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Dracula is the name of a pair of horrors movies (one in English the other in Spanish) made by Universal Pictures and released in 1931. Both were based on a stage play version of Bram Stoker's horror novel

The two Dracula (1931) filmsEdit

In the early days of sound many studios made different language versions of the same film at the same time in an effort to reach a larger market. In the case of the Spanish version of Dracula the Spanish cast used the sets during the night. Of the Spanish cast only Carlos Villarías (playing Dracula) got to see the rushes of the English version during filming.

While better known the English version is regarded by some to be inferior to its Spanish counterpart.

English Dracula (1931)Edit

  • Bela Lugosi as Dracula

The English (Browing) version was released on February 14, 1931 and starred Bela Lugosi in the title role. While regarded as a classic, it suffers from somewhat unimaginative camera work (because cinematographer Karl Freund was busy trying to keep the whole thing together preventing the fluid mobile camera work that had been his signature in Germany) and pacing problems.[1]

Spanish Dracula (1931)Edit

  • Carlos Villarías as Dracula
  • Spanish Dracula (1931) poster

The Spanish (Melford) version of Dracula was released on April 24, 1931 and was considered lost until a copy was discovered in the 1970s and restored in 1992. Interestingly not only did it have a totally different cast but a different director, crew, and even producer from the better known Browning version.

The cast and crew had the advantage of being able to see the dailies which along with cinematographer George Robertson making good use of mobile camera work, dramatic lighting, and special effects resulted in what some regard as a superior version. Even though it was made at a lower cost then the Browning version it was longer: 107 minutes rather then 85 minutes.

NoteEdit

Dracula: The Legacy Collection DVD contains the English and Spanish versions as well as Dracula's Daughter, Son of Dracula, and House of Dracula

ReferencesEdit

  1. Skal, David J. (1996) V is for Vampire ISBN 0-452-27173-8 pg 77-80