Spanish Dracula / Dracula: The Spanish Version
Carl Laemmle jr for Universal
directed by George Melford
starring Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton, Pablo Álvarez Rubio, Eduardo Arozamena, José Soriano Viosca, Carmen Guerrero, Amelia Senisterra, Manuel Arbó
screenplay by Garrett Fort, Baltasar Fernández Cué, based on the novel by Bram Stoker & its stage adaptations by Hamilton Deane & John L.Balderston
Dracula, Universal horror cycle, Universal's Dracula, Van Helsing
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As this movie was only filmed as the Spanish language version of Tod
Browning's Dracula, the story is pretty
much the same as in that movie & can be read there in greater detail, here
is only a quick overview:
Renfield (Pablo Álvarez Rubio) comes to
Transylvania, to sell Carfax Abbey to Cout Dracula (Carlos Villarias), but soon
falls victim to the count, who is - as if you wouldn't know it - a vampire.
Weeks later the ship with Dracula's belongings arrives in London, but all the
crew has mysteriously died, & the only survivor, Renfield, has gone
completely mad. & since he is quite so mad, he is put into doc Seward's (José
Soriano Viosca) sanitarium. But as fate has it, the sanitarium is next doors to
Carfax Abbey, where Dracula has put up shop, & when socialising with doc
Seward, he meets Seward's daughter Eva (Lupita Tovar) & her best friend
Lucia (Carmen Guerrero) ... & before long, Lucia, who has definitely fallen
for the Count, ends up sucked dry of all blood, & Eva is feeling a little
anaemic , too.
But doc Seward, Eva's fiancé Juan Harker (Barry Norton) &
the famed expert in vampirism Van Helsing (Eduardo Arozamena) put an end to the
Count's evil deeds by staking him ...
For many, this version is the
better of the 2 1931-Universal Draculas, but I have to confess it pretty
much eludes me why: The Transylvania scenes from Browning's Dracula,
which are the best scenes of that movie, are repeated here rather
unimaginatively shot-by-shot, but it soon becomes clear that Carlos Villarias
& Pablo Álvarez Rubio as Dracula & Renfield are only very poor
substitutes for Bela Lugosi & Dwight Frye & the scenes suffer
considerabl from their bad acting. When the action shifts to England, slight
improvements over the Browning version are made in the much livelier portrayal
of Mina (here called Eva) Harker by Lupita Tovar - as compared to the rather
sttiff & bloodless acting of Helen Chandler.
Unfortunately on the other
hand the film runs half an hour longer - which makes this film even more talky
than its English language-counterpart, while little is gained in terms of
storytelling or chracter development.