Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

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Mike O'Regan
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Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Mike O'Regan » Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:52 pm

Might be of interest.

Naff cover, but a great read.

http://tomahawkpress.com/tod-brownings-dracula/

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
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Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:01 pm

Mike O'Regan wrote:Might be of interest.

Naff cover, but a great read.

http://tomahawkpress.com/tod-brownings-dracula/



Tell us more, what makes it a great read? What did you learn about DRACULA that you didn't know before?


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Mike O'Regan
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Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Mike O'Regan » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:02 pm

I'm only 80 pages in at the moment. Thus far I learned that Universal had considered filming DRACULA thrice before in 1915, 1920 and 1925, each time deciding against on the grounds that, a) it would be too gruesome and, b) it would be too difficult to translate the book to film. The success of the Deane - Balderston play, of course became the main impetus to get on with it in 1930.

Too, I was interested in the story that Lugosi had personally negotiated with the Stoker widow for the rights on Universals behalf - a story put about by Lugosi himself, of course.

Mike O'Regan
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Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Mike O'Regan » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:17 pm

Who knew John Wray was considered for the Dracula role?

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
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Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Richard M Roberts » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:00 am

Mike O'Regan wrote:Who knew John Wray was considered for the Dracula role?



Well, he DID get the Lon Chaney role in the Paramount remake of THE MIRACLE MAN (1932) a pretty good film I might add.

As far as I know, the story about Lugosi negotiating with Bram Stokers widow for Universal is indeed true (correct me if I'm wrong), and Lugosi did it in hopes of getting to play Dracula in the film. Whatever he did, Universal screwed him by paying him a pittance to play it, and then basically screwed him over salary and casting for the rest of his life. The most Lugosi ever got from Universal for a film was what they paid him NOT to appear in DRACULAS DAUGHTER.

I've always thought Universal had a lot to answer for in their shabby treatment of Lugosi, it's no wonder he took roles in independent and Poverty Row fare so quickly, he made more money in those films.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Mike O'Regan
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Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Mike O'Regan » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:13 pm

There is apparently some evidence that Lugosi was in contact with the widow in April '30 in an effort to broker a deal which would have himself as the star - however, the studio in question was MGM at that point and not Universal. Remember, Lugosi wasn't attached to Universal or the role at that point. Browning was, however, still transitioning between MGM and Universal at that time.
The widow through her literary agent were set on MGM, who obviously passed.

Another bit of news to me is that apparently there was a scene in the shooting script involving Van Helsing and Harker staking Lucy in the Weston family vault, in a mist-shrouded cemetary. This was never shot, it's thought for budgetary reasons.
Pity, because this would have gone a long way to jazzing up the quite-dull-on-repeated-viewing central portion of the film. I still find the film quite a drag in this section.

Mike O'Regan
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Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Mike O'Regan » Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:45 pm

So, as I said, this has been a good read...up to a point.

To be honest, I'm a bit unimpressed by, if not downright suspicious of, Rhodes' extensive use of what he calls CineMetrics, to try to almost mathematically prove the superiority of the Browning version or, if you prefer (and I don't) the inferiority of the Melford version. All this demonstration of proscenium framing and ABA structure, ASL (Average Shot Length), etc. doesn't mean a damn thing when it comes to the gut perception (for want of a better phrase) the viewer has on viewing a film.

I fully intend watching both films again this weekend in the light of having read this book. But, my feeling going in is, as it's always been, that the Browning is very stagey and drags in the central portion, whereas the Melford excites me, continuity errors or no continuity errors. The one area where I've felt the Browning to be superior is in having Lugosi.

Regarding the cardboard over the lampshade controversy, I think Rhodes has made a very good case for this being deliberate, if ill-considered.

Overall, I'd be interested in David Skal's comments on the book.

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
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Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Richard M Roberts » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:38 pm

Ugh, spare us from Cinemetrics! Cinemetrics is absolute Cinewanking, an attempt by the left-brainers to make sense for themselves the right-brainers realm of artistic quality and it's absolutely meaningless! No one but humorless OCD anal-retentives (i.e: much of the academic film community) could ever convince themselves that you can measure and adjudge a film's quality by the length, number, width, or any other numbers-crunching jacking-off estimation of the shots within. Unfortunately, because much of the Academic Film Community is indeed humorless OCD anal-retentives, Cinemetrics is making headway within that community.

You've just stopped me from taking much of this book seriously.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Mike O'Regan
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Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Mike O'Regan » Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:47 pm

Hah! Nicely put.

Mike O'Regan
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:04 pm

Re: Tod Brownings Dracula - new book.

Postby Mike O'Regan » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:50 pm

Would anyone happen to have an idea where I might be able to read George Geltzer's essay on Browning, which was published in Films in Review, Oct 1953?

I've searched but cannot find.


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