Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dracula vs. Dracula

"Dracula."
Who do you think of?
Miss Maven would bet that your first thought would be Bela Lugosi from his 1931 break-through film of that name.
(A young Lugosi playing Jesus early in his career.)
Did you know that there is a Spanish-language version with an actor that many say could be . . . you should pardon Maven . . . a dead-ringer for Lugosi?!
Carlos Villarias was the star of the alternate version that was filmed using the same sets as Lugosi's movie.
There are differences in their "Draculas."
Bela Lugosi looks deadlier as Dracula because people don't want to think that anyone that handsome and suave could be anything but someone to take home and meet Mother.
That would solve all those mother-in-law jokes!
Carlos Villarias looks like he's slightly touched in the head in comparison.
Either that or somebody hacked him off.
Who would be dumb enough to hack off a vampire?
. . . On second thought, Miss Maven wouldn't put it past the Internal Revenue Service.
Helen Chandler comes off as plain vanilla compared to Lupita Tovar, who has the added advantage of sexier clothes.
Miss Maven warns you not to run out and get the Spanish version because she's talking about sexier clothes for 1931!
(Lupita Tovar with Carlos Villarias as "Conde Dracula"
and in the Spanish language version of "The Cat Creeps" [1930])
Hah! You thought Miss Maven was getting naughty, weren't you!
George Robinson was director George Melford's cinematographer.
He brought an entirely different feel to the sets, using more mobile camera and more innovative use of angles and shadows then Karl Freund's camera-work.
Miss Maven suspects that Freund's work on "Dracula" was at the direction of Tod Browning since Maven thinks he did such superb work on such diverse works as "The Mummy" and "Mad Love" and television's "I Love Lucy"!
And in what may be the ultimate vampire moment: When Bela Lugosi enters Helen Chandler's bedroom and crosses over, Karl Freund tactfully fades the camera out.
George Robinson's version shows Carlos Villarias' swooping down to spread his cloak over Lupita Tovar as he's about to take a bite out of crime.
Or is it a bite "into crime" this time?!
Oh, dear, Miss Maven is getting a little too carried away here.
Please excuse her while she tries to find the bourbon . . . er, smelling salts!
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Please try both and compare them for yourselves as Miss Maven is having a time with the cap of the liquor bottle . . . oops, smelling salts.
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Miss Maven can be reached (when she recovers) at

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