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If my facts are straight, this much touted Spanish version of "Dracula"
was considered lost for many years until its rediscovery in the
1970s--upon which many a critic and film historian flocked to view this
rare "gem" & seemingly all at once proclaimed it better than its more
famous English cousin.
Perhaps the novelty of finding this similar, but in many aspects
different alternate take on the Tod Browning classic led to such
clamoring, though given the many years in which viewers have been
accustomed to videotape & now DVD--in which a back-to-back comparison
of the two films is a very simple exercise--the fawning many do over
Melford's 'Drac' seems a bit in the extreme, particularly such critical
observations of how Melford upstages the English film "scene by scene,
shot by shot". Having recently viewed both films, it's my opinion that
a shot-for-shot comparison doesn't prove very detrimental at all to
For instance, the much raved about moving camera of George Robinson
doesn't really show much more mobility than Karl Freund's. Yes, there
is the shot of the camera roving up the stairs in Drac's castle, but
aside from that & a few other minor instances, Melford & Robinson keep
the camera as still as the oft-derided Browning. Btw, I found it more
than a bit amusing that the critters Browning has roaming around the
cellars of Dracula's castle--the opossum and bug escaping from a
miniature coffin--were retained by Melford.
The really big difference in movies is seeing the different angles
which Melford shot many of his scenes from & how he makes more use of
the outside portico in many of the later drawing room scenes. For those
of us familiar with the Lugosi film, this can make for an interesting
visual variety, but does this really equate to "better" or "masterful"
It's not my intention to slam this version of Dracula. I think any
horror fan should give it a few looks to see how two different
production teams can interpret a single script & put their own creative
twists on it. From that standpoint, the Spanish "Dracula" is required
viewing, but hardly the "scathing critique" of its English counterpart
that many have proclaimed it to be.
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