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Dracula More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The One That Started It All

Author: bayardhiler from United States
25 October 2014

In 1897 Irish author Bram Stoker wrote what would become the most famous vampire story of all, "Dracula". Despite it becoming a world wide sensation, it would not be until 1931 when Bram Stoker's ultimate example of Victorian Gothic would become a feature film. Starring legendary Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi, the plot is something that almost everyone knows by heart now. Ancient vampire Count Dracula desires for something more than the surroundings of his decrypt castle and decides to make way to England so he can continue his blood sucking ways there. Naturally the people of Britain don't take too kindly to this and from there it's a race against the clock before Dracula can kill again.

Film audiences today might find Universal's version campy and more of a comedy than horror. But let's not forgot this was when filmmaking was still in infancy and funny or not, this is the film that laid the foundation for what vampires are supposed to be in our mind. Prior to this, Bela Lugosi was making a nice living on Broadway as the caped fiend when Universal approached him for this role and as a result of that decision, he was launched into the stratosphere of stardom. With his iconic cape, heavy accent, and ice, cold eyes, Lugosi set the standard that all other actors in the role would be measured against and because of that, even in this age of "Twilight"(Blah), is still the epitome of all vampires. Watch as he stalks the streets of Victorian London and try to tell yourself that he's not spooky or even just a little bit cool. Director Todd Browning masterfully adapted Stoker's work by incorporating all the Gothic elements that made the novel a classic, from the decrypted old castle of Dracula to the black and white shots of cemeteries and crypts. Rounding out the cast is Dwight Frye as the naïve real estate agent turned insanely devoted servant of Dracula (Frye's maniac look and laugh through out the film should have earned him an Oscar or at least a nomination) Edward Van Sloan as Dracula's chief nemesis Van Helsing, Helen Chandler as Mina, David Manners as John Harker, plus many more small time actors who make the film that much more memorable. You can laugh at the bat on string all you want but the image of Lugosi stalking someone in their bedroom in the dead of night has haunted a many young child's dreams and truth be told, still kind of does. And on that note, don't let this classic pass you by and while I'm at it, don't forget to keep your crucifix and garlic close when you turn off that light!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A classic horror film for a reason

Author: MovieLord23 from San Antonio
15 October 2014

Dracula is bonafide horror classic not only responsible of leading the way for the Universal Monsters and horror's first real break into the mainstream, but it also had a major influence in the vampire mythos that we see in films today. Despite all the new adaptations of the story of vampires and Dracula, this film still stands tall above the lot.

Good: What really helps this film retain its iconic status is Bela Lugosi as Dracula and the direction. Lugosi is still fantastic as Dracula as he just commands the screen and despite his version of Dracula has been parodied time and time again, but it still works here. The direction is excellent as well with a great atmosphere and sets on here.

Overall, while it is not as brutal or scary as other vampire films, it is still an atmospheric, well acted, and entertaining vampire film.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bela Lugosi's Legendary Performance Is The Benchmark For Film Vampires Even Today

Author: Nancy_Grease from Canada
13 October 2014

Following the Great Depression Univeral executive Carl Laemmle, Jr. was forced to downsize plans for a planned movie based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. The money simply wasn't there for the scale of the production he's hoped would be on par with The Phantom of the Opera. To cut costs he chose to adapt the stageplay by Hamilton Deane and John Balderston. Bela Lugosi was playing the vampire on stage at the time to rave reviews. Despite that fact, he was not Universal's first choice as star but in the end his charisma won out. Dwight 'Frankenstein' Frye co-stars as Renfield and Edward Van Sloan is Van Helsing. The narrative follows Dracula moving to England from his native Transylvania to drink the blood of the lovely Mina and to make Carfax Abbey his new home. This masterpiece was followed by numerous sequels and countless imitations over the years.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It may be dusty, but it's still a classic

Author: Adam Peters from Birkenhead United Kingdom
25 August 2014

(62%) It is without doubt a classic owing to the fact that it is so well made, and so memorable. The sets are some of the greatest ever to appear on any film, and Lugosi is great as the awful head vamp. It's more than a little dated of course, so there's no blood/biting or on-screen death or murder, plus the acting is very theatrical at times, and there's quite a few long drawn-out sections of total silence that highlight exactly how old and pioneering it is.With that said, all horror fans should watch this at least once, as it does make a great late-night Halloween movie that will live on - just like the old count himself - forever.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Dracula (1931)

Author: skybrick736 from Waconia, Minnesota
18 August 2014

Tod Browning put on a complete show that didn't disappoint the least bit in this adaptation of the Dracula novel. It was faithful, had solid characters and a strong presence of Bela Lugosi to carry the way. What I liked about this Universal Picture was that it was fast paced and never really had any dull moments. Classic movies sometimes drag and don't hold my interest entirely but I never really seemed to hit pause. I was glued from the get go from the starting opening scene in Transylvania. Renfield, played by Dwight Frye was very sufficient and creepy. The characters of Van Helsing, Dr. Seward and Mina were terrific and casted perfectly. Bela Lugosi as Dracula was of course the star of the film and spawned a long list of Universal movies for himself. The role of John Harker was annoying at times and didn't have the best dialog written for him. It's obviously a classic that all horror fans have to watch. I would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like 1931's Dracula despite its few flaws.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Look Into My Eyes...

Author: Rainey-Dawn from United States
26 June 2014

A bloody horror film classic! One of the best vampire films ever made. This is another must see film for all horror movie fans.

What makes vampires so alluring, so irresistible? Is it their charming ways? Is it the fact they have eternal life? Is their brooding dark ways? Is it their style of dress and homes? Is it their manners? Or, maybe, it is simply their really cool fangs! Whatever it is vampires are sure to stay in fiction films for a long time yet to come. And some older vampire films like "Dracula(1931)" will surely never die!

I could watch this film classic again maybe because Count Bela has hypnotized me with his famous line "Look Into My Eyes..." Another great last night flick!


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Classic Horror

Author: Gerardrobertson61 from Australia
31 May 2014

For Xmas last year I got the Universal Monsters box set containing 8 of Universals horror movies from the 30's and 40's. I started watching this set with Dracula, a movie that I watched back in the 80's, so I haven't seen it in 30 years, It's still a chilling and frightening movie when you put it into the context of when it was released. Bela Lugosi's movements when he attacks and the light across his eyes must have really scared the daylights out of the 1930's audience, today it's almost humorous. But the movie is regarded as a classic movie from that period. It was the start of the horror movie genre, Classic Lugiso lines including "cheeldren of the naight", "I nevair dreenk vine" and "I am Count Draculaaa", and no doesn't say, "I vant to dreenk your vlodd".

The scene where Dracula meets Van Helsing is a classic, especially when Van Helsing asks what sort of creature makes marks on a neck, and the maid introduces Count Dracula. This scene is quickly followed up by the lack of Dracula reflection in the mirror.

Dwight Frye's Renfield is excellent, his creepy laugh and the expression on his face when he is not given his insects is memorable. Bela Lugosi epitomizes the perfect Dracula, no other actor has ever matched Lugosi's Dracula. Combined with Dwight Fryes Renfield, they were the perfect pair for this movie.

Interesting that nurses were stationed in the lobbies of theatres when the movie was released to attend anyone who was scared by the movie.

I love this box series and I am really enjoying watching Dracula, one of my favourite classic horror movies.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

THE horror masterpiece!

Author: Norm Vogel ( from S. Bound Brook, NJ.
15 August 2001

Bela Lugosi is my all-time fav horror actor and this is HIS film! It is a masterpiece! While not based on Stoker's novel ("Nosferatu" is much closer), it is an interesting story, none-the-less!

Almost every line that Bela utters has become a classic ("Children of the night".... etc).

The only fault is that the acting of the hero/heroine is EXTREMELY "wooden", and the "romance" isn't convincing.

Having seen both this film AND the Spanish version, I have to say that (in THIS aspect) the Spanish version is MUCH better; the characters are move "believeable"....BUT.....they didn't have LUGOSI!

BTW...there's an interesting "blooper" in this film, that not many people know about. About 37 mins in, Lugosi leans down on Nina's bed (to bite her in the neck) -- if you look on the RIGHT side of the screen, you'll see a PIECE OF CARDBOARD that was attached to the lampshade, to take the glare off her face! (You've never seen it 'cos Lugosi's acting is RIVETING!). Look for it!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A superbly atmospheric, cobwebbed delight!

Author: Alph-2 from Sydney
25 February 1999

The Transylvanian sequences in this film are a superbly atmospheric, cobwebbed delight and Lugosi's vampire has a presence unmatched by any other screen Count with the possible exception of Christopher Lee.

The theatrical origins of the screenplay (it was an adaption of a stageplay based on Stoker's novel) are more apparent in the second half. Unlike the book Dracula at first conceals his vampiric nature from his English victims, which echoes Jeckyll and Hyde somewhat.

Nevertheless I feel the spirit of the book survives in this version better than it does in closer adaptions. Along with 'Vampyr' (1932)and 'Nosferatu'(1922) - also a loose adaption of Stoker - it is probably the best vampire movie ever made.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Stopping By Dracula's Castle on a Windy Evening

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
5 July 2006

One kind of film that Universal Studios did better than any other was the Gothic horror story. Carl Laemmle practically took out a patent on those films. The sets were already on the lot, he just kept making Frankenstein, Wolfman, and Dracula films at minimal cost and they made money for Universal. In fact until Deanna Durbin started singing for this studio and Abbott&Costello brought over their vaudeville routines, these horror films were the bread butter of Universal Pictures.

Interestingly enough though Bela Lugosi only played the role of Count Dracula twice on film, he became so overwhelmingly identified with the part that Lugosi's whole life was taken over by the undead Count. He was buried in fact in his Dracula costume.

Lugosi however did portray the vampire Count on Broadway in a play adapted from the Bram Stoker novel three years before he did the screen version for Universal. It was on Broadway that Lugosi first got acclaim for Dracula. Carl Laemmle bought the screen rights to the play after seeing Lugosi on stage and just in time for sound. Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing and Herbert Bunston as Dr. Seward also came over from the Broadway cast.

Although Bela got his career role from this film, Edward Van Sloan as the vampire killer Van Helsing also got the role that people identify him with. Van Sloan practically duplicated his role in The Mummy which also became another series of horror films for Universal.

Oddly enough Lugosi himself killed the Universal horror genre by that second appearance as Count Dracula in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. When those mythic horror monsters became comic foils for Bud and Lou, the demand ceased for these kind of films. It only started again when British Hammer films revived the genre by making them far more explicit and bloody.

Still with that Hungarian accented voice of cultured menace, Bela Lugosi remains for purists the only real Dracula ever put on screen, Christopher Lee notwithstanding.

Like in The Mummy which I've also reviewed good use is made of themes by Tschaikovsky as background music by Director Tod Browning. But it's Bela Lugosi who makes this film a horror picture for the age.

Dracula will be still frightening viewers centuries from now. After all vampires are eternal.

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