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The Romance of Dracula : A Personal Journey of the Count on Celluloid

Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Balderston play was optioned for filming by Universal in , the obvious choice to play the first official screen Dracula had been silent superstar Lon Chaney. Having already played a vampire of sorts in the silent London After Midnight , Chaney had left a tantalising blueprint which speculated as to how he would look as the Count.

The speculation of the possibilities are limitless. As the synopsis above shows, a scene-by-scene recording of the film would be pointless. The script allows everything to be acted out in a succession of similar shots that become tiring through their predictability. All the cast seem to be trapped on one stage following the eerie set of opening sequences.

The Castle is a grand design and does lend an atmospheric air to the proceedings.


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The large hall is welcoming enough and Dwight Frye and Bela Lugosi play out their scenes with just the right touch of camp. The brides silently prowl around and promise real menace that, sadly, is never delivered. Renfield is incarcerated and should really have the key thrown away. But when Dracula dons his top hat and walks down the Broadway version of a London street, the film loses any credibility that it might have otherwise possessed. Off-screen horrors are explained away in long snatches of dialogue.

As fate would have it, Bela Lugosi received the part that would haunt him to the grave.

Vampire Review: The Romance Of Dracula - by Charles E. Butler

He has no fangs and uses hypnotism from a distance to put his victims into a slumber before slowly sneaking up and biting their necks. He sneers condescendingly at his guest, drugging him with wine, before making him his slave. Renfield begs his Master to keep ambiguously confusing promises as they travel to England. This Count is the equivalent of a s bad guy. He goes after what and who he wants without worrying about the effect it will have on others. He is lonely and is attracted to Lucy because of her similar interest in all things morbid.

She finds him fascinating, as he does of himself. Someone to hand out constant praise to him in the next thousand years or so. For the movie-going public however, Lugosi was Dracula and Dracula was Lugosi. No other actor has ever been so closely identified to his fictional character on screen.

Non-Fiction Spotlight: The Romance of Dracula

In the film, his vampire is utilised unimaginatively as a peripheral bogeyman and is even robbed of a decent death scene, — the only clue we get to his demise is a low, off screen moan. In the re-issue of the film, even these moans were censored as being too horrific. His runaway success with Dracula entitled Lugosi to pick and choose his next roles. Dwight Frye is the classic Renfield of the cinema. He informs the villagers that he is bound for Castle Dracula, then swears blind that he has kept his journey secret when questioned by the Count himself.

He intones that he has been loyal many times, but it is never explained in just what way. At the asylum, he goes overboard becoming the caricature that is played out by impressionists across the world.

Romance of Dracula

He infuriates everyone around him and becomes a tiresome double act with the unfunny Martin. You actually feel like applauding when Dracula takes him by the throat and throws him down the stairs.

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Two years later, Frye would repeat the role under the name Herman Gleib, in the independent thriller, The Vampire Bat , and continue starring in horror films, most notably as Fritz, the hunchback assistant in Frankenstein ; but generally as a non-plussed villager, for the next ten years until his death from a massive heart attack. His final film being Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man Physically and grammatically correct, with a great first line in dialogue, his Professor is doggedly set on finding and destroying the vampire.

So intense is he in his work, that he bullies victims into revealing their stories, losing the bedside charm of his literary counterpart and subsequent movie Van Helsings. He confides in people that will listen, constantly explaining his theories to a gullible Dr Seward, who follows him around lapdog fashion as he drones incessantly on. He uses wolfbane instead of the usual garlic flowers. Unfortunately, he is also forgetful. Throughout the film, Van Helsing has curiously carried crosses and large amounts of wolfbane to repel his vampires.

He has to send Harker hunting for a stone while he breaks up another wooden casket! Once he has his makeshift stake, he spares the audience any further horrors by staking the Count off screen. Edward Van Sloan would continue playing learned Professors for the remainder of his career. He died, typecast by the role of Van Helsing, in David Manners plays the intense John Harker. When he does get to talk to Mina, he is interrupted by a flapping bat; Mina telling him that their life together is over; and finally, her expression changing considerably, attacking him off screen.

Van Helsing saves the day with his trusted crucifix and has the gall to recruit Harker over Seward, to track Dracula to his lair at Carfax. However, as with all Hollywood romances, he does walk away with the girl at the end. He co-starred with Lugosi and Boris Karloff in the strange satanic thriller, The Black Cat — as another useless love interest, his career destined to become obsolete.

Her dialogue explains scenes that we never see. She confesses meeting an undead Lucy: Only Van Helsing is able to understand her fear of the crucifix, which she cowers from at every opportunity, and punctuates her abhorrence with a scream. While hospitalised, she was constantly dogged by letters and telephone calls from someone who claimed to be Bramwell Fletcher.

She died in and was cremated; her ashes were never claimed. Frances Dade plays Lucy, a character who has a strange temperament and loses herself in morbid fantasies. The still showing Lugosi creeping towards a slumbering Lucy would become one of the most iconic images in pop culture.

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Like co-star Helen Chandler, this is the only film that the 19 year old would be remembered for. Herbert Bunston has a great sounding name, but, as Dr Seward, he is the first actor to play the ineffectual, doddery old man. He owns the asylum, but none of the inmates take notice of his carefully lowered voice used to calm down mischief-makers.

Mina and John — and Seward and Lucy? I have to say that even if I had seen this film on its first run, I would have been incredibly disappointed. After cuts ordered by the censor it runs for 76 minutes, but it seems double that because of its very funereal pace and lack of any kind of musical score. Why have Lugosi climbing out of his coffin at all, if the camera was going to constantly avoid it?

Attacks on the two sleeping girls are exact composites of the selfsame scene: Then we have a drawing room scene. A scene on the terrace. A drawing room scene. It is this film script that Mel Brooks chose to parody for his dismal, Dracula: Dead and Loving it , starring Leslie Nielson. Accounts have been given that Bela Lugosi wished to repeat his most famous role of Dracula in colour, using the interesting cinematic concept 3D in the s. This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 1st, at You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.

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