Monday, November 14, 2022

DRACULA: Vlad Tepes, Bram Stoker, and the Motion Pictures 1921 To 1992

 VLAD III, Voivode of Wallachia, order of the "Dracul", in Folklore he became a "Nosferatu (Vamyr)", author Bram Stoker made him legendary, and in motion pictures he frightened many a movie goer around the world.

This is a look at who "Dracula" really was, the novel that made that name famous, and some of the motion pictures that brought him to undead life, based, in different degrees, upon the novel.

VLAD THE IMPALER (A Brief History)

Below one of the few paintings, circa 1560, made of Vlad Țepes, or Vlad Drăculea

Vlad Tepes was the second son of Vlad II, Dracul (Vlad the Dragon), ruler of Wallachia, now part of Romania, located north of the Lower Danube, and south of the Southern Carpathian Mountain range.

He was probably born in 1431, after his father settled in Transylvania, now a part of Romania, to the east and south Transylvania's natural borders are the Carpathian Mountains, to the west the border is the Apuseni Mountains, and the northern border is Hungry.

The title "Dracul" comes from being a member of "Societas Draconistarum (Society of the Dragonists)" and receiving "The Order of the Dragon". This monarchist society was founded in 1408, and owed its allegiance to "The Holy Roman Empire".  

In 1442 both Vlad and his younger brother, Radu cel Frumos were held prisoners of the Ottomans (The Turks) to permit their father to have the Sultan's help in regaining his throne. Their imprisonment lasted for five-years and is the main cause of Vlad's hatred for the Ottoman Empire.

After the death of both his father and elder brother, Vlad Tepes became Vlad III. Diplomatic reports refer to him as "Dracula", and two remaining letters, from the 1470's, have Vlad signing them either "Dragula", or "Drakula". However, is formal signature was Wladislus Dragwlya.

After overthrowing Vladislus II, no relation, Vlad III first ruled Wallachia, but only between October to November 1448, after which Vladislus II returned to power and Vlad Dracula went into exile in Moldavia. 

On July 22 1456, leading a small army with Hungarian assistance, Vlad entered Wallachia and was intercepted by Vladislus II's and his men. It was decided that a fight to the death in single combat between Vlad Dracula and Vladislus II would settle the question of who was the true Voivode, Vlad Dracula won.

Below is a circa 1506, fresco of Vladislus II.

Vlad III's second reign lasted into July 1462, when a massive Ottoman army led by Vlad's younger brother Radu Bey invaded Wallachia. 

What the name of Vlad III's first wife remains unknown, just as her death is confused by legend. The main story has  a woodland archer sending an arrow into Vlad's room with a message that his brother and the Ottoman army are approaching. As the castle is being surrounded by Vlad's younger brother and the Wallachian Janissary. Rather than be taken prisoner, Vlad's first wife jumped from the castle's tower into the Arges river and downed.

Below is a picture of the ruins of Poenari Castle, the home of Vlad III.

Later, Vlad III fled to Transylvania with his army and created a scorched earth policy. When Radu Bey's Ottoman army reached the city of Targoviste. They found 20,000 Ottoman's impaled on stakes either dead or dying. 

In November 1462, Vlad Dracula met with the Hungarian-Croatia King, Matthias Corvinus, who recognized Vlad as the rightful ruler of Wallachia, but did not want to assist him in regaining his throne. Which would have meant going to war against the Ottoman Empire.

Instead, Corvinus had one of his Czech commanders, John Jiskra of Brandy's capture Vlad and imprison him.

To justify the imprisonment to Pope Pius II, and the Venetians who had sent Vlad Dracul money to finance a campaign against the Ottoman Empire. Three forged letters were presented to the Pope, claiming that Vlad was offering his service to the current Sultan of the Ottoman Empire against Hungry. According to some Slavic stories, Vlad III was released only after converting to Catholicism, but no correspondence, real, or otherwise, between 1462 into 1475 written by Vlad has been preserved to substantiate the stories of his religious conversion. 

Above, portrait of Pope Pius II circa 1472-1476.

Upon his release in 1475, Vlad III married Justina Szilagyi de Horogszeg, a cousin of Matthias Corvinus as his second wife. Some stories states this was one of two conditions for his release, and the other his alleged conversion to Catholicism.

The Impaler:

The stories about Vlad Dracula's cruelty started with Matthias Corvinus, and his ally, the papal legate, Nicholas of Modrus. The papal legate wrote Pope Pius II about what Corvinus told him about Vlad III, and Pope Pius II included them in his own 1464 commentaries as truth.

Additionally, there were German, the most brutal tales, Slavic, and of course Ottoman (Turkish) stories about the mass murders carried out by Vlad III. 

One famous story is about a group of envoys from Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who had invaded Wallachia. The envoys were sent to get Vlad's surrender, but according to the story, their heads were sent back to the Sultan as his answer. Below is a circa 1480 portrait of the Sultan.

Another related tale, tells of the Ottoman army about to begin their invasion of Wallachia, and the Sultan's army finding thousands of rotting corpses of Vlad Dracula's own people on stakes. The army turned back in fear, claiming that "Vlad Dracul" was in league with Satan, or was the devil himself. This sounds like the same story of Radu Bey and his army, but not with Turks.

A more famous tale involved Vlad Dracula's move to consolidate his power base. The boyars, the class of aristocrats below the royal family, were always in conflict with each other and sometimes for very petty reasons. As the legend goes, Vlad held a massive outside banquet at his palace in Targoviste and ordered the impaling of some 500 Boyers . Then he finished his banquet surrounded by their impaled bodies. 

Below is a German woodcut, circa 1499, of that banquet.

Vlad Dracula's final reign lasted from the Summer of 1476 until his death in either December 1476, or just before, or during a battle with the Ottoman's that ended on January 10, 1477, with his entire army killed. 

One story adds that he was beheaded and his head sent to the Ottoman Sultan.

The place of his burial is still unknown and, to date, archeologists hunt for it. Some scholars have placed Vlad III's burial site as in the "Church of the Virgin Mary", at the "Snagov Monastery", just 15-miles north of Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. Others, now state his body is in the "Piazza Santa Maria la Nova" graveyard, in Naples, Italy.

In Romania, Vlad Dracula is considered a national hero over his defense of the homeland against the Ottoman Empire.

Above a statue of Vlad III in present day Romania.

According to some tales, graverobbers found his coffin empty shortly after his burial.

Folk tales began that he had become a "Vampyr", drinking the blood of local peasant woman and seen walking around his palace at night. Scholars believe that his loyal followers moved the body to a secret location and reburied Vlad Tepes. Hence, the continuing search for his remains.


Bram, as he was known in a family of seven children, Stoker was born on November 8, 1847, at 15 Marino Crescent, on the northside of Dublin, Ireland. In 1870, Bram Stoker graduated from "Trinity College", in Dublin, with a BA and got his MA in 1875. During college, Stoker became interested in the theater and a friend of his, in the Irish Civil Service, arranged an interview with the co-owner of the "Dublin Evening News". 

That co-owner was Irish writer, Sheridan Le Fanu, in 1872, he published his classic Gothic Vampire story, "Carmilla". 

"Carmilla" tells the story of a Lesbian vampire and among the motion pictures using Le Fanu's novel are "Universal Pictures", 1936's, "Dracula Daughter", and French director Roger Vadim's excellent, updating, the 1960, French-Italian, "Et mourir de plasir (And die for pleasure)", aka: "Blood and Roses". 

As a result of that meeting with Le Fanu, Bram Stoker became the theatre critic for the "Dublin Evening News". In December 1876, he was in the audience at the "Theatre Royal", in Dublin, enjoying a production of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet". When Stoker wrote his review of the production, he gave the leading actor, the future, Sir Henry Irving, a rave review and Irving invited Stoker to meet with him for dinner and the two became close friends.

In 1878, Bram Stoker married Florence Anne Lemon Balcombe, and she would become prominent in a dispute over a motion picture version of her husband's novel, "Dracula".

The Stoker's moved to London and Bram became the manager of Henry Irving's "Lyceum Theatre", a post he would hold for the next 27-years.

By working for Henry Irving, as both manager of the Lyceum and his personal secretary, brought Bram Stoker into Victorian High society. Along with traveling with the actor on his world tours. Among his personal friends were American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 

The first written story by Bram Stoker, was "The Crystal Cup", published in 1872. However, of interest to this article in Bram Stoker's 1890 novel, "The Snake's Pass", considered the precursor of "Dracula". The website, "Good Reads": 

describes the novel:
Arthur Severn, a young Englishman on holiday in the west of Ireland, is forced by a storm to stop for the night in a mysterious village, where he hears the legend of "The Snake's Pass." Long ago, it is said, St. Patrick battled the King of the Snakes, who hid his crown of gold and jewels in the hills near the village. But it is not only legend that haunts the town. The figure of the demonic money-lender Black Murdock looms over the village, as he searches for the lost treasure while manipulating the townsfolk to his own evil ends. Even more threatening than Murdock is the shifting bog, personified as a baneful "carpet of death," which will swallow up anything -- and anyone -- in its path. Art and his friend Dick will brave the dangers of the bog to seek out the treasure, but the sinister machinations of Murdock will lead to a deadly conclusion! Featuring a slow accumulation of terror worthy of Le Fanu,

DRACULA published on May 26, 1897


The following are Bram Stoker's words, as his "Count Dracula" describes his family history and that of Transylvania:

Midnight.—I have had a long talk with the Count. I asked him a few questions on Transylvania history, and he warmed up to the subject wonderfully. In his speaking of things and people, and especially of battles, he spoke as if he had been present at them all. This he afterwards explained by saying that to a boyar the pride of his house and name is his own pride, that their glory is his glory, that their fate is his fate. Whenever he spoke of his house he always said “we,” and spoke almost in the plural, like a king speaking. I wish I could put down all he said exactly as he said it, for to me it was most fascinating. It seemed to have in it a whole history of the country. He grew excited as he spoke, and walked about the room pulling his great white moustache and grasping anything on which he laid his hands as though he would crush it by main strength. One thing he said which I shall put down as nearly as I can; for it tells in its way the story of his race:—

“We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in the whirlpool of European races, the Ugric tribe bore down from Iceland the fighting spirit which Thor and Wodin gave them, which their Berserkers displayed to such fell intent on the seaboards of Europe, ay, and of Asia and Africa too, till the peoples thought that the were-wolves themselves had come. Here, too, when they came, they found the Huns, whose warlike fury had swept the earth like a living flame, till the dying peoples held that in their veins ran the blood of those old witches, who, expelled from Scythia had mated with the devils in the desert. Fools, fools! What devil or what witch was ever so great as Attila, whose blood is in these veins?” He held up his arms. “Is it a wonder that we were a conquering race; that we were proud; that when the Magyar, the Lombard, the Avar, the Bulgar, or the Turk poured his thousands on our frontiers, we drove them back? Is it strange that when Arpad and his legions swept through the Hungarian fatherland he found us here when he reached the frontier; that the Honfoglalas was completed there? And when the Hungarian flood swept eastward, the Szekelys were claimed as kindred by the victorious Magyars, and to us for centuries was trusted the guarding of the frontier of Turkey-land; ay, and more than that, endless duty of the frontier guard, for, as the Turks say, ‘water sleeps, and enemy is sleepless.’ Who more gladly than we throughout the Four Nations received the ‘bloody sword,’ or at its warlike call flocked quicker to the standard of the King? When was redeemed that great shame of my nation, the shame of Cassova, when the flags of the Wallach and the Magyar went down beneath the Crescent? Who was it but one of my own race who as Voivode crossed the Danube and beat the Turk on his own ground? This was a Dracula indeed! Woe was it that his own unworthy brother, when he had fallen, sold his people to the Turk and brought the shame of slavery on them! Was it not this Dracula, indeed, who inspired that other of his race who in a later age again and again brought his forces over the great river into Turkey-land; who, when he was beaten back, came again, and again, and again, though he had to come alone from the bloody field where his troops were being slaughtered, since he knew that he alone could ultimately triumph! They said that he thought only of himself. Bah! what good are peasants without a leader? Where ends the war without a brain and heart to conduct it? Again, when, after the battle of Mohács, we threw off the Hungarian yoke, we of the Dracula blood were amongst their leaders, for our spirit would not brook that we were not free. Ah, young sir, the Szekelys—and the Dracula as their heart’s blood, their brains, and their swords—can boast a record that mushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Romanoffs can never reach. The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days of dishonourable peace; and the glories of the great races are as a tale that is told.

The idea that Bram Stoker based "Count Dracula" upon Vlad Tepes, didn't start until sixty-one-years after the novel was published. Lauren Davis in her October 21, 2014 article on the website, "GIZMODO", writes:

Dracula scholar Elizabeth Miller's book Dracula: Sense and Nonsense provides a fascinating history of Dracula scholarship as Miller debunks many of theories and misconceptions about the work that have since become accepted "fact." The tone of the book is exasperated, but that in no way detracts from Miller's careful parsing of fact and speculation. Miller notes that the notion of Vlad III as the model for Count Dracula emerged in 1958, with Basil Kirtley, who asserted that, without question, the biography that Abraham Van Helsing gives for the fictional Count Dracula is that of the Wallachian voivode. Similar claims are echoed by Maurice Richardson, Harry Ludlam, and Grigore Nandris.

To my reader, the late Elizabeth Miller, was the recognized worldwide authority on Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula", bar none.


The most often used argument against "Dracula" being Vlad Tepes. 

Is that at the time he wrote the novel, Bram Stoker had no idea Vlad Dracul even existed, until he was told about him. That person may have been someone reading the pre-published work, probably for the publishing house as was normal.

Which would point to Stoker's manuscript being modified after hearing about the Wallachian Prince, information that gave Stoker a name for his vampire count. 

This idea is supported by the following excerpt from the website "Irish Central". That states the original title for the novel was "THE UNDEAD", and not "DRACULA".

Was Dracula based on an Irish horror story? 

Yet there have been arguments against this idea, some critics suggest that it was impossible that Stoker based his horror fiction on Prince Vlad the Impaler and that the real connection and inspiration for Dracula may be closer to home.

What’s more, what may come as a surprise is that Ireland does have an affinity for that bloodsucking entity, vampire. There are several elements that may have contributed to Stoker’s imagination for the novel.

For example, a number of factors from Stoker’s childhood in Ireland may have inspired the writer’s early imagination to the idea of blood-sucking. Bram was an extremely sickly child, though it is very unclear what his illness was, and why he had a sudden recovery when he was seven years old.

However, it was quite common at the time in Ireland of the 1840s to bleed a sickly patient, and it is likely young Bram was bled as an attempt to cure his ailment. So, the story goes, with Stoker’s vivid writer’s imagination he recycled these memories of being bled into a story about vampires.

His mother was another considerable influence on Stoker as a child. Charlotte Blake (1818-1901) was born in Sligo and was a prominent proponent of women’s rights. She had lived through Famine years and regaled young Bram with stories of destructive effects on humanity with accounts of skeletal people walking countryside, effectively, living dead. Interestingly, Stoker’s original manuscript was in fact titled "The Undead."


British actor Christopher Lee portrayed "Count Dracula" for "Hammer Films" seven-times between 1958 through 1973. Only one of those films was based upon Bram Stoker's novel, but Lee also portrayed Stoker's count in a 1970 Spanish production.

This is a look at a group of motion pictures based directly upon that 1897 novel, but not necessarily, as I said in my opening, the actual written story.

Supposedly there was a 1920 Russian film entitled "Дракула (Drakula)", but nothing associated with the movie is known to exist and there appears no proof it did. 

The first documented "Dracula" motion picture came from Hungary, but is considered a lost film.

"DRAKULA HALALA (DRACULA'S DEATH) released in Austria in February 1921

This version of Stoker's novel was directed by Karoly Lajthay, who would direct 19 motion pictures between 1918 and 1944. From 1916 through 1920, Lajthay also acted in 16 Hungarian silent feature films. 

The known screenplay was based upon Bram Stoker's novel, co-written by Karoly Lajthay, and Mano Kertesz Kaminer. 

Kaminer anglicized his name to Michael Curtiz, and would direct 1939's, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, 1942's, "Casablanca", starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henried, and 1945's, "Mildred Pierce", starring Joan Crawford, among his 178 directed feature films.

Below Michael Curtiz circa the 1920's:

Above, Paul Askonas as "Drakula" and Margit Lux as "Mary". 

NOSFERATU - EINE SYMPHONIE DES GRAUENS (NOSFERATU: A SYMPHONY OF TERROR) premiered at "The Hague", in the Netherlands, on February 16, 1922

The motion picture is based loosely upon Bram Stoker's novel, is mis-considered the first "Dracula" feature film, but is an example of a German Expressionist horror film. 

The director was "F. W. Murnau (Fredrich Wilhelm Murau)", who had changed his name from Fredrich Wilhelm Plumpee. His second motion picture as a director was the lost film, 1919's, "Satanas (Satan)", a three part drama horror mystery, with the second part loosely based upon French author Victor Hugo's, "La Fin de Satan (The End of Satan)", and features Conrad Veidt as "Lucifer". In 1926, Murnau came to the United States and joined "Fox Film Corporation". In 1927, Murnau directed the silent feature, "Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans", starring Janet Gaynor and George O'Brien. That romantic drama is considered one of the all-time great silent motion pictures.

The screenplay for "Nosferatu" was partly adapted from Stoker's novel and written by Henrik Galeen, who changed his birth name from Heinrich Wiesenberg. Galeen's first screenplay was the 1915, horror story, "Der Golem (The Golem)", which he also directed and acted in. That picture was the first of a trilogy and Galeen would write the third screenplay. 

After this motion picture, Galeen wrote the screenplay for 1924's, "Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (The Wax Museum)" aka: "Waxworks". This was the first horror-anthology motion picture. A wax statue coming to life in each episode. The first was about the "Caliph of Baghdad", played by Emil Jannings, the second about "Ivan the Terrible", played by Conrad Veidt, and the third about "Jack the Ripper", played by Werner Krauss, in one of the first films to deal with the "Ripper"

Galeen's early life is somewhat of a mystery, he was a Austrian-Hungarian. It is more than possible he changed his last name to avoid antisemitism. Prior to the First World War, Henrik Galeen moved to Germany and became the assistant to Max Reinhardt, still recognized as the most prominent German-language-director of the early 20th-Century. Reinhardt was also Jewish and had changed his name from Maximillian Goldmann.

Because this was an unauthorized use of Bram Stoker's novel, the names were changed and incidents were reworked in the screenplay.

Max Schreck portrayed "Graf Orlok (Count Orlok is the Dracula character)". This picture was Schreck's sixth since he started on-screen acting in 1920. In all his film work that totaled, by the end of 1936, forty-seven feature films. It is this role that the Berlin, Germany, born actor is remembered for.

Apparently lost to history is who designed and applied Max Schreck's make-up.

Gustav von Wangenheim portrayed "Thomas Hutter (the Jonathan Harker character)". Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, like many in the early German cinema, he was also a director and writer.

Greta Schroder as Greta Schroeder portrayed "Ellen - seine Frau Ellen Hutter (the Mina Harker character)". Schroder was actually a little-known actress, between 1913 and 1954, her total film output were eighteen movies. 

In December 2000, the motion picture "Shadow of the Vampire", starring John Malkovich as "Murnau", and William Defoe as "Schreck", was released. In this horror comedy about the making of 1922's, "Nosferatu", Greta Schroeder was portrayed as a great German actress.

Alexander Granach portrays "Herr Knock (the Renfield character)".

The Screenplay:

The year is 1838, the setting is the fictional German town of Wisborg, and the real estate company owner, "Herr Knock", has acquired a new client, a Transylvanian count. As his employee "Thomas Hutter" has just married and is struggling to make ends meet. "Herr Knock" appears to give the transaction to him, because the higher commission will help "Hutter" and his wife, "Ellen".

"Herr Knock" is under the hypnotic influence of "Count Orlok", but "Hutter" doesn't seem to notice his unnormal actions, or question why the count wants the house directly across the street from his.

On his journey to Transylvania to meet the count, "Thomas Hutter" stops at an inn and frightens the locals by just mentioning the name of, "Count Orlok". 

"Hutter" just passes off the warnings about the count as local superstition and takes a coach from the inn to meet the counts. A strange looking driver awaits "Hutter", and he is taken on a perilous mountain road ride to Castle Orlok.

The coach arrives and "Thomas Hutter" meets "Count Orlok".

When eating his dinner, 'Hutter" accidently cuts his thumb, "Orlok" tries to suck the blood out, but "Thomas" pulls his hand away.

"Thomas Hutter" awakes the following morning with two punctures on his neck and believes mosquitoes must have bitten him during the night. 

That night, he presents the papers for the house to the count.. 

"Orlock" now sees a picture of "Thomas Hutter's" wife and makes the strange statement that she has a lovely neck.

At the inn, "Thomas Hutter" had taken away a book about "Nosferatu's", or vampires. He now starts to read it and believes that "Count Orlok" is one. As the time nears midnight, "Hutter" cowers in his room without anyway to keep the door locked, Midnight comes, the door opens by itself, and "Orlok" enters.

"Thomas Hutter" pulls the bedcovers over his head and falls into unconsciousness. At the same moment, "Ellen Hutter" awakes from her sleep, and walks in a trance onto the balcony. Below, this gets the attention of a family friend, passing the house, shipbuilder, "Westerna Harding", played by Georg H. Schnell. 

Concerned for "Ellen", "Harding" gets "Professor Sievers", played by Gustav Botz"Ellen", and with his nurse, the three go to "Mrs. Hutter". Suddenly, "Ellen" shouts out her husband's name and apparently can see him in "Count Orlok's" castle.

In Transylvania on the following day, "Hutter" explores the castle and locates "Count Orlok's" coffin.

Hours later, "Orlok" loads boxes of his native soil on a coach, gets in the last one, and the coach departs for the sea port. The boxes are taken on board a schooner named "The Empusa". While "Thomas Hutter", who had been trapped within the castle, finally escapes, but after having the count feeding on him is very weak and ends up in a hospital. 

Meanwhile, on "The Empusa", "Count Orlok" feeds on the sailors. In Wisborg, "Professor Sievers", played by John Gottowt, now has an insane "Herr Knock" as a patient in his asylum and seems to be reacting to the coming of the count.

Released from the hospital, "Hutter" realizes "The Empusa" is about to reach Wisborg. On the same day both "Hutter" and "Orlok" arrive, but the vampire has to wait until dark to sneak off the schooner with a coffin and enters the house across the street from the "Hutter's".

At his home, "Thomas Hutter" shows his wife the book about the vampires and tells his story. Now people start to die as a plague moves through Wisborg.

"Ellen Hutter" has read her husband's book and discovered that a vampire can be defeated if a pure-hearted woman distracts him by her beauty. During the night, she opens her window to invite "Orlok" in, but faints. "Thomas" is at her side, not knowing her plan, and he revives his wife and she sends him for "Professor Bulwer". "Count Orlok" arrives and "Ellen" keeps him occupied by feeding on her, before her husband returns with "Bulwer", the cock crows, the sun comes up, and "Count Orlok" vanishes.


Bram Stoker had died on April 20, 1912 and his wife Florence was the executrix of his estate. She wasn't unaware of the existence of Murnau's "Nosferatu", until someone sent her a program from a lavish cinematic event with full orchestra for the film. That event had taken place in Berlin, and the program stated the motion picture was based upon her husband's novel, "Dracula"


Florence Stoker's reaction was to start a lawsuit against the film company, "Prana Film", for unauthorized use of her husband's work. The reason for the suit was publicly stated, by Florence, as not getting authorization to use the work and pay the estate for that permission. Not publicly known at the time, was that Florence Stoker was having major financial problems and the money would clear them. 

In July 1925, the estate won their case and part of the ruling required that all copies of the motion picture and negatives were to be destroyed. Copies of the film in different lengths still would turn-up in both New York City and Detroit, in 1929.

On January 17, 1979, in France, was the first showing of German director Werner Herzog's, authorized by the Bram Stoker Estate, remake of the 1922, "Nosferatu". The West German and French production was entitled, "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Nosferatu: The Phantom of the Night)". The motion picture starred German character actor Klaus Kinski in the title role of "Count Dracula", seen below with Isabelle Adjani portraying "Lucy Harker".



In 1931, "Universal Pictures" filmed both an English language and Spanish language version of Bram Stoker's novel. The films were not based directly upon Stoker's work, but a 1924 play, by playwright Hamilton Deane, who had been given permission by the Stoker Estate to adapt the novel. Deane's play was revised in 1927, by John L. Balderston, who co-wrote this picture’s screenplay. For a more detailed look on the play, see the 1979, “Dracula”, below.

My article about Balderston, who also worked on 1931's, "Frankenstein", 1935's, "Bride of Frankenstein", 1932's, "The Mummy", " and 1936's, "Dracula's Daughter", entitled:
"John L. Balderston: Writing Classic Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction Screenplays", my be read at:


It was the procedure in the 1930's, if a foreign language version of a motion picture was needed. A complete foreign language cast and crew were brought in to film the same motion picture in that language. In the case of Bram Stoker's "Dracula", the English language version was filmed during the daylight hours, and the Spanish language version, on the same sets and with the same script, during nighttime hours.

Besides the aforementioned Deane and Balderston, the studio required an additional seven-writers to turn the 1927 play into the English language screenplay. The Spanish screenplay basically just needed to add Baltasar Fernandez Cue to translate the English language into the Spanish language.

The Two Directors:

The English language motion picture was directed by Todd Browning, known for his silent films starring Lon Chaney, Sr. I look at Browning's career in my article, "Tod Browning: Lon Chaney Meets Bela Lugosi: A Tale of Two Motion Pictures", available for reading at: 

The Spanish language version was assigned by the studio to the non-Spanish speaking director George Melford. Melford started directing silent films in 1911, when his last picture was completed in 1946, George Medford had directed 231 motion pictures.

Bela Lugosi portrayed "Count Dracula". Lugosi had starred in the Deane and Balderston stage play in London and on Broadway, but wasn't considered for the role in the motion picture and had to fight the studio for the part. Lugosi refused to use the studio's make-up artist Jack P. Pierce, who created Boris Karloff's "Frankenstein" make-up the same year as this picture, and did his own. My article, "Jack P. Pierce the Man Who Created Monsters", will be found at:

Bela Lugosi had just been in the Jeanette McDonald and Reginald Denny musical, 1930's, "Oh, for a Man!".

Carlos Villarias portrayed "Conde Dracula". Born in Spain, this was Villarias's fourteenth feature film since 1917.

Helen Chandler portrayed "Mina Seward". Chandler was a popular New York stage actress, but her transition to films didn't work well. For her eleven-year-career, between 1927 and 1938, she made only 27-feature films. She returned to the legitimate stage, but became an alcoholic and spent time starting in 1940, in and out of a sanitarium, in 1950, while smoking in bed, she fell asleep and started a fire that badly burned her face.

Lupita Tovar portrayed "Eva Seward". Tovar started acting in 1929, but on October 31, 1932, married talent agent Paul Kohner and basically retired


David Manners portrayed "John Harker". Manners started on-screen acting in 1929, but appeared on the legitimate stage in both London and Broadway in the First World War drama, "Journey's End". He came to the United States for that Broadway production with the original London stage director, James Whale, and his original stage co-star, Colin Clive. The three would make the 1930 motion picture version of "Journey's End".

Barry Norton portrayed "Juan Harker". Argentinian Norton started on-screen acting in Douglas Fairbanks', 1926, "The Black Pirate". In 1927, he was a ballroom dancer in F.W. Murnau's, "Sunrise", and worked switching between Spanish and English language films until 1956 and his 227th role.

Dwight Frye portrayed "Renfield". The same year as this feature film, Frye appeared in both the original film versions of "The Maltese Falcon", and "Frankenstein". Later, his career included 1933's, "The Vampire Bat", and two nonrecognizable roles in both 1933's, "The Invisible Man", and 1935's, "The Bride of Frankenstein". You may read my article, "Dwight Frye: Overlooked Horror Icon", at: 

Pablo Alvarez Rubio portrayed "Renfield". Like his American counterpart, Madrid born Rubio was an outstanding character actor, who had supporting roles in only 54 motion pictures between 1923 and 1974.

Edward Van Sloan portrayed "Professor Van Helsing". Sloan recreated this role for 1936's, "Dracula's Daughter", and was "Dr. Waldman" in director James Whale's, 1931, "Frankenstein", and "Dr. Mueller" in Boris Karloff's, 1932, "The Mummy". Talk about type-casting!

Eduardo Arozamena portrayed "Professor Van Helsing". The Mexico City born actor appeared in 97-Spanish-language motion pictures between 1917 and 1952. 

Herbert Bunston portrayed "Dr. Seward". Between 1929 and 1935, the year he passed away, Bunston had appeared in 32-motion pictures.

Jose Soriano Viosca portrayed "Dr. Seward". Between 1930 and 1932, Viosca appeared in 12-Spanish language motion pictures.

Frances Dade portrayed "Lucy Weston". Dade's movie career totaled 15-films between 1928 and 1933. In 1932 she literally married a millionaire, Brock Van Avery, and retired from acting.

Carmen Guerrero portrayed "Lucia Weston". The Mexico City born actress only appeared in 24-feature films. 

 This actress was the only appearing in both versions.

Above, Carla Laemmle, the niece of Carl Laemmle, founder of "Universal Pictures", falls into the lap of actor Dwight Frye. Below, she falls into the lap of Pablo Alvarez Rubio.

The Basic Screenplay (I will be using stills from both versions):

"Renfield" is a solicitor going to Castle Dracula in Transylvania to get the count to sign documents to Carfax Abbey in England. His coach arrives at an Inn and "Renfield" wants to go on to the Borgo Pass to meet "Count Dracula's" coach. At the inn he is warned about the danger at the castle and an old woman gives him a crucifix to protect "Renfield" from the implied count.


"Renfield", now the only passenger to the Borgo Pass, changes coaches to the one for Castle Dracula with its strange silent driver.

On the drive, the driver has disappeared and a bat guides the horses. "Renfield" arrives at Castle Dracula in what is a deserted and overgrown entrance as the coach drives away. 

He goes to the front door and enters, "Dracula" is on a staircase and welcomes "Renfield" to his castle.

Later, "Renfield" is sitting at a table eating and offers some wine to the count, who replies:
I don't drink---wine!

Next, "Renfield" cuts his finger and the blood brings "Dracula" to the point of almost attacking him, but the count sees the crucifix the old woman gave the other, and moves back.

The two complete the signing of the paperwork for Carfax Abbey. The wine is drugged and a while later, "Renfield" collapses and three vampire women, "Dracula's Brides", approach him.

"Dracula" makes the three leave, for "Renfield" is for him alone and he has plans. On board the schooner "Vesta", "Renfield" has become a raving lunatic, as the count feeds upon the crew. When the now ship of the dead reaches Whitby, England, the only alive person on board is "Renfield".

"Renfield" is placed in "Dr. Seward's" sanatorium and wants to eat flies and possibly have a cat given to him.

Later, "Count Dracula" attends a London Theatre....

.... there he meets "Dr. Seward", his daughter "Mina/Eva", her fiancé "John/Juan Harker", and her friend "Lucy/Lucia Weston". 

"Dracula" and "Lucy/Lucia" take an interest in each other. That night "Dracula" enters "Lucy/Lucia's" bedroom and drinks her blood.


"Lucy/Lucia" receives several transfusions, but dies and is buried. While at "Dr. Seward's" sanatorium, "Renfield" has become obsessed with eating flies. "Dr. Van Helsing" has been called, he arrives, and is concerned with the previous described events. He asks to see "Renfield", who is brought to "Dr. Seward's" office.

"Renfield" begs to be sent away, claiming his nightly screams may disturb "Miss Mina/Eva's" sleep. "Renfield" senses that "Professor Van Helsing" knows too much about his master, the count.

That night, "Count Dracula" visits "Mina/Eva" is her sleep and bites her on the neck.

"Dracula" visits "Dr. Steward's" home and "Van Helsing" opens a cigarette box and offers one to the count, but the box has a mirror and "Dracula" smashes the box. Which confirms the professor's beliefs that he saw no reflection and is a vampire. The counts leaves warning the professor that he knows too much.

"Mina/Eva" sees "Dracula" from her bedroom window, runs downstairs, and into the garden to him. There he bites her on the neck and she falls to the ground, where the maid will find her. 

This leads to "Van Helsing" discovering two puncher marks on her neck at the jugular vein.

The reports of a woman in white luring children to a park and biting them, is the undead, "Lucy/Lucia". "Professor Van Helsing" will gives her peace by driving a stake into her heart. Meanwhile, "John/Juan" wants to take "Mina/Eva" to London for safety, but is convinced to keep her with "Van Helsing". Orders are given to the nurse not to remove the wreath of wolfbane around "Mina/Eva's" neck, while she is sleeping. 

"Renfield" escapes his cell and tells "Van Helsing" and "Steward" that he has been promised thousands of rats full of blood by "Dracula", to fix it so the count could enter sanitorium and "Mina/Eva's" bedroom there.

"Dracula" enters the "Seward" parlor and tells "Van Helsing" that "Mina/Eva" is now his and the professor should leave and return to his home country. The professor promises the count he will search Carfax Abbey and destroy him. "Dracula" attempts to hypnotize the professor, but "Van Helsing" takes a crucifix from his pocket, shows it to "Dracula", who turns away from the sight of the holy object, and leaves.

"John/Juan" visits "Mina/Eva" on the terrace and she tells him how she loves the night and fog.

NOTE: That Helen Chandler's dress is very conservative, look at the neckline, but Lupita Tovar's for the same sequence is low cut and not conservative in look. That was because the United States version of the 1931 "Dracula" came under the censorship of the "Hayes Office" to protect American morality, but the censorship office, even for a movie made at the same American studio, had no control over a "Foreign Film". This is one example of the Latin Flavor the Spanish version has with the exact same screenplay.

What follows is the story's climax, the nurse removes the wolfbane from "Mina/Eva's" neck, because she seems to be choking. "Dracula" enters the bedroom, the nurse faints, he takes "Mina/Eva" to Carfax Abbey. There the escaped "Renfield" confronts him and is killed.

The sun is rising and "Dracula" is forced to leave "Mina/Eva" and return to his coffin. "Professor Van Helsing" has a wooden stake and hammers it into the heart of the vampire releasing "Mina/Eva". Who with "John/Juan" walk out into the metaphoric sunlight.

There were several vampire movies made between this picture and the next I want to speak too. However, even with two "Universal Pictures" features in the 1940's with John Carradine as "Baron Latos" aka: "Count Dracula". Not one motion picture was made based upon the actual Bram Stoker novel until the two dueling versions in May 1958.


DRACULA aka: HORROR OF DRACULA premiered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 8, 1958

The original British title was "Dracula", but for the United States release by "Universal International Pictures", and purposely to avoid confusion with the 1931 motion picture, the title was "Horror of Dracula".

In 1957, British film company "Hammer Pictures" released the first Technicolor version of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's, "Frankenstein", as "The Curse of Frankenstein". The studio would go on to remake "The Mummy" and "The Wolf Man", like "Dracula", also in Technicolor. My article, "Universal Pictures Horror Films Reimagined By Hammer Films", will frighten you at:

This motion picture was directed by Terence Fisher. Among his films for Hammer prior to this feature are the reimagining of Mary Shelley in 1953's, "Four Sided Triangle", the same years science fiction, "Spaceways", and the aforementioned, 1957, "The Curse of Frankenstein". Later in 1958, Fisher did the direct sequel to "Curse of Frankenstein", "The Revenge of Frankenstein", and in 1959, he directed "The Mummy".

The screenplay was based directly upon the Bram Stoker novel and written by Jimmy Sangster. Some of his films include 1956's, "X-the Unknown", 1957's, "The Curse of Frankenstein", 1958's, "The Revenge of Frankenstein", the non-Dracula, 1958's, "Blood of the Vampire", 1959's, "Jack the Ripper", 1959's, "The Mummy", and without Dracula, 1960's, "The Brides of Dracula".

When Jimmy Sangster was asked to adapt Bram Stoker's novel into a screenplay, but keep it under 90-minutes within the the normal tight Hammer Films budget. He decided to cut out characters, gone were "Renfield", and "Quincy Morris", who wasn't even in the popular 1931 film. Sangster decided to remove Stoker's real-estate story line, which meant other than being engaged to "Mina Murray", "Jonathan Harker" was out. However, he changed who "Harker" was and moved one of "Mina's" suitors, "Arthur Holmwood", to her husband. Another change was "Lucy Westenra", she became not "Mina's" closest friend, but "Arthur Holmwood's" sister. Additionally, Sangster's screenplay does not have "Dracula" turn into a bat as the "Universal Films" always did. He believed it looked silly on screen.

Jimmy Sangster had created a tight family grouping that would be attacked by "Count Dracula". It was his hope that this would make the audience more concerned about their futures. Of course, "Professor Van Helsing" remained, but he changed that character into a true vampire hunter. 

Peter Cushing portrayed "Doctor Van Helsing". Cushing started on-screen acting in 1939, in 1954, he was one of the villains in Alan Ladd's, "The Black Knight", the same year Cushing was "Winston Smith" in a live BBC Broadcast of George Orwell's, "1984". He was another villain in Richard Burton and Fredric March's excellent, 1956, "Alexander the Great", and was "Baron Frankenstein", in 1957's, "The Curse of Frankenstein" and 1958's, "Revenge of Frankenstein".

Christopher Lee portrayed "Count Dracula". Lee started on-screen acting in 1946, and in 1951, played a Spanish Captain in the Gregory Peck version of C.S. Forester's "Captain Horatio Hornblower", and in 1952, played a Spanish Military Attaché in Burt Lancaster's, "The Crimson Pirate". in 1956, he provided the voice of "Nectenabus" in "Alexander the Great", and in 1957, was "The Creature", in "The Curse of Frankenstein", and in 1959, "The Mummy".

The first time Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee appeared in the same motion picture was Sir Laurence Olivier's, 1948, "Hamlet". Cushing was "Osric", and Lee an uncredited "Palace Guard".

Michael Gough portrayed "Arthur Holmwood". The future motion picture, "Alfred Pennyworth", "Bruce Wayne's" butler and keeper of the secrets of "Batman", had just been seen in the 1957 mystery thriller, "The House in the Woods". In 1959, he was behind the "Horrors of the Black Museum", released in "Hypnovista", and in 1961, changed a chimpanzee into "Konga".


Melissa Stribling portrayed "Mina Holmwood". Stribling was mainly a Scottish television actress and just before this motion picture, she was in episode 31 of season one of the J. Carrol Naish, "The New Adventures of Charlie Chan", entitled, "The Man in the Wall". She followed this feature film with episode 4, of season two, "Lockhart Turns a Key", of the British television series, "Murder Bag".


Carol Marsh portrayed "Lucy Holmwood". British actress Marsh was also primarily a television actress. She had just been seen in the made-for-television comedy drama, 1957's, "Dona Clarines". She would follow this feature film with an episode of the British anthology series "Saturday Playhouse", entitled, "And No Birds Sing".

The Jimmy Sangster's Screenplay:

In 1865, "Jonathan Harker", played by John Van Eyssen, arrives at Castle Dracula, in Klausenberg, Transylvania, to take-up his post of librarian. 

"Harker" enters the castle and it appears as if there is no one in it. As he looks around, he finds a supper set out for him with a note of apology for not being there to greet him from "Dracula".

As "Harker" is eating his meal, a beautiful young woman, played by Valerie Gaunt, appears behind him and claims to be a prisoner of the count.

Just then, the count arrives, the frightened woman quickly leaves.


The count shows "Jonathan Harker" to his room. There he sees a photo of "Jonathan's" fiancée "Lucy Holmwood".


After "Count Dracula" leaves his room, "Jonathan" gets out his journal and makes entries revealing he is working for "Dr. Van Helsing", attempting to confirm that "Dracula" is a vampire. 

Sometime later, "Harker" is down in the main hall and the lovely young woman appears to him, again begging for help to escape "Dracula".

The woman is now able to get near his neck, her fangs appear, and she bites "Jonathan". "Dracula" appears, and she is pulled violently away from "Harker" by the count and flung across the room.

"Harker" awakens in his own room in daylight and realizes he has lost a day as the sun is about to set.

Making a final entry in his journal, "Jonathan" hides it outside and enter the crypt. He finds the sleeping beautiful woman and drives a stake through her heart, revealing her true age.

"Jonathan Harker" now turns to the coffin of "Count Dracula", but finds it's empty. The door to the crypt is loudly closed by "Dracula".

"Dr. Van Helsing" arrives at a Klausenburg inn looking for "Harker", but no one wants to speak to him. Outside, as he leaves, the innkeeper's daughter hands "Van Helsing" "Harker's Journal", that her father had found outside the castle.

Looking through the castle, "Van Helsing" finds "Jonathan's" room and the photo frame with "Lucy Holmwood's" picture missing. "Van Helsing" enters the crypt to find vampire "Harker", in "Dracula's" coffin, and he drives a stake through his friend's heart to bring him peace.

"Dr. Van Helsing" now leaves for the town of Karlstadt, in Bavaria, Germany, and the home of "Arthur Holmwood". There, the veiled news of how "Jonathan" died is given to "Lucy's" brother "Arthur" and "Mina Holmwood".

"Van Helsing" learns that "Lucy" is ill and is why she could not with them to hear the news. That night "Lucy" gets out of bed, opens the glass doors to her room, gets back into her bed laying bare her neck.

The leaves outside the doorway swirl, and "Dracula" is there.

"Dracula" enters, passionately kisses and then bites "Lucy's" neck. "Mina" seeks the help of "Dr. Van Helsing" fearing something serious is happening to "Lucy". This is over the objections of "Arthur", who believes she is overreacting.

"Van Helsing" examines "Lucy", realizes it is "Dracula", and instructs the maid "Gerda", played by Olga Dickie, not to remove the garlic placed in the room and around "Lucy's" neck. "Lucy" gets "Gerda" to remove the garlic and the next morning she is found dead.

"Arthur Holmwood" does not believe the vampire talk of "Dr. Van Helsing" and the doctor gives "Arthur" "Jonathan's" journal to read.

Three days after "Lucy" was interred, an undead "Lucy" lures "Gerda's" daughter, "Tania", played by Jannia Faye, to her. The still unconvinced "Arthur" is taken to the family vault by "Van Helsing" and discovers his sister's resting place is empty. 

"Lucy" and "Tania" are heard approaching the vault.

 "Lucy" sees her brother and the doctor, she calls to "Arthur" to let his "dear sister" kiss him. "Arthur Holmwood" starts to move toward "Lucy", but "Van Helsing" moves between the two holding a crucifix and then touches "Lucy's" forehead with the holy object.

"Lucy" runs past the three others into the family crypt. "Arthur" looks on in shock as "Van Helsing" goes to "Tania", sits the girl down and gives her the crucifix to hold, telling her he'll be right back.

Next, with "Arthur Holmwood", "Dr. Van Helsing" enters the family vault and takes the other to see his vampire sister in her coffin. He tells "Arthur" that "Dracula" used "Lucy" as the replacement for the vampire woman that was killed by "Jonathan". The doctor wants to use "Arthur's" sister to find "Count Dracula", but "Holmwood" would not have anything to do with that and "Van Helsing" drives a stake through "Lucy's" heart.

"Dr. Van Helsing" tells "Arthur Holmwood" to look in the coffin again, and he sees his sister "Lucy Holmwood" at peace.

"Van Helsing" and "Arthur" now go to the border crossing at Ingolstadt to track down "Dracula's" coffin. Meanwhile, "Mina Holmwood" receives a message supposedly from "Arthur" telling her where to meet him, instead, "Count Dracula" awaits.

The following day, "Arthur" and "Van Helsing" return and go to the undertaker to see if they can locate "Dracula's" coffin. The two return to the house, and "Arthur" starts to give his wife a small gold crucifix to wear, but it burns her hand and she faints, revealing she is turning into a vampire. 

That night, "Count Dracula" once again visits "Mina Holmwood" in her bedroom.

"Gerda" finds "Mina" and to save his wife's life, "Arthur" agrees to a blood transfusion.

After the successful transfusion, "Dr. Van Helsing" wonders how "Dracula" got into the house. Suddenly, before "Arthur" can react, "Van Helsing" heads for the basement, but "Gerda" says "Mina" forbids anyone from going there. In the basement is "Dracula's" coffin, but while all of this is taking place, "Dracula" escapes with "Mina".

"Van Helsing" and "Arthur" now chase a coach being driven by the count and containing "Mina". The two rescuers arrive at Castle Dracula to witness the count attempting to bury "Mina" alive. "Dracula" run into the castle and "Arthur" goes to his wife who is under the count's spell.

Inside the castle "Van Helsing" and the "Count Dracula" fight, but the doctor notices sunlight coming through the window, jumps onto the drapes causing the sunlight to shine on the count's legs, pining him to the floor, and "Dr. Van Helsing" forms two large candle sticks into a crucifix.

Painfully the vampire count disintegrates into ashes that blow away.


Outside the castle in full sunlight, "Mina" comes out of her trance and finds herself in the arms of her husband.

THE RETURN OF DRACULA premiered on May 21, 1958 in Los Angeles, California

The movie suffered from three problems at the time of its release. The first, I just wrote about, being compared to Hammer's "Dracula". 

The second, it was assumed to be just another of the mass produced "Teenage Horror and Science Fiction" movies of the late 1950's, but even though two of the characters are teenage. Their descriptions and actions in the screenplay do not fit the established pattern of that movie genre. 

My article on those pictures, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf: 1950's Teenage Horror and Science Fiction Movies", is at:

The third problem was an estimated 1958 budget of $120,000. Which made Jimmy Sangester's and Terence Fisher's seem enormous.

The motion picture was directed by Paul Landres, a solid television director since 1951, with multiple episodes of shows such as "Boston Blackie", "The Lone Ranger", "The Cisco Kid", "Ramar of the Jungle", "Mr. and Mrs. North", and "Adventures of the Falcon". Landres had just directed Kenneth Tobey, John Beal, and Coleen Gray in 1957's, "The Vampire", and Arthur Franz and Kathleen Crowley, in 1958's, "The Flame Barrier".

The screenplay was by Pat Fielder, actually a young woman named Patricia Penny, who wrote both 1957's, "The Vampire", a modern twist on the genre, and 1957's, "The Monster That Challenged the World", about prehistoric snails in the Salton Sea. Both films are stand-out cult horror favorites of the period. After this motion picture, Pat Fielder became a major writer on television and in 1981, co-wrote the two-part adventure, "Goliath Awaits", that co-starred Christopher Lee and Mark Harmon.

Francis Lederer portrayed "Count Dracula". He would repeat this role on October 27, 1971, in the episode, "The Devil is Not Mocked", on Rod Serling's "Night Gallery". Lederer started acting in his native Austria in 1928 and left with the rise of Adolph Hitler. In 1938, Lederer portrayed "Michael Lanyard aka: The Long Wolf" in "The Lone Wolf in Paris", he co-starred with Edward G. Robinson and George Sanders in 1939's, "Confessions of a Nazi Spy", he co-starred with Lynn Bari, and Akim Tamiroff in 1944's, "The Bridge of San Luis Rey", and he co-starred with Alan Ladd, and Wanda Hendrix in 1949's, "Captain Carey, U.S.A." 

In 1934, Francis Lederer purchased a large rancho in the San Fernando Valley bordering the Simi Valley. Today, we know his ranch as the city of Canoga Park.

Norma Eberhardt portrayed Rachel Mayberry (the Mina Murray role)". Although a television actress, Norma Eberhardt co-starred with a young Mike Connors, and Mary Murphy, in director/actor Paul Henreid's film-noir crime drama, 1958's, "Live Fast, Die Young".

Ray Stricklyn portrayed "Tim Hensen, the John Harker role). Also in 1958, Stricklyn appeared as "Joby Chapin", the son of Gary Cooper and Geraldine Fitzgerald in "Ten North Frederick", in 1959, he was the son of Clifton Webb and Dorothy McGuire, in "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker", and in 1960, he portrayed Jill St. John's younger brother, in director Irwin Allen's version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World". He also had the title role of, 1960's, "Young Jesse James", and was in the Jeff Chandler, and Fess Parker, 1960, "The Plunderers".

John Wengraf
portrays "John Meierman the Van Helsing role). Wengraf started acting in his native Austria in 1922, and left with the rise of Adolph Hitler. Among his more memorable roles were "Count Franz Von Papen" in the James Mason and Michael Rennie true spy story, 1952's, "5 Fingers", "Dr. Zeitman" in Ivan Tor's, 1953, 3-D, science fiction, "GOG", and "Sermaine", in director Stanley Kramer's, 1957, "The Pride and the Passion", starring Gary Grant, Frank Sinatra and Sophia Loren.

Virginia Vincent portrayed "Jennie Blake the "Lucy Westerna role). Vincent's on-screen roles began in 1950, like Norma Eberhart, she was primarily a television actress. However, Virginia Vincent had 7th billing as "Sue", in 1957's, "The Helen Morgan Story", starring Ann Blyth, Paul Newman, and Richard Carlson. In 1958, Vincent co-starred with Susan Hayward and Simon Oakland, in "I Want to Live".

The Screenplay:

Pat Fielder was faced with a similar restriction as Jimmy Sangster on the running time. Unlike Sangster, who worked for "Hammer Pictures", and still owned a full studio at Bray, in Berkshire, on the Thames. Fielder was working for "Gramercy Pictures", that had no studio, used location shots and a rented house for a day.

Fielder not only had to reduce the novel's scope and characters as Sangster did, but she couldn't make her screenplay a period piece because of costs. Fielder used a Los Angles cemetery, the always popular Bronson Caves, and Brush Canyon in Griffith Park as the main locations for her screenplay. Along with the Heritage Square Museum, all within minutes of each other to keep the production costs down. One choice she made was to turn the horror story into a film-noir horror story.

The basic Bram Stoker story was moved from being physically set in Transylvania, Whitby, and London, England, to a small town in Southern California, in 1958.

However, Pat Fielder started her story in a Transylvanian cemetery as vampire investigator "John Meierman" and his associates attempt to trap "Count Dracula" in his tomb, but when they open the coffin, it's empty.

Switch to a train racing across the European countryside that had stopped in Transylvania, on board is a Czechoslovakian artist, named "Bellac Gordal", played by Norbert Schiller. He is on his way to meet and live with his American cousin, "Cora", played by Greta Granstedt, and her family. The artist is killed by the mysterious passenger in the same train car, "Dracula", who arrives in America, as "Cora's" never before met or seen European cousin.

Finally arriving in California, "Cousin Bellac" is met by the widowed "Cora", and her children, "Rachel" and younger brother, "Mickey", played by Jimmy Baird. With the family is "Rachel's" boyfriend, "Tim Hansen", who drove them to the train station.

"Rachel" was looking forward to meeting "Cousin Bellac", because she designs clothing and has a shared passion for art. However, "Bellac" seems eccentric in his mannerisms that is passed off for being from a country ravaged by Hitler during the Second World War. He is not seen at breakfast and disappears during the daylight hours, supposedly to paint and become familiar with the California countryside, but strangely, his bed never seems to be slept in.

There was one incident after "Bellac's" arrival, "Mickey's" cat goes missing, and "Tim" and "Rachel" knowing some of its haunts, find its mutilated body at the entrance to an abandoned mine.

Unbeknownst to the family, "Cousin Bellac/Dracula" has established a resting place in the abandoned mine with his coffin and sleeps there, securely, during the daylight hours.

"Rachel" meets her cousin at dusk and "Dracula" explains he was painting and forgot the time. "Rachel" cannot stop to talk with him, as she's on her way to work the night shift at the local parish house attending to the elderly and infirm patients. This is where Pat Fielding screenplay works in her version of "Lucy", as a blind young woman named "Jennie", a close friend of "Rachel". It is also where Fielding introduces a character that would be used in many later Hammer films, the parish priest fighting "Dracula", "Reverend Dr. Whitfield", played by Gage Clarke.

After "Rachel" finishes her shift, "Dracula" appears in "Jennie's" room and offers to give the blind young woman her sight back. Then the count bites "Jennie" on the neck and feeds. 

In the morning, "Rachel" receives a phone call and is asked to immediately come to the parish house, "Tim" drives her. At the parish house, "Rachel" and "Tim" are told "Jennie" is very feverish and the doctor cannot determine why and she's not talking sense. In her fever, "Jennie" is claiming that on the previous evening, after "Rachel" left,  a man somehow entered the room. As "Jennie Blake" attempts to get out of her bed, she falls to the floor dead.

After "Jennie's" funeral, a detective named "Mack Bryant", played by Charles Tannen, knocks on "Cora's" front door and asks to speak to her.

"Bryant" apologizes for his untimely visit, but he is interested in her "Cousin Bellac". He explains that a man was thrown off a European train passing through Germany and "Bellac" may know something. It is after dusk and "Bellac/Dracula" appears at "Cora's" while she is talking to the detective. "Mack Bryant" examines his immigration documents, thanks "Cousin Bellac" for his time, and leaves. Outside, unseen even by "Dracula", "Bryant" meets with "John Meierman".

"Dracula" visits "Jennie Blakes" burial site in a mausoleum and awakens her.


Next, "Mack Bryant" hears "Jennie's" voice calling to him, is attacked, and killed by a white wolf. 

That same night, "Rachel" asks "Cousin Bellac" to attend a Halloween party the next evening, but he declines. She brings up his isolation from his American family, but "Bellac/Dracula" remains evasive. Later that evening, while reading a book, "Rachel" feels unnaturally sleepy and has a nightmare.

In her nightmare an evil "Cousin Bellac" appears and asks her to remove the crucifix pendent around "Jennie's" neck and "Bellac/Dracula" offers "Rachel Mayberry" eternal life. 

In the morning, "Rachel" finds the crucifix on the floor and suspects she wasn't really dreaming.

"John Meierman" now visits "Reverend Whitfield" at parish house and gives him his findings about "Bellac/Dracula".

"Rachel" still wants her cousin to attend the Halloween party and goes up to his room to ask one more time. However, she discovers some art work by "Dracula", one is of a dead "Jennie Blake", but another is of herself in a coffin.

"Rachel" turns to leave the bedroom, but "Dracula" is there without being reflected in the mirror.

Meanwhile, a picture taken of "Cora" with "Bellac", strangely shows her, but not her cousin whom she had her arms around.

"Tim" arrives to take "Rachel" to the party and she leaves with him, but seems to be in a trance-like state.   

At the party, "Reverend Whitfield" and vampire hunter "Meierman" speak to "Rachel". They ask her to help set-up a trap for "Cousin Belloc/Dracula", but she thinks their story is ridiculous.

While the party is still going on, "Whitfield" and "Meierman", with the local Sheriff and his men find "Jennie Blake's" coffin empty. Pardon the pun, the group now stakes out the crypt and awaits "Jennie's" return.

"Rachel" leaves the party in her trance-like state and goes to the mine shaft that is "Dracula's" place of rest. "Tim" is following "Rachel" at a safe distance. At the same time, "Jennie" returns to her coffin and the reverend and the vampire hunter enter the mausoleum. Two events now take place, a crucifix is placed upon "Jennie" pinning her in the coffin at the exact time "Rachel" meets "Dracula.

At "Jennie's" coffin, "John Meierman" takes a stake and drives it into her heart, as the black and white movie turns to color for the scene, ......

 the exact same moment, "Dracula" collapses in front of "Rachel". 

"Tim" arrives  at the mineshaft, he attempts to get the now out of her trance and hysterical "Rachel", away from the mineshaft, but "Dracula" blocks them. "Dracula" attempts to hypnotize "Tim", but taking "Rachel's" crucifix, "Tim" forces the vampire to back-up.

"Dracula" backs up, loses his balance, falls into the mineshaft itself, and is impaled on a large wood post.


It wasn't until 1970 that a film maker first attempted to actually tell "Dracula" as Bram Stoker wrote the novel. The motion picture was a co-production of Spain, Italy, West Germany, Liechtenstein, and the United Kingdom.

The motion picture had three main titles depending upon where it was released. The German title was:

NACHTS, WENN DRACULA ERWACHT (AT NIGHT, WHEN DRACULA AWAKES) premiering in West Germany on April 3, 1970

In Spain the motion picture was released as"

"EL CONDE DRACULA (COUNT DRACUA)" premiering in Barcelona on November 16, 1970

The third title was for the dubbed into English version:

BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA released first, of course, in Ireland on June 30, 1972


The motion picture was directed by Madrid born Jesús (Jess) Franco. Eight-years prior to this motion picture, Franco, wrote and directed "Gritos en la noche (Screams in the Night)", that is more prominently known as, 1962's, "The Awful Dr. Orlof". In 1968, he wrote and directed "The Blood of Fu Manchu", and in 1969, "The Castle of Fu Manchu". Both motion pictures starred Christopher Lee in the title role. My article, "Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee: Fu Manchu the Movies", will be found at:

German writer Erich Krohenke adapted Bram Stoker's novel into a story outline for filming that reinstated Dracula's ability to turn into a vampire bat. 

Italian writer Augusto Finocchi and Jesus Franco turned Krohenke's story outline into the actual screenplay.

Writer Dietmar Behnke, took the screenplay and turned it into German dialogue and acting directions. Milo G. Cuccia and Carlo Fadda, did the same for the Italian version, and Jesus Franco wrote the Spanish version of his and Finocchi's screenplay.

While, co-producer of this motion picture, Harry Alan Towers, turned the dialogue and acting directions into English. Towers also produced the Christopher Lee "Fu Manchu" movie series.

The actors, if they did not speak the Spanish, used on the actual film shoot at "Estudios Cinematograficos Balcazar, Eplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Catalonis, Spain",
would speak the dialogue in their native language. Unlike 1931,  there was only one movie version being made and in post-production. It would be dubbed into the language of the country the feature was to be shown in, if necessary.

The Cast and Note the Names of Their Roles:

Christopher Lee portrayed "Count Dracula". The London born, Shakespearian trained actor, had just appeared in the Charlton Heston and Jason Robards, 1970, filmed version of William Shakespeare's, "Julius Caesar". Lee would follow this "Dracula" with another Hammer Films "Dracula", 1970's, "Taste the Blood of Dracula".

Jesus Franco had no problem directing Christopher Lee as he spoke fluent German, Italian, and Castilian Spanish. In fact, he spoke his own lines in all three film versions. My article, "CHRISTOPHER LEE: Foreign Language Motion Pictures 1959 to 1970", may be read at: 

Herbert Lom portrayed "Professor Abraham Van Helsing". The Austrian born actor, had just appeared in the West German historical horror movie, 1970's, "Hexen bis aufs Blut gequalt (Witches tortured to the point of blood)", and followed this feature film with the 1970, West German "Das Bildnis des Dorian Grey (The Portrait of Dorian Grey)" based upon the Oscar Wilde story. My article, "HERBERT LOM: His Motion Pictures", is found at:

Klaus Kinski portrayed "R. M. Renfield". The Polish born actor was associated with both the West German and Italian cinema. Most American audiences know Kinski for the role of "Juan-the Hunchback", in director Sergio Leone's 1965, "For a Few Dollars More". As I mentioned earlier, Klaus Kinski would portray "Dracula" in director Werner Herzog's, 1979, "Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht". My article, KLAUS KINSKI: Krimi's, Cowboys, Vampires and Mad Men in German Cinema", will be found at:

Maria Rohm
portrayed "Mina Murray". Austrian actress Rohm had just been in the 1970, Italian horror film, "Il trono di fuoco (The Throne of Fire)", starring Christopher Lee, she followed this feature with the previously mentioned, 1970, West German 
"Das Bildnis des Dorian Grey".

Frederick Williams portrayed "Jonathan Harker". Munich born Williams had just starred in a 13-part, 1968 to 1969, West German television mini-series, "La kermesse des brigrands", he would follow this feature film with 1971's, "Der Teufel kam aus Akasava".

Soledad Miranda portrayed "Lucy Westerna". Spanish actress and very popular pop-singer Miranda, also used the names Susann Korda, and Susan Korday. Soledad Miranda had just been seen in the made-for-television musical drama, 1970's, "Lola la piconera", and followed this motion picture with Jesus Franco's, 1970, French and Spanish, horror crime drama, "Les cauchermars naissent la nuit (Nightmares are Born at Night)".

Jack Taylor portrayed "Quincy Morris". Oregon City, Oregon born American actor Taylor had just co-starred with Maria Rohm in Jesus Franco's, 1970, "De Sade 70". He would follow this film with Franco's, "Nightmares are Born at Night".

Paul Muller portrayed "Dr. John 'Jack' Seward". Swiss actor Muller had just been seen in the 1970, American movie, "Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You". He would follow this picture with Jesus Franco's, 1970, "Nightmares are Born at Night".

From all appearances this should have been an excellent version of Bram Stoker's novel, but as the "New York Times" film critic Robert Firsching wrote, on February 26, 2008, looking back at the movie:
This doggedly faithful adaptation is, plodding and dull. Even Christopher Lee (in an uncharacteristically weak performance as Dracula), Klaus Kinski (as the mad Renfield), and seven credited screenwriters cannot make this confused, distant film worthwhile. Franco appears as a servant to Professor Van Helsing (Herbert Lom), and though certainly literate, the film nevertheless fails as both horror and drama

As to that "certainly literate" aspect of the screenplay, Christopher Lee has a great scene reciting the entire speech describing the "History of the Szekelys", word for word, found above from the novel.

Another problem, as the above stills help to show, are the costumes designed by Maria Luisa Panaro. Stoker's novel takes place in Transylvania and, mainly, Victorian England, but all of Panaro's costumes no not look English, but very Spanish.

Which brings me to the sets and locations. Both the production design and art direction was by Berlin born, Karl Schneider, and the set decoration was by Italian Emilo Zaga, 1965's, "Planet of the Vampires". However,  all three are shown in the film credits as created by the non-existent, "American", George O'Brown. A trick to make European audiences think the movie they're watching was made in the United States. On the film, Jesus Franco, even in Spain, is billed as Jess Franco.

As to those locations, all the sets look like Barcelona, Spain, and not London, England, adding with the costumes to a distraction for viewer familiar with Stoker's novel.

While the scenes of "Renfield" were filmed at "Tirrenia Studios", Tuscany, Italy. 

Augusto Finocchi and Jesus Franco Screenplay:

Lawyer "Jonathan Harker", is traveling from London to Castle Dracula, and stops in Bistritz, Transylvania, for the night. At an Inn, "Harker" finds the locals seemingly frightened of where he is going and a woman warns him not to go to the Borgo Pass. Passing all of this off as superstition, "Harker" proceeds to the pass and is greeted by "Count Dracula's" mysterious coachman.

"Harker" is taken to the castle and the door is opened by "Count Dracula", himself, who greets "Harker" and asks that he enter of his own free will.

The count has prepared a meal for "Jonathan" and as he eats, the two go over the documents necessary for "Dracula" to take possession of Carfax Abbey. It is during this sequence that the monologue on the history of the “
Szekelys” is given.

"Dracula" escorts "Harker" to his bedroom and he discovers that the count does not cast a reflection in the mirror. Later, "Jonathan Harker" goes to sleep and awakes in an ancient crypt with three vampire women around him. "Dracula" enters, orders the three to leave him alone, and gives them a baby to feed upon. Morning comes, and "Jonathan" believes he had a nightmare, except for the two puncture wounds on his neck that say otherwise.

"Jonathan Harker" now realizes he is a prisoner of "Count Dracula", and attempts to escape by going out of his bedroom window and using the climbing vines to reach the ground. Looking around the outside of the castle, "Harker" enters the tower, and finds the crypt with the three vampire brides and the count in their coffins. In panic, he runs out of the crypt and blindly goes up the tower steps, jumping out of a window into a river below it. 

"Jonathan Harker" wakes up in a psychiatric hospital in London owned by "Dr. Van Helsing" and run by "Dr. Seward". His story is considered fantastic, that is, until "Van Helsing" sees the two puncture marks on  "Jonathan". At the hospital are "Jonathan's" fiancée "Mina Murray" and her best friend "Lucy Westerna".

"Mina" is helping the two doctor's taking care of "Jonathan".

Unbeknown, is that "Count Dracula" has followed "Jonathan" to London, and is in Carfax Abbey. By drinking blood, he is becoming younger and stronger. Now, the count starts to feed off of "Lucy", who is becoming weaker, and of concern to everyone else.

"Lucy's" wealthy American fiancé, "Quincy Morris", has joined "Dr. Van Helsing", and "Dr. Seward" by giving blood in an attempt to save "Lucy" from the vampire.

"Dr. Seward" discovers that one of his patients, "R.M. Renfield", seems to react violently when "Dracula" is near. "Renfield" becomes a warning system of sorts, he also has a desire to eat flies and other insects as a means of consuming life.

Later, "Renfield", who has befriended "Mina", will die from apparent shock in his cell.

"Lucy" dies and is placed in the family crypt, but then stories of a woman in white attacking children is reported and one little girl dies. "Dr. Van Helsing", "Dr. Seward", and "Quincy Morris", now await "Lucy", follow her into the crypt and drive a stake through "Lucy's" heart and decapitate her.


"Jonathan" has recovered and going to a London stage show with "Mina", sees a young "Dracula", and reports his finding to the others. 

"Dracula" now turns his attention to "Mina".

However, "Van Helsing" has a stroke and is now confined to a wheelchair. "Count Dracula" visits the weakened man and mocks his attempts at destroying him. Meanwhile, "Jonathan", "Jack Seward", and "Quincy" track "Dracula" to Carfax Abbey, but discover he has left for Transylvania.

"Jonathan" and "Quincy" now head for Transylvania, while "Jack Seward" takes care of "Mina". Arriving at Castle Dracula, before the count, whose coffin is being taken across Europe by a band of gypsies. The two men find "Dracula's" empty coffin and destroy his three vampire brides.

Next, "Quincy" and 'Jonathan", from the roof of the castle, see the gypsies approaching with "Dracula's" coffin and make a plan to confront them. "Dracula" cannot leave his coffin in daylight, and after fighting off his guardians. The two men set the coffin on fire and "Count Dracula" is cremated.

On June 27, 1966, the first of 1,225 episodes of Dan Curtis's "Dark Shadows" was shown on television. Curtis would produce two made-for-television versions of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson's, "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". The first starred Jason Robards in 1967, and the second, in 1968, starred Jack Palance. It would be another six-years before:


As to the triple title, the film was originally shown on American television, February 8, 1974, as "Bram Stoker's Dracula". It was released theatrically in the United Kingdom under that same title, June 13, 1974. You can still find the U.S. release under this title on old VHS tapes and Laserdisc's. 

However, near the start of the 1990's, producer and director, Francis Ford Coppola, purchased the rights to the title, "Bram Stoker's Dracula", from the Stoker estate. His plan was to show that his motion picture was the only actual adaptation of the novel. After the purchase by Coppola, the Curtis version was known and re-released as either "Dracula", or "Dan Curtis' Dracula". It should be mentioned that either he never knew of it, or for some reason ignored the use of "Bram Stoker's Dracula", by Harry Alan Towers for the English language release of the Jesus Franco film.

A word about "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and "President Richard M. Nixon". The original television broadcast premier was scheduled on the "Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS)" for October 10, 1973.  However, the broadcast was pre-empted by "Nixon" to announce the resignation of Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew.

This United Kingdom production was filmed in England, Yugoslavia, and Croatia, and directed by Dan Curtis. Who had just produced and directed, the made-for-television, 1974, "Scream of the Wolf", starring Peter Graves and Clint Walker. Dan Curtis followed this feature with 1974's, "Melvin Purvis G-Man", starring Dale Robertson.

The screenplay was by Richard Matheson, the writer of both the novels and screenplays for "The Incredible Shrinking Man", "I Am Legend", "The Legend of Hell House". Along with multiple Roger Corman, Edgar Allan Poe screenplays. My article, "Richard Matheson: The Screenplays and Treatments", is ready to be read at:

Note the Matheson Character Names:

Jack Palance portrayed "Count Dracula/Vlad the Impaler". Palance had just co-starred with George C. Scott, Faye Dunaway, and Sir John Mills in director Stanley Kramer's, 1973, "Oklahoma Crude". He would follow this feature with the British horror movie, 1974's, "Craze", co-starring with Diana Dors.


Simon Ward portrayed "Arthur Holmwood". Ward had just portrayed "The Duke of Buckingham", in director Richard Lesters's, 1973, first half of French author Alexander Dumas', "The Three Musketeers", starring Oliver Reed, Rachel Welsch, and Richard Chamberlain. He followed this feature with the second part of Lester's long comedic version of Dumas, 1974's, "The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge", adding Faye Dunaway, Charlton Heston, and Michael York to the piece. Both are a must for my readers to see.

Nigel Davenport portrayed "Abraham Van Helsing". Davenport was just in the cast of the 1973 made-for-television version of Oscar Wilde's, "The Picture of Dorian Gray". He followed this feature with the overlooked science fiction movie, 1974's, "Phase IV".

Pamela Brown portrayed "Mrs. Westenra". At the time, the actress was appearing on British television, she passed away at age 58, on September 19, 1975.

Fiona Lewis portrayed "Lucy Westenra/Maria". She had been in the Vincent Price sequel, 1972's, "Dr. Phibes Rises Again", and followed this picture by co-starring with Oliver Reed, in the 1974, horror movie, "Blueblood".

Penelope Horner
portrayed "Mina Murray". Horner was a British television actress.

Murray Brown portrayed "Jonathan Harker". Also, a British television actor, Brown would followed this feature with the British lesbian vampire motion picture 1974's, "Vampyres", which has obtained a cult following.

Richard Matheson's Screenplay:

The screenplay opens in Bistritz, Hungary, in May 1897, as "Jonathan Harker" makes an entry in his journal and then arrives at an inn in Transylvania. There, "Jonathan" finds the local peasants frightened when he mentions needing to travel to the Borgo pass to meet a carriage from "Count Dracula" that evening.

Once he's at Castle Dracula ....

.... "Jonathan" finds the count very abrupt and impatient, wanting to get the documents of sale completed.


Later, more relaxed, "Dracula" stands before a painting of Vlad III, that looks remarkably like himself and tells "Harker" the history of his family.

Later, in "Jonathan's" room, the count is shown a photograph of "Harker's" fiancée, "Mina Murray". Beside "Mina", in the photo, is her best friend "Lucy Westenra". Whom the count seems to react oddly too seeing and then he departs the room leaving "Jonathan Harker" alone.

The three vampire wives of "Dracula" now go for the sleeping "Jonathan Harker", and "Dracula" stops them.

"Dracula" forces "Jonathan" to write a letter stating he will be remaining in Transylvania for a month and not to worry about him. "Harker" is locked in his tower room, but manages to climb down the outside wall and locates "Dracula's" coffin. However, before he can drive a stake into the vampire's heart, he is knocked unconscious by one of the count's gypsy servants. Then tossed into the lower crypt with "Dracula's" brides. The gypsies now take boxes of earth, one containing the count, to the schooner "Demeter".

The "Demeter" runs aground at Whitby, on it the locals find the schooner's captain lashed to the wheel drained of blood, no other members of the crew are found, but the cargo hold contains several boxes of earth. By morning, "Lucy Westenra" starts to fall ill and he fiancé, "Arthur Holmwood", is concerned and contacts his friend "Dr. Van Helsing".

"Van Helsing" starts to suspect what is happening, and that night, "Lucy" walks out of her home. She is found the next morning drained of blood. 

Flashback, "Dracula" remembers, and the audience sees, "Vlad III" and his wife, "Maria", who looks exactly like "Lucy Westenra", in happier times. Followed by her death that leads "Vlad III" to became "Vlad Dracul, the Impaler" against the Ottoman Empire he blames for her death.

Return to, "Mina" and "Lucy's" mother comforting each other in "Lucy's" bedroom, as a large wolf (Dracula) breaks into the room through the glass window, and then leaves. Shortly afterwards, "Lucy" appears at "Arthur's" window and he is happy to see she's not dead. Seemingly, forgetting that they buried her and she is now a vampire under "Dracula's" control.

"Van Helsing" arrives in time to use a crucifix to stop "Lucy" from biting the neck of "Arthur". The vampire runs away and now must be destroyed.

"Arthur" and "Van Helsing" go to "Lucy's" burial crypt and drive a wooden stake through her heart.

"Dracula" comes to "Lucy's" crypt and beckons to her, but she does not come out. He enters, finds her body with the stake through her heart and goes berserk.

"Mina" tells "Van Helsing" about what she read in the newspaper about the ghost ship, "Demeter". Along with "Jonathan's" trip to Transylvania to meet "Count Dracula" to sell him Carfax Abbey. From "Mina's" clues, "Van Helsing" and "Holmwood", now go in search of the boxes of earth and locate all but one.

The vampire hunters return to the hotel that "Mina" is staying. They walk-in on "Dracula" forcing her to drink his blood from a self-inflicted cut across his chest. 

Revenge is his and the count tells "Holmwood" and "Van Helsing that:
All that they love, all that is theirs, HE WILL TAKE! 

 Before the two men can react, "Dracula" leaves..

The hunt for "Dracula" starts with "Van Helsing" hypnotizing "Mina", because by the bond of blood, "Mina Murray" sees through the eyes of "Dracula" and knows where he's going. However, the reverse is also true.

"Arthur" and "Van Helsing" arrive at Castle Dracula, locate the vampire brides and drives stakes through their hearts.

Next, now a vampire, "Jonathan Harker" attacks the two hunters and during the struggle is knocked into a pit of spikes and destroyed. "Holmwood" and "Van Helsing" now go in search of "Dracula", but only find an empty coffin.

Armed with crucifixes, the two find the count and a battle begins against the vampire's great strength and ability to turn into a wolf.

"Van Helsing" knowing the time of day, pulls down the curtain exposing the vampire to the sun, "Dracula" is weakened and almost not moving. "Van Helsing" takes a spear and pushes it through the vampire's heart.

"Dracula" is left before the portrait of Vlad Tepes and his wife, "Maria". As a text scrolls across the screen speaking to a great warlord who lived in the area of Hungry and Transylvania. How it is said that he learned how to conqueror death---adding, that that legend has never been disproven by anyone.


Between Dan Curtis and Francis Ford Coppola there was a stage play:

On October 20, 1977, at the "Martin Beck Theatre", on Broadway, a revival of the 1927 revision, by John L. Balderston, of the 1924 play, "Dracula", by Hamilton Deane, opened.

DRACULA released July 13, 1979

The motion picture was directed by English director John Badham. Badham's previous motion picture was 1977's, "Saturday Night Fever", starring John Travolta. He would immediately follow this film with 1981's, "Whose Life Is It Anyway?", starring Richard Dreyfuss, and in 1983, "Blue Thunder" starring Roy Scheider, and "War Games", starring Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.

The screenplay is credited as being based upon Bram Stoker's, 1897 novel, and both the Hamilton Deane original 1924 play, and John L. Balderston's, 1927, revision. 

However, as written by screenplay writer W.D. Richter, 1973's, "Slither", and 1978's, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". This screenplay does not resemble either version of the play, or even "Universal Pictures", this film's distributor, 1931, "Dracula". 

As this film starred the "Tony Award" winner for the 1977 revival of the Deane/Balderston play .I want to tell my reader how the original 1924, and revised 1927 plays opened for comparison.

In 1924, Hamilton Deane had his play open as:
Jonathan Harker and Dr. Seward discuss the condition of Harker’s wife, Mina. She has had bad dreams and grows pale and weak. Dr. Seward has sent for Professor Van Helsing. They also talk about Harkers' extravagant new neighbor, Count Dracula. Harker helped him to buy property in London, including Carfax Abbey, next door to both the Harkers’ residence and to Dr. Seward’s asylum.

While, John Balderston changed the Deane play for American audiences and his version opens as:

John Harker visits his fiancée, Lucy Seward, at the sanatorium run by her father, Doctor Seward. Abraham Van Helsing arrives to help with Lucy's case. Seward tells Van Helsing about Mina Weston, a friend of Lucy's who complained about bad dreams and had two small marks on her throat, then wasted away and died. R. M. Renfield, a lunatic patient who has been eating insects, enters and asks to be sent away to save his soul. 

Frank Langella
portrayed "Dracula". Besides the revival of the play, Langella was basically appearing on television and, in 1974, starred in a made-for-television remake of "The Mark of Zorro".

Sir Laurence Olivier portrayed "Professor Abraham Van Helsing". In 1978, Olivier was in "The Boys from Brazil", co-starring Gregory Peck. He followed this picture with 1980's, "The Jazz Singer", co-starring with Neal Diamond.


Donald Pleasence portrayed "Dr. Jack Steward". Pleasence had just been seen in the forgotten, 1979, "Good Luck, Miss Wycoff", and would follow this picture, co-starring with Christopher Lee, in the equally forgotten, 1979, "Jaguar Lives!". In 1981, the British actor would rejoin director John Carpenter for both "Escape from New York", and "Halloween II".

Kate Nelligan portrayed "Lucy Seward". Canadian actress Nelligan was seen in both British and Canadian television dramas. 

Trevor Eve portrayed "Jonathan Harker". British actor Eve was appearing mainly on the BBC and ITV in dramas and adventures.

Jan Francis portrayed "Mina Van Helsing". Francis also was a British television actress.

Tony Haygarth portrayed "Milo Renfield". British character actor Haygarth kept the casting in place, as he was also a television actor.

Unlike the previous versions of "Dracula". The screenplay, sets, costumes, and the way the feature is filmed. Plus, Frank Langella's performance, make John Badham's version of Bram Stoker, both overtly Sexual and a true Gothic Horror story, that earned the picture an "R" rating

The Screenplay:

The year has been moved to 1913, a storm is lashing the port town of Whitby, as the "Demeter" arrives from Transylvania and runs aground with a blood drained captain, no crew, and boxes of earth.

Visiting her best friend "Lucy Seward" is "Mina Van Helsing". She discovers the body of "Dracula" in a warm cave and his hand reaches out for her.

The following evening, the count visits "Mina" and her friends at the home of "Lucy" and her farther, "Dr. Jack Seward". The cliffside home is also "Dr. Seward's" asylum, in which "Lucy" assists her father running.

The count is charming and leaves a good impression on all those in attendance around the dinner table, but "Jonathan Harker", "Lucy's" fiancé. Who is not impressed and a little jealous of the overly charming "Romanian" count. 

Later, the same night, "Lucy" and "Jonathan" go off for a secret rendezvous, leaving "Mina" by herself. Not long afterwards, "Dracula" appears, enters "Mina's" bedroom, and drinks her blood. 


The following morning, "Lucy" finds "Mina" in her bed and struggling to breathe. As she watches her friend die, on her throat are two small wounds. "Lucy" is traumatized thinking this wouldn't have happened, if she hadn't gone off with "Jonathan".


Meanwhile, the count has enslaved "Milo Renfield", the man who had brought the boxes of earth to Carfax Abbey. the new home of "Dracula", along with the count's coffin.

At a loss for the cause of "Mina's" death, "Dr. Seward" calls her father, "Professor Van Helsing". W ho immediately suspects what might have caused his daughter's death, a vampire. "Van Helsing" starts to worry what fate may have overtaken his daughter and meets with "Jack Seward". The two investigate their common suspicions and go to "Mina's" coffin. The coffin has rough chew marks on it and is empty. Other information led the two men to a old mine and the ghostly vampire "Mina Van Helsing". They have no choice but to destroy "Mina", leaving a distressed father with an aim to find and destroy the main vampire.

"Lucy" has been summoned to Carfax Abbey by "Count Dracula". There, she reveals herself to be in love with the "Romanian Prince" and offers herself to him. This leads to a surrealistic wedding and "Lucy", like "Mina", infected with the count's blood.


"Seward" and "Van Helsing" immediately recognize that "Lucy" is slipping into vampirism and give her a blood transfusion to slow the transformation down. "Jonathan" has joined the two doctors and their quest to end "Dracula's" reign, but "Lucy" remains under "Dracula's" spell. She is kept under lock and key for everyone's protection.

The three men enter Carfax Abbey looking for "Dracula's" coffin, it is daylight, and they are surprised how powerful he remains and is able to move about. The vampire count is able to escape their attempts to destroy him, breaks into "Jack Seward's" asylum, releases "Lucy", is confronted by "Renfield", who had told "Van Helsing" about "Dracula", and is now killed by the count. 

"Count Dracula" prepares to return to Transylvania with "Lucy Seward", his new bride.

"Van Helsing" and "Harker" are in pursuit of "Dracula" and "Lucy" and are able to board the same ship his coffin is in. The ship sets sail, "Van Helsing" and "Harker" go below decks and find "Dracula" sleeping with "Lucy" in his coffin.

"Van Helsing" prepares to drive a stake into "Dracula's" heart, but "Lucy", awakes, loudly protests, waking the count. A struggle takes place and the stake impales "Van Helsing", not the count, giving the professor a fatal wound. "Dracula" turns on "Harker", but the weakened "Van Helsing" is able to throw a rope with a hook at the count's back and it takes hold. The rope is tied to the ship's rigging and "Jonathan" hoists "Dracula" up into the rigging and the sun's rays burn his body.

"Lucy" is freed of the count's spell, but she sees his cape flying in the wind and the audience gets the impression he will return to her.

My last film is the one that removed Dan Curtis' original title.

BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA premiered in Hollywood, California, on November 10, 1992

The motion picture was directed  by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by him with seven others.

In 1963, Coppola had his real start as a director for Roger Corman, on "Dementia 13", which he also wrote the screenplay. Previously, Francis Ford Coppola had covered for Corman for three-days on the Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson, "The Terror". 

Earlier in 1992, Francis Ford Coppola turned all three "Godfather" films into a 9-hour-and-43-minute television mini-series entitled, "The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980". My article, "The Godfather' vs 'Once Upon a Time in America": American Crime At The Movies", will be found at:

This screenplay was written by co-producer, James V. Hart. Prior to this feature, Hart wrote the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's, 1991, "Hook". He next wrote the, 1994, 47-minute television-pilot for the non-picked-up "Treasure Island: The Adventure Begins".

Not only did Francis Ford Coppola take the title from the Dan Curtis production for his "definitive version" of Bram Stoker's novel, but also Richard Matheson's original idea that "Count Dracula", and "Vlad the Impaler", are the same person and that he has found his long-lost wife reincarnated. Something you will not actually find within the Stoker novel.

Quoting film critic, Andy Marx, January 26, 1992, ten-months prior to this picture's release, on the "Los Angeles Times" website:
Director Francis Ford Coppola wants to make it quite clear that his Dracula movie is unlike any other Dracula movie. He’s calling it “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” and claims it is the only film version offers the complete story from the 1897 Stoker novel of the vampire count, which has been made into scores of movies through the years.

Gary Oldman portrayed "Count Dracula/Vlad the Impaler". He was previously seen as "Lee Harvey Oswald", in director Olivier Stone's, 1991, "JFK", and followed this picture with 1993's, "True Romance", co-starring with Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer. Brad Pitt, and Christopher Walken.

Winona Ryder portrayed "Mina Murray/Elisabeta". Apparently, Ryder had Hart's screenplay and brought it to Coppola. She had just been in 1991's, ""Night on Earth", and followed this feature film with director Martin Scorsese's, 1993, "The Age of Innocence".

Anthony Hopkins portrayed "Professor Abraham Van Helsing". Hopkins had just co-starred with Emma Thompson and Vanessa Redgrave in 1992's, "Howards End". The actor followed this picture with Robert Downey, Jr.'s, 1992 "Chaplin".

Keanu Reeves portrayed "Jonathan Harker". Reeves had just been in 1991's, "My Own Private Idaho", co-starring River Phoenix. He followed this film with director and star Kenneth Branagh's 1993, version of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing", also co-starring Emma Thompson.

Richard E. Grant portrayed "Dr. Jack Seward". He had just portrayed "Sherlock Holmes" in the 1992, British made-for-television, "The Other Side". Grant would next be seen in Scorsese's, "The Age of Innocence".

Gary Elwes portrayed "Lord Arthur Holmwood". Among his films prior to this feature, saw Elwes co-starring with Helena Bonham Carter in the historical biography, 1986's, "Lady Jane". He also co-starred in 1987's, "The Princess Bride", 1989's, "Glory", and 1990's, "Days of Thunder".

Billy "Bill" Campbell portrayed "Quincy P. Morris". Campbell had just starred in the Disney Company's version of "Republic Picture's", Rocket Man Cliff Hangers, 1991's, "The Rocketeer". He followed this feature with the Matthew Broderick comedy, 1993's, "The Night We Never Met". For those of my readers that might be interested, my article. 'Republic Pictures: THE ROCKET MAN CLIFF HANGERS", can be explored at:

Sadie Frost portrayed "Lucy Westenra". She had just appeared in the 1992, Polish motion picture, "Papierowe malzenstwo (Paper Marriage)". Frost followed this picture with the Eric Idle comedy, 1993's, "Splitting Heirs".

Tom Waits portrayed "R.M. Renfield". Waits had just co-starred with Tom Berenger, John Lithgow, and Daryl Hannah in 1991's, "At Play in the Fields of the Lord". After this picture, Waits, was in director Robert Altman's, 1993, "Short Cuts".

Overview of the James V. Hart Screenplay:

The motion picture's look and gothic story are impressive, but the opening of the film is not in the novel. It's a more dramatic variation of the flashback from Richard Matheson's screenplay. The ending of the picture is also not the novel's, the Spanish version had it almost correct, and there are other changes from Bram Stoker's written words in "Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula".

The year is 1462, and "Vlad III" returns to his homeland after a successful campaign against the Ottoman Empire. 

He is told his wife "Elisabeta" has committed suicide over the false narrative that he was killed by the Ottoman's. 

Pleading with the priests over their belief his wife's soul is damned to hell without any chance of salvation. In his madness, "Vlad III" discreates the chapel, renounces God, drives a sword into the chapel's stone cross, destroying it, and as blood flows from it, drinks the blood and becomes the vampire count, "DRACULA"!

Switch to 1897, "Jonathan Harker" is on a train writing in his journal, he has going to Transylvania to meet a "Count Dracula", originally a client of his colleague "R.M. Renfield", who has gone insane and is in "Dr. Jack Seward's" asylum.

At a Transylvanian Inn, "Harker" is warned about going to Castle Dracula, but still takes a coach to the Borgo Pass and meets the count's coach.

"Harker" is met at the castle's door by "Dracula" who invites him to enter of his own free will.

Dinner awaits "Jonathan" as the two go over the paperwork to acquire Carfax Abbey.

Later, in his room, "Jonathan" is shaving and the count suddenly appears behind him without having cast a reflection in "Harker's" shaving mirror. The count takes "Jonathan's" razor, helps him finish shaving, and quickly swipes the blood from a cut on "Harker's" face into his mouth off the razor.

The count now sees a photo of "Mina Murray", "Jonathan's" fiancée, and the reincarnation of his long dead wife "Elisabeta". This will lead to "Harker" being left to "Dracula's" three brides, the count sailing to Whitby, killing all those on board the "Demeter", and taking up residence in Carfax Abbey.


In London, the count, as a werewolf, lures "Mina's" girlfriend "Lucy Westerna" out of her house and into sexual intercourse, while drinking her blood.

"Lucy's" health starts to deteriorate and it brings together old friends, and suitors, "Quincy Morris", "Dr. Jack Steward", and her fiancé "Lord Arthur Holmwood". All with concerns for her wellbeing and "Jack" contacts his mentor, "Professor Abraham Van Helsing" for a consultation.

Two things now happen, "Van Helsing" recognizes the signs of a vampire on "Lucy", and in daylight, "Count Dracula" meets "Mina Murray" on a London street.

"Mina" is charmed by the count and attends some events with him, but then receives word of "Jonathan". Who was able to escape the castle and has spent time in a hospital recovering from the vampire brides. "Mina" leaves to marry him at the convent the hospital is located and finds "Jonathan's hair has turned grey. 

Hearing this, a heart broken "Dracula", now completely transforms "Lucy" into a vampire. While, "Mina" is happily marrying "Jonathan", "Professor Abraham Van Helsing", "Dr. Jack Seward", "Quincy Morris", and "Lord Arthur Holmwood" track down and behead vampire "Lucy Westenra".

After returning to London, "Jonathan" and "Mina" lead the others to Carfax Abbey and they destroy the boxes of soil from Transylvania. "Dracula" as a vampire bat enters "Mina's" bedroom. There she admits two things, her love for the count, and that she remembers "Elisabeta's" previous life with him.. "Dracula" now begins to transform "Mina" into a vampire by cutting open his chest and having her drink his blood.

The vampire hunters burst into the room, "Dracula" claims "Mina" as his bride, and in the confusion is able to escape. "Professor Van Helsing" now hypnotizes "Mina" and learns through her connection to the count that he is on a ship sailing back to Transylvania in the last remaining box of his native soil. The hunters head for the seaport of Varna to trap the vampire, but mind reading works both ways and "Dracula" has already left before they arrive.

The hunters split up, "Van Helsing" and "Mina" go for Castle Dracula, the others pursue the gypsies transporting "Dracula". That night, "Van Helsing" and "Mina" are approached by her "Vampire Sisters", but before "Mina" can drink "Van Helsing's" blood, he places a communion wafer on her forehead, leaving a protective mark. He now creates a ring of fire protecting "Mina" and himself from the brides and the following morning, "Professor Van Helsing" destroys "The Brides of Dracula".

"Dracula" and the gypsies now arrive at the castle along with the pursuing hunters. A fight between the gypsies and the hunter's begins with "Quincy" being stabbed in the back. 

The sun sets and "Count Dracula" burst out of his coffin. "Jonathan" is able to slit "Dracula's" throat and "Quincy" stabs the count in the heart. 

Now "Mina/Elisabeta" runs to the staggering "Count Dracula/Vlad III" and "Professor Abraham Van Helsing" and "Jonathan Harker" allow the two to enter Castle Dracula. Outside, "Quincy Morris" dies from his wounds, surrounded by his friends.


In the same chapel that "Vlad III" denounced God, in a demonic form he lies dying. "Elisabeta/Mina" now kisses him and the cross he destroyed repairs itself.

The younger looking "Dracula" asks "Mina" to give him peace, she thrusts a knife through his heart, and then beheads him as the mark on her forehead disappears.

"Mina" gazes up to the fresco of "Vlad III" and his "Elisabeta" finally reunited and going together to heaven.

There has always been a worldwide popularity for Bram Stoker's "Dracula". The following link takes my reader to my article, "Bram Stoker's Dracula As Inspiration For Japan's Toho Studio's". 

Above is the Japanese poster for Hammer Film's 1958, "Dracula", translated into Japanese as "The Vampire Dracula",  and below a poster for Toho Studio's, 1971, "Lake of Dracula: Blood Thirsty".

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