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Old 09-04-2005   #1
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Dracula: Deformations

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Project 1:

I just finished watching Dracula from 1931...
No, not the one you are thinking of. Some of you may know that the same year two versions of the same film were shot, both of which were based on the same script and shared the same settings.

The second version, which I had the possibility to watch, was directed by George Melford (unlike the other one by Tod Browning) and is in SPANISH. As there was no dubbing in those days, it was the best to shoot all the scenes twice in different languages (apparently it resulted lucrative to choose Spanish for the second language). Of course, the actors are completely different (you won't see Lugosi's eccentric performance in here), and unfortunately they might have acted their parts much better . But beware!... This forgotten version is definitely worth seing, because it contains a fluid and inquisitive camera which makes it superior in mood! The film is longer by almost half an hour, and in my opinion some sequences are much better than in the acclaimed version (some of them have been excluded from Browning's version). Moreover, being so lengthy, the film delivers a very heavy atmosphere and contains some interesting imagery.

Next Project: Tod Browning's Dracula with Phillip Glass's newly composed score!

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
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Old 09-04-2005   #2
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Re: Dracula: Deformations

Philip Glass' music for the DRACULA film is a wonderful String Quartet piece - very haunting - I've had it on CD for a year or so. Highly recommended.

Personally, however, I prefer to think of it as pure music. When I saw it with the film, I don't think the music and the film did each other any favours!
des

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Old 09-04-2005   #3
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Re: Dracula: Deformations

I think, I can agree with you, Des, even without watching the film. When I listen to Glass's soundtrack I can't imagine it combined with the movie. And somehow, that's the only factor that deepens my curiosity and will eventually oblige me to get this version. In my opinion the music is very dynamic and complex in some parts, an aspect which totally doesn't fit in such an old film... well, more impressions later :?.

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
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Old 09-05-2005   #4
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Re: Dracula: Deformations

Hello Slawek! Another fine example of simultaneity, this time between Warsaw and Madrid. I've thinking lately in these two versions of Dracula from the early thirties. I'll tell you why.
Around 1931 my grandfather went to Madrid in order to take certain official exams. One night he decided to go to a movie theater. He saw a vampire's movie and he got so scared that he couldn't challenge the power of darkness in his guest house (likely a most unsavory place anyway). So he passed the night away in some of the many "cafes" and night clubs open overnight at the time. Just a little family story.
For long I was convinced the scary movie was Tod Browning's Dracula. Even I wrote a story where watching this film in late night Spanish TV bring to life, for fleeting seconds, my Grandfather. Like fear survives death etcetera. But just a year ago I realized the movie should be the version with Mexican actors you tell about in your post. No dubbing at the time, as you say, we are talking about the early "talkies". I intend to check this, anyway, in the "discomposed remains entombed in the" council house archives. (I hope the movie magazines of the time are better preserved than that).
I could change the story, but an amateur writer as I am, I pride myself in some kind of Flaubert-like accuracy, and I don't think the Spanish-market version of Dracula has ever been screened in late night television. I'll think something, some supernatural explanation about why my Grandfather's ghost was summoned by a movie he didn't see at the time, but may be many years later when he was older, and he got scared, like everybody else, for heartier fare, like "The Exorcist" or "The Shining".
Anyway, I'd like to see the film, because it seems interesting. And vampires talking with a Mexican accent are one of my secret vices.

"...what pleasures and improvements do such deny themselves who scorn and avoid all opportunity of intercourse with souls separate and the spirits, glad and sorrowful, which inhabit the unseen world!"
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Old 09-05-2005   #5
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Re: Dracula: Deformations

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Anyway, I'd like to see the film, because it seems interesting. And vampires talking with a Mexican accent are one of my secret vices.
Doctor Muñoz (with an "ñ"!),
You have to check out El Vampiro (1957) - a cool, Mexican, black & white vampire movie directed by Fernando Méndez. A classic!

I also like their American accent!

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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