DRACULA (1931) (Mania.com)
Date: Saturday, June 09, 2001
'I am ... Dracula.' Bela Lugosi never spoke truer words in his life! This film used elements from Bram Stoker's classic novel and the popular Broadway stage play to create something just short of a classic. The film doesn't quite stand the test of time, except for three key performances: Lugosi as Count Dracula, Edward Van Sloan as Professor Van Helsing, and Dwight Frye as Renfield. These three characters are so strikingly that they are sorely missed when not onscreen. Carl Freund's cinematography is still lush, despite the often static staging of director Tod Browning. Lugosi's version of the Count, his slicked back hair, great cape, long, spidery fingers, and thick accent, would soon become more of a caricature then a performance, but his identification with the role, for good or ill, speaks volumes on the effect it has had over the past seven decades. Although the Spanish-language version (shot concurrently, with a different cast) may be a 'technically superior' production, Lugosi will always be the true vampire king, and Van Sloan his stalwart adversary.