This review is for the online streaming version only. According to numerous other reviews that appear with this product, it has the recently added score by Philip Glass. Without this score Dracula is available for FREE internet streaming by the Classic Cinema organzation and others. However, the score seems like it really adds something new to the film. The reviews on the downstream page agreed. So on that basis I paid for and downstreamed it. However, THIS IS MERELY THE OLD 1931 FILM! When you stream this film all you get is the 1931 film version with NO PHILIP GLASS SCORE!!! The 1931 flick is great. But you don't have to pay to downstream it. It's free.
My roommate and I had put this on just for fun one night, not expecting to be frightened by it at all. We thought, "It's just a campy black and white. How creepy could it be?" HOW WRONG WE WERE. It was way creepier than we expected, but it was totally fun to watch! Yes, a lot of what is in this movie is clichéd, but this is the movie that made it a cliché. It doesn't follow the book, but to be honest, Bram Stoker's novel would be hard to film with perfect faithfulness. This movie stills provides a good atmosphere and a good plot. It's the kind of movie that you curl up with on a stormy night, surrounded by pillows and blankets, with enough popcorn nearby for constant munching.
I grew up watching Universal's monsters and out of all of them, this one is my favorite. Bela Lugosi left a huge mark and raised the bar of vampire acting that even in this day and age of CGI, can't be touched. The way he moves and speaks is pure perfection, plus the lighting of his eyes whenever he hypnotises his victims really bring the chills. Speaking of which the lighting really generates a spooky atmosphere. I like the fact that this DVD has three versions: Original restored version, Spanish version, and the Philip Glass version (I'm familiar with his music having recently seen the opera, "The Witches of Venice"). A definite must have for monster lovers!
There is nothing better then classic horror and Universal Pictures has the best. I will rehash this review because I own all of the classic monster movies such as Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man The streaming ones in HD are top quality. You see every detail including when the Monster throws the lil girl into the lake. I own these movies on DVD, Blu-Ray and now streaming which I enjoy more because I can setup my own monsterthon and do as lil work as possible setting it up.
its a classic, but i especially like the spanish version being included. its a much better version of the original, made at the exact same time, on the exact same sets. the spanish director had the advantage of seeing the rushes of what the english had filmed earlier that day, and made improvements on almost every shot! i dont speak spanish at all, but its not hard to figure out what is going on. someday, somebody needs to do a english overdub over the spanish version. id buy that
I bought this 2-DVD set for a friend and ended up liking it so much I got one for myself. It is an excellent tribute to the Bela Lugosi classic. You can watch this film many different ways on this collection. The classic version, one with a different musical score (by Philip Glass performed by the Kronos Quartet), with two different commentaries, and with "monster tracks" which are pop-up text of informational tid-bits on the different players and scenes. Not only that but this collection also includes the Spanish version which was filmed at the same time as the Tod Browning classic (Browning's crew filmed in the daytime, the Spanish was filmed at night using the same set). The quality of this set is superb down to every detail--including the appropriate music accompanying the selection screen and the case that looks like a handsome, hardcover book on the shelf. It offers additional documentary extras as well which I will describe in the review as most have seen the film and are probably wondering if this version is worth owning (IT IS!).
The commentaries were conducted by film historian David J. Skal and author & screenwriter for "Dracula: Dead and Loving It," Steve Haberman. Both commentaries are very well-done and obviously were planned out, written ahead of time and rehearsed. I enjoyed the Skal commentary the most. He gives background information (sometimes gossipy) on many of the actors, production crew, and film techniques. He includes symbolism and cultural references used in the film and also reveals scenes that were cut from the original script. Haberman focuses more on motion picture politics which I did not find as interesting. He also does not follow the scenes like Skal does, except to point out the ways in which the Spanish version is inferior to the English version. The Spanish version here includes an introduction by Lupita Tovar Kohner, who played the female lead.
In two main areas, Skal and Haberman disagree. Skal prefers the Spanish version for its innovative filming techniques while Haberman believes Browning's version is more effective on all levels. They also have completely different takes on a piece of cardboard attached to a lamp in Mina's bedroom. Skal believes it was an oversight while Haberman defends it as "set dressing." I tend to side with Skal as, if the item was used to show the character was shielding the light of the lamp as she slept, it probably wouldn't look so shoddy. This was a mansion with wealthy people. Why would this rich socialite use a ripped piece of cardboard to create a night light?
Several documentaries are included in this set. The tribute to Bela Lugosi "Lugosi: The Dark Prince," covers his film career. It would have been better if it also presented some info on what he was like as a person and not just his characters, especially since his son is included in another documentary on this set and could have shed some light on his father's personality. "The Road to Dracula" was hosted by Carla Laemmle, the niece of Universal owner Carl Laemmle who spoke the first words in the film in the stage coach scene. It goes into the history of the novel by Bram Stoker and its adaptation to stage and screen. This documentary includes a recreation of sorts of Prof Van Helsing's final curtain speech that was later removed from the film.
"Universal Horror" is a very interesting and rather lengthy documentary that covers many of the scary films put out by Universal in the 1920s and 1930s and includes freaky scenes from such films as "The Phantom of the Opera," "The Man Who Laughs," "The Black Cat," etc. I liked the inclusion of scenes from early silents. It also reveals secrets to special effects found in "King Kong" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and "The Invisible Man." Film historians who were kids back in the day talk about what these films meant to them and the reactions of audiences at the time. Bela Lugosi Jr. talks about his famous father in several clips in this documentary. And if all that were not enough, you also get to see a collection of posters and stills. This 75th Anniversary set has so much to offer and is so well-done that I recommend it to any Dracula/horror film fan even if they already have a copy of Dracula.