tion are not unrelated phenomena. Hernshows us a microscopic view of redrnblood cells—perfectly normal red cells,rnmy hematologist wife assures me—andrnwe are worried in a way that would haverndelighted Stoker and that he would certainlyrnhave exploited. What Coppola isrnfaithful to is not the text of the novelrnbut its subtext. We become sophisticatedrnand are proud of ourselves for havingrndone so, but we have to acknowledgernthat we have lost our primitivernfaith and feel wc have been diminishedrnfrom time past when we were purer andrnmore devout. We arc vulnerable now,rnless well protected for all our social andrnscientific progress, and we ought not bernsurprised if the taint of some ancient sinrncomes back to haunt us.rnStoker and Freud were workingrnthrough the same kinds of mythic materialrnat almost exactly the same time,rnalthough in rather different ways. Theirrnconclusions allow for interesting harmonizations,rnand these harmonics are whatrnCoppola and his screenwriter, James V.rnHart, arc celebrating. The perceivedrn”pace” of the film, then, depends on thernpace of the viewer’s thinking. If nornthoughts are going on in your head whilernyou watch the images on the screen,rnthen it may seem draggy—but that’s altogetherrnyour fault.rnIn the politics of the picture lies a veryrncareful balancing act. On the one hand.rnCount Dracula is not a nice fellow. Wernmust disapprove of those who runrnaround causing the kinds of general mayhemrnand suffering that he inflicts uponrnall but the very luckiest of those whorncross his path. On the other hand, therernis his bizarre love story, the fact that hernis searching for the lovely Elisabeta, whornthrew herself off a parapet of his castlernsome 400 years ago and from whose lossrnthe poor count has never recovered. AllrnI’lr hniiuiiii’!i Si”i’.:iirnCHR()K:LI;Srn i – s i HNC;RIIM-KSrnI o n I KM l WW Krnl-S(K).S77o4S9rnthe world loves a lover, and we can’trnwholly dismiss his passion and his (afterrna fashion) fidelity. His rebellionrnagainst the Church’s condemnation ofrnhis dead wife as a suicide and therefore arndamned soul is Coppola’s novelty, as isrnthe peculiarly happy ending when therncount and his countess are reunited inrnan apotheosis that is not theological butrnpurely aesthetic—they appear together,rnafter a quite handsome Liebestod,rnoverhead in the Tintoretto-like ceilingrnpainting with which the movie concludes.rnThey arc no longer undeadrn(which is loathsome) but transmogrifiedrninto art and therefore, in an acceptablernand attractive way, immortal.rnSo it isn’t Dracula that the movie isrncriticizing, or AIDS, but merely the awfulnessrnof what can happen, the crueltyrnof things-as-they-arc. And that’s notrnlikely to engender a lot of controversy.rnIf we have fears of AIDS victims, and ifrnwe have a nagging sense that they oughtrnto have behaved differently and wouldrnnot then have put themselves in harm’srnway, that isn’t Coppola’s responsibilityrn—although he and his movie do getrnthe benefit of such not quite respectablernthoughts. There is even the poignantrnmoment in which some of the vampirernladies attack an infant, a newborn babe.rnAnd the horror of that—which neitherrnMurnau nor Browning brought from thernbook to the screen—seems perfectly reasonablernto us, given what we know is goingrnon in those hospital wards in Newarkrnand the Bronx. The horror on the screenrnseems altogether appropriate and evenrnnecessary, a correct and Senecan approximationrnof how things are in thernworld. A fine film, then, and very likelyrna great film, Dracula is surely worth seeing.rnSo is A Few Good Men, Rob Reiner’srnbig Christmas movie based on AaronrnSorkin’s recent play and starring TomrnCruise and Demi Moore, with an appearancernby Jack Nicholson that is absolutelyrnastonishing. We tend to takernNicholson for granted, perhaps becausernhe does dumb things now and then likernthe Joker in Batman (for which he receivedrnsomething in excess of 50 millionrndollars, which is perhaps not sorndumb). But here, as the tougher-thannailsrnColonel Nathan R. Jessep, he hasrnsuch impact that, in a few scenes, hernmakes the movie. Tom Cruise is a cockyrnlawyer, all charm and polish with a glitzyrnHarvard background, but so wet behindrnthe ears that he has never seen the insidernof a courtroom except once whenrnhe had his driving license suspended.rnHis maturation, his development fromrnthe callowness of a sassy kid to real Menschlichkeitrnwould not be interesting unlessrnhe had to face some actual danger.rnNicholson is the danger, and his smilesrnare so terrifying that we anticipate withrnbated breath what it would be like if hernshould ever scowl. One can’t help comparingrnNicholson’s work here with Bogart’srnin The Caine Mutiny, and it is nornminimization of Bogey to say that this isrneven better.rnHere again, we have a court martial, arncourtroom drama in which Nicholsonrncomes on at the end to do the star turn.rnHe has a kind of controlled fury, an energyrnthat one sees only rarely on screenrnand hopes never to encounter in the realrnworld. The consideration of what thernlimits of a Marine’s duty to obey the ordersrnof a superior officer are is efficientrnenough. The acting of Cruise (doingrnhimself) and Moore (doing a kind of updatedrnKatharine Hepburn priss) is agreeablyrnaccomplished and mostly persuasive.rnKiefer Sutherland and J. T. Walshrnare particularly good in important supportingrnroles as more or less crazed,rngung-ho gyrene officers. But it is Nicholsonrnwho shows us what the screen is capablernof in conveying personal force andrndrama. Reiner’s efficient directionrnseems to have been in leaving Nicholsonrnto do what he can do better thanrnanyone else in the world—assenting torneinematographer Robert Richardson’srnpreferences for close-ups that make thernmost of Nicholson’s menace—and inrnhaving the confidence not to use toornmuch of this great natural resource.rnFinally, although it is not my customrnto review trailers for coming attractions,rnI must say that I saw a particulady engagingrnteaser for Groundhog Day withrnBill Murray playing a weatherman whorngoes to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, forrnthe annual February rite and gets stuckrnthere, not only in Punxsutawney but inrnFebruary 2nd. Each time the alarm goesrnoff at 6 A.M., he is condemned to livernthrough the same day until he gets itrnright. The conceit seems altogether delicious,rnMurray seems to be having funrnwith it, and I look forward to the moviernwith a pleasant combination of eagernessrnand trepidation that I invite readersrnto share.rnDavid R. Slavitt is a poet and novelistrnliving in Philadelphia.rn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn