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Dracula
     

Dracula

4.5 13
Director: Tod Browning, Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners

Cast: Tod Browning, Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners

 

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This seminal film in the vampire mythos has been given a treatment by Universal Studios that is to die for. Not only is director Tod Browning's version on the disc, but also included is the Spanish version directed by George Melford, which was shot on the same sets at night with a different cast. Though both used the same shooting script, the films are very different.

Overview

This seminal film in the vampire mythos has been given a treatment by Universal Studios that is to die for. Not only is director Tod Browning's version on the disc, but also included is the Spanish version directed by George Melford, which was shot on the same sets at night with a different cast. Though both used the same shooting script, the films are very different. Both versions are presented full screen with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Compared to other titles in Universal's Classic Monster Collection such as The Mummy or Creature From the Black Lagoon, the print quality for both films is sorely lacking, with the main problem being that the contrast is too dark. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono for both versions, and the quality is noticeably poor. The Browning version does have an optional soundtrack (recorded in Dolby Digital 5.0) featuring music composed by Philip Glass and performed by the Kronos Quartet. Since most of the film is without a musical soundtrack, this option is a nice addition. The Browning version also has several extra features. The language options are English only, with optional French subtitles and English closed captions, and there is an excellent commentary track by film historian David J. Skal. The well-written and organized track covers numerous topics, including the source materials used for the Browning version and comparisons between the English and Spanish versions of the film. The disc also includes a 34-minute documentary entitled "The Road to Dracula," which is quite an informative piece that includes interviews with author Clive Barker and relatives of the original filmmakers. There is also a nine-minute poster and photo montage, production notes, bios and film highlights for the main cast members and Browning, as well as the theatrical trailer for the film. For the Spanish version of the disc, the main bonus is a four-minute introduction to the film by lead actress Lupita Tovar Kohner. Production notes are also included. The language options are Spanish only, spoken with optional French or English subtitles (no closed captions are offered). Though there are some obvious complaints noted, the ability to see these two fascinating films back-to-back make this disc not only a must for horror fans but for any film student as well.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Monica McIntyre
Though the vampire legend has successfully seeped into all corners of modern media (from PBS's Sesame Street to prime time's Buffy the Vampire Slayer), few bloodsuckers remain as recognizable or creepy as Bela Lugosi in Tod Browning's Dracula. One of the crown jewels in Universal's marvelous cycle of horror films from the 1930s, this classic stars Lugosi as the dapper vampire from Transylvania biting his way by night to immortality. Having played this role in Hamilton Deane and John Balderston's Broadway stage adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel, the Hungarian-born Lugosi was the obvious choice for this 1931 film, especially since Browning's longtime collaborator, Lon Chaney, had recently died. The story is familiar: Dracula and the mad Renfield (Dwight Frye) travel to London and clash with the forces of reason and respectability, especially Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan). But despite Browning's exquisite, expressionistic mise-en-scène, Lugosi steals the show. The film made him a huge star, and filmmakers quickly typecast him due to his convincing, trancelike mannerisms.
All Movie Guide - Dan Jardine
Tod Browning's Dracula (1931) has made the most lasting impression of all versions of the Bram Stoker classic, although it was neither the first version (there were numerous silent-movie vampire tales) nor, for many viewers, the best version (many aficionados cite F.W. Murnau's 1922 Nosferatu). There are at least three reasons for the film's lasting importance. First, the opening sequences in the foothills of the Carpathians, and the subsequent set-up shots in Dracula's castle, are rendered in classic German Expressionist style by cinematographer Karl Freund, establishing a Gothic creepiness and tangibly dark and perverse tone that stick with the audience long after the setting shifts to England. The success of these atmospheric shots would influence horror filmmakers for decades to come. Second, Bela Lugosi's interpretation of Dracula would define the role. His suave, faded gentry style and unusually cadenced line deliveries would become the touchstone for many imitators. Lugosi gives his character just a hint of the sexual carnivore in his pursuit of the pretty maidens of England, themes that Werner Herzog and Francis Ford Coppola would develop more fully several decades later. Freund played a key role in defining Lugosi's sinister character by shining tiny pinpricks of light into his eyes, giving them an eerily otherworldly, penetrating quality. Third, the set designs are outstanding, from Dracula's Transylvanian castle to the London insane asylum housing Renfield, giving the film a perfectly Gothic horror quality. The film's second half deteriorates into a drawing-room drama, with too much chat and not enough horror. However, there is little doubt that the film's opening act, with its brilliant sets and stunning camerawork, together with Lugosi's elegantly sinister performance, make Dracula a memorable and influential classic.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/21/1999
UPC:
0025192032424
Original Release:
1931
Rating:
NR
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Sound:
[monaural]
Time:
2:59:00
Sales rank:
13,375

Special Features

"The Road to Dracula" original documentary; Feature commentary with film historian David J. Skal; New score by Phillip Glass performed by Kronos Quartet; Poster and photo montage; Production notes; Cast and filmmakers; Theatrical trailer; Universal web link

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bela Lugosi Count Dracula
Helen Chandler Mina Seward
David Manners John Harker
Dwight Frye Renfield
Edward Van Sloan Dr. Van Helsing
Herbert Bunston Dr. Seward
Frances Dade Lucy Weston
Charles Gerrard Martin
Joan Standing Maid
Moon Carroll Briggs
Josephine Velez English Nurse
Lupita Tovar Actor
Pablo Alvarez Rubio Actor
Tina Saint Actor
Michael Visaroff Innkeeper
Eduardo Arozamena Actor
Daisy Belmore Coach Passenger
Manuel Arbo Actor
Barry Norton Actor
Carmen Guerrero Actor

Technical Credits
Tod Browning Director,Producer
Miton Carruth Editor
Garrett Elsden Fort Screenwriter
Karl W. Freund Cinematographer
Charles Hall Art Director
Carl Laemmle Producer
Maurice Pivar Editor

Scene Index

Side #1
0. Chapter List
1. A Night OF Evil (Main Titles) [1:11]
2. The Castle [4:03]
3. "I Am...Dracula." [3:55]
4. The More Inviting Part Of The Castle [2:48]
5. Bound For England [6:08]
6. The Visitor From Transylvania [3:17]
7. Death Comes At Night [6:03]
8. The Sanitarium [2:24]
9. The Next Victim [2:55]
10. Dracula Revealed [3:39]
11. The Lure Of The Vampire [3:58]
12. The Necesary Precautions [5:07]
13. A Battle Of Wills [3:47]
14. The Vampires Curse [8:57]
15. Dracula Strikes Again [2:26]
16. Evil's End

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Dracula 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
Really flies...right in your face! Everything about Bela and Drac is here, and you can watch another movie (ED WOOD) to get more. Delightful and just in time for Halloween.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best Dracula, for sure. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kjhproductions More than 1 year ago
this is my second favorite dracula movie ever. the acting is great. barns and noble does not have the movie i recomend i recomend the spanish version of dracula
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although there have been numerous versions of Bram Stoker's vampire tale,none is more enduring then this 1931 original.Towering ominously amoung the shadows of the Carpathian Mountains,Castle Dracula strikes fear in the hearts of the Transylvania villagers below.Bela Lugosi,starring as the screen's most popular vampire Count Dracula,together with horror specialist Director Tod Browning,create the film's eerie and chilling mood.Dracula remains a vampire classic today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Bela Lugosi is the best Dracula you can get! I think this movie would not be as good if did not have......DWIGHT FRYE AS RENFIELD! Renfield is soooooooo funny.He is a bug eating Crazy guy.He has funny lines like,''Fly's....fly's poor peauty things!who wants to eat fly's.'' This is a cool Movie ...........BUY IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although there have been numerous screen version's of Bram stoker's classic tale,none is moreenduring than this 1931 original.Bela Lugosi,starring as the screen's moast popular vampirre Count Dracula,together with horror specialist Director Tod Browning,create the film's errie and chilling mood.ALSO STARS HELEN CHANDLER as a young maiden Mina who falls into the clutches of the vampire.DRACULA remains a masterpiece not only of the genre,but for all time.The Universal Monster collection.A must see for everyone!NOT RATED!!!