Something I've been meaning to post about for a while....not a specific filmstar, but Filmstar, a rather fine magazine which sadly came to a halt about a month ago after just five issues. A great blend of incisive, witty and thoughtful reviews, wide-ranging news (focussed on more than just Hollywood) and some interesting features, it was starting to feel like a fabulous alternative to the two main players in the UK film mag market.
The fact that the production team were also looking for writers/designers etc with enthusiasm prized over acres of experience couldn't have failed to pull me in, and I sent off my CV and sample reviews with a small dose of hope. Perhaps not hearing anything back from them should've sounded more of an alarm bell than it did. So alas, it appears it wasn't to be, and as the magazine's Twitter page says, it won't be, not for the foreseeable future. I hope there'll be some sort of future for it, but we'll see.
But the last issue of Filmstar did get me thinking about something else. Throughout the five issues, one constant feature was 'Five Easy Pieces', a section of five two-page articles which focused on such diverse topics as Jenny Agutter and the Video Recordings Act (which followed the apparent moral panic over 'video nasties' in the early 1980s).
In issue 5, one of the articles was about the evolution of Dracula on film. Basically, how the character began as a creepily monstrous bloodsucker in F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu, and has eventually become a darkly romantic anti-hero, with Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula rounding out the piece. There's a soft spot in my heart for Coppola's lush period piece, mainly down to Gary Oldman's multi-faceted, terrifying yet winningly sad and soulful Vlad Dracul, and Anthony Hopkins' scenery-chewing turn as Van Helsing. The fact that the film looks so damn beautiful, even in its darkest moments, doesn't hurt either.
As you'll have gathered, I'm not averse to vampires by any stretch of the imagination :) A courtly vamp-man always works for me, so I've been loving True Blood on FX, and Filmstar brought another one my way in a roundabout fashion. Frank Langella is best known of late for his portrayal of Richard Nixon on stage and, more recently, on screen, but back in the late 70s he gave us a different kind of darkness as the inimitable Count in John Badham's Dracula. The article talked about how the film brings the romance and passion of the ol' neck-biter to the fore, and intrigued, I dug around online. Yowza...is all I'll say.
For some, the love scene will look Mills and Boon-esque in its outwardly fairly demure approach, but you don't need acres of skin and explicitness to get the point over - i.e. the absolute sense of how much Dracula and Lucy want each other. Very sensual and sexy - me like ;) Langella's Drac is extraordinarily handsome, in a truly saturnine way (intensely brown eyes, black hair, a cruel yet delicious mouth) and has an utterly mellifluous, seductive purr for a voice. The only actor I can think of who hits the same sort of high on that scale is Timothy Dalton - who never played a vamp but perhaps should've.
I think I have to go find the full film sometime soon and enjoy the whole thing, but meantime, a quick pic of Mr L from around that time....lovin' the intelligence and the dark glitter in this fellow.