Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Dracula and Renfield

"Don't you know that I am sane and earnest now, that I am no lunatic in a mad fit, but a sane man fighting for his soul?"

I think that line, from Dracula by Bram Stoker, may be one of the most powerful in all of literature. It loses a bit out of context. It does get an amazing delivery by the great Tom Waits, my second favorite Renfield, in Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola.

The greatest Renfield was definitely Dwight Frye in Tod Browning's 1931 Dracula. I watched this again last night at my friend Ryan's house. It's always a good time. I think the movie had more promise than it delivered - not an especially original thought on my part - but it's good to watch and Dwight Frye fuckin' steals the show.

I've read that he was ultimately disappointed to have been typecast as loonies and creeps in the Universal horror movies, but he's so damn good, it's not hard to see how it happened. You can tell he's that good an actor because he's not even given that line directly, and is able to convey the feeling of that all through his performance.

Tom Waits is just an amazing personality, but Bram Stoker's Dracula is one of the places he fully demonstrates that he can act.

I also need to go ahead and listen to more of his stuff. I'm still practically obssessed with "Rains On Me", which he performs on the Free The West Memphis 3 album, which I'm positive is the best compilation style CD I own... I'm pretty sure I'd say by some distance, but I could be forgetting something that deserves to be called a close second.

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