Dracula (1931)

You really need to see this film. Consider it an essential part of your cinematic education.

Dracula is one of those films that influenced an immeasurable amount of films after it, like Star Wars with science fiction or Gone with the Wind for epic romances. It still manages to keep a little under the radar, but I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Count Dracula.

The film, I read, is based on a 1924 stage play, which was loosely based on the Bram Stoker novel. I haven’t read it (sadly), so I can’t attest to its faithfulness anyway. What I do know is that, however bland the plot may seem, the film is oddly spellbinding. The meat of the plot concerns Dracula’s move to England, where he preys on several young women before being impaled by Van Helsing, and frankly, that sounds more interesting than it should. The storyline is very “old gothic novel,” linear and droll, but I truly didn’t mind.

What makes this film so great is its sense of identity. The locations, so clearly sets, are nonetheless remarkable, and the performances are classically and endearingly theatrical. Sometimes, I just wanted to play a scene over, if only to relish in the atmosphere it creates. The real star is Lugosi, though, who exudes a charm and lust so potent, I believe he might always be the definitive Dracula. Even with the technical artistry, the film would be forgotten without him.

Clocking in at around 75 minutes, you really have no excuse.

3.5 Green

Dracula is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital.

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One thought on “Dracula (1931)

  1. Pingback: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) | The Stoplight

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