AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Son of Dracula
Alternate Title: Destiny
Director: Robert Siodmak (Dir)
Release Date:   5 Nov 1943
Production Date:   7 Jan--early Feb 1943
Duration (in mins):   79-80
Duration (in feet):   7,229
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast: with Robert Paige (Frank Stanley)  
  with Louise Allbritton (Katherine Caldwell)  
  with Evelyn Ankers (Claire Caldwell)  
  with Frank Craven (Doctor [Harry] Brewster)  
  with J. Edward Bromberg (Professor Lazlo)  
  and Lon Chaney [Jr.] (Count Dracula [also known as Count Alucard])  
    Samuel S. Hinds (Judge Simmons)  
    Adeline deWalt Reynolds (Madame [Queen] Zimba)  
    Patrick Moriarity (Sheriff Dawes)  
    Etta McDaniel (Sarah)  
    George Irving (Colonel Caldwell)  
    Jack Rockwell (Deputy sheriff)  
    Robert Dudley (Jonathan Kirby)  
    Jess Lee Brooks (Steven)  
    Sam McDaniel (Andy)  
    Walter Sande (Matt, the jailer)  
    Joan Blair (Mrs. Land)  
    Charles Moore (Mathew)  
    Emmett Smith (Servant)  
    Cyril Delevanti (Dr. Peters, the coroner)  
    Charles Bates (Tommy Land)  

Summary: At a small Southern train station, Dr. Harry Brewster and Frank Stanley await the arrival of Count Alucard, a friend of Katherine Caldwell, Frank's fiancĂ©e, and are surprised when only his luggage appears. Meanwhile, anxious for Alucard's arrival, Katherine wanders through the swamp to the run-down home of Queen Zimba, a voodoo practitioner, who warns her that death comes with the count. Before Zimba can tell Katherine more, however, a bat appears and frightens her to death. That evening, a reception is held for Alucard at the family plantation, Dark Oaks, but the invalid Colonel Caldwell is forced to retire before the guest of honor arrives. Alucard then transforms himself into a bat, enters the Caldwell home and kills the old colonel. Meanwhile, Frank tries to convince Katherine to give up the occult, with little success. Later, the colonel is examined by Brewster and Frank, who only find two small marks on his neck. When Brewster realizes that Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards, he calls Professor Lazlo, a Hungarian authority on vampires, who warns Brewster to beware of the count. During the formal reading of the colonel's will, Katherine produces a newer will, one which leaves Claire, the younger daughter, all cash and securities, while endowing Dark Oaks to Katherine. Suspicious of Katherine's relationship to Alucard, Brewster and Claire go to the guest house and search the count's belongings, only to find his bags empty. Brewster then insists that Claire leave Dark Oaks and swear out an insanity complaint against Katherine. Later, Katherine goes into the moors, where she watches Alucard materialize from the swamp waters. The two soon marry, after which Frank confronts the count and orders him to leave town. When he refuses, Frank shoots Alucard, but the bullets travel through him, killing Katherine. Frank runs from Dark Oaks, collapsing in a graveyard, where both a crucifix and the sunrise save him from the count. Frank then goes to Brewster's home and tells him of Katherine's strange death, but the physician later finds her "alive" in the company of her new husband. The newlyweds tell Brewster that Alucard is doing "scientific research" and they no longer wish to socialize with her old friends. The next morning, Brewster learns there is no legal foundation in his insanity complaint against Katherine. When Frank then turns himself in for Katherine's "murder," Brewster argues that Frank is insane, but Sheriff Dawes insists on taking the confessed killer back to Dark Oaks. There, the sheriff finds a dead Katherine in her coffin. That night, Brewster meets with Lazlo, who confirms his belief that they are dealing with a vampire. While Lazlo explains the supernatural powers of the vampire, Alucard appears before them and threatens to kill them, only to be turned away when Lazlo produces a crucifix. Their fears that Katherine too has become a vampire prove well-founded when she visits Frank in his jail cell and attempts to convince him to become an immortal. He refuses, but she tells him that he has no choice, as she has already bitten his neck. She then asks him to kill Dracula by either burning his grave or driving a stake through his heart. With Katherine's help, Frank escapes from jail and sets the count's coffin afire, then watches the vampire die as the sun rises. He then returns to Dark Oaks, where, in the presence of all, he sets Katherine's coffin afire as well, releasing her from the vampire's curse. 

Production Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures Company, Inc.  
Director: Robert Siodmak (Dir)
  Melville Shyer (Asst dir)
  Ford Beebe (2nd unit dir)
Producer: Jack Gross (Exec prod)
  Ford Beebe (Prod)
  Donald H. Brown (Assoc prod)
Writer: Eric Taylor (Scr)
  Curtis Siodmak (Orig story)
Photography: George Robinson (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: John B. Goodman (Art dir)
  Martin Obzina (Art dir)
Film Editor: Saul Goodkind (Film ed)
Set Decoration: R. A. Gausman (Set dec)
  E. R. Robinson (Set dec)
Costumes: Vera West (Gowns)
Music: H. J. Salter (Mus score)
Sound: Bernard B. Brown (Sd dir)
  Charles Carroll ([Sd] tech)
Country: United States
Language: English
Series: Dracula

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Universal Pictures Co., Inc. 7/10/1943 dd/mm/yyyy LP12313

PCA NO: 9194
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Recording

 
Genre: Horror
 
Subjects (Major): Engagements
  Murder
  Physicians
  Plantations
  Sisters
  Vampires
 
Subjects (Minor): Aliases
  Attempted murder
  Bats
  Cemeteries
  Coffins
  Crucifixes
  Deception
  Fathers and daughters
  Graves
  Jailbreaks
  Jails
  Judges
  Marriage
  Morgues
  Mothers and sons
  Professors
  Sheriffs
  Swamps
  Train stations
  Transmutation
  United States--South
  Wills

Note: The working title of this film was Destiny . According to HR news items, actor Alan Curtis was replaced by Robert Paige in the role of "Frank Stanley" after Curtis suffered a knee injury during the making of another Universal film, Flesh and Fantasy (see entry above). According to modern sources, George Waggner was originally set to produce the film, but became unavailable due to extended production on Phantom of the Opera (see entry above). In a modern interview, story writer Curtis Siodmak claims that he was originally hired to write the screenplay for Son of Dracula , but was fired because of "sibling rivalry" with his brother Robert after Robert assumed directorial duties on the film. Modern sources add George Meeker ( Party guest ), Ben Erway and Robert Hill to the cast and credit Jack Pierce as makeup artist and John P. Fulton with special effects. This was the third "Dracula" film produced by Universal, following the 1936 feature Dracula's Daughter (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.1122). The next Universal film to feature the "Dracula" character was the 1944 picture, House of Frankenstein (see entry above). For more information on films featuring the character of "Dracula," please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Dracula in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.1121. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   6 Nov 1943.   
Daily Variety   29 Oct 43   p. 3.
Film Daily   22 Nov 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Dec 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Jan 43   pp. 2-3.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jan 43   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jan 43   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Jan 43   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Oct 43   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   3 Apr 43   p. 1241.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   13 Nov 43   p. 1626.
New York Times   6 Nov 43   p. 16.
Variety   3 Nov 43   p. 16.

Display Movie Summary
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.
 
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2014 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.