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The Two Versions Of DRACULA


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For those interested in the '31 Dracula (or the whole Dracula mythos in general), I highly recommend reading the book Hollywood Gothic by David J. Skal.  Skal produced the making-of documentary on the Universal DVD, and in his book he explores the entire history of the Dracula story from Bram Stoker's novel to its adaptations for stage and the Universal films (Spanish version included).  It's a pretty fascinating and complicated story, in many ways more interesting than the film itself.  He details Florence Stoker's (widow of Bram) near decades-long battle to suppress the illegally made Nosferatu as well as her ongoing struggle to maintain ownership of the story, which actually led to the Universal film being so far removed from the novel (due to complicated copyright issues, the studio had to buy the rights to the stage adaptation rather than the novel itself).  He also provides a lot of biographical information about the cast and crew of both the English- and Spanish-language versions, much of it gathered first-hand through interviews with survivors at the time the book was published (early 90s).

Bravo Feego, I was just going to recommend this book.  It is an engrossing read beautifully illustrated with many fascinating photos.   I bought it when it first came out and I have read it at least four or five times.      I can not recommend this book highly enough. 

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Yeah, I had met Mr Skal last year (along with Sarah Karloff) at a horror convention. He headed a talk on the history of horror films and broke them down into groups; haunted house, supernatural (ghost/demon), the animal, the enemy within (conflict) stories. I really like those categories.

I've wanted to get his books, but prefer buying them used. He agreed with that, being a starving artist himself!

 

(I also like that 2 posters here have such opposite opinions of the same movie....can't wait to see how the movie effects me!)

 

 

Did'ja notice Lugosi never said, "BLAH!" 
Where DID that come from?

 

My guess is from people imitating his Hungarian accent "blood" as "Blah-d".

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slow day at work, so i was reading up on DRACULA (1931) on wikipedia and found this entry on the (unfortunate) Phillip Glass score:

 

(copy and pasted):

 

In 1998 composer Philip Glass was commissioned to compose a musical score for the classic film. The score was performed by the Kronos Quartet under direction of Michael Reisman, Glass's usual conductor.

Of the project, Glass said:

The film is considered a classic. I felt the score needed to evoke the feeling of the world of the 19th century for that reason I decided a string quartet would be the most evocative and effective. I wanted to stay away from the obvious effects associated with horror films. With [the Kronos Quartet] we were able to add depth to the emotional layers of the film.

 

 

(end quote)

 

The 1931 version of DRACULA IS NOT SET IN THE 19TH CENTURY. THERE ARE CARS AND MODERN FASHIONS. IT IS SET IN (what was at the time) THE PRESENT DAY, YOU COMPLETE KNOB.

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While I can't dispute your closing comment Lorna, I'd only say that Glass, in his usual pretentious way, probably felt that due to the film featuring many amenities that could be considered 19th century( horse drawn carriages, the equal of old west stagecoaches and the like, as well as the Count's anachronistic manner of dress and castle decor) that a score evoking 19th century musical trends may not have been out of place.

 

As I've never really enjoyed any of Glass' work, I really don't care.

 

 

Sepiatone

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Similar to poster "Countess Dracula" My wife and I went to the matinee performance in Los Angles on October 28.  The theater was also sparsely attended.

 

I have always loved the original "Dracula" but seeing these beautiful sets on the big screen was a revelation.  As for the Spanish language version, I found it hilarious.  My wife fell asleep so I woke her and had to leave less than halfway through.  I wanted to see Lupita Tovar (who is still with us) but the lead playing Dracula was so over the top that it made the movie a comedy rather than a thriller.

 

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I remember being so excited to purchase the Glass version of Dracula on VHS ( now it is also out on the dvd/blu ray).   I ended up barely making it through one viewing.  I loathe this version.  Perhaps someone should of told him that every moment does not need to be punctuated with music.    The music is obtrusive and downright irritating.   I was most annoyed by Lugosi's classic lines being overwhelmed by this score.   The sparse music in Dracula ( used only when actual music would be utilized, the opening credits ,the theatre scene) set an ominous tone and was perfect for the film.   Hopefully no one attempts to score the film again. Once was quite enough,

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I remember being so excited to purchase the Glass version of Dracula on VHS ( now it is also out on the dvd/blu ray).   I ended up barely making it through one viewing.  I loathe this version.  Perhaps someone should of told him that every moment does not need to be punctuated with music.    The music is obtrusive and downright irritating.   I was most annoyed by Lugosi's classic lines being overwhelmed by this score.   The sparse music in Dracula ( used only when actual music would be utilized, the opening credits ,the theatre scene) set an ominous tone and was perfect for the film.   Hopefully no one attempts to score the film again. Once was quite enough,

 

 

Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

 

To me, the most unforgiveable thing the Glass score does is replace the delightfully anachronistic SWAN LAKE during the opening credits...which, FYI Universal also "fixed" during their restoration so that it no longer warbles out of tune (which, again, is something I find endearing about the original.)

 

I readily admit to having no musical talent, and if you asked me to score DRACULA, the result would likely be exactly what Glass does:

 

"Dramatic move-ment...violin dithering...same dramatic move-ment...same violin dithering...same DRAMATIC move-ment (butinalowerkey)...violin dithering...same dramatic MOVE-MENT, butinalowerkey....violin dithering...SAME DRAMATIC MOVE-MENT....SAME DRAMATIC MOVE-MENT....SAME DRAMATIC MOVE-MENT (butinalowerky)...violin dithering (but in a lower key)..." **

 

"Great. Now put that on loop for an hour and nineteen minutes and let's snort this wad of dough Universal paid me."

 

seriously, listen:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bxiy0W-8Ecs&list=PLJW3ugxcbijGpkV9vMOEIRW1iJ8S0UJOx

 

**you can even sing along.

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I think the sad fact of the matter is that NO film version of DRACULA has ever been fully satisfactory.

 

The shortcomings of the 1931 version are well-noted; The Spanish version has Carlos Villarias stinking it up; HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) is solid, but could've been better and takes such liberties with the story it's close to a total retelling; all the subsequent Hammer sequels have interesting facets but overall don't succeed, the Dan Curtis version is tacky and silly, not a fan of the Jourdan version (all apologies though), The 1979 version has its moments, but OMG the puffy shirts with the cravats and those lasers!, the Coppola version bears the distinction of being the worst, as well as the most faithful to the novel while ironically missing the spirit and crux of the book altogether), a 2006 BBC version took some interesting liberties with the story- but some AWFUL acting and slow direction ultimately ruin it.

 

The only fully satisfying version of the tale was done by THE MERCURY THEATER on the Radio ca. 1938. In about 45 minutes, Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, and company do the absolute best version of the tale that has ever been.

 

Highly recommended:

 

 

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I think the sad fact of the matter is that NO film version of DRACULA has ever been fully satisfactory.

 

The shortcomings of the 1931 version are well-noted; The Spanish version has Carlos Villarias stinking it up; HORROR OF DRACULA (1958) is solid, but could've been better and takes such liberties with the story it's close to a total retelling; all the subsequent Hammer sequels have interesting facets but overall don't succeed, the Dan Curtis version is tacky and silly, not a fan of the Jourdan version (all apologies though), The 1979 version has its moments, but OMG the puffy shirts with the cravats and those lasers!, the Coppola version bears the distinction of being the worst, as well as the most faithful to the novel while ironically missing the spirit and crux of the book altogether), a 2006 BBC version took some interesting liberties with the story- but some AWFUL acting and slow direction ultimately ruin it.

 

The only fully satisfying version of the tale was done by THE MERCURY THEATER on the Radio ca. 1938. In about 45 minutes, Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, and company do the absolute best version of the tale that has ever been.

 

what is tacky and silly about the 1973 dan curtis version? it is one of the best with outstanding cinematography by oswald morris.

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what is tacky and silly about the 1973 dan curtis version? it is one of the best with outstanding cinematography by oswald morris.

I just stumbled onto the Dan Curtis version of Dracula yesterday on Hulu...knowing how well he did with Dark Shadows i figured his version of Dracula might be pretty good....WRONG!!

 

I couldn't believe my eyes when i saw Jack Palance cast as Dracula...i can't imagine a worse choice of actors to play the Count....well...maybe Don Knotts would have been a worse choice....

Jack might be good in some genre's of movies,but Not as Dracula.

He can play hard-a$$ cowboys OK,and i've seen him in other types of movies,usually in some kind of hard-a$$ role,and he was OK,but i just cannot imagine,in my wildest dreams,see him in the role of a character like Count Dracula.The image conjured of Jack Palance as Dracula just boggles the mind.

I kept thinking that at any moment he'd don his cowboy hat, jump on a horse and with rifle and six gun in hand, just start shootin' up the place.JMO YMMV.

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I just stumbled onto the Dan Curtis version of Dracula yesterday on Hulu...knowing how well he did with Dark Shadows i figured his version of Dracula might be pretty good....WRONG!!

 

I couldn't believe my eyes when i saw Jack Palance cast as Dracula...i can't imagine a worse choice of actors to play the Count...

We're used to actors with a certain degree of physical elegance playing the Count. Jack Palance was a good many things (including being a fine Mr. Hyde when he also played Dr. Jekyll) but elegant he was not.

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I remember Jack Palance playing "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" in a TV movie back in the 1960s.  He was FANTASTIC in the part but there is only one Dracula and that is Bela!

Allow me to say a hearty "YUP!" to both your sentiments expressed here, John.

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