AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Director: George Melford () (Dirigida por [Dir])
Release Date:   1931
Premiere Information:   Havana, Cuba opening: 11 Mar 1931; New York opening: 24 Apr 1931
Production Date:   23 Oct--Nov 1930
Duration (in mins):   103
Duration (in reels):   11
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Cast:   Carlos Villar (Conde Drácula)  
    Lupita Tovar (Eva)  
    Barry Norton (Juan Harker)  
    Pablo Alvarez Rubio (Renfield)  
    Eduardo Arozamena (Van Helsing)  
    José Soriano Viosca (Doctor Seward)  
    Carmen Guerrero (Lucía)  
    Amelia Senisterra (Marta)  
    Manuel Arbó (Martín)  

Summary: [The following plot summary is based on the English-language version of this film, Dracula ; character names refer to that version.] English businessman Renfield has a harrowing journey to Transylvania, where he is to arrange a lease of the Carfax Abbey in England for Count Dracula. Unknown to Renfield, Dracula is a centuries-old vampire, who lives off the blood of humans and cannot withstand the light of day. Renfield is greeted at Dracula's castle by Dracula himself, but after he passes out from drinking drugged wine, his host descends upon him to feed on his blood. Renfield, weakened by the attack, and Dracula board an England-bound ship which also carries the coffin in which Dracula sleeps during the day and several coffins filled with his native soil, which is required for his survival. When the ship docks in Whitby Harbor, the entire crew is found dead. Only Dracula and Renfield, who appears to have gone insane, survive. Renfield is installed in Dr. Seward's sanitarium, where the physician studies his strange habit of consuming the blood of small animals. Meanwhile, Dracula drains the blood of the female population of London. One night at the opera, Dracula introduces himself to Dr. Seward and meets his daughter Mina, her fiancé, John Harker, and friend Lucy. Lucy is enchanted by Dracula's romantic manner, and later, Dracula attacks and kills her. German scientist Van Helsing arrives in London to assist Dr. Seward, and correctly assesses the situation. As Carfax Abbey is next to Seward's estate, Dracula has easy access to its occupants, and he takes advantage of his ability to transform himself into a bat to attack his next victim, Mina. However, she does not die immediately, but undergoes a change over several nights. Van Helsing confirms for Seward and Harker that Dracula truly is a vampire when Dracula's reflection does not appear in the mirror of a cigarette box. Meanwhile, Renfield constantly escapes from the hospital as ordered by his master, Dracula. Despite the precautions of Van Helsing to prevent Dracula's entry into Mina's room, he hypnotizes her maid to open the windows to admit him. Mina succumbs to a final bonding with Dracula and becomes a vampire. She confesses to Van Helsing that she has seen Lucy since she was buried, which confirms his suspicions that the "woman in white" who has been attacking young children is Lucy. Dracula tries to hypnotize Van Helsing to force him to do his will, but Van Helsing resists and is saved by his crucifix, upon which Dracula cannot look. Dracula, followed by Renfield, takes Mina to Carfax Abbey, where he plans to make her final transition to vampirism. Van Helsing and John follow Renfield there, but when Dracula discovers their presence, he kills Renfield. Dawn approaches, and when Van Helsing finds Dracula in his coffin, he drives a stake through his heart, killing him for eternity. At the same time that Dracula is killed, Mina is released from her spell. With the horror ended, John and Mina reunite. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Corp.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Corp.  
Director: George Melford (Dirigida por [Dir])
  Enrique Tovar Avalos (Dial dir)
  Jay Marchant (Asst dir)
  Charles Gould (Asst dir)
Producer: Carl Laemmle (Presenta [Pres])
  Carl Laemmle Jr. (Producida por [Prod])
  Paul Kohner (Productor asociado [Assoc prod])
Writer: Garrett Fort (Scr)
  B. Fernández Cué (Versión española de [Spanish version])
Photography: George Robinson (Fotografo [Photog])
Art Direction: Charles D. Hall (Director artistico [Art dir])
Film Editor: Arturo Tavares (Editor del film [Film ed])
  Maurice Pivar (Supervisor de la edición del film [Supv film ed])
Sound: C. Roy Hunter (Supervisor de acústica [Sd supv])
Make Up: Jack P. Pierce (Makeup)
Country: United States
Language: Spanish

Source Text: Based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker (London, 1897).
Authors: Bram Stoker

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Sistema Western Electric [Western Electric Sound System]

Genre: Horror
Subjects (Major): Death and dying
Subjects (Minor): Bats
  London (England)
  Romantic rivalry
  Transylvania (Romania)
  Whitby (England)

Note: Universal simultaneously made a Spanish-language version of the 1931 English-language Dracula , which was directed by Tod Browning and starred Bela Lugosi. Both versions utilized the same sets. Most of the Spanish-language version was shot at night, while the English-language version was shot during the day. The actor who plays Dracula in the Spanish version is billed on screen as Carlos Villar, but was more commonly known as Carlos Villarías
       Many films have been based on the Dracula legend. A partial listing includes the following: The 1921 German production Nosferatu - Eine Symphonie des Grauens , which was unofficially based on Bram Stoker's novel, directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and starring Max Schreck; the 1932 German-French film Vampyr , directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and starring Julian West and Henriette Gérard; the 1956 Italian film I Vampiri , directed by Riccardo Freda and starring Gianna Maria Canale and Antoine Balpêtré; the 1958 British film Dracula , directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee; the 1973 British television production of Dracula , directed by Dan Curtis and starring Jack Palance; the 1979 American Dracula , directed by John Badham and starring Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasance and Kate Nelligan; the 1979 German film Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht , directed by Werner Herzog and starring Klaus Kinski and Isabelle Adjani; and the 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula , directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Cinl   Mar 1931   p. 36.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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