Dracula (1931)

Rated PG. Vampirism is dark material, but we kept it light this time.

Bela Lugosi as Dracula, 1931, directed by Tod Browning.

The 1931 version of Dracula was the first Universal Monster movie and it stars perhaps the most famous vampire actor of all time. Bela Lugosi was certainly committed to the part and this is obviously his trademark role. You’ll just have to work hard to overlook his almost funny schtick. Is Lugosi any good as the Count though? Well, is anyone in this cast any good? Maybe one guy (Dwight Frye) nails it by going deliriously over the top. Yeah, it’s fair to say we didn’t have much lust for Tod Browning’s picture. His direction is creaky and stilted and if his film was scary to audiences 90 years ago, it certainly isn’t anymore. However, the sexual subtext and the theme of a Transylvanian visitor representing a foreign plague are effective, just as they were in Bram Stoker’s classic book. So go to bed in your trusty coffin just as home invaders have come to kill you, but before you lay down, cue up the 410th Ellises’ Analysis to hear us yack about Drac.

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Rotten Tomatoes reviews

AFI’s Top 100 Lists

1931 in film

National Film Registry in 2000

Links to: Nosferatu and Frankenstein and Dracula 1992 and Bride Of Frankenstein and Shadow Of The Vampire

Previously on  The Ellises’ Analysis: Doctor Sleep

October 5th on The Ellises’ Analysis: Scream