Sunday, October 3, 2010

October Movie Reviews: Dracula 1931 (Spanish version)

For my October Reviews I am now moving to a real classic.

Continuing with my delving into the great 1931 Dracula, this time the Spanish language version.

Drácula (1931)

Drácula was a Spanish language version of the Tod Browning movie, filmed on the same set at night.  The effect was a much moodier look and tone to the movie.  If you can speak Spanish (and even if you can't) check this movie out.  It has everything that the English language has, but just seems so much cooler.
According to the audio commentary on Dracula and the documentary, Road to Dracula, the "B" team would film at night on the same set as Dracula.  The director would watch the "Dailies" from the Browning/Lugosi crew and cast and work to improve on them.  They also cleaved closer to that actual shooting script.
The differences are subtle, but still noticeable.  
This production for example seemed to learn from the mistakes of the previous day's shooting.  Also because the censors didn't care about the Spanish version, they got away with more sex appeal.  For example the dresses revealed more cleavage and Lupita Tovar's  performance as Eva (Mina) in general.
In the end this is a hard one to review since I don't speak Spanish and what I see is so close to the Bela Lugosi one that I instead look at them as a whole.  But I am glad I finally got to see it.  Carlos Villarias will never really get mentioned in the same breath as Bela Lugosi, save as a comparison, and his acting was not great.  But there is something about the roll that he also made his own; despite what looks and sounds like a Bela Lugosi impression. In Spanish.

If you are a Dracula fan then I think you need to see this at least once.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The opening shot, or reveal of Dracula, is much better in the Spanish version. In the English version, the camera is static, but Browning never used camera very well. In the Spanish version the camera moves across the room and up to Dracula - it is effective and well done.