Dracula (1931)


Produced & Directed by: Tod Browning

Written by: Bram Stoker


.... Count Dracula
.... Mina
.... John Harker
.... Renfield
.... Van Helsing
.... Doctor Seward
.... Martin

Release Date: Theatrical: February 14, 1931; Jerusalem Film Festival: July 6, 2013

*Images courtesy at: www.ciakhollywood.com




A businessman named Renfield (Dwight Frye) pays a visit to Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) at his castle but are warned by locals yet he becomes a servant for him after drinking a bottle of wine which is filled with his blood and then travel to London, England in which he falls for a young woman named Mina (Helen Chandler) and has plans for her to be his next vampiress.


A nice beginning surrounding a somewhat clean cut man named Renfield trying to find his way to Dracula's castle with the locals trying to warn him which looked energised and mysterious as well as the nice traditional moments on one of them giving him a crucifix and telling him dawn is almost ending as this all looked highly entertaining for an old fashioned horror flick. However, when there's different angle camera shots on the locals it looks like they're in a different area than where they are residing while having a discussion with him.
A perfect situation in Dracula's tomb showing good close up camera shots on the vampiress' coming out of their coffins and slowly walking along a line as well as a perfect dark shot on Dracula staring at them in which this also grabs your attention and looking perfectly creepy too.
A great shot on Dracula disguising himself as a horse carriage rider towards Renfield including a special effects moment on a bat flying while the horses are trotting along to Dracula's castle which would look cheesy in today's standards.
Good strong interactions between Renfield and Dracula in his castle as well as the odd memorable moments with Renfield's finger stabbed and him sucking the blood from it and Dracula looking amused along with him getting anxious when the crucifix is revealed as these situations looked very effective. Also some nice creepy scenery with a big spider crawling up on a wall to it's web which grabs your attention and can scare anyone who has arachnaphobia and a drawing card to Renfield later on in the story by what he does to these insects.
Plus we have Dracula tempting him to drink some wine which we guess that it has blood in it since we often see this in traditional vampire movies like in The Lost Boys for example. Plus good moments with Dracula watching Renfield drinking it since this looked carefully focused and having a feeling that something is going to happen to him.
There's cheesy shots on a boat in a storm which looked intense back in the days along with Renfield in the boat and noticing the twisted changes that has happened to him now serving Dracula as his master as he keeps him in a coffin till dusk as well as spotting his strange and obsessive behavior while these scene's are rolling along as this is another memorable moment and a perfect touch to the story too.
A perfect setting in a small town of London with fog waving around as well as a lady selling flowers and then Dracula slowly approaching her about to bite her neck as this looked carefully focused while we keep watching this and then the scream.
Nice situation with people at a classical concert hall as well as Dracula putting one of the ushers in a trance by hypnotising her as this of course was nicely put in along with him acting creepily charming towards two women named Mina and Lucy offering some interesting wit into what they're talking about making the moment look fairly uplifting as well as a suggestion that Lucy is inviting Dracula himself to come and visit her sometime.
A perfect scenery on Lucy sleeping in her room as well as a good shot on a bat flying on an open window sill. Then a good focused slow moment on Dracula creeping up on her and ready to bite her neck as this looked good. silent and still to watch everything that happens here.
More nice mysterious moments when Van Helsing talks to Mina and asks her to remove her scarf around her neck and she's reluctant which is another traditional moment in a vampire flick knowing she has bite marks from them after telling them a bad dream she was experiencing. The moments here looked good and dramatic.
A great moment in the misty night with Mina outside in a trance and slowly walking towards Dracula and then putting his cape around her and hearing a scream as this was also a great memorable moment that influences other vampire movies on what they do to their mistress.
A nice situation with Dracula having a conversation with everyone and then Van Helsing spotting a no reflection of Dracula in the mirror which was a nice moment as well as him trying to show him a mirror and then he smacks it to the ground adding great mysterious touches within all of this happening while we watch this.
A nice moment with Mina acting too full of life talking to her boyfriend John Harker out near a patio as well as a bat flying around and then not making sense or thinking she heard him say something to her drawing more perfect and creepy mysterious moments to the story. Also a perfect moment on Van Helsing jumping in with a crucifix towards her and she gets upset which leaves a clue that she's a creature of the night. There was good shots on most of this.
A perfect confrontation between Van Helsing and Dracula when he warns him that he's gonna drive a stake through his heart as well as Dracula trying to use his special powers on him by using his hand towards him and then Van Helsing pulls out his crucifix as this was drawn in perfectly while we watch all of this happening.
Great moments with Renfield trying to tell Van Helsing and the rest about Dracula's secrets and then seeing the bat outside flying around and acting frightened begging for mercy as this really looked genuinely twisted and fun to watch as well while seeing the intensity that is happening here.
The adventure gets going a great deal when Van Helsing and John goes to Dracula's tomb to try and save the day as well as perfect powerful dramatic moments inside the castle with Renfield freaking out and begging for forgiveness towards Dracula and him getting ruthless towards him which was carefully shot. Also nice powerful situations when they go into the tomb to plan and drive a stake through Dracula's heart while he's sleeping in his coffin and having to battle against the vampiress' which looked fun to watch.
Bottom line is that although this isn't the first vampire flick but the first one that inspired many others and a perfect silent motive throughout the whole story too. It's very influential as it's great to watch a horror classic by all means. Almost looked like watching a stage play when we spot the dialogues going on as well as reactions too. Not scary in today's standards but I could see it being that way at the time. Universal always delivers with old fashioned flicks like this one and for many decades will be enjoyed for die hard horror fans.

The acting was superb for it's time in which Bela Lugosi (Count Dracula) lived to portray the creature of the night with his famous accent that everyone mimics when they try to speak this type of character as he was right on the ball for this with his tongue speaking language. Also shows great fierce eyed expressions along with having a perfect creepy charm in a certain spot of the film which shines off nicely. Plus does a great job while getting ready to attack his victim going in a perfectly slow pace as well as really concentrating alot with these moments. Does good with his job emotionless speaking while hypnotising someone too drawing this in well. Shows perfect tense reactions when a crucifix or a mirror is shown to him. Yes he does it all and was the best in the cast without a doubt.
(Mina) seemed a bit too over the top at times with her high anxiety or acting excited but she wasn't terrible. Does a nice job getting into a conversation or going into a trance which shows off nicely as well. She has the right looks as one of those innocent types for a victim. Also does well screaming or breaking into a sob which she focused on this pretty energetically. She seemed to be an okay drawing card to the story.
(John Harker) did a decent job as the clean cut boyfriend showing off a convincing caring type in which he really got into this greatly when trying to talk to someone as well as doing a nice job acting anxious from time to time. Draws off good energy while going into the final showdown too. He was great with his speaking as his words were good and clear and had the right looks and appeal too for this role.
(Renfield) was an underrated but great actor who really got into his role superbly and proved to be terrifically versatile by what he does here. He does a great job by coming across as the clean cut type and having a well mannered attitude coming across as perfectly innocent. Then he changes this a great deal after being under a spell acting perfectly insane with his hissy voice and wide eyed expressions just acting perfectly wild for what he does here. Also does well acting tense and nervous too along with freaking out and begging for mercy in which he knew all of this inside out. Yes he does it all. A worthy character actor and can be well remembered by anyone who saw this flick since he often portrays these parts.
(Van Helsing) certainly did well acting mysterious with how he spoke sounding a bit eccentric but yet wise as he portrayed some nice characteristics as well as doing a nice job by getting into someone's face when this moment was necessary to do so. He was very clear and powerful when he challenges his onscreen victim just being incredibly sharp while doing this. Also had the right looks and appeal to portray this role so he was a nice choice.
(Martin) however was annoying and way too over the top by what he did here as he tries too hard to be a natural ham as a caretaker at the asylum but is just plain stale and can't seem to get into character since he tries too hard. I just couldn't give him good credit he was way too wooden within whatever he did here.

The music was mainly just used in the opening and silent the rest of the time but while the credits start to happen there's nice old fashioned quiverring violin sounds as well as some weeping clarinet music too which fits in just fine as well as nice harp type playing and more strong classical music along the way with deep drum playing and other types of powerful violin music too all put together by Philip Glass.