Dracula (1931)
Universal Pictures Written by Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston, based on the novel by Bram Stoker
Classic Horror, Universal Monsters Directed by Tod Browning
Budget $355,000 Starring Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler

Universal's iconic Dracula film is based on Irish author Bram Stokers 1897 novel of the same name. This was not the first vampire movie, (that would be the silent film Nosferatu from 1922) but it was the first Vampire movie to be made with sound. Sound films were new in 1931, and as a result this movie was not originally scored with a soundtrack because it was believed that the audience would not understand where the music was coming from.

Count Dracula's hypnotic vampire gaze.
Dwight Frye as Renfield.

The movie opens with Renfield traveling by carriage to castle Dracula in eastern Europe. Dracula uses his vampire powers to place Renfield under his control, and uses him as a slave to protect him during his travel to London. While in London, Count Dracula ends up trying to turn a young woman named Mina into a vampire. Dr. Van Helsing comes to London and tries to convince Minas's fiance John Harker what they must do in order to save Mina and destroy Count Dracula.

Bela Lugosi Helen Chandler.
A lot of time is spent in this room.

Bela Lugosi's iconic performance as Count Dracula set the standard for future Dracula films, and nearly every portrayal of Dracula since then has been influenced by the look and feel of Lugosi's style and specifically his Hungarian accent and silent film era exaggerated delivery of lines and dramatic pauses.

Dracula is an important and well made film that includes interesting characters and a few strong performances, specifically by Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, and Dwight Frye as Renfield. Unfortunately, the ending of the movie seems to be cut short as the studio had originally had plans to make the film on a larger scale, but the Great Depression forced them to end production early.


The Castle Dracula set is large and looks impressive.


Dracula (1931) Dracula's Daughter (1936)











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