DRACULA (1931) – Spanish Version
Article #707 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 2-20-2003
Posting date: 7-20-2003
Directed by George Melford
Featuring Carlos Villarias, Lupita Tovar, Barry Norton
Dracula moves to London from Transylvania and sets his sights on the daughter of the doctor of a sanitarium.
Shot at the same time and on the same sets as the Lugosi DRACULA, with the same script, but a different cast and crew and in Spanish, this version of the movie was forgotten for many years. The print does not appear to be in the best of condition, but I’m just glad it’s still around for comparison. Despite having the same script, this version runs almost a full half hour longer than the Browning version; I suspect a lot more was cut out during the editing of the latter. Quite frankly, this one is much better directed, eschewing Browning’s static style and staging many of the sequences in a more interesting fashion, and though it could use some judicious trimming here and there, I didn’t nod off at all on this version. Pablo Alvarez Rubio gives Dwight Frye a run for his money as Renfield, and Eduardo Arozamena as Van Helsing has an insane stare that makes him seem just as crazy. Carlos Villarias is good, but his performance pales next to Lugosi’s star-making turn in the Browning version. I dream of what it would be like to have combined the strengths of each of the two versions and come up with a superior version of the story. Apparently, the director, George Melford, could not speak Spanish and had to work with his cast through translators.