Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Dracula [Espãnol]

It feels like home again.

Wow, wow, wow let me tell you! I have heard about this for some time but seeing it for the first time I feel like a fool for not seeing it sooner. Now you may be wondering exactly what it is I'm reviewing here, well in short Universal Studios shot two versions of the 1931 classic Dracula, one for english and one for spanish speaking audiences. They used the same basic script but made changes here and there, the same sets, the same costumes, and the spanish crew shot during the night while the Lugosi version shot during the day. It is such a fascinating experience to watch this, because I've seen the Bela Lugosi version countless times since I was about 8 years old, I know that movie super well, so to see something oh so similar and yet very different the only way I can explain it is like if they remade the movie, not shot for shot, but did an even better job than the original! It was almost a game to see what elements they kept and what they changed. Yeah I am firmly in the crowd of the spanish version being superior to the vastly more famous version, but it might be hard for me to articulate why. The one big element that blindsided me was the fact that this movie pushes an hour and forty-five minutes for the runtime while the Lugosi version is an hour and fifteen minutes long, so you get a movie that takes it's time and has more room for slower moments, character moments, and flat out stuff that was not in the english version. In fact I was profoundly impressed with how much material from the book was presented, it makes the Lugosi version look so truncated and abridged in comparison. The movie is a bit more hardcore too, you barely see a damn thing in the english version and while that has it's own scary effect, you see the bite marks, you hear not one but two stakings, and not to sound piggish or anything but Lupita Tovar's dress is significantly more revealing than Helen Chandler's. I know Americans are kinda prudish and certainly during that time especially, but the spanish audience does not screw about and God bless them for it. I greatly loved the performances given here as well, Carlos Villarías is a very very good Dracula obviously making the role his own, but the way he carries himself and the facial acting gives a different edge to this Dracula, with Lugosi it's a creepy smile and careful lighting around the eyes but with Villarías he looks like he's about to tear people limb from limb and feast. Eduardo Arozamena as Professor Van Helsing I saw a good bit of Edward Van Sloan in, and he had a great presence with a strong worldy knowledge for our vampire hunter so a lot of love there. Lupita Tovar I actually got to see before the film, they had this short little interview probably shot in the 90s as she discussed her time making the picture and you could tell she had a lot of love and appreciation for the role, and she does damn good, truly stunning too I mean holy cow, the Count has very fine taste in ladies for sure. Pablo Alvarez Rubio as Renfield, good God I didn't think you could outcrazy Dwight Frye but the man is unhinged in this movie and I love every second of it, nothing but a glowing review of his talents from me. Even Barry Norton as Juan I felt was way better than David Manners' John, never to put down David's performance but he was just a teeny bit of a little bitch in Tod Browning's film but here he seems much more the unshakable heroic leading man. Again it's not the easiest thing to expound upon my points but if you have a back to back comparison viewing the results are as clear as daylight, hell if you watched this and Dracula's Daughter as a sort of introduction to golden age vampire films you'd have a grand time. I know I would! It is fully worth your time seeing if you're any fan of the Universal Monsters, Dracula, or horror films in general. I'm just so happy to be back if even for just a moment in time writing reviews again like I used to, but even more so now that I've seen this slice of cinema. Big time 4 stars, 8.5/10! And our business with Count Dracula is far from over and I will see you next time with a Christopher Lee Dracula film we haven't touched on yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment