Visions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Fifteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts

By Allienne R. Becker | Go to book overview

19
Francis Coppola's Secret Gardens: Bram Stoker's Dracula and the Auteur as Decadent Visionary

Kenneth Jurkiewicz

Aubrey Beardsley would have approved: Lucy Westenra ( Sadie Frost) floating into a secret garden of desire where Beauty meets Beast, her red dress spread out in slow motion as if the air itself had bled a crimson stain.

Bram Stoker's Dracula T. Jameson and Kathleen A. Murphy

Dracula is more in your subconsciousness and has to do with your hidden desires. I mean there's so much written about this topic that you don't need me. I don't have a lot of interesting theories. I just basically tried to do a production of Dracula, the book.

Francis Ford Coppola (quoted in Biodrowski34)

At the overheated, florid heart of Bram Stoker's Dracula ( 1992), an understandably distracted Vlad the Impaler (Gary Oldman) glumly wanders around through an early cinematique in late Victorian London, not paying too much attention to the flickering images flashing before him and his beloved Mina (Winona Ryder) on the primitive multiplex screens, images that include, oddly enough, black-and-white outtakes of the very film in which he is appearing. Such stark self-reflexivity is, of course, nothing new to the postmodern cinema or, for that matter, the erratic trajectory of Francis Ford Coppola's own directorial career. What is unusual, however, is that Coppola's flamboyant stylistic devices in his film often neatly reflect the fin-de-siècle fear and loathing of Bram Stoker's novel. Because of these visual excesses (as well as despite them), the film can best be appreciated as both a critical meditation and full-frontal celebration of the late Gothic and early cinematic imaginations, even though Coppola's avowed purpose of providing a strict rendering of the source material is substantially subverted by his stylistic and thematic ambitions, imposed and overlaid on Stoker's original tale.

Coppola's doomed attempt to adapt faithfully and radically deconstruct the book

-167-

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