7.2/10
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68 user 31 critic

Drácula (1931)

Unrated | | Fantasy, Horror | 24 April 1931 (USA)
Centuries-old vampire Dracula preys upon the innocent Eva and her friends.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(novel), (Spanish adaptation) (as B. Fernandez Cue)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Conde Drácula (as Carlos Villar)
...
Eva
...
Juan Harker
Pablo Álvarez Rubio ...
Renfield
Eduardo Arozamena ...
Van Helsing
José Soriano Viosca ...
Doctor Seward
Carmen Guerrero ...
Lucía
Amelia Senisterra ...
Marta
...
Martín
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Storyline

At midnight on Walpurgis Night, an English clerk, Renfield, arrives at Count Dracula's castle in the Carpathian Mountains. After signing papers to take over a ruined abbey near London, Dracula drives Renfield mad and commands obedience. Renfield escorts the boxed count on a death ship to London. From there, the Count is introduced into the society of his neighbor, Dr. Seward, who runs an asylum. Dracula makes short work of family friend, Lucia Weston, then begins his assault on Eva Seward, the doctor's daughter. A visiting expert in the occult, Van Helsing, recognizes Dracula for who he is, and there begins a battle for Eva's body and soul. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 April 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dracula, Spanish Version  »

Box Office

Budget:

$66,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the Lugosi version is silent except for credits, this version uses the first few notes of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony each time Dracula rises from his coffin. See more »

Goofs

The first images of the carriage pulling into the town are stock footage from _Dracula (1931)_ and contain long shots of Michael Visaroff as the innkeeper. This gives the proprietor a temporary bald spot which completely disappears in all further shots. See more »

Connections

Version of Nosferatu (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Best horror movie of the period - period.
19 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Let's get real: there are only two reasons the reputation of the original Dracula has remained intact into the 21st Century - Bela Lugosi's performance and as a monument to camp/nostalgia of a certain kind. In all other respects, it is at its best competent, in its worst moments dreadful. While admittedly atmospherically moody in design, it is ridiculously slow, and, with the exception of Lugosi, the acting is hilariously bad. Does Lugosi's strangely ethereal, other-worldly performance save the show. Yes; on the other hand, goth-nostalgia grows ever more wearisome as the years wear on.

Despite a legend perpetrated by Universal Studios itself, that the Spanish language version of the film produced simultaneously with the original was shot by shot the same with different actors, the Spanish Dracula is a completely different interpretation of the same script. The lighting is better, the camera work more fluid and more professionally handled, the editing is far more advanced - indeed the look of the film would put it in the early '40s if we didn't know better. Adding to this impression of being ahead of its time is the acting - naturalistic, emotive, performed by a cast with a considerable repertoire of facial expressions and vocal intonations at their disposal, most utterly believable.

Finally, there is the redefinition of just what the 'horror' of Dracula really amounts to. Lugosi's presence in the original is heightened by the portrayal of a British middle class environment that is hopelessly banal. Here, the environment is given a warmer glow, but the real horror of the vampire is that he is a beast in aristocratic disguise, seething with barely suppressed violence. Pay special attention to the ship voyage sequence: in the original this is mostly about a storm in which Lugosi stands literally unmoved by the rough waves battering the ship. In the Spanish version, the sequence is about the direct confrontation between the Count - hungry, gloating sneer on his face, crouched, about to pounce - and the unbelieving sailors, with a soundtrack provided by a truly frightening screech of laughter from the mad Renfield.

A note must also be made concerning the sexuality of the two films. The implicit sexuality of the original is really largely legend, derived almost solely from Lugosi's own impressively suave charisma. The makers of the Spanish version have not left the matter to the chance of casting - the women are thinly dressed, and Dracula's approach to them openly seductive - this especially becomes clear in one scene where Dracula steps between the heroine and her fiancé, utterly ignores the fiancé's presence and speaks to the heroine in the soothing, caring tones of a lover! I'm not saying the Spanish Dracula is anything more than a well made B-movie - but it is an exceptionally well made B-movie, probably the best of its era - a real classic that stands the test of time on the virtue of its rugged performance and professional polish.

Give honor to Lugosi's historic performance - but pay homage to a nearly lost masterwork of genre cinema, the Spanish language Dracula, 1931.


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