On the DRACULA Set with Bela Lugosi

Over the weekend I watched DRACULA (1931) on the big screen at a local multiplex. I suppose I’ve seen this film a few hundred times since I was about ten. I have purchased many video editions starting with an abridged 8mm Castle Films version when I was a kid, later a poor-looking 16mm print, then a video cassette, next a DVD, and more recently a Blu-ray. Now I even have it in HD streaming video. But it’s been a while since I’ve actually watched the whole thing from beginning to end without interruption so I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend’s screening. In fact, thanks to digital restoration technology DRACULA looks better today than it has ever looked, perhaps better than when it was new. With Halloween just around the corner, I thought a little tribute to Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) would be appropriate.
Lugosi Portrait_New_Final

A beautiful half-sheet poster from the original 1931 release:
dracula-22-x-28-poster

Director Tod Browning and Bela chat with Broadway producer Horace Liveright who brought DRACULA to the stage in 1927 and hired Bela to play the role. On the right is film director Dudley Murphy:
Lugosi4_edited-Final_Final_edited-1

Two views of Bela applying makeup. In those days many actors continued a theater tradition of putting on their own makeup:
Lugosi8 copy_Final Final
Lugosi10_final_edited-1

During some outdoor night filming Bela smokes one of his beloved cigars:
Lugosi 1_edited-Final_Dark Sky-2

The following two photos are courtesy of Vampire Over London: the Bela Lugosi Blog here on WordPress. First Bela still smoking his cigar, Helen Chandler smoking a cigarette, and director Tod Browning:
dracula-bela-lugosi-helen-chandler-tod-browning

A fascinating behind the scenes photo showing the chaos of equipment and wires, none of which are seen in the filmed shot. Tod Browning, Frances Dade, and Helen Chandler:
Browning Dade Chandler

From my collection, here are two life masks of Mr. Lugosi that I’d guess were made some ten to fifteen years apart, circa 1933 to 1948. Life masks are the closest we will come to seeing these Golden Age stars face-to-face:
100_2186 copy
Old Lugosi 2

Finally, a humorous photo with the principal members of the cast: Bela Lugosi, David Manners, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye, and Edward Van Sloan:
Lugosi3A copy_Final_Final_Final

Published in: on October 26, 2015 at 10:20 PM  Leave a Comment  

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