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Son of Dracula (1943)

Approved | | Fantasy, Horror | 5 November 1943 (USA)
Count Alucard finds his way from Budapest to the swamps of the Deep South; his four nemeses are a medical doctor, a university professor, a jilted fiancé and the woman he loves.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (original story) (as Curtis Siodmak)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Claire Caldwell
...
...
...
Judge Simmons
Adeline De Walt Reynolds ...
Madame Zimba (as Adeline DeWalt Reynolds)
Pat Moriarity ...
Sheriff Dawes (as Patrick Moriarity)
Etta McDaniel ...
Sarah
...
Colonel Caldwell
...
Count Dracula (as Lon Chaney)
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Storyline

Count Alucard finds his way from Budapest to the swamps of the Deep South after meeting Katherine Caldwell, of the moneyed Caldwell clan that runs a plantation called Dark Oaks. She's obsessed with occult matters. Who better to guide her through this supernatural world than Count Alucard, whose name no one bothers to spell backwards? No one, that is, except the wily Dr. Brewster, an old family friend. He'll join Professor Lazlo, a specialist in the occult, in fighting this "Alucard" and the woman he's influenced. Or has Katherine influenced him? Meanwhile, Katherine's fiancé, Frank Stanley, will find his courage and his sanity sorely tested when he accidentally shoots Katherine to death, yet finds that she goes on living. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

LON CHANEY -- MORE THRILLING! MORE TERRIFYING! As History's Blackest Curse Strikes Again! See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 November 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Destiny  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Part of the original "Shock Theater" package of 52 Universal titles released to television in 1957, followed a year later with "Son of Shock", which added 20 more features. See more »

Goofs

When Alucard/Dracula approaches the bedroom of Colonel Caldwell, and transforms from bat to man, both the bat and Lon Chaney Jr. can be seen reflected in a mirror hanging on the wall, which is a no-no in Universal vampire lore, as vampires cast no reflection. What's more, the actual animated transformation is not reflected; rather a jump-cut is seen in the mirror. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Harry [townsman bit]: How are ya, doctor?
Prof. Harry Brewster: Hi, Harry.
Frank Stanley: Hey, Charlie!
Charlie, station agent: Hello Dr. Brewster, Mr. Stanley.
Frank Stanley: How are ya. Say, uh, those all the passengers you have?
Charlie, station agent: Just the four.
Prof. Harry Brewster: You didn't put anyone off at the wrong station, did you? We're here to meet a friend of the Caldwells, a Count Alucard.
Charlie, station agent: There was no Count on this train. All customers. Say - there was a lot of stuff in the baggage car that might belong to your Count.
Prof. Harry Brewster: Thanks, we'll take a look at it.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

You're not giving--- just lending--- when you buy war savings stamps and bonds--- on sale here See more »

Connections

Featured in Creature Features: Son of Dracula (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"What do they know of these occult matters?"--Plenty!
6 February 2009 | by See all my reviews

"Son of Dracula" succeeds on many counts, (no pun intended) by virtue of its absolutely serious approach towards its material. Unlike other Universal horrors of this period, with their unfunny comedy relief antics, (bumbling, pop eyed police inspectors, burgomasters etc.) director Siodmak wisely eschews such sch-tick, and foreshadows the tragic ending of the story, with an increasingly oppressive sense of doom. In other words, unity of mood.

Indeed every aspect of the production is put at the service of conveying this doom, from George Robinson's highly expressionistic, shadowy photography to Vera West's (Hollywood's most under-appreciated designer) costume design.

The casting is excellent. It has been rightly observed that Lon Chaney Jr. is not an entirely comfortable choice for the Count, and it is certainly true that his Midwestern dialect and general deportment is not even remotely aristocratic. Still, his virility breathes menace, and in a scene where he traps a character in a basement, he evokes genuine dread. All told, he passes muster, and even more so, when you think of what a hokey disaster someone like John Carradine would have been in the part.

Robert Paige is superb--his increasingly manic desperation in the role of the suitor "Frank" goes a long way in lending the yarn credibility. In many ways it's his film. Evelyn Ankers is as always, very easy on the eyes, and though she is given little to do here, she does it fetchingly.

Which brings us the the protagonist, Kay Caldwell, (Louise Allbritton) the melancholic daughter of an aristocratic line, and the proprietress of its creepy plantation mansion--"Dark Oaks." This is a juicy assignment, and Miss Allbritton runs with it to the full.

From the moment she arrives on the veranda, a striking brunette clad in a billowing, peignoir like gown, she delineates her literally spell-bound character by offering the audience a spell bindingly detached characterization.

Who can resist her otherworldly gaze, as, staring outside of the frame, she smoothly articulates her certainty in telepathy, eerily chiding Miss Ankers for scoffing at ESP, and later her asperity at local gossip: "What can they know of these occult matters?-blind fools!" Visually, she is unforgettable, aided by Vera West's outré costumes, (even Miss Allbritton's day wear is mysterious--as witness her scalloped black waistband peplum ensemble with black under-dress, in the will reading sequence) and a black wig, which connects her with another black wigged anti-heroine from that same year--Jean Brooks in Lewton's "The Seventh Victim."

To abet these characterizations, and to conceal what seems to be a somewhat paltry budgetary outlay by Universal, director Sidiomak fills the screen with interesting visuals--Miss Allbritton's unforgettable trek through the nocturnal bayou to visit the gypsy, the gypsy's ensuing death in a bat attack, Chaney gliding across the misty swamp, and unsettling, shadowy close-ups of an unhinged Mr. Paige speaking through the bars of a prison.

Photographer Robinson is with him all the way, and composes and lights his shots to consistently interesting effect, (note the superb introduction to "Dark Oaks," with the camera panning through a creaking gate at night, whilst the whole frame is overlaid with the violent twist of brambles and vines) by foregrounding his shots with interesting objects on right or left--thereby lending depth and texture to his visual tableaux.

The ending with Mr. Paige finding his former love, Miss Allbritton, literally buried within the childhood detritus of her own attic, to which, after placing his ring on her finger, he sets afire, provides a fitting finale. A finale of marked and deeply felt tragedy, as a darkly romantic musical score swells, the camera treks in on Mr. Paige's blank, despairing gaze, his empty eyes lit by the shadows of the flames.

"Son of Dracula" is a deeply romantic dark dream of a film. Recommended.


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