Thursday, October 4, 2012

A review of "Dracula" (1931)

Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Dracula” (1931)
By: Brian Cotnoir

     Regarded as one of the best horror films of all-time, Bela Lugosi plays the alluring and mysterious Count Dracula in the 1931 classic film “Dracula”.  One unique thing about this film is even though it is based on the novel by Bram Stoker, the film focuses more on the relationship between Count Dracula and the attorney Renfield, rather than Counts relationship with Jonathan Harker, Mina, or Doctor Van Helsing.  If anything those parts are played down in this film. 

     The name of the person who plays Renfield—a British attorney turned psychotic slave by Count Dracula—is Dwight Frye.  Frye’s performance sent chills through my body; he was that good.  Unlike the other films I’ve seen based off the novel, Frye’s, Renfield is definitely the best I’ve seen.  You really feel the sincerity that he’s been transformed from a proper English gentleman to an insect eating mad man.  I actually believe that Dwight Frye is the real star of this film and not Bela Lugosi.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Bela Lugosi and his films, but his character is very boring compared to the other Dracula’s I’ve seen.  He barely speaks in the film and when he is on camera they mostly show him doing poses and glaring.                                   

     Another great thing about this film is the setting.  Dracula’s castle in this film actually looks like the kind of castle Dracula would live in.  Compared to the 1992 remake, the Castle in the 1931 version is dark, decrepit, dirty, dusty, and looks very uninviting.  The castle in the 1992 version, though marvelous in its appearance, doesn’t really say, “I-live-here-alone-with-my-vampire-brides-and-we-don’t-have-any-servants”; the castle is just simply too neat and modern to be the real Dracula’s castle. There is one question, though, I feel must be asked by anyone who has seen this film and that is; why where there armadillo’s living in Dracula’s castle?                     

     The original Dracula film is also very short; running time is around 75 minutes.  Also, this film doesn’t show any violence, like Dracula attacking his victims or Van Helsing driving the stake through Dracula’s heart.  That stuff you have to leave up to your imagination.  Nonetheless, “Dracula” is a film classic and it is quite enjoyable.  If you’re looking for a classic horror film to watch this Halloween, you really can’t go wrong with the one-the-original “Dracula”.  

1 comment:

  1. I thought the film was quite boring. Christopher Lee the best Dracula.