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Dracula 75th Anniversary Legacy Series DVD

Universal's 2-disc 75th Anniversary edition of the classic 1931 Béla Lugosi / Tod Browning film.

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"Listen to Them, the Children of the Night... What Music They Make"

  • Dec 19, 2008
-This review pertains to the Dracula: 75th Anniversary Edition DVD-

There have been many attempts to adapt Bram Stoker's 1897 gothic horror novel into a film. In most cases the adaptations are unsuccessful for the primary reason that the novel is so convoluted in its narrative structure. Although most Dracula films are repetitive and formulaic, there are a handful that have stood the test of time.

The film that most people remember is Tod Browning's 1931 masterpiece starring Hungarian expatriate Béla Lugosi. Browning had been one of the premier American filmmakers in the `20s. His most famous films, other than Dracula, are those that he made with Lon Chaney, Jr.. Browning had a fascination with gothic imagery, macabre subject matter and suspenseful minimalist storytelling, which made him the perfect director for a filmed version of Dracula. The film, though in sound, feels like earlier silent expressionist movies most of which were made in Europe.
Dracula and His Prey
As for Béla Lugosi, he has become the most iconic performer to ever play the undead Count. He'll forever be associated with this role, in part because unlike the repulsive old man in Stoker's novel Béla was attractive and he played the part of Dracula as though he were a sex symbol. He brought to the character an air of sophistication and an implied perversion, which later were adopted as characteristics in most portrayals of Dracula. Another reason for Béla's longevity is his accent (ironically, the very thing that limited his success as an actor). His heavy Eastern European accent (in Stoker's novel Dracula speaks fluent English and has no trace of an accent) helped to make his performance feel more authentic and even made the fact that Dracula was a vampire more plausible. Other notable cast members include Dwight Frye who is perhaps the best Renfield the screen has ever known and Edward Van Sloan who plays Professor Van Helsing to near perfection.

The screenplay was written by Garrett Fort and rather than basing it solely upon Stoker's book, he chose to use the stage play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston for his inspiration. This is why some fans of the novel consider the film to be a travesty. However, the fact that the film Dracula isn't faithful to its literary source material is somewhat irrelevant. The film remains a true classic.

The story begins when real estate agent Renfield travels to Transylvania where he is to meet the reclusive Count Dracula. Upon his arrival, the locals repeatedly warn him that Castle Dracula is a home to vampires, but Renfield disregards these warnings as superstitious ramblings. A dark and mysterious coachman takes him to the castle and then vanishes, leaving him in the courtyard. When Renfield meets the Count for the first time, he is visibly unnerved by his pale and malevolent appearance. Renfield and Dracula sort out the necessary paperwork, for Dracula intends to buy a house in London, but then Dracula reveals himself. Using his vampiric powers he makes Renfield his slave. Together they journey to London on a ship, all the while Dracula feeds on the ship's crew. Then they arrive in London. Before long Dracula has infiltrated the London social scene, where he feeds off of beautiful, aristocratic, young women. But when a Professor Van Helsing uncovers the truth about Dracula he becomes London's only defense from this parasitic intruder. Van Helsing carries out a counterattack against the vampire Count while the lives of all Londoners hang in the balance.

Dracula (2-disc 75th Anniversary Legacy Series Edition DVD)
This horrifically good DVD includes an audio commentary with film historian David J. Skal, an audio commentary with Steve Haberman screenwriter of Dracula: Dead and Loving It, an optional score composed by Philip Glass, "Lugosi: The Dark Prince" documentary, "The Road to Dracula" documentary, Monster Tracks trivia, The Spanish Version of Dracula with an introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner, "Universal Horror" feature-length documentary, poster montage with music, and a theatrical trailer.

Carlos Villarias as Dracula in the Spanish Version
Dracula 75th Anniversary Legacy Series DVD Dracula poster 1 Dracula poster 2 Dracula poster 3 Dracula poster 4 Dracula poster 5 Dracual poster 6

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June 01, 2010
Absolutely one of the best sets I own, I own all of the Universal Legacy Series man, and of course this is one of if not the best.
June 01, 2010
I love the Universal horror films dearly. I've still got to beef up my DVD collection though. At the moment, I've yet to buy all of the Legacy Series or Legacy Collection sets. I started off mainly with the Dracula DVDs, then began collecting the Frankenstein stuff, but my money well has since dried up if you know what I mean. But yeah, these films are great. Lugosi, Karloff, Frye, Rains, and Chaney Jr. are all such great actors, which is something that often gets overlooked.
June 02, 2010
Oh yeah man some of the greatest actors of all time with out a doubt.
October 14, 2009
I was a small kid when I first saw this, my mom took me to a special screening because my Mom wanted to see this in the big screen back in the late 70's. My mother was a huge horror fan and always argued who was the best actor to play Dracula. Nice review, thanks for the fond memories.
October 14, 2009
Anytime Woo. When are you going to review some of the classic Universal horror films?
October 14, 2009
You have it pretty much covered; anything I have to say would just be redundant. Which is why I stick to my side of the woods...twisted Foreign movies LOL I have a major review coming for a fact-based German horror movie...
October 14, 2009
Covered? I think not. This is one of my early reviews from Amazon and there's a ton of info that I didn't include here, so there's a lot you could do to improve upon the whole thing. Come on, give it a shot... do it for your momma! LOL! That just doesn't sound right.
October 14, 2009
LOL! you and your innuendos...
October 14, 2009
That one wasn't even intentional, but it was too funny to change after the fact so I left it.
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About this movie


The legend of Dracula continues in this gripping, masterful 2-disc edition of cinema's most ominous vampire, digitally remastered for the 75th Anniversary Edition. Relive the horror, the mystery, and the intrigue of the original 1931 vampire masterpiece starring Bela Lugosi and directed by Tod Browning. The inspiration for hundreds of subsequent remakes and adaptations, this classic film launched the Hollywood horror genre with its eerie passion, shadowy atmosphere, and thrilling cinematography. The children of the night are calling…

Starring: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Edward Van Sloan, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, Frances Dade
Directed by: Tod Browning

Disc 1
    Dracula (1931)
  • Run Time: 1 Hours and 15 Minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Not Rated (N/A)
  • Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Picture: Full Frame (1.33:1)
  • Black & White

  • Bonus:
  • Feature Commentary with Film Historian David J. Shal
  • Feature Commentary with Steve Haberman, Screenwriter of "Dracula: Dead and Loving It"
  • Score by Philip Glass Performed by The Kronos Quartet
  • Lugosi: The Dark Prince
  • The Road to Dracula
  • Monster Tracks

Disc 2
    Dracula (1931) - Spanish Version
  • Run Time: 1 Hours and 44 Minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Not Rated (N/A)
  • Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French
  • Picture: Full Frame (1.33:1)
  • Black & White

  • Bonus:
  • Dracula (1931) Spanish Version
  • Introduction to the Spanish Version of Dracula by Lupita ...
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Director: Tod Browning
Genre: Classics, Horror
Release Date: 1931
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Garrett Fort
DVD Release Date: Sept. 2006
Runtime: 75 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Universal Studios
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