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Dracula (1931)

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

Directors:

Tod Browning, Karl Freund (uncredited)

Writers:

Bram Stoker (by), Hamilton Deane (from the play adapted by) | 2 more credits »
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4,329 ( 559)
5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bela Lugosi ... Count Dracula
Helen Chandler ... Mina
David Manners ... John Harker
Dwight Frye ... Renfield
Edward Van Sloan ... Van Helsing
Herbert Bunston ... Doctor Seward
Frances Dade ... Lucy
Joan Standing Joan Standing ... Maid
Charles K. Gerrard ... 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

Taglines:

Carl Laemmle Presents The VAMPIRE THRILLER! (original posters) See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hungarian | Latin

Release Date:

14 February 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Drácula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$355,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$84,758
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bette Davis (who had a contract at Universal at the time) was considered to play the part of Mina Harker. However, Universal head Carl Laemmle Jr. didn't think too highly of her sex appeal. See more »

Goofs

When Dracula and Renfield first enter the castle bedroom, the door is closing by itself, hinged on the right side; after a scene shift the door is seen still closing (when it should have been shut by now), but is now hinged on the opposite side. 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."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Joan Standing, who played Briggs, was credited as the maid, who was actually played by Moon Carroll. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also released in a silent version for theatres not yet talkie equipped. 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

See more »

User Reviews

The Flawed Masterpiece
14 September 2001 | by Shield-3See all my reviews

The 1931 `Dracula' casts an imposing shadow over the horror genre. It is, after all, the movie that launched the classic Universal horror cycle of the 1930s and 1940s. It is also a tremendous influence on the look and atmosphere of horror movies in general (and vampire movies in particular). It gave Dracula a look and a voice, and created a legend.

Okay, so we know it was influential. But how does it work as a movie? Well… the first time I watched it, I was underwhelmed. The pace is slow. While Bela Lugosi's Dracula is menacing, the rest of the cast is colorless to the point of transparency. There are some good gliding camera shots here and there (thank you, Karl Freund!), but the majority of the film is locked into stationary medium and long shots. The film is tightly bound to its theatrical origins – director Browning has his characters look at things out of frame and describe them rather than just showing us, which would be much more effective.

Fortunately, `Dracula' improves with repeated viewings. The glacial pace and lack of sound in many places gives the movie a nightmarish sense of menace. In fact, `Dracula' is somewhere between a nightmare and a piece of classical music – everything proceeds at its own pace, gliding through the motions, gradually building suspense and momentum until the piece reaches climax. The end result is a flawed but haunting, hypnotic masterpiece, and one of the greatest vampire films ever made.


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