Dracula — CLASSIC FILM PICK
Ladies fainted when Bela Lugosi rose from his coffin as a vampire in the 1927 Broadway production of "Dracula" that preceded Tod Browning's brilliant 1931 film version that had an equally chilling effect on movie audiences. Playwright Hamilton Deane based his lean script on Bram Stoker's famous novel, and introduced horror to the era of sound film. Dwight Frye's eerie performance as Renfield, the hapless British accountant who dares set foot inside Dracula's foreboding castle, sets a tone of ghoulish insanity that the vampire instills in men. For his well-established part, Lugosi is positively blood-curdling as he stalks every scene with his thick native Hungarian accent and dapper tuxedo and cape. "Dracula" is more than a milestone of cinematic horror, it represents a marriage of nightmare and reality that establishes an American gothic sensibility for other dramatic genres that followed. Stark, cold, and deeply sensual, "Dracula's" atmosphere and intention is rooted in a fear of unknown lust and desire from which there can be no escape. To view "Dracula" is to be bitten by the vampire's desperate attack.
Not Rated. 75 mins. (A) (Five Stars)