Directed by: Tod Browning
Running Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Edward Van Sloan as Professor Van Helsing
Helen Chandler as Mina Harker
Dwight Frye as Renfield
Dracula is brilliant, unsatisfying, and fascinating all at once. When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula as a novel all those years ago, one has to wonder if he had any idea what he was unleashing. Or, for that matter, John Balderston and Hamilton Deane, who turned Stoker's novel into a successful Broadway play. Universal bought their play and turned it into 1931's Dracula, which mesmerized audiences worlwide, and made Universal the main studio for horror flicks through the 1930's and spun-off countless Dracula and vampire movies.
Bela Lugosi is brilliant as Count Dracula, a vampire living in Transylvania who hypnotizes Renfield (Frye), an unsuspecting journalist, and takes him to modern day London. Like the horror movies that were to follow, there is a beautiful woman, Mina Harker, who is in danger of the villian. Harker, played by Chandler, knows that she has been hypnotized by Dracula and breaks her engagement to her fiance (also to be copied in other horror movies) so he will not have to suffer. Edward Van Sloan plays Professor Van Helsing, a vampire hunter who helps Harker's fiance in hunting down Dracula before it is too late.
Although refreshing for it's time, this film seems dated and slow for today. But for anyone who get's a kick out of vampire films or who wants to see what all the fuss is about, watch Dracula first.
Three and a half stars out of five