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Dracula (1931)

Approved | | Fantasy, Horror | 14 February 1931 (USA)
The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

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(by), (from the play adapted by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Herbert Bunston ...
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Joan Standing ...
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Martin (as Charles Gerrard)
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Storyline

After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferral of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is in actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr. Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina's health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina's fiance, John Harker, and Dr. Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of the strangest Passion the world has ever known! See more »

Genres:

Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

14 February 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drácula  »

Box Office

Budget:

$355,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1936 re-release) (censored) | (original 1931 release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the scene where Dracula and Renfield are traveling to London by boat, the footage shown is borrowed from a Universal silent film called The Storm Breaker (1925). Silent films were projected at a different frames-per-second speed from that later adopted for sound films, accounting for the jerky movements and quicker-than-normal action of these shots. See more »

Goofs

When Dracula and Renfield first enter the castle bedroom, the door is closing by itself, hinged on the right side; after a scene shift the door is seen still closing (when it should have been shut by now), but is now hinged on the opposite side. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Girl Passenger: [reading from a Transylvanian tourist brochure] "Among the rugged peaks that crown down upon the Borgo Pass are found crumbling castles of a bygone age."
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Crazy Credits

The title card was revised at the last moment to include playwrights Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. But the old title card, with the movie's title in a different typeface, is still visible briefly at the tail end of a lap dissolve to the second credits card. See more »


Soundtracks

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96
(1868) (uncredited)
Music by by Richard Wagner
End of the Overture played at a concert
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I am Dracula....I Bid You Welcome
2 May 2004 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Dracula" is a true cinematic classic that still hold up well today more than 70 years after its initial release. Bram Stoker's novel had been filmed before, most notably the 1922 German masterpiece "Nosferatu" with Max Schrenk playing the vampire as a monstrous rat like creature with no redeeming qualities.

Bela Lugosi rose to instant fame with his portrayal of Dracula, a part he had been playing on stage for several years. Lugosi's interpretation is that of a suave and sophisticated nobleman with a hypnotic stare and a cultured Hungarian accent. This made the character more appealing to the ladies while at the same time terrifying to the audience when we see the monster revealed beneath.

The story has the tragic Renfield (Dwight Frye) arriving in Transylvania to complete a transaction with the Count which will allow him to lease a English castle. Before they leave for England by ship, Dracula turns Renfield into a quasi-vampire who obeys his master's every command. Upon arriving in England it is discovered that all of the ship's crew have been murdered and only a raving lunatic of a Renfield remain alive.

Renfield is committed to a sanitarium run by Dr. Seward (Herbert Bunston). Dracula seeks him out and discovers Seward's comely daughter Mina (Helen Chandler) and her friend Lucy. Dracula quickly "kills" Lucy and sets his sights upon Mina whose fiance Jonathon Harker (David Manners) is baffled by her sudden change in health and personality. Seward consults with a colleague Dr. Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) who quickly identifies the source of the problem as a vampire. They soon expose Dracula for what he is and......

The atmospheric sets of this movie set the tone for the story. Dracula's castle is dark, damp and web filled and his cellar is positively scary. So too is his English manor with the classic winding stair case leading to the cellar. The opening theme I found to be equally foreboding and frightening. I wonder how many of those early film goers realized that it was adapted from the classic ballet "Swan Lake".

Bela Lugosi should have become a major star after this film, but did not. His first mistake was the turning down the role of the monster in "Frankenstein" (1931). He did enjoy moderate success in the first half of the 30s playing various mad scientists and criminal masterminds. But he also accepted roles in several "poverty row" quickies which did little to advance his career. He had a brief return to glory in 1939 when he played "Ygor" in "The Son of Frankenstein" and again in 1948 again as Dracula in "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein". With his well documented personal demons, Lugosi wound up his career in cheap "B' movies ultimately becoming the "star" in some of Ed Wood's "classics". Oddly enough, though he was forever identified with the Dracula character, he only played him on screen twice, in 1931 and 1948 as noted. He did play "Dracula like" characters in MGM's "Mark of the Vampire" (1935) and in Columbia's "Return of the Vampire" (1943).

Dwight Frye almost steals "Dracula" from Lugosi with his portrayal of Renfield. He takes him from a young ambitious businessman to a half crazed lunatic and back again. After this and his role of Fritz the hunchback in "Frankenstein", this great character actor never again achieved such heights. A real tragedy. Oddly enough, Stoker's book portrays Renfield as a minor character and it is Jonathon Harker who makes the unfortunate trip to Transylvania.

Also filmed in a Spanish language version.


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