Though not my very favourite movie about the infamous vampire, this is quite beautiful, well-told and gorgeously photographed (I really can't wait to see the blu!) and is most probably Bela Lugosi's finest hour (though I love his work; and it's also right up there with the greatest-ever vampiric depictions on celluloid), and it has genuine scares. Lugosi not only growls and snarls but also delivers the succulent seductive power of both evil itself and immortality--no matter what devastating consequences that immortal life may truly mean. Essential for both horror fanatics and fans of early (up to and including the 30's) cinema to own on the highest-possible quality, and regular re-watches. It's simply THAT GOOD. The fact that its American release date was Valentine's Day (its New York City premiere was two days earlier) only further hits home the fact that its immortality is due to the fact that it isn't simply a cornerstone of Gothic horror but with a vibrant love story at its very heart.
Probably my third or fourth time seeing this and while the story is simple, still really entertaining and Bela Lugosi, who even as a favorite of mine acknowledge was never the strongest actor, is in his element. Also has some decent effects and nice set design for the era. **4.0/5**
"The blood is the life, Mr. REINFIELD" At three years old this was my first horror movie. My great-grandmother is the one who sat me down and showed me great Bela Lugosi as Dracula. This entire movie is timeless and classic. The very best of all the Universal horrors. No one could be a more perfect Dracula than Bela Lugosi. To accomplish so much with just a stare. No special effects. No fangs... yet he chilled you to the bone and enthralled all. One of my all-time favorites. Classic Cinema perfection.
**_A tall, dark and mesmerizing vampire comes to London from Transylvania_** “Dracula” (1931) was based on the play rather than the novel, but the basic Bram Stoker tale is there with alterations. In its time, this was great. Talkies had only been around for a handful of years. Don’t expect the nudity, violence or gore of Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992). If you want a modern take on the tale, I suggest that one (which adds a well-done love story). The focus here is on the handsome & intimidating Count’s calm charisma and hypnotic powers within a Victorian milieu and cobwebbed, crumbling Gothic architecture. It’s somehow relaxing despite the horror trappings. You have to accept this going in to appreciate it. There’s a Spanish-speaking version with a different actor in the eponymous role shot simultaneously, which many say is superior. Also, a score was added by Philip Glass in 1999. There’s also a colorized version. I viewed the original B&W film with Bela Lugosi. His iconic take on the king of vampires is worth the price of admission. The climax is weak though. The movie runs 1 hour, 15 minutes, and was shot at Universal Studios and Agua Dulce, which is in the desert high country north of there. GRADE: B-
I saw this with a marvellous piano accompaniment that really did showcase the delights of silent cinema and the talents of a pianist who can play, non-stop, for seventy five minutes. Though Bela Lugosi takes top billing as the eponymous character, I felt the film really belonged to his assistant "Renfield" - enjoyably portrayed here by Dwight Frye. He is just an innocent estate agent who arrives at Castle Dracula only to find himself quickly enthralled to his new boss who is determined to come to "Carfax Abbey" in England with his trio of wives, and to wreak some good, old-fashioned, havoc! It's poor "Mina" (Helen Chandler) who is soon on his radar and it falls to her paramour "Harker" (David Manners) and accomplished vampire-hunter "Van Helsing" (Edward Van Sloan) to try and save the day before they are all transformed into blood-suckers. Lugosi is a wooden as a washboard in this film, but the constant shining of the light onto his eyes does manage to convey quite a potent sense of menace as his meticulously dressed count munches his way through the wee small hours. The flying bat on a string is not as daft as you might expect, indeed the whole visual impact of this film - though certainly basic - proves quite effective when the score does most of the heavy lifting. This is a story that has always benefitted from being shot monochrome, and ninety-odd years on, is still a cracking watch in a cinema.
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