Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection
Actors: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Carla Laemmle, Clive Barker
Directors: David J. Skal, Enrique Tovar Ávalos, George Melford, Karl Freund, Tod Browning
Dracula (The Restored Version) Although there have been numerous screen versions of Bram Stoker's classic tale, none is more enduring than the 1931 original. The ominous portrayal of Count Dracula by Bela Lugosi, combined ... more »
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Marc M. (mojofilmguy)
Reviewed on 1/30/2009...
"Luke into my eyes Van Helsing".... I love this movie. It may be genre'd as a horror movie but I kinda think of it as sort of a comedic horror. The actors play it straight but Bela Lugosi is so campy , he overacts so, that I just can't take it seriously.
Don't let that stop you from watching it though. It is a VERY entertaining vampire flick. There are some great lines in this;most spoken(those by Lugosi) with heavy accent):referring to wolves:"Luke at them. Children of the Night".
Dracula's guest is partaking of his wine and offers some to Drac. So Drac looks at him and says:"I don't drink -(big pause here- WINE" ! (inside joke shared with us, the audience cause we know what he DOES drink). Like I said, Very entertaining; just don't expect to be scared.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
75th ANNIVERSARY BATS & THISTLES RERELEASE VS. THE OTHER TWO
2littlemoney | Oakland, CA USA | 09/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Soooo fellow geek classic monster collectors, tell me, does this sound familiar? You are perusing various sites and store DVD racks and you stumble across these 75th Anniversary editions of DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN and your geek heart starts palpitating at the thought of digitally restored version of these films and you get all excited and you start deciding which comic books you'll give up this month to buy these instead.......but then you remember you've bought the last TWO previously released DVD versions of these films and now you wonder if these are worth it? OK....well...maybe this is kind of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. I bowed to temptation because, well....Universal has me with their monster releases from way back....period.
Soooo.....as it is obligatory when one has bought three releases of the same d@mn film, I sat down with them all and ran them through to decide which was the best of them. It is without question IMO, that the DRACULA 75th DVD is the best transfer when compared to the 90's (poster art), and the first LEGACY (green box art) releases. Picture-wise, the amount of speckles, noise and whatnot has been reduce quite a bit. This is most apparent in the darker scenes. So on a good note, seeing less snowy junk pop up is nice. Some of the scenes also look less jittery. For example, in the previous releases, the scene when Frye first comes into Drac's home and Lugosi is descending the staircase behind him, the film image is really jumpy...like watching a bad bootleg. In this 75th release it looks stable and doesn't have that funky aliasing look. The overall picture quality just feels cleaner in this release. But there is still a good amount of junk throughout the film that this cannot possibly be considered the definitive restoration. Only some making the leap from VHS to DVD will get their socks knocked of with this release. If you bought the other two, then you might be happy, but probably underwhelmed despite the good points. Like the FRANKENSTEIN release, this still feels like a money making thing than an anniversary homage to this film especially after the promise of something new from a third dip. Some people may say that we can't expect much because the film is so old. But sorry, after THREE RELEASES, and most especially since this one is clearly the supposed icing-on-the-cake release so far, well, I think Universal could have done even better than this, MUCH BETTER. Technology as it stands nowadays is very forgiving when cleaning up old films.....but companies need to be willing to put the money into using said technololgy. I would think that even if the buying public of an older film such as this is limited and Universal wasn't going to pour a ton of cash into it, well, being the third time releasing the same d@mn movie, would it be outrageous to assume they'd have enough saved in the piggy bank to do a definitve restoration instead of this continued fleecing, but hey, guess that's business. I think if they DID do much better and THEY knew it, we would have gotten NEW SPECIAL FEATURES and none of the stuff that was already on the other two releases save for the one Lugos bit that is new here.
Sound-wise, I have to agree with other reviews that I have read that mention that the 90's release had better sound. It did seem a bit crisper. But like the FRANKENSTEIN releases, picking the better sound with DRACULA is like picking the lesser o two evils.......do you want Niagra Falls somewhere in the background or do you want gentle rapids? To me, all of the background hissing and popping and rustling sounds funky on all of the releases, but they eventually just become part of the film. I don't really have much of a preference as none have ever been so clean that I could make myself care THAT much.
VALUE: Hmmmmmm........if you have the money, this is the best DRACULA to get in terms of picture and such. But one has to ask themselves how much they care about this film to fork over the cash for just one film. If you are only marginally interested in this DRACULA, but still want a copy, I'd go for the LEGACY set as that comes with other films and is the better value overall. This release is truly for the purists and gluttons for finacial punishment such as myself. Even though I have now three copies of this film, I have still only managed to watch it less than ten times since the first 90's release since, even though a classic, I find DRACULA mostly a boring affair when watched repeatedly so I hafta take it in like wine....slow...and over time. So my point is, one has to ask themselves, how much do you care to drop the cash for yet another copy of this if you already have it?
PACKAGING: For the most part, identical to the green LEGACY sets. That is, the faux hardback book case that opens up to reveal two DVD's. Only here, there is NO open window slipcover to protect the case. This seems kinda cheap since the case is a cool, leather-ish 'grained' cover printed in matte sepia, which is nice. But it will succumb to scuffs and such much faster than the better protected LEGACY set.
OVERALL: Like the FRANKENSTEIN 75th....this is cool if you got the money to upgrade. But for what it's touted as, this still is gets 50/50 from me. Just keep in mind that the 'definitve' HD/BLUE RAY versions will come at some point ........or at least the first versions of -those- definitve versions...so we ain't outta the woods yet."
One of the Finest DVD Presentations I've Ever Encountered
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 11/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is the "Jewel in the Crown" of the classic Universal horror films released in that format. It includes a quality print of the Bella Lugosi DRACULA, with options to play the film with Philip Glass' recent soundtrack; the so-called "Spanish" DRACULA starring Carlos Villarias; and a fascinating documentary hosted by Carla Laemmle, who has a bit role in the Lugosi DRACULA and who was niece to Universal studio head Carl Laemmle. There is also an audio track by David J. Skal, production notes, and the like.The Lugosi DRACULA is somewhat problematic. DRACULA had been previously (and illegally) filmed as the silent NOSFERATU, and a later stage adaptation proved a staple of the British theatre. When the stage play at last arrived in New York, the title role fell to Bela Lugosi. Although Universal optioned the material, studio head Carl Laemmle was not enthusiastic about it; although European films were comfortable with the supernatural, American films were not, and Laemmle did not believe the public would accept such an irrational story. Nor was Laemmle interested in Lugosi; if DRACULA was to be filmed, it would be filmed with Lon Chaney.When Chaney died the screen role went to Lugosi by default, but there were further issues. Originally planned as a big-budget production, the deeping Great Depression made the film's box office possibilities seem even slighter than before and its budget was cut to the bone. And Todd Browning, who had been such a successful director of the macabre in the silent era, proved clumsy with sound. The resulting film was more than a little clunky--but it had two things going for it: a superior first thirty minutes and Lugosi. Although Lugosi's performance may seem excessively mannered by today's standards, audiences of the 1930s found it terrifying--and even today, when the character of Dracula comes to mind, we are more likely to think of Lugosi than other actor that later played the role.For a brief time after the advent of sound, several studios made foreign language versions of their productions. The "Spanish" DRACULA was one such film, and when the English language company wrapped for the day the Spanish speaking cast arrived and filmed through the night using the same sets. This gave the Spanish company the benefit of hindsight: they were perfectly aware of what the English language company was doing, and they deliberately set out to best it. The result is a somewhat longer, more cohesive film with some of the most arresting visuals and camera work of the early sound era. But unfortunately, star Carlos Villarias was no Bella Lugosi: although much of his performance was more subtle than Lugosi's, it was also less intimidating, and where today Lugosi seems mannered, Villarias seems unfortunately comic. In a perfect world, we would be able to insert the Lugosi performance into the "Spanish" Dracula. As it is, we are left with two deeply flawed but nonetheless fascinating films.In their own ways, both films proved incredibly influential, and it is difficult to imagine the evolution of the classic-style horror film without reference to both the Lugosi and the "Spanish" DRACULA. The Lugosi film is not perfectly restored, but the print is very, very good, easily the best I have seen. The "Spanish" DRACULA has more problematic elements, partly due the fact that the film borrowed some scenic footage from the Lugosi version and snips of footage from earlier films (there even appears to be a brief clip of the ballet from the silent PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in the film); the film is sometimes dark, sometimes very spotted, but short of a cgi restoration this is probably as good as it gets.The Philip Glass soundtrack, which is optional, tends to divide viewers. The Lugosi DRACULA had virtually nothing in the way of soundtrack; the "Spanish" DRACULA used music to a greater degree, but even so that degree is comparative. The Glass score is often quite interesting, but it is also as often intrusive as it is effective. Some feel it adds quite a bit to the film; others find it distracts. Whatever one's reaction to the film, either English or Spanish language, or with or without the Glass score, this is a remarkable DVD package, and fans of classic horror will find it an almost inexhaustible pleasure. I cannot recommend it too strongly.Gary Taylor (gft)"
One of the best DVDs I own...
JR Pinto | New Jersey | 05/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love all of the old Universal Monster Movies and I love all the DVD versions that Universal has issued. They have done it right, giving us deluxe editions of The Wolf Man and The Mummy with all the bells and whistles. Of all of these, my favorite is Todd Browning's Dracula. Dracula may not be considered the best of the Universal films (that title usually goes to Bride of Frankenstein) but it certainly is the best DVD.EVERYTHING is on this DVD. There is a wonderful DOCUMENTARY, The Road to Dracula. Amazingly, this is hosted by Carla Laemmle - the niece of the producer who actually ACTED in the movie. (She is the girl in the stagecoach who had the first line of dialogue in the film - indeed, in any sound horror film.) Clive Barker also adds valuable commentary. Although Barker is at the cutting edge (pun not intended) of hard-core horror, he still has great appreciation and insight about the classics.FEATURE COMMENTARY: This is provided by David J. Skal, the noted Dracula/Vampire expert. Along with the documentary, this should tell you everything you ever wanted to learn about Dracula.SPANISH LANGUAGE VERSION: It is now a famous story that, after Browning and his crew finished work for the day, a Spanish cast and crew would come in at night to film the same movie for the Spanish-speaking markets. The Spanish crew was very competitive and many critics say that the Spanish version is actually better. I do not agree with this. True, there are more interesting camera moves, but most of what we come to Dracula for is the Bela Lugosi performance - not to mention Dwight Frye as Renfeild with his inimitable laugh. The Spanish version is also great because it is a more accurate realization of the shooting script.NEW SCORE: The old Universal movies did not yet have scored music. A few years ago, Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet were commissioned to write a full score. It is excellent and it is also included on the disc. You can watch it with or without. I usually prefer without - I'll always think of the opening set to Swan Lake."