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The Return of Dracula

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Joe Macclesfield
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The Return of Dracula

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 9th, 2014, 8:23 pm

Dear Folks, As, I'm sure many of you will know, THE RETURN OF DRACULA is a belting little B movie gem from 1958. Count Dracula flees his homeland. He murders an émigré artist who, unfortunately, just happens to be sharing the same train compartment. Throws the poor chap from the train, and steals the man's identity. The Count takes passage to the new world on board Cunard's R.M.S. Aquitania (a beautiful stock shot!). It really is a cracking film. Count Dracula is played by Francis Lederer. He's superb--my favourite Count! Who is YOURS?
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

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Lucky Vassall
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Lucky Vassall » September 9th, 2014, 8:57 pm

Nice thread, and a great question to ponder.

The Count is certainly my favorite "monster," I love them all, definitely including Lederer; my favorite is still John Carradine, probably because he was my first; I especially loved what Gary Oldman did with the part, changing his appearance drastically at various times; but the best of them all, and I'm certainly glad I didn't see it when I was a young lad, has to be Max Schreck.
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RedRiver
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby RedRiver » September 9th, 2014, 9:24 pm

Heavens to Renfield! I've never heard of the Lederer film. I'd love to see it.

Western Guy
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Western Guy » September 9th, 2014, 9:44 pm

Well, I reckon I'm a traditionalist and still maintain that Lugosi is my definitive Count Dracula (tuxedo and all). I'd give Christopher Lee second place 'cause I grew up with Hammer films and those were pretty much my Monsterkid feeding grounds -- even though I could never figure out why an Eastern European nobleman would speak with such distinctly British enunciation.

For creepy vamps: Nosferatu, Blacula (one frightening yet sympathetic dude, courtesy of William Marshall's brilliant playing) and Barlow from the TV version of SALEM'S LOT. Not much depth to be sure, but I would not want to waken from my slumber and see that face staring down at me.

Robert Quarry's Count Yorga was quite effective, too, as he would change from a fine and proper dinner host to a canine-fanged rabid predator in the blink of an eye. Always a startling metamorphosis.

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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby RedRiver » September 9th, 2014, 9:53 pm

Though not Dracula by name, my ex-girlfriend's mother was by far the most terrifying.

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Rita Hayworth » September 10th, 2014, 8:22 am

Lugosi and Lee are considered the best two Dracula's bar none - with Lugosi having a slight edge over Lee.

But, in Modern Times, I always have an affinity towards Frank Langella's Dracula that was made in 1979 and that's was a very stylish film that should be mentioned on this tread. Too bad, that Frank did not make a sequel of this masterpiece and having the star power of Lawrence Oliver, Donald Pleasance, Kate Nelligan, and Trevor Eve in the mix of things this definitive Dracula should be mentioned by name only.

Western Guy
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Western Guy » September 10th, 2014, 2:50 pm

You know what troubled me about Langella's performance as the Count? It was that weird, rapid eye movement in those close-up shots. For me, it just distracted from all else about Langella's playing of Dracula. Otherwise, he wasn't too bad in the role. But for latter-day performances I would choose Gary Oldman.

Heck, I read a poll not too many years ago where George Hamilton was favored as the best Dracula!!!!

(That deserves quadruple exclamations)

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 10th, 2014, 8:32 pm

I remember that Langella was a hit with the ladies in the part. Also, Olivier does his Ludwig Donath impersonation. The Oldman picture is too modern for my taste--don't like the style! Carradine was excellent in HOF. John P. Fulton's trick work brilliant. It's a natty idea to have the Count turn into a bat before drinking his victim's blood. It makes sense of the pin-pricks that represent puncture wounds in these movies (the old ones I mean).
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 10th, 2014, 8:47 pm

If Lederer comes first for me then Lugosi isn't far behind. My favourite pic with Bela as a vampire is Columbia's RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE (1944): "You're a fool Andreas, a complete and utter fool. Your fate is to be what you are, as my fate is to be what I am--YOUR MASTER!" Bela is "Armand Tesla" in this, but he's Dracula in all but name (and would have been that too, had Universal not owned the rights to the name). It's amazing, but--the story goes--that the producers of A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN thought Lugosi was dead! They were going to cast Ian Keith as Dracula, till Lugosi's agent shamed them into casting Bela: "He IS Dracula--you owe it to him!"
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

Western Guy
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Western Guy » September 11th, 2014, 8:43 am

If I had to choose a favorite Bela vampire flick, I'd go with MARK OF THE VAMPIRE. Sure the ending's a cheat (which, to me, is part of its charm), but the vampire scenes preceding the "reveal" are truly eerie - and Bela never looked so creepy.

Bela should have maintained the role of Count Dracula (as Chaney did The Wolf Man). Nothing against Carradine, but it would have been great fun to watch Bela again pitted against Boris in HOUSE OF DRACULA. And it would have been interesting to see the great Lugosi seek a cure for his vampirism in HOUSE OF DRACULA. Bela always did receive pretty shoddy treatment at Universal.

But his agent was correct: Bela was Dracula.

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 11th, 2014, 10:41 am

Yes. It would have a treat to see Bela in HOF and HOD, both with that great bat transformation trick effect by John P. Fulton. The effect was lessened somewhat in A&C MEET FRANKENSTEIN by having Walter Lantz do it in cartoon form.
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

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moira finnie
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby moira finnie » September 11th, 2014, 3:30 pm

RedRiver wrote:Heavens to Renfield! I've never heard of the Lederer film. I'd love to see it.


And so you shall, Mr. Renfield, RedRiver:

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RedRiver
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby RedRiver » September 11th, 2014, 9:32 pm

Thanks,Moira! Maybe I'll watch this and THE WEREWOLF. I'll sit back with some popcorn and bugs. Renfield style!

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Joe Macclesfield
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Joe Macclesfield » September 12th, 2014, 1:15 am

SON OF DRACULA anyone? Certainly not a great picture but not a bad one either. I've always had a bit of a liking for Chaney in this. In fact, I'll take him over Lee (I can almost hear the groans), and definitely Oldman (if Stoker could see that one, he'd scratch his head) any day!
"...Then as a bee, which among weeds doth fall,
Which seem sweet floures with lustre fresh and gay,
She lights on that, and this, and tasteth all,
But pleasd with none doth rise and sore away..."

Western Guy
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Re: The Return of Dracula

Postby Western Guy » September 12th, 2014, 10:28 am

Hey Joe, we discussed SON OF DRACULA earlier on this Board. My view is that although I admire Chaney as an actor, he was wrong for the part of Dracula. He possessed too much of a proletarian personality to be effective as a suave Eastern European nobleman. His dialogue comes across as flat and clumsy, especially in that final scene where he screams at Robert Paige: "Put it out, will yuh!" Yuh??? Can't quite see Lugosi expressing himself that way.

Plus, Chaney looks just too well fed to convince me he's a cadaverous bloodsucker (here is where Carradine's interpretation works). The film as a whole, however, is pretty good. Creepy atmospheric and a different kind of ending for a horror movie of that time.

I've said before, though, that I think Chaney was brilliant on OF MICE AND MEN and I adore his scene with Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON. Outside of THE WOLF MAN and its sequels, I'd have to say I prefer Chaney more in his non-horror roles. Again, to me, his personality just wasn't quite right for (most of) his genre offerings - a later exception being SPIDER BABY, where he gave . . . I'd call it even a touching performance as the chauffeur/guardian of that weird brood.


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