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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> January 2000 >> Dracula


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
January 2000
IMDB Name:
Dracula (1931/I)
Tod Browning
MPAA Rating:
Unrated (predates MPAA ratings)

Passage of Time

The American pop culture machine has ingrained many classic images that last through the years even when the original source is almost forgotten. Bela Lugosi's eerily lit face in Dracula can certainly be counted among them. This is one of the defining films of the horror genre, even if it doesn't seem so scary today with its dime store vampire effects. The fear is best invoked by Lugosi and Dwight Frye. Frye's Renfield begins the movie innocuously enough, but by the end he's shown excellent madman potential, which resulted in his being typecast for the rest of his career.

New Life

Given the endurance of the film, it is especially appropriate that the Kronos Quartet would be the performers of the new Philip Glass score. The movie was made on the transition into talkies, so it was produced to be effective with or without sound. There were only a few bits of incidental music, and those are preserved in the new version. The Glass score blankets the film, wrapping it in jarring intervals made creepy by the timbre of a string quartet. There are scenes that would almost certainly be scarier unaccompanied, but the moments that are devoid of music in the new presentation are now even scarier from the contrast.

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