3 December 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network
     
Bram Stoker Doco Tonight
03 Apr 2003 :
Ferndale Films's 'Dracula's Bram Stoker' is screening tonight as part of RTE's Arts Lives Documentary series.

This latest documentary in the Arts Lives series examines the complex life of one of Ireland’s most elusive novelists - Bram Stoker – and the bizarre parallels between the writer himself and that of his most famous creation, the greatest vampire of them all, Count Dracula.

Double meanings and double identities abound in Dracula, as they did throughout the life of its author. In creating the world’s most famous vampire, Stoker was able to unburden himself of his early childhood fantasies and to explore his confused sexuality. The nine main characters in Dracula reflect not only Stoker’s life and times, but his own secret thoughts: the novel is almost a coded Victorian diary.

When he died, not a single obituary mentioned his most famous work – today it has been translated into over fifty languages and Count Dracula has become the most filmed fictional character in movie history.

Dracula’s Bram Stoker finally breaks the coded silence that surrounds the creator of one of literature’s most chilling and unforgettable characters and gives a unique understanding of the warring elements in his nature and sexuality that led him to write this masterpiece of the Gothic horror novel.

The documentary includes interviews with film director Neil Jordan, Senator David Norris, actors Donald Sinden and Christopher Lee, historian Roy Foster, writers, authors and members of the Dracula Organisation and the Bram Stoker Society.

Abraham Stoker, the third of seven children, was born on November 1847 in Dublin. Bedridden until the age of seven, Bram spent these early years listening to stories of fantasy and horror told to him by his mother and amusing himself with tales of folk stories and adventures.

After leaving Trinity College, he followed his father into the civil service at Dublin Castle but he was inexorably drawn towards the theatre. He became a friend of the Wilde family and their literary and artistic circle – acting at one stage as a referee for their son Oscar’s entrance for Trinity.

This was the beginning of his double life – middle class, Protestant, civil servant by day, theatre critic and writer by night. Then, a chance encounter with the famous actor Henry Irving, who was appearing on stage in Dublin, utterly changed the course of his life.

Stoker was to leave his job, marry the beautiful Florence Balcombe and leave Dublin to forge a new career in London. He became Irving’s personal assistant as well as business manager for the actor’s newly-opened and hugely-fashionable Lyceum Theatre, until Irving’s death thirty years later.

Now almost solely remembered as the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker was also a barrister, a theatre critic, the author of seventeen other novels, and a London socialite who numbered Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Gladstone and Lord Tennyson amongst his friends.

Literary figures are still in debate as to how Stoker created such a dramatic character as Dracula - a grotesque yet engrossing figure in a novel crammed with hugely erotic imagery.

Dracula’s Bram Stoker is a Ferndale Film production for RTÉ and was directed by Sinead O’Brien, who has previously directed Friel and the award-winning Luke, about the late musician Luke O’Kelly. The programme is co-produced by Anne-Marie Naughton, and production by Noel Pearson. Editing (by Lee Hickey) was done at Windmill Lane (www.windmilllane.com), and sound edited by Paddy Gibbons at Number 4.

ARTS LIVES - Dracula’s Bram Stoker
Tuesday 4th March
10.10 –11.00pm
RTÉ ONE



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