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Dracula (1931)

Approved | | Fantasy, Horror | 14 February 1931 (USA)
The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

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(by), (from the play adapted by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Herbert Bunston ...
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Joan Standing ...
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Martin (as Charles Gerrard)
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Storyline

After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferral 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. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dracula | count | vampire | blood | abbey | See All (80) »

Taglines:

The story of the strangest Passion the world has ever known! See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Language:

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Release Date:

14 February 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drácula  »

Box Office

Budget:

$355,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1936 re-release) (censored) | (original 1931 release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bela Lugosi played the role of Dracula on Broadway in 1927 before touring the country with the show. The American performance of the British stage actor Hamilton Deane's adaptation of the book was a smashing success. Soon after the play began touring Universal started to express interest in the script. See more »

Goofs

On main title, Carl Laemmle's studio affiliation is listed as "Presient" See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Girl Passenger: [reading from a Transylvanian tourist brochure] "Among the rugged peaks that crown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age."
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Crazy Credits

The original title card has producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. identified as Presient (sic). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tales from the Crypt: The Reluctant Vampire (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Swan Lake, Op.20
(1877) (uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Excerpt Played during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The definitive Dracula
30 April 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

One of the most iconic and popular characters in film history, Dracula has taken many forms, in many genres, and performed to various quality. Although not the first film to feature the character of Count Dracula (a couple of lost silent films and F.W. Murnau's unauthorised version Nosferatu came before), Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the menacing and seductive Count is commonly seen as the definitive.

The story is known to most – solicitor Renfield (Dwight Frye) arrives at Count Dracula castle at night, despite prior warnings by the nearby locals. He is greeted by Dracula, who, unknown to Renfield, is a vampire. Upon arrival, he pricks his finger, causing it to bleed which visibly excites Dracula until he spies the crucifix hanging around Renfield's neck. Renfield is drugged by Dracula and the two travel to London the next day by boat. When the ship arrives, only Renfield remains on the boat, now seemingly a lunatic and a slave to the Count. He is hospitalised while Dracula becomes entranced by a woman named Mina (Helen Chandler), who is engaged to John Harker (David Manners). As circumstances grow stranger, Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) becomes convinced that the Count is indeed a vampire, and that he must be destroyed.

The film would be the beginning of a long run of successful horror movies made by Universal, which would be hits critically and commercially, and many are nowadays considered classics of the genre. Although falling short of the outright perfection of James Whale's Frankenstein (also 1931) and its sequel Bride Of Frankenstein (1935), Dracula still proves a great adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel. Lugosi's performance is the definitive Dracula, his minimal movements and slow, pronounced dialogue, spoken with his Hungarian accent proves an unnerving Count. I'm not forgetting Max Schrek's Nosferatu, while amazing for its sheer dedication, it was hardly the Dracula of the book.

Director Tod Browning, who up to the point of making Dracula had made over 50 feature films, controls the film superbly, and opts for slow, menacing darkness rather than loud jump scenes and special effects. It builds up the mood gradually, and with Lugosi's fantastic central performance, makes for an atmospheric experience. It's a pity that Browning would almost end his career the next year with the commercially disastrous Freaks, which I consider a true great of the horror genre.

It's just a shame that the film's final scene is rather soft and anti- climatic, jarring with the brilliance that came before. However, it remains an excellent film overall, and the film that would spawn many memorable films for Universal studious.

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