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FAQ for
Dracula (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Dracula can be found here.

English estate agent Renfield (Dwight Frye) travels to Transylvania to arrange for the purchase of Carfax Abbey by mysterious Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), not knowing that Dracula is actually a vampire. While there, Renfield is bitten by Dracula. After returning to London with Dracula and, suspected of being insane, Renfield is placed in Seward Sanatarium, which adjoins Carfax. While attending the theater, Dracula contrives to make the acquaintance of Dr Seward (Herbert Bunston), and also meets Seward's daughter Mina (Helen Chandler), Mina's fianc John Harker (David Manners), and Mina's friend Lucy Weston (Frances Dade). That night, Dracula drinks Lucy's blood, leaving two little marks on her neck. When Dracula turns his attentions on Mina, Seward sends for his colleague, Professor Van Helsing (Dwight Frye), who immediately suspects that they are under an attack by a vampire. Seward, Van Helsing, and Harker must fight together to save Mina and destroy the vampire.

Dracula is a character created by Irish author Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel Dracula, and all literary and cinematic works about Dracula stem from this novel. However, this particular version of Dracula is based on the 1924 stage play by Irish playwright Hamilton Dean and American playwright John L. Balderston. The stage play was adapted for the movie by Hollywood screenwriter Garrett Fort. The movie was followed by Dracula's Daughter (1936), which picks up at the moment this movie ends.

Harker and Van Helsing follow Renfield to Carfax, where Dracula has taken Mina, it being just minutes before dawn. When Dracula realizes that Harker and Van Helsing have followed, Renfield begs for mercy and denies that he led them there, but Dracula kills him anyway by throwing him down the vault steps. He then quickly carries Mina deep into the vault, and Harker and Van Helsing go looking for them. Van Helsing locates their coffins and orders Harker to 'get me a stone...anything to help me drive a stake through their hearts.' While Harker is searching, Van Helsing fashions a stake from the lid on Dracula's wooden coffin but, when he opens Mina's coffin, he discovers that it is empty. While Harker goes in search of Mina, Van Helsing drives the stake through Dracula's heart, destroying him. Harker finds Mina standing in a corner grasping her own heart, Dracula's hold on her now released. As they embrace, Van Helsing tells them that Dracula is dead forever and that they must go, while he intends to stay in the vault just a little longer. In the final scene, Harker and Mina walk up the stairs together as church bells ring in the background.

Most adaptations show Van Helsing and the others putting a stake into Lucy's heart. This one does not. Some people think that, at the end of the movie, Van Helsing stays in the tomb to finish off Lucy as well as Dracula. Others note that earlier on (just after it is discovered that Lucy is the woman in white who has been attacking children after dark) Van Helsing tells Mina, "I promise you that after tonight she will remain at rest, her soul released from this horror." We may reasonably assume that he destroyed Lucy at this point.

In this version of Dracula, Renfield plays a larger part and Harker a smaller one. Here it is Renfield, not Harker, who is the young lawyer delivering legal papers to Count Dracula. Dracula imprisons Renfield and drives him mad--just as he did to Harker in the book. The literary Harker escapes and recovers, but the cinematic Renfield does not. Once we meet Harker, the two characters are essentially the same as they are in Stoker's story.

The Dracula Enhanced Story Presentation, with highlighted dialogue and screenshots placed in sync with the story.


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