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Dracula [P&S] [DVD] [1931]

  • SKU: 3815946
  • Release Date: 12/21/1999
  • Rating: NR
This seminal film in the vampire mythos has been given a treatment by Universal Studios that is to die for. Not only is director Tod Browning's version on the disc, but also included is the Spanish version directed by George Melford, which was shot on the same sets at night with a different cast. Though both used the same shooting script, the films are very different. Both versions are presented full screen with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. Compared to other titles in Universal's Classic Monster Collection such as The Mummy or Creature From the Black Lagoon, the print quality for both films is sorely lacking, with the main problem being that the contrast is too dark. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono for both versions, and the quality is noticeably poor. The Browning version does have an optional soundtrack (recorded in Dolby Digital 5.0) featuring music composed by Philip Glass and performed by the Kronos Quartet. Since most of the film is without a musical soundtrack, this option is a nice addition. The Browning version also has several extra features. The language options are English only, with optional French subtitles and English closed captions, and there is an excellent commentary track by film historian David J. Skal. The well-written and organized track covers numerous topics, including the source materials used for the Browning version and comparisons between the English and Spanish versions of the film. The disc also includes a 34-minute documentary entitled "The Road to Dracula," which is quite an informative piece that includes interviews with author Clive Barker and relatives of the original filmmakers. There is also a nine-minute poster and photo montage, production notes, bios and film highlights for the main cast members and Browning, as well as the theatrical trailer for the film. For the Spanish version of the disc, the main bonus is a four-minute introduction to the film by lead actress Lupita Tovar Kohner. Production notes are also included. The language options are Spanish only, spoken with optional French or English subtitles (no closed captions are offered). Though there are some obvious complaints noted, the ability to see these two fascinating films back-to-back make this disc not only a must for horror fans but for any film student as well.
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    Overview

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (100 out of 101)

    Special Features


    • "The Road to Dracula" original documentary
    • Feature commentary with film historian David J. Skal
    • New score by Phillip Glass performed by Kronos Quartet
    • Poster and photo montage
    • Production notes
    • Cast and filmmakers
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Universal web link

    Synopsis


    Dracula
    "I am....Drac-u-la. I bid you velcome." Thus does Bela Lugosi declare his presence in the 1931 screen version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Director Tod Browning invests most of his mood and atmosphere in the first two reels, which were based on the original Stoker novel; the rest of the film is a more stagebound translation of the popular stage play by John Balderston and Hamilton Deane. Even so, the electric tension between the elegant Dracula and the vampire hunter Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) works as well on the screen as it did on the stage. And it's hard to forget such moments as the lustful gleam in the eyes of Mina Harker (Helen Chandler) as she succumbs to the will of Dracula, or the omnipresent insane giggle of the fly-eating Renfield (Dwight Frye). Despite the static nature of the final scenes, Dracula is a classic among horror films, with Bela Lugosi giving the performance of a lifetime as the erudite Count (both Lugosi and co-star Frye would forever after be typecast as a result of this film, which had unfortunate consequences for both men's careers). Compare this Dracula to the simultaneously filmed Spanish-language version, which makes up for the absence of Lugosi with a stronger sense of visual dynamics in the lengthy dialogue sequences. In 1999, a special rerelease of Dracula was prepared featuring a new musical score written by Philip Glass and performed by The Kronos Quartet. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Bela Lugosi
      Bela Lugosi - Count Dracula
    • Helen Chandler
      Helen Chandler - Mina Seward
    • David Manners
      David Manners - John Harker
    • Dwight Frye
      Dwight Frye - Renfield
    • Edward Van Sloan
      Edward Van Sloan - Dr. Van Helsing



    Customer rating

    Rating 4.8 out of 5 stars with 101 reviews

    99%
    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Seduction in the Shadows

      Posted
      WileyGo
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Like many of the best and most intelligent horror films (which is unfortunately a rarity), "Dracula" -- in particular, this classic film version -- is about more than the things that go bump in the night or jump out from the darkness for the sake of cheap scares. Any horror film -- or thriller -- has to contain a relative human element, some aspects through which you can relate to the characters, regardless of whether you relate to the victims or the monster or predator. With Bela Lugosi's hypnotic, seductive portrayal of the Count, we're given someone (or, dare it be said, something; he is, after all, undead) to whom we can relate. That may sound far fetched, but really, Dracula, like all of us, has a feral need, a compulsion, a literal blood-lust that drives his every "waking" moment. To deny it and not feed the need -- the desire -- is to deny what makes him who he is. Aren't we all like that? Don't we all have something, or some things, that consume us body, heart, and soul? When those things are right for us and we embrace them -- much like the Count embraces his victims in his cloak just before putting the bite on them and giving them the gift (or, the curse) of eternal life -- don't we feel fulfilled and complete? The gothic, dark shadows here are even more beautiful and inviting than ever before thanks to an impeccable restoration process; and Lugosi's hypnotic line readings and creepy, seductive stares are even more irresistible as well. I'd certainly surrender.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      the most famous of all Draculas

      Posted
      prlwctd

      This, the first sound version of Bram Stoker's great novel, remains the one version that everyone the world over thinks of when they think of the Count. This is in no small part to Bela Lugosi's legendary performance in the title role. Having played the role numerous times on the stage before and after this movie (the film is based more on the play by Hamilton Deane than on Stoker's book), Lugosi was indeed the perfect (but, ironically, not the first) choice for the role. Kudos must also be given to Dwight Frye for his funny work as Renfield and Edward Van Sloan for the nice air of authority he brings to the role of Van Helsing. The film is a bit slow in parts (due, in part, to the lack of a musical score, although the new Philip Glass music is servicable), which, ironically, the simultaneously-filmed Spanish version makes up for, although that movie's lack of Lugosi has kept it from enjoying the same classic status as this film. This movie's great success led to the chain of monster flicks that Universal Studios is so well known for, beginning with the equally definitive version of Frankenstein.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Blu-Ray just makes this movie even more special

      Posted
      viking1314
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

      Looking at Tod Browning's 1931 DRACULA is virtually like gazing upon the Bela Lugosi classic for the first time. The movie is best remembered for its opening Transylvania set-piece that introduces viewers to Lugosi's unforgettable count, and while the London sequences tend to be static and dull by comparison, the increased detail seen here in the HD presentation makes the talky latter sections of the picture more interesting. In fact, without any overt use of digital noise reduction this ranks as one of the studio's most satisfying catalog transfers to date. The DTS mono sound is nearly crackle-free, and the movie score (which makes the stilted drawing room sequences a bit livelier at least) is also available in Dolby Digital stereo. If you are a classic monster movie aficionado I highly recommend this high definition movie of the original 1931 Dracula. You'll want to go to sleep with a wreath of garlic around your neck.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      A true classic

      Posted
      XAvenger
      • Top 100 ContributorTop 100 Contributor

      Here is a true classic. Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, the silver screen's finest Dracula. This version sets the standard for all Dracula movie to follow. The movie is not graphically violent nor does it have any visual effect shots, but it is suspensful. It tells the familiar tale of Count Dracula, a great story of good vs. evil and tells it far better than any of the subsequent Dracula movies. What makes this movie great is Bela Lugosi. He was the consummate Dracula. His stage presence was phenomenal and when the camera gives a close-up of Dracula's hypnotic stare, you cannot take your eyes off the screen. Lugosi's riveting performance makes this Dracula one of the best horror movies ever made. The only problem with this DVD is that the source material shows its age. There is background noise and some image problems, but this will not detract from you enjoyment of the film. An essential addition to any DVD collection.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      By far, Universal's best release of this epic film

      Posted
      AuraOfForeboding

      Bela Lugosi's Dracula is the only vampire worthy of the name. The film itself is wonderful, but without Lugosi, it wouldn't be anything to shout about. Lugosi makes the movie. He is the movie. But, I digress; the best part of the film itself is the first part that takes place in Transylvania and Castle Dracula. But the entire movie is well worthwhile, especially the scenes between Lugosi's Dracula and Edward Van Sloan's Prof. Van Helsing. It is a great picture that deserves a great deal of respect and honor. This collection is by far the best Universal has put out for the film. There are plenty of extras, commentaries, and goodies to keep you happy for a number of hours. I would recommend this particular release over the others any day.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Still The Best

      Posted
      Trunner7667
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      The Dracula Blu-ray is a great movie for anyone wanting to complete the Universal Monster Movie Collection. The Blu-Ray has a ton of features and a "new" restored picture. If you own the DVD from a few years ago this set is almost the same. The one "special feature" that makes this a must own Blu-ray is the Spanish version of Dracula. This version was filmed at night on the same set the was being used during the morning/afternoon while the English cast filmed. Both movies are great and are still quite creepy for the time period.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Classic Horror....Great Steelbook

      Posted
      Meek
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Dracula is quite creepy for a horror film made in 1931. Swan Lake is used as music for the opening credits, but the remainder of the film is without a soundtrack. So, the film doesn’t rely on jump scares implied by music cues like most modern horror. The Steelbook art by Alex Ross is gorgeous and the special features are substantial. The Spanish version that was filmed with a completely different cast is a wonderful feature on this blu-ray.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      classic monster movies

      Posted
      Smigro
      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      To be honest I have never seen any of these original monster movies and once I saw these go on sale last month I knew it was time to add them to the collection. The artwork on the steelbooks is really nice and the clear slips covers for added protection is a win win.

      I would recommend this to a friend



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