Saturday, January 14, 2006


"The blood is the life, Mr. Renfield."
These words have haunted us ever since the first time that we heard Bela Lugosi say them.
Denis Gifford tries to explain it in A Pictorial History of Horror Movies (The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, New York, 1973) page 82:
[What woman wouldn't want her neck bitten
by the Bela Lugosi in this picture?!]
[That the 1931 Dracula is a] moody piece [is] due less to [Tod] Browning than his gifted cameraman, the fabulous Karl Freund. Yet antique as Dracula undoubtedly is, it can still hold an audience in thrall. That it is the oldest talkie still playing commercially is due entirely to the hypnotic performance of its star.
"An evil expression in the eyes, a sinister arch to the brow or a leer on my lips - all of which take long practice in muscular control - are sufficient to hypnotize an audience into seeing what I want them to see, and what I myself see in the mind's eye."
Lugosi's hypnosis was helped out by Browning aiming twin pencil-spots into his eyeballs. That one consistently missed its mark worried neither audience nor Warner Brothers, who quickly picked up the effect for John Barrymore's Svengali (1931). . . .
Maven personally wishes that Gifford had put it differently.
"Aiming twin pencil-spots into his eyeballs" sounds awfully painful!
Maybe that's why the Bela Lugosi Website has been under construction for several years!!
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