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Dracula [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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When Universal Pictures picked up the movie rights to a Broadway adaptation of Dracula, they felt secure in handing the property over to the sinister team of actor Lon Chaney and director Tod Browning. But Chaney died of cancer, and Universal hired the Hungarian who had scored a success in the stage play: Béla Lugosi. The resulting film launched both Lugosi's baroque career and the horror-movie cycle of the 1930s. It gets off to an atmospheric start, as we meet Count Dracula in his shadowy castle in Transylvania, superbly captured by the great cinematographer Karl Freund. Eventually Dracula and his blood-sucking devotee (Dwight Frye, in one of the cinema's truly mad performances) meet their match in a vampire-hunter called Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan). If the later sections of the film are undeniably stage bound and a tad creaky, Dracula nevertheless casts a spell, thanks to Lugosi's creepily lugubrious manner and the eerie silences of Browning's directing style. (After a mood-enhancing snippet of Swan Lake under the opening titles, there is no music in the film.) Frankenstein, which was released a few months later, confirmed the horror craze, and Universal has been making money (and countless spin-off projects) from its twin titans of terror ever since. Certainly the role left a lasting impression on the increasingly addled and drug-addicted Lugosi, who was never quite able to distance himself from the part that made him a star. He was buried, at his request, in his black vampire cape. --Robert Horton --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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all in all Buy this blu ray as you wont be dissapointed
The DVD shows of its true strength as a format with the extras Universal have provided. First, there's an entertaining 45 minute 'making of' documentary, which provides a fascinating insight into the movie's conception and production. There's also a commentary track by film historian David J. Skal, and though while scripted, tells us more than enough about the action on screen. There's the trailer and some production photographs, and last there's the opportunity to have a new orchestral score played with the film as you watch (the original features no music, except the opera scene).
Why not 5 stars?
The Region One version features the complete Spanish version of the movie, shot at the exact same time on the same sets (and reportedly superior) and is referred to frequently throughout the documentary and commentary. Why Universal, after taking so much care over this Region Two verson couldn't have provided us with this further look into Dracula's history is a shame.
It is stagey, and the original actress / nepotism in the docs is a distraction - but worthy rather than essential.
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