Dracula: Dead and Loving It
This was the last film Mel Brooks made before switching over to the very, very, very successful and lucrative business of converting his earlier movies into Broadway musicals. And it was a good thing for Hollywood, and a good thing for Broadway. The movie just isn’t any good. He makes the fatal mistake of sticking quite closely to the book by Bram Stoker, with the same characters and the same plot line, which doesn’t leave him much room for the insanity usually present in his movies. All he can do is have some funny lines and a few funny variations on the scenes we expect. It’s a pretty sad exercise. Leslie Nielson is pretty ho-hum as Dracula. Harvey Korman is given little to do, Mel himself seems to be almost playing it straight most of the time. Worst of all, Peter MacNicol is outrageously bad as the craven, brainless Renfield. He seems to be trying to channel Igor from any number of Frankenstein movies, and he’s just not up to it. About all there is to do here is admire the respective cleavages of the zoftig ladies, Amy Yasbeck and Lysette Anthony. There’s a respectable amount of it, and what man can help but appreciate it, but that’s not really what I came to see.
There was one flash of the old Brooks genius, or at least one that appealed to me. Mel is asking Harvey if he has this book or that book on vampires, and Harvey says he doesn’t. Then Mel asks if he has Nosferatu. Harvey says “Yes, we have no-sferatu! We have no-sferatu today!” Doesn’t come off so well in print, I guess. Substitute “bananas” for sferatu and sing it, if you didn’t get it.