The extended Japanese cut of Hammer's 1958 "Dracula" has been proven at last.

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Simon Rowson's picture
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Dear fellow forum members,


If you also subscribe to either the British Horror Films forum or Classic Horror Film Board, then you may already be aware of this news but I certainly intended to flag it up here as well - because, although "Dracula" is, admittedly, not Sir Christopher's favourite topic, the original 1958 Hammer production is universally acknowledged to be a very important British film.


My wife and I live permanently in Japan and, following a year long process of painstaking negotiation, we were actually able to view the final two reels of the sole remaining Japanese copy of Dracula at the Japanese National Film Center on March the 9th - only two days before the earthquake that destroyed most of the North East coast of Japan.


In a nutshell, the long debated extra footage DOES exist - including the extended disintegration scene at the film's climax - and I am liasing with Hammer about how to proceed at the moment.


I just wanted everyone on the Christopher Lee Website to also share in this incredible disclosure!


 


Best wishes,


Simon Rowson


(I post on the other two sites as "Richard LeStrange")


 


 


 


 


 



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Dracula footage.

This sounds a pretty exciting find. New footage of one of the best horror films ever made. Good luck with your "liasing" Simon. I'd love to see it!


 


Jake.



Brandon's picture
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eh?

Simon Rowson wrote:

- and I am liasing with Hammer about how to proceed at the moment.

 

Thanks for the info Simon... But, what do you mean by this?

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Simon Rowson's picture
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The extended Japanese cut of Hammer's 1958 "Dracula"

 Brandon Jones wrote:


Thanks for the info Simon... But, what do you mean by this?


 


Hi Brandon,


My wife and I originally approached the Japanese NFC as official representatives of the British Horror Film forum - which is why we were afforded access to the archive in the first place. (Private individuals are not allowed to do research there - only organisations)


However, to proceed any further (i.e. viewing the remaining reels before even thinking about any restoration work) we will now need the full authority and backing of Hammer Films who are still the current copyright holders.


I've flagged everything up to them and now we just need to wait and see what happens.


(Things can't move particularly quickly over here anyway as, 2 days after we visited the archive, we had Japan's greatest earthquake and the country is still in a state of complete chaos.)


 



Brandon's picture
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Right.  Now I understand. 

Right.  Now I understand.  Well... good on you for getting the ball rolling.  That is indeed excellent news.  I know this might come as a shock to some of you... but I still have not seen Sir Christophers first Dracula film...  *ducks and runs for cover*  

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Paul R. Enselmoz's picture
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Dear Mr. Rowson,   This is

Dear Mr. Rowson,

 

This is exciting news!  Hopefully we'll all get to see an extended cut someday;  I've always wanted to see the Japan-only footage after seeingsome production stills growing up.  I was talking the other day with a gentleman at a model kit company licensed to create Hammer character figures, and he was convinced this footage was irretrievably lost.

Does any one know the answer to this one about HORROR OF DRACULA?  Randy Palmer wrote in Famous Monsters in 1978 #150 that the film had been nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Lighting".   Of course no such category existed; did the Cinematographers Branch suggest a special achievement award for Jack Asher and the motion was rejected?  (If it wasn't for the Academy's bias against chillers at the time, certainly Asher should have been nominated for a regular cinematography Oscar and Bernard Robinson for art direction.)

 

Cheers,

Paul



Don Boycik's picture
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to be honest i had NO idea

to be honest i had NO idea there was even lost footage for this classic film. that's FANTASTIC that you found it & are trying to give it to us to all see. is it in English? cause that's the only language i happen to know. 



Simon Rowson's picture
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Language?


Don Boycik wrote:


to be honest i had NO idea there was even lost footage for this classic film. that's FANTASTIC that you found it & are trying to give it to us to all see. is it in English? cause that's the only language i happen to know. 



 


Hi Don,


Luckily, the three scenes with extended footage - Lucy's staking on reel 7 (which I've not seen), Mina's seduction on reel 8 and Dracula's death on reel 9 (both of which I have seen) have no dialogue, only an accompanying music track.


Therefore, it should be reasonably straightforward to reintegrate them into the film should this footage ever be retrieved and restored in the future.


 


All the best,


Simon



Simon Rowson's picture
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Dear CLW members, Happily, I

Dear CLW members,


Happily, I can report that the latest news on our discovery of the extra Japanese footage from 1958's seminal "Dracula" is that there now appears to be a very real chance of this footage being restored and (fingers crossed) perhaps even reintegrated into the existing version.


And so a most pressing question - one which I would like to put directly to Sir Christopher via his website - is whether, given his negative views of his portrayal of Count Dracula in Hammer's various adaptations, he would ever consider consenting to provide a commentary for this highly important British film?


Indeed, given the very recent tragic passings of his fellow star, Michael Gough, and screenwriter, Jimmy Sangster, Sir Christopher is now, more than ever,  obviously THE voice needed for any truly definitive version of this much analysed and admired movie.


So, is there any chance whatsoever of hearing the iconic tones of the great actor who defined this role for innumerable generations of filmgoers and who, by not contributing his own valuable and totally unique insights and observations, would almost certainly render a supposedly "definitive" edition much less definitive than it actually could (or should) be? 


Although a restoration and re-issue of "Dracula" is possibly just "pie in the sky" at this stage, I would still like to say that , as the person who at least ended a 45 year old "Does it exist or doesn't it?" debate by locating this semi-legendary lost footage, I beg you to please think about providing that commentary should the opportunity ever arise Sir Christopher - because yours is the only one that would truly matter.


As always, you have my deepest admiration and respect.


Simon Rowson


 


 


 



Steve Thompson's picture
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Hello everyone. It has been

Hello everyone. It has been far too long since I last logged onto this site, but that is not to say that I haven't been following Sir Christopher's latest projects and film parts, avidly. This Dracula 58 footage that has been found, is very exciting news. It would indeed be tremendous if this were restored to the film as a whole and commentary added by Sir Christopher himself. 

My best wishes to Juan and everyone Smile

 

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Steve Thompson's picture
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Simon Rowson's picture
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Japanese extended scenes for 1958 Dracula.

Well Ladies and Gentlemen,


 


It's all very official now:


 http://www.hammerfilms.com/news/article/newsid/314/dracula-resurrected


 


(So please, Sir Christopher - think about that commentary for this special film!)


 


Very best wishes,


Simon Rowson 



btf401's picture
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Thank you for time and energy

Thank you for time and energy spent in your endeavor.  No doubt everyone here appreciates it.  Will follow this story with great interest.



Don Boycik's picture
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sweet i can't wait to see it.

sweet i can't wait to see it. is this footage in English?  i also don't think Mr. Lee will dissaprove of it. i believe & it's the later films he doesn't like. it's what the films later became.

 

i don't think he has a problem with the original version. but than i may be wrong on this. if i am please let me know.



Josh Dorsheimer's picture
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Wowser. That's pretty neat, I

Wowser. That's pretty neat, I must say!

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