Keanu Reeves) in the process, but failing to bargain for the vampire-hunting expertise of (Sir) Anthony Hopkins‘ rather-too- unhinged Dr Van Helsing. Faithful to Stoker‘s own rather disorganised narrative as it criss-crosses Europe from London to Transylvania, the scene is set for an eruption of blood-lust and untrammelled sensuality in the midst of Victorian primness and prudery.

Despite lengthy rehearsals at Coppola‘s Californian vineyard, performances and accents tend to vary alarmingly, but if Hopkins lacks restraint and Ryder holds back too much, Oldman copes impressively with the demands of acting through layer upon layer of latex. Shape-shifting i from long—haired late romantic dude to wolfen l bestial seducer, disturbing bat-like incarnation ' and the delicately urbane bewigged figure that is the count when he shows his age, Oldman still finds a central thread of sadness and longing; feelings he thinks we can all relate to. ‘We all know what grief is, what loss is. We all understand the joy and the pain of love. and the script here

‘I made the film as I would have done hadl i

been an early director-magician trying to '

sell the story of this myth and using all the tricks of the theatre to do so.’

Francis Ford Coppola

intrigued me because it dealt in these earthbound emotions. Usually Dracula is lumped in with the other monsters- like the Wolf Man. Frankenstein or the Mummy but in this case he's a three-dimensional figure. It‘s very appealing when you have that vulnerable look in your eye. I’ve often found women tend to go for that.’

Oldman’s good work is as mercurial in itself as his career which has switchbacked from gritty British projects like Sid and Nancy or the footie

hooligan epic The Firm to typically American offerings on the lines of his Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone‘sJFK. But he tends. in this film, to get swamped by the sheer weight and diversity of the visual attractions that surround him.

‘Therc‘s a variety of styles you can use and usually a story will suggest something to you,‘

. explains Coppola. ‘Ifyou look at my past movies

they‘re all very different. The Godfather is a very classical style. Apocalypse Now is in the style of a fuse burning out. As I began reading about the London of the time when Dracula was set, I found out that people would go to see a lot of magic shows and the same entrepreneurs were putting on

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the cinema itselfin its earliest form. which suggested to me that I do the movie in the style of a magic illusion. Something like F.W. Murnau‘s version of Faust. So little by little, I discovered a style we could apply to everything we did. I would make the film as I would have done had I been an early director-magician trying to sell the story of this myth and using all the tricks of the theatre to dosof

Who can be sure that this makes much sense. but doesn‘t it sound fab? Such is the sound of a master of flummery. Ditto the movie. anyone? Bram Stoker's Dracula opens across Scotland on Friday 29 January.


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The List 29January— 11 February 199317