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Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen Paperback – October 7, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Tracks Transylvania's most popular vampire with dry wit and the skills of a fine detective.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Witty, comprehensive . . . For those who take Halloween seriously, this is something to gnaw on long after those trick-or-treaters are gone.” ―The Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Meticulously researched, engagingly written and packed with rare, archival images . . . The history of Dracula reads like a novel itself.” ―The San Francisco Bay Guardian
Top Customer Reviews
Chapter 1 explores "Dracula"'s literary and theatrical predecessors before moving on to discussion of the intellectual and sexual climate into which the book was published in 1897, the life and elusive character of its author Bram Stoker, and how the novel was received in its own day. David Skal does an impressive job of pulling together the relevant details, from diverse perspectives, of the novel's birth.
Chapter 2 details the legal battle waged by the Bram Stoker's widow, Mrs. Florence Stoker, to suppress the first cinematic adaptation of her husband's novel, 1922's "Nosferatu", the unauthorized German production directed by F.W. Murnau, now recognized as a masterpiece of silent cinema. Chapter 3 sees Mrs, Stoker finally authorize an adaptation to British dramatist Hamilton Deane, whose wordy, plodding "Dracula" play nevertheless achieved great financial success, attracting the attention of American theatrical producer Horace Liveright. Liveright enlisted journalist John Balderston to rewrite the play for Broadway and make it a smash hit on this side of the Atlantic.
Chapter 4 moves to Hollywood for the protracted negotiations over "Dracula"'s film rights.Read more ›
Those first six chapters are where the book shines. This is where Skal's interest (or, more appropriately, obsession) lies, and his enthusiasm for his subject matter makes for engrossing reading. Although he does judge the artistic value of the adaptations, he writes much more about the people behind them, both in their professional and personal lives; but like the writers from the History Channel who can somehow manage to make something like the history of toothpaste sound fascinating, Skal makes the most mundane details of these people sound nearly as interesting as (and sometimes more interesting than) the fictional drama that they put on film.Read more ›
Skal charts the history of Stoker's book, beginning with early drafts extant, following the tangled film history, including the legal battles over Murnau's "Nosferatu", Universal Studio's struggle to get the rights for the Lugosi pic, and everything that happened after.
It won't change your life, but its fascinating stuff. Skal's style is quick, clean, and to the point. This book is a lot of fun, giving insights into publishing, film, theater, and the audience reaction to and participation in all of those mediums. A must for all vampire buffs, film students, and those who are curious about the inner workings of popular culture.
You'll find yourself consulting and pondering over this book when watching the old films or reading the original Stoker novel. The social context in which Skal places the classical Dracula films will resonate for modern readers.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Surprisingly dull account of the movement of the Dracula legend from page to screen. Too many digressions into irrelevant subjects.Published 2 months ago by Tacitus2
Mank always writes illuminating stuff about a subject that has been done to death, like Tom Weaver and Mank he imbues the subject matter with both a scholarly point of view and a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kirk Davidson
The author, David J.Skal, develops a slowly unfolding story of how Bram Stoker came to write Dracula. Read morePublished 8 months ago by William R Kendall
David Skal has really hit a home run with this book. Excellent writing, very well researched, entertaining, and informative, I strongly recommend this to anyone interested in Bram... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Lloyd Worley
A prime example of research and artistic depiction meeting head on. Every subject should have a work like this. Read morePublished on January 18, 2014 by Bruce e Thomson
I was skeptical about this book because of its odd title, but from the first page I was hooked. There is such an incredible amount of information here and Skal presents it very... Read morePublished on February 24, 2013 by Christilles
VERY exhaustive book on Dracula--the book, stage plays, movies etc etc. This gets into virtually every single incarnation of Dracula. Read morePublished on August 21, 2011 by Wayne M. Malin
Hollywood Gothic is strictly an historical account of Dracula and related characters in film and stage. It is well researched and pleasant to read. Read morePublished on October 30, 2010 by Mark Wilkerson
This book truly follows Dracula, from the development of the book, to the many painful births of the stage productions - yes, there was more than one - to the film that finally,... Read morePublished on June 22, 2009 by Michael Valdivielso