EL GRAN AMOR DE CONDE DRACULA/
THE GREAT LOVE OF COUNT DRACULA
(American title: Dracula's Great Love)

1973

Cast: Paul Naschy (Dr. Wendell, Dracula), Haydee Politoff (Karin), Rossana Yanni (Senta), Mirta Miller (Elke), Victor Alcazar (Imre), Ingrid Garbo (Marlene), Jose-Manuel Martin, Alvaro De Luna
Producer: Francisco Lara for Janus Film (Madrid)
Director: Javier Aguirre
Screenplay: Jacinto Molina, Alberto Insua, Javier Aguirre
Music: Carmelo Bernaola
Photography: Raul Perez (Eastmancolor)


Running time: 85 min.
Alternate titles: DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE, CEMETERY GIRLS, DRACULA'S VIRGIN LOVERS

   

THIS FILM IS NOW AVAILABLE IN WIDESCREEN IN THE BEST LOOKING VERSION WE HAVE SEEN ON HOME VIDEO OR DVD.  RELEASED BY BCI IN THEIR EXPLOITATION CINEMA SERIES UNDER THE TITLE CEMETERY GIRLS (COUPLED WITH VAMPIRE HOOKERS), THIS VERSION MAKES ALL OTHER VERSIONS OBSOLETE! THE PRESENTATION IS NOT PERFECT, HOWEVER, WITH SEVERAL SCENES HAVING A COLORLESS, SOLARIZED TONE. ABSENT A PRESENTATION FROM HD ELEMENTS, THIS IS ABOUT THE BEST WE CAN HOPE FOR NOW.

BELOW ARE SOME SCREEN CAPTURES FROM THIS EDITION:

 

YOU CAN ORDER THE DVD HERE FROM AMAZON.COM

Below is an old review and source print notations made before the BCI DVD.

Old Review: A group of travellers stranded in an eerie house--a typical plot device, perhaps, but played to the perverse hilt by Naschy and bevy of beautiful Euro-actresses under the guidance of one of Naschy's best directors--Javier Acquirre. Acquirre's traveling shots of the forest and mists are beautifully done, and the entire film is steeped in a decayed, sensual atmosphere that is splendidly hallucinogenic in effect, an invocation of an other-worldly existence, separated from the rest of the humanity, where vampirism is an infectious disease that is both welcomed and feared. Somewhat surprising, considering his short stature and pugilistic body shape, Naschy comes across as a strong Dracula, helped by the flavorful doppelganger nature of his role: the mysterious but kind Dr. Wendell, who sets up house at a former sanitarium close to the deceased Count's ancient castle, and the spiritually reincarnated Dracula, a sadistic yet ultimately romantic character of cruel fate. In the later portion of the film, Naschy delights in this evil vampiric role, playing the part with altered, pulled-back hair (or toupee), blackened eyebrows, and minimal but highly effective makeup. The final denouement, which comes, perhaps, a bit too suddenly, is a first for a Dracula movie. A must-see for Naschy fans, as well as all lovers of macabre sensuality.

Source prints used for old review: Two video sources were used for this review. The first, a rare tape on a supposed British label, Iver Film Services, (supposed because the tape is in the NTSC format rather than the European PAL system, so this could be an official-looking "bootleg"), clocks in at 72 minutes and is a mess, cutting out chunks of not only gore, but important transitional scenes. Yet this tape is letterboxed and gives a more accurate sense of what the film really is like than the other version viewed, the supposedly uncut tape, available from Sinister Cinema. Though otherwise adequate, the chief problem with the Sinister Cinema version is that, in presenting the film in full frame, it leaves out important side information and degenerates the film's original pictorial composition. Indeed, the introduction of the Naschy character, when he greets his unexpected visitors, is missing Naschy from the shot because he is to the far left of the screen, something clearly seen in the Iver print There are also minor audio-track differences between the Iver and Sinister versions, with one version having more sighing/moaning sounds during scenes of sexual ravishment. Desperately need, then, is a letterboxed uncut print that will clearly reveal the film for the masterpiece it is. Note: the film was released as DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE on the Gorgon label, reportedly being the cut version meant for TV, so the Sinister version is still the way to go--for now. Also, according to Naschy, some 20 minutes are missing from all exiting prints of material that was shot, but not put into the final edit, including a sequence of Dracula drinking blood, instead of milk, from a woman's nourishing nipple! Incredible!!!

-- Mirek 


The Sinema Diable DVD release. Official street date November 11, 2003.

Taken from a familiar video element (sourced somewhere along the line from 16mm), the presentation starts off in artificial letterbox, cutting off the top and bottom of the full-frame picture. So not only are the sides chopped off the credits (as they are in all full-frame versions) but the top and bottom of these credits are also severed. The picture turns full frame after nine minutes. Numerous tape glitches further mar the presentation. This version, by the way, is the one with nudity and runs 1:22:55, with exit music over a black screen. The best thing about this DVD is the look of the menu. The front cover of the DVD, taken from the Spanish poster art, is attractive too, though Naschy's name should have had larger fonts and the letters in the word "in" merge sloppily with each other; the back cover is crappy looking. Below are screen captures from the Sinema Diable DVD. Keep in mind that a television monitor overscans a little, so when watching the DVD there's a bit less information on all sides than depicted below.