The landmark 1931 film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel was directed by Tod Browning. Karl Freund was the cinematographer for Browning’s film. After his work in cinema, Freund would help design the pioneering 35mm three-camera setup for television (with three simultaneous 35mm cameras) in the early 1950s, working with Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s production company, Desilu (for the couple’s 1951-57 groundbreaking sitcom, “I Love Lucy”).
Fans of the vintage Universal horror features are in for a treat, as one of the most celebrated horror films returns to the big screen.
Publicity still of “Dracula” (1931, From the Lantern Media History Archive).
The return of “Dracula” (1931)
Universal Pictures, in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies and NCM Fathom Events, have announced that the 1931 film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel will return to select theaters from coast-to-coast, on Oct. 25 and Oct. 28.
The film will have a pre-recorded introduction by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.
In addition to the iconic 1931 film with Bela Lugosi in the title role, audiences will be in for another treat as well.
“Drácula” (1931): the Spanish-language version
After the screening of the Tod Browning version of “Dracula,” audiences will have the chance to see the Spanish-language version of the film, with actor Carlos Villarías in the title role of the vampire.
Long before the advent of dubbing and automatic dialogue replacement (or ADR), major studios would film foreign-language versions of motion pictures in the evening, with different cast and crew members. This usually occurred when production wrapped up on the English-language version.
George Melford directed the Spanish-language version.
“My town’s theater isn’t showing the 1931 version of ‘Dracula.’ Is there another option?”
Even though the “Dracula” double feature revival screening will only be shown in select cinema venues from coast-to-coast, there’s one chance to see it before it returns to the big screen.
“Svengoolie” (portrayed by Rich Koz).
“Svengoolie” to the rescue (direct from Berwyn)!
If your local station or cable provider carries Me-TV, iconic horror host Svengoolie (portrayed by Rich Koz) will present the 1931 Tod Browning version of “Dracula,” as part of his weekly showcase of classic Universal horror films.
The film will be shown on Me-TV this upcoming Saturday evening, Oct. 24 at 10:00 p.m. eastern/9:00 p.m. central (check local listings).
This will occur on the eve of the revival screening.
Universal Studios publicity ad, for the 1938 re-release of “Dracula” (featuring Bela Lugosi).
Why you should see “Dracula” (1931)
Whether you watch it during the limited revival screening, on “Svengoolie,” on DVD and Blu-Ray disc, or through some streaming platform, the 1931 Tod Browning version of “Dracula” still holds up as one of the definitive classic horror films of all time.
Though the film may seem tame by today’s standards, Browning’s direction, Karl Freund’s cinematography and Lugosi’s stirring performance will give you chills.
Questions about “Dracula” or any of the other vintage Universal Studios “monster” films? Disappointed that “Dracula” (1931) will not be shown in the Frederick area? Drop a line at the comments section!