Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dracula (1931)

Director: Tod Browning

Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, Herbert Bunston, Frances Dade, Joan Standing, Charles K. Gerrard

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  The greatest horror show of all time!

Plot: After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferal of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is in actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr. Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina's health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina's fiance, John Harker, and Dr. Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Naturally.

It's funny but I always remember this one being more stagey than it is.  I really dig this version of the tale.  NOSFERATU (1922) is my favorite but Lugosi really sells it.  Watch the Spanish version filmed at the same time and you'll see what I mean.  That version is better but it lacks Lugosi's strong presence.  Put Lugosi in the Spanish version and that'd be one hell of a great flick.  I've never dug that it doesn't have a score so, just for kicks, I started watching this with the Philip Glass score.  Big mistake.  It's overpowering.  In the beginning when Dracula pauses on the stairs, hearing the wolves howl, and says, "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."  With the Glass score on you cannot hear the wolves howling at all.  With crap like that I had to continue without the score. I don't care how good it is, if they can't mix it so that it doesn't badly impact the film then I don't want to hear it.  Harumph!

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