for the English language version
for the Spanish language version
When the Count is standing in the hallway introducing himself to Dr. Seward he is looking up at Seward who is standing on the step into the box. This blocking has been criticized as showing Dracula at a ridiculous disadvantage. I disagree. When Dracula is introducing himself, he is playing the supplicant; he is the outsider who must insinuate himself into this group. Then Seward invites the Devil into his house so to speak by bringing him into the box for the rest of the introductions. Dracula is now standing on the same level as Seward and the power starts to shift subtly. Dr. Seward leaves, the two women remain seated throughout, and hapless Jonathan standing off to the side. Browning keeps Lugosi standing and centered with the others looking up at him. Dracula is aware of the power shift (he should, he is controlling it), but the others are not. The Count is now master of the situation and will destroy or attempt to destroy all of them.
The music begins again on the low gloomy chords of Schubert's Symphony No.8, the "Unfinished" when Dracula is delivering his final line: "There are far worse things awaiting man than death”. The lights dim at the same time, obscuring and changing the faces of the innocents. It is a very well done scene.
The next scene is another example of clumsy blocking by Melford, but also an example of an alternate interpretation of the story draining the drama and suspense out of it. It takes place in the Sewards’ drawing room when Dracula comes to call, and after Van Helsing has just examined the bite marks on Mina’s neck. Browning has Harker ask “what could have made those marks?” With no beat in between, the maid instantly announces “Count Dracula”, making it an obvious answer to Harker’s question. Melford simply has the maid announce Dracula with no question/answer tension. The drama of the Count’s entrance has disappeared.
|Introduction of the two adversaries as staged by George Melford|
|Dracula's three brides, per Mr. Melford. At least I think that's who they are supposed to be.|
Lugosi is unfailingly compelling, powerful, romantic, fierce, commanding. The actor had played the role on stage a thousand times over the years. He said in interviews that he had the habit of playing to the back of the theater, he “took it big” and he had to be re-trained to take it “small”. He has been quoted as being grateful for Browning’s help in crafting his performance, directing him to play to the more intimate space of the camera.**
**from the commentary by Steve Haberman to the dvd release Dracula - 75th Anniversary Edition
|Carlos Villarias. Sadly, no longer available for children's parties.|
|Dracula. Lugosi. Any questions?|
Last and certainly not least, I couldn't stop before adding this clip of film history. It documents the meeting of two show biz legends: