Luke Thorne’s review published on Letterboxd:
Terence Fisher directs this classic British Hammer horror in which a man investigates the death of his friend, the victim of a blood-sucking vampire. Starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Carol Marsh.
This is the first version of Dracula, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Bram Stoker, which was published in 1897, to be done in technicolour and the result is as enjoyable as the original effort which was done in 1931.
On the lookout for his vanished friend Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen), vampire pursuer Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is directed to Count Dracula's (Christopher Lee) castle.
Upon reaching the destination, Van Helsing finds an alive Jonathan in Dracula’s vault and finds out that the count's next recipient is Jonathan’s poorly fiancée, Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh).
With the support of her brother, Arthur (Michael Gough), Van Helsing finds it hard to guard Lucy and put a halt to Count Dracula’s scrounging supremacy of dread.
Peter Cushing gives a very good performance in his role as Van Helsing, the doctor and vampire hunter who is determined to stop Dracula from causing any more trouble, even though he knows it won’t be an easy task. Cushing suits his role well and makes the most of the time he has on the screen.
Elsewhere, there are respectable performances to be had from Carol Marsh and Michael Gough in their respective roles as Lucy and Arthur Holmwood. Lucy is Jonathan’s fiancée who needs protecting, while Arthur is Lucy’s brother who supports Van Helsing in the best way he can.
John Van Eyssen is fine as Jonathan, Van Helsing’s friend who is still alive, while Christopher Lee is very decent in his role as the title character Count Dracula, the vampire who aims to cause as much trouble and terror as he possibly can and he certainly isn’t afraid to do so.
The direction from Fisher is very good because he allows the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while also keeping a tense atmosphere happening as well and the script is written to a decent standard by Jimmy Sangster as he makes the movie easy to follow.
The technical aspects that stand out best in glorious technicolour are the set, camera, costume and makeup, because the set is very decent to view throughout; the camera makes very good use of the locations and also captures the tense and dramatic moments really well, which deservedly get the edge-of-the-seat status; the costumes are nicely designed; the makeup is outstanding, particularly on Dracula.
Overall, the first technicolour version of Dracula is the best one, due to the very good performances in particular from Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, along with the direction, script, tense atmosphere and dramatic moments.