Christopher Lee: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
4. Count Dracula - Dracula (1958)
I'd never hear the end of it if I were to make a list of Lee's greatest performances without including at least one Dracula film. Lee's relationship with the character deteriorated as Hammer sought to cash in through inferior sequels; if Lee is to be believed, his Count was only silent in Dracula: Prince of Darkness because he refuses to say a single line of the script. Be that as it may, his first appearance as the Count for Hammer remains a classic of its time. Based rather loosely on Bram Stoker's seminal novel, Dracula begins in 1885 with the arrival of Jonathan Harker at the title character's castle in Klausenberg. Gaining access by posing as a librarian, he soon announces his aim to kill Dracula, but fails in his task and disappears. Some time later, Dr. Van Helsing arrives in the same town and is presented with Harker's journal by the frightened townsfolk. When he arrives at the castle, he discovers the true horror of what has taken place, and seeks to stop the Count at all cost. While Lee struggled to get across all the elements of Stoker's character that he wanted, there's no denying the appeal of his Dracula in a film which still holds up after 55 years. Not only is he physically suited to the part, towering over Van Helsing at six-foot-five, he also captures the elegance and tragic aspect of Dracula, particularly in the early scenes involving Harker and the captive woman. Whatever your view on modern-day vampires, his performance is one for the ages.
Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.