01 October 2014

Dracula (1931)
78 min.
Directed by Tod Browning.
With Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Frances Dade, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan.
Tod Browning's 1931 vampire classic boasts Lugosi's iconic performance.

Aided by his assistant Renfield (Frye), aristocratic bloodsucker Count Dracula (Lugosi) relocates from Transylvania to England - where presumably the red stuff is gonna be that much sweeter.

Once in London, Drac places lovely Mina (Chandler) under his hypnotic spell. But Mina's beau John Harker and his esteemed associate Dr. Van Helsing vow to save her from becoming one of the walking undead.

Based on Bram Stoker's original 1897 novel, this gothic masterpiece is superbly paced and has excellent supporting performances (most notably from Frye and Van Sloan).

And Lugosi? Like colleague Boris Karloff - as the Monster in James Whale's Frankenstein the same year - Lugosi here singlehandedly builds his own legend from the ground up, his stiff accent informing the Hungarian count with a strange foreigner's awkwardness.

This first film adaptation of Stoker's seminal work is the best, from an archetypal standpoint, and has it all: stunning sets, beautiful cinematography and director Browning's firm hand throughout.

The first true horror classic of the 1930s.

The newly forged franchise would continue five years later with Dracula's Daughter in 1936.

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