MovieChat Forums > Dracula (1931) Discussion > According to David Manners

According to David Manners


this was actually directed by Karl Freund, which explains why this and The Mummy are so mind numbingly slow and boring. Browning never directed anything else as plodding as this.

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[deleted]

It's been so long since I posted this that I forget, but it was on IMDB under Manners, Freund, The Mummy, or something like that.

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I recently watched this and the Spanish-language, George Melford-directed one back to back (with Melford's first), and it was surprising how brisk the Browning/Freund version suddenly seemed by comparison. Made me a bit more appreciative of its directorial economy.


Poe! You are...avenged!

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Really? I much prefer the Spanish version. It's not as stagey. And it's sexier.

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I don't think I could express an overall preference for one over the other. Each has its areas of superiority and deficiency.

I'd seen both multiple times, but this was the first time I'd done so back-to-back, and it was only through this that the relative (and I stress that word) tightness of the English version's pacing became evident. The Spanish version did, after all, take nearly an extra half-hour to cover the same ground.


Poe! You are...avenged!

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I think the pacing of the Browning version was one of the slowest in film history. That's why I think it was directed by Freund.

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[deleted]

If Freund was the director the film would have had more tracking shots. Browning actually restricted it and favored static shots. Perhaps his style was not direct behind the camera but have final say on everything on set. Somebody was certainly playing with the script while the Spanish version followed it more.

Watching the blu ray, you get two different commentators, one favoring the Browning version and the other favoring the Spanish version. I think the two things the Spanish version were missing was Bela Lugosi and Karl Freund though the cameraman for the Spanish did a good job, ahead of its time but not perfect.

I think the static shots worked better for Lugosi because he doesn't need fancy camera tricks, you just need to look at him. In the scene where he firsts meets Renfield, he came out of the shadows of the decrepit remains of the castle as if he is one of the vermin and puts Renfield in a vulnerable position. Carlos Vilarias did a good job but he did not have the screen presence.

Dwight Fry and Pablo Alvarez were even as Renfield. I think I felt more sympathy for Pablo while Dwight, I just wanted to see him get his. I used to think Edward Van Sloan was the definitive Van Helsing second only to Cushing, but the actor Eduardo Arozamena was actually bad ass.

I think the biggest improvement among the cast in the Spanish version was Lupita Tovar and not just because she was sexier than Helen Chandler but she seemed to have taken the production more seriously while Chandler, along with Manners kept laughing during the filming. This was 1931 so most actors didn't know how to behave in a sound film, silent and stage films require two very different styles and sound is a style of its own, but Lupita had it. Plus she didn't feel the need to scream. I also liked how she got more beautiful as the film progresses as result of being a victim of Dracula as if she was to become one of the Brides.

Anyway, both versions have their flaws but I really can't have one without the other.

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The Mummy and Dracula are two of my very favorite 1930's films so I guess I like mind numbingly slow paced films. Kudos to Freund if he directed it.

Conquer your fear, and I promise you, you will conquer death.

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I know many who enjoy the Spanish cut. The girls are beautiful, the pace is faster and the villian very sinister compared to lugosi

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