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Dracula

USA 1931
produced by
Carl Laemmle jr for Universal
directed by Tod Browning
starring Bela Lugosi, Edward Van Sloan, Dwight Frye, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Frances Dade, Charles Gerrard, Herbert Bunston, Moon Carroll, Josephine Velez, Michael Visaroff, Donald Murphy, Daisy Belmore
screenplay by Garrett Fort, based on the novel by Bram Stoker & its stage adaptations by Hamilton Deane & John L.Balderston, cinematography by Karl Freund

Dracula, Universal horror cycle, Universal's Dracula, Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Van Helsing, Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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To accomodate a customer who wants to by Carfax Abbey in London, Renfield (Dwight Frye) travels to the creepy mountains of Transylvania, & visits the man uin his old castle despite warnings from the superstitious townfolks ... said customer is of course Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi).

Pretty soon, Dracula - a vampire, just in case you didn't know - has brought Renfield under his evil spell & the 2 are on their way to England on the schooner Vestra ... but when she arrives, all her sailors have died from mysterious bloodloss, & Renfield proves to be the only living soul on board ... but he's a raging madman by now & is thus put into the sanitarium of Doc Seward (Herbert Bunston).

Dracula has meanwhile moved into Carfax Abbey, that by pure coincidence is the next-door neighbour of thje Doc's sanitarium, so Dracula - like any good neighbour - introduces himself to the doc, his daughter Mina (Helen Chandler), her fiancé Jonathan Harker (David Manners) & their friend Lucy Weston (Frances Dade), who can't hide her fascination for the Count's Eastern European charm ... & the next day she turns up dead, died from massive bloodloss.

Baffled by this mysterious death, Doc Seward calls on his colleague Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan), an expert into not only medicin but also the supernatural, & he even formally introduces him to Count Dracula ... which is when Van Helsing picks up his first clue, realizing that Dracula - like every regular vampire - has no reflection in the mirror.

Soon though, Mina starts suffering from severe bloodloss, too, & all of Van Helsing's efforts to guard her from further vampire attacks add up to rather little when seh seems to show no desire in being saved & routinely spoils his plans.

It is not until Dracula abducts Mina that Van Helsing can persuade Jonathan to take action, & the 2 follow Renfield, Dracula's loyal subject, to Carfax Abbey, where they can finally find Dracula lying helplessly in his coffin, & stake him. Mina - not yet fully vampirized - is released from Dracula's curse.

 

The first quarter of the movie, taking place in Transylvania, is simply superb, boasting an atmospheric use of Universal's very artificial but still great studio settings, & consisting of little dialogue but many eerie shots. When the action moves to London however, the movie considerably loses momentum, favouring long, talky scenes over any real action & thereby showing its stage origins. However, great performances by Bela Lugosi & Dwight Frye make this a watchable movie nevertheless.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
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