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Dracula 1931

 
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 4:57 am    Post subject: Dracula 1931 Reply with quote

I just watched Dracula for the first time in years, accompanied by the new Philip Glass/Kronos Quartet musical score. Wow. It felt like experiencing it for the very first time all over again. The score capably accentuates Browning's more poetic impulses; I've never quite realized just how ethereal and mournful the movie really is.



Eric
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's been about three since I saw it, but I was disappointed. I remember thinking that while Browning and Lugosi were definitely on, the screenplay was thin, lifeless, and anticlimactic (when the end title card popped up, I thought, That's it?). Now, I can't remember much about it -- aside from the early, wonderfully atmospheric drive to Dracula's castle with the bat leading the way, the early dolly in on Dracula standing by his coffin (superb camerawork by DP Karl Freund), and the arrival at the castle. After that, though... nothing. I recall it being too stagey, which might be because the screenplay was based on the Broadway play rather than Stoker's novel.



Have you seen the Spanish version, shot at the same time? Word is that it's better.



I'll have to pick up the Dracula Legacy Collection DVD set and watch the movie with the new Philip Glass score.



As it stands now, though, Dracula is my least favorite of Universal's major monster movies.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
Have you seen the Spanish version, shot at the same time? Word is that it's better.


No, but that's included in the Legacy Collection, so I'll probably watch it eventually.



Quote:
As it stands now, though, Dracula is my least favorite of Universal's major monster movies.


I agree that the Frankenstein movies are superior, but the original Dracula is at leas better than The Wolf Man, right?



Eric
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly like the score-less Dracula better. It's not that Glass's score is bad or that it doesn't fit; it's just that, to me, the movie is more surreal and dream-like without music.



I should add that it took me four attempts over the course of ten years to finally get all the way through Browning's Dracula. I simply couldn't stand it, or the changes it imposed on the source material. I like it now, and think there are some pretty good parts. (The scene in which Renfield crawls animal-like toward the unconscious nurse is genuinely spine-tingling.)



Michael B. Scrutchin wrote:
Have you seen the Spanish version, shot at the same time? Word is that it's better.




I don't think it's really any better, it's just a different take on the material and different use of resources. I actually prefer Browning's version. And I'll tell you, you really appreciate Dwight Fry's restraint after witnessing the apoplexy of Spanish Renfield.
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Last edited by the night watchman on 03.08.2005 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.08.2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Quote:
As it stands now, though, Dracula is my least favorite of Universal's major monster movies.


I agree that the Frankenstein movies are superior, but the original Dracula is at leas better than The Wolf Man, right?





I really don't like The Wolf Man that much either. Strangely enough, a friend of mine got a tatoo of the Frankenstein monster just yesterday; he watched Whale's Frankensteins and listened to The Misfits while getting inked.



That's synchronicity, man.
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matt header
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PostPosted: 03.09.2005 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love Bride of Frankenstein a bit more than the original Frankenstein, although I can't put my finger on exactly why. Anyone else feel that way? Must be Elsa Lanchester's hair.
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Michael Scrutchin
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PostPosted: 03.09.2005 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I love Bride of Frankenstein a bit more than the original Frankenstein, although I can't put my finger on exactly why. Anyone else feel that way? Must be Elsa Lanchester's hair.




Yeah, it's the hair, but so much more.



Frankenstein is a fine film, but Bride is a much richer experience. Whale's macabre sense of humor is at the top of its form, but he never loses his grip on the story's emotional core. I love the scenes with the Monster and the blind hermit -- quietly funny and very touching. It's funnier, more energetic, and more tragic. It has long been one of my all-time favorites, but I haven't watched it in ages -- though I own the Legacy Collection DVD set, so I just might revisit it soon.



beltmann wrote:
I agree that the Frankenstein movies are superior, but the original Dracula is at leas better than The Wolf Man, right?




Yeah, I guess I'd agree on that.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 03.10.2005 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:
I love Bride of Frankenstein a bit more than the original Frankenstein, although I can't put my finger on exactly why. Anyone else feel that way? Must be Elsa Lanchester's hair.




For me it's Ernest Thesiger as Dr. Pretorius.



Monster: I love dead. Hate living.

Dr. Pretorius: You are wise in your generation.



Actually, I think both movies back-to-back are better than either one by itself because Frankenstein seems to peter out in the final third, and Bride needs a bit to find its momentum after it begins.
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iluv2viddyfilms
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PostPosted: 04.13.2005 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's decent, but on the lower end up the upper tier of vampire movies. Lugosi is good. I think it's difficult for an audience today to detach themselves from the cliche'. Lugosi was great, but too bad he became the cliche'
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