of these is the film 'Nosferatu' (1921) directed by Fredrick Murnau and 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' (1992) created by Francis Ford Coppola. I will be discussing the ways the filmmakers have presented the story 'Dracula' by; the ways in which the directors have introduced the film: their portrayal of Dracula: the use of special effects and finally the myths and legends used in the destruction of Dracula. 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' by Francis Ford Coppola, and 'Nosferatu' directed by Murnau have both represented the story Dracula in different contexts. 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' was produced during 1992 and 'Nosferatu' was produced in 1921. Despite the time difference of approximately seventy years both films they resemble each other in various ways. They are similar in the fact they both contain a love story. For different reasons both films use subtitles. 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' uses subtitles for showing the speech; as the actors are speaking in a foreign language. Coppola could have had his actors speak English all the way through the film, but at that time Dracula is human and living in Transylvania. Coppola has the foreign language so the audience have a clear picture that the scene is set in a foreign country and so they do not get confused about where the film is set. The subtitles used in Nosferatu are used to show the spoken word, as the film is silent. To an audience watching 'Nosferatu' the subtitles are very important because they show parts of the film related to the characters personality. ...read more.

Middle

The Dracula in the film is very courteous and welcoming as is the Dracula in the novel when initially welcoming Jonathon Harker to his home. This creates a sense of false-security. The main similarity between the behaviour of the Dracula in the film and the Dracula in the novel are both do not eat with Jonathon Harker, and also neither Dracula drinks wine. Coppola has specifically made the actor playing Dracula emphasise this sentence, it will give the audience a chilling ideal of what Dracula is going to do in the remainder of the film. The Dracula in the film talks about his family and mentions 'The order of the Dracul'. This is actually an oath swearing to fight the Turks forever, which ties in with the historical side of the film. Coppola is very imaginative in his adaptation of Dracula. He uses many of the descriptions of Dracula from the novel. Coppola does not portray Dracula in black clothes. The Dracula is wearing black and red. Red again is cleverly fitted into the film and being a colour representing danger, blood and passion (all of these are linked with Dracula). After comparing the novel and the film Coppola manages to condense the section of the film where Jonathon Harker and Dracula are alone in the castle. From 'Dracula's' mannerisms depicted in the film the audience would be made to feel that Dracula is superior to Jonathon Harker and almost has a power over him. Overall I think that Coppola has portrayed Dracula in an appropriate style. He has taken time to select the correct mannerisms and create an accurate representation of the Dracula depicted in the novel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Coppola uses the myths in his film to create an enthusiastic eagerness and anxiousness in the audience. He uses a variety of different myths and legends in Dracula's destruction (and throughout the film). This brings me to the conclusion that Coppola uses the myths to a greater extent than Murnau. After watching 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' directed by Francis Ford Coppola and 'Nosferatu' directed by Fredrick Murnau I have come to the conclusion that the film 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' is the best adaptation of the novel. The title of Coppola's film immediately suggests the film is worked around the frame of Bram Stoker's original novel. The film 'Nosferatu' was not the best adaptation of the novel because when Murnau was producing the film Stoker's wife was still alive and she did not want to sell the rights for the novel. So Murnau could not call his film Dracula and heavily base the film around the original novel because it would have classed as copyright. This is why the film is set in Bremen, Jonathon Harkers wife is called Nina (not Mina like in the novel) and there are significant changes to the original storyline. Both the directors use the special effects available to them at the time to the limit. It is true that Coppola uses more complex special effects to give the film a more mystical reality but Murnau is equally as innovate and creative as Coppola with the special effects he is able to use. Coppola is the most inventive director. This is mainly because of the way he has linked the film with the historical points of the real Dracula. Coppola also adds the scene of when Dracula goes to war. At that time the area known as Transylvania was at war with the Turks (this is not mentioned in the original book). ...read more.

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