dir. Tod Browning

TIFF Cinematheque - Hollywood Classics

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Bela Lugosi set the standard for all screen Draculas to follow in the first official film adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel.


Fangs for the memories: the source for all vampire films that followed, Tod Browning's Dracula was "the film that started the 1930s horror cycle, secured Universal's position as the horror studio, and made Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi a worldwide curiosity" (James Monaco). "I never drink wine," the bloodthirsty Count avers, his red of choice taken from the veins rather than from the vine. With his heavy accent and delivery and piercing eyes (never mind teeth), Lugosi imbues the slow-talking undead with a strangely erotic charge, while the superb German cinematographer Karl Freund (Metropolis) makes every image eerier than the last. (When this recent restoration played in Universal's centenary tour, many critics commented that the film's visual style demanded the big screen.) "The Rosetta stone of vampire flicks... Lugosi's performance is still the ultimate in Eastern Euro-creepiness" (Time Out New York).