Film Reviews: “Drácula” (1931)


“Drácula” is the Spanish-shot version of the classic Universal Bela Lugosi flick. It was made during the same time, on the same schedule, but shot at night. Both films share sets, locations, and equipment, with each having their own unique cast and script.

As a life long fan of the Lugosi version, I can say honestly that the Spanish “Drácula” is the better film. The American “Dracula” is 75 minutes, while “Drácula” is 99 minutes.

“Drácula” is darker, more in depth, more sophisticated, and more dramatic. I thought it was perfect. The highlight of the film for me was Pablo Álvarez Rubio as Renfield. Somebody give this guy an Oscar! He was so entertaining, animated, and interesting.

Carlos Villarías was great as Drácula. He was as effective, if not moreso than Bela Lugosi. He carried the balance of charm and reserve well, against showing his teeth in a menacing growl. He creeped me out more than Bela ever has.

It’s strange to see a film for the first time that feels new and also as if I’ve seen it before. What an experience! “Drácula” is a true gem. I hope that someday it’s as widely recognized as an iconic classic as the American “Dracula” is.

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.


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