Christopher Lee's best role

Christopher Lee may be best known for his many film depictions of Count Dracula but for my preference, Christopher Lee was better in any non-vampire role. I think Lee was a pragmatic man. He knew that he had to do the Dracula roles if he was going to remain in the good graces of the British film industry.

I really believe Lee's best villain performance was the ruthless Spanish privateer Captain Robeles. Robeles is on a par with some of the best 007 franchise villains. In the movie, Captain Robeles dresses like a Spanish gentlemen. He is highly intelligent and seems to show some educational background. His table manners are very good, possibly pointing to a social class background of some standing, definitely not from the lowest classes. Even his speech patterns reflect that of a thoughtful, deliberate, thinking man. This is not to excuse the criminal that he is, as Robeles at times displays the nature of a sophisticated thug. As a privateer captain, he is a reflection of his historical times and the occupation he is in. Privateering, like piracy, meant a crew that was inherently ill-disciplined and unstable. Its men derived mostly from the lowest social classes and were for the most part illiterate, uneducated, uncouth, unsophisticated, and without the benefit of an education to help discern proper from improper, right from wrong, these men would act in loutish manners that satisfied their base needs and instincts. Leading such a group of near-feral men meant a leader had to be himself utterly ruthless, and near merciless. Any sign of weakness could be fatal for such a pirate leader.

Christopher Lee's best good guy role to me was in HORROR EXPRESS (1973), where he depicts a sophisticated, gentleman archeologist in the finest example of an English upper class gentleman of the very early 1900s. He teams up with Peter Cushing, a British researcher of some renown himself on plush but claustrophobic passenger express train on the Siberian Express from China through eastern Russia-on its way back to European civilization. Both men struggle desperately with the aid of a Russian police detective to determine who and what is the cause of a number of mysterious deaths on the train.