Todd Browning’s 1931 “Dracula” is a film that, to put it mildly, is iconic almost by default. As a film, it is perhaps the dullest and most pedestrian of the ‘classic’ movie monsters, Lugosi’s charisma saving many moments that would otherwise have been painfull.
Despite a few moments of sheer brilliance at the beginnig, it exudes mediocrity in many forms, from camera set up, to pacing. It also does not have a score.
My goal would be to make the second half of the film less of a drawing room mystery and more of a horror film on par with the rest of the Universal Canon.
"Mexican" Dracula- The Spanish language version of the film has several sequences that are marked improvements. In shots wide enough to get away with it, I may substitute shots of the similar looking Carlos Villarias for Lugosi if the shot is more atmosphereic. I will be replacing the Browning armadillos (mandated by the censors at the time) with the shots of actual rats from the Mexican Dracula. It’s half an hour longer than the English language version.
“Ship at Sea”- Due to the low budget, shots of the ship “Demeter” are recycled from an old silent, and are a different framerate than the rest of the film. It’s cheap and it shows. I will try to find a better series of shots of a ship in a storm.
Score- (I will not consider the atrocius Phillip Glass score). Using the opening credits “Swan Lake” as a starter, I plan to utilize more of “Swan Lake” and probably some cues stolen from other horror films of the era.
"Mark of the Vampire" "Return of the Vampire"- Two Lugosi vampire films. There might be a few moments in each of these of use.
“Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstien” The only other film Lugosi played Dracula in, but he’s 13 years older and noticably larger. I don’t know if there’s anything of use.
This film has LOTS of people talking about awesome things that happened off camera. I’m going to scoure all the classic horror/chiller films of the era for bits an peices to steal. Wolves, foggy streets, rats, etc.
Wow, this post is classic vintage in itself! I’m almost done re-editing/cutting of this cranky old tale in DaVinci Studio. The pacing in the last few acts is like molasses. My re-edit does its best to readdress hokey dialog, smooth out wobbly dollys, and cut out anything that does little or nothing but to drag the narrative down. David Manners (John) has to be the single most loust actor to ever grace the silver screen. The hardest part was editing his appearances wherever possible in a vain attempt to make him look in any way competent. His lines and posturing are just maddening. Even things like Dracula’s biting closeup got the snip, as they just look ridiculous. Completely overrated movie, a third of which is little more than fodder for the cutting room floor. Did my best with the “It’s over, John” scene, but fixing the embarrassing dialogue would have meant cutting the entire thing, as they have nothing but hokey things to say to each other for 3 minutes. Interesting exersise. I can finally lay this utterly crap flick to rest. My eventual edit runs 17 minutes less, LOL.