Two versions of my fanedit are available on the DVD. One using film elements taken solely from the release version of Browning's film (the "purist" edition), and a second incorporating additional cut scenes and alternate footage taken from the Spanish-language version of the film directed by George Melford and shot on Browning's sets at night.
Dracula: Spanish Blu-Ray
- NTSC DVD-5
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
00:00:00 - 00:29:51 No significant change.
00:29:51 - 00:31:28 Fade in on scene set in Van Helsing's lab.
00:31:28 - 00:32:45 Fade in on gate to Seward's sanitarium, followed by scene in Renfield's room with Renfield and Martin.
00:32:45 - 00:36:24 Fade in on scene set in Seward's office.
00:36:24 - 00:52:21 Fade in on Mina recounting her dream and subsequent scenes. Deleted repeated footage of Dracula rising from box at Carfax Abbey.
00:52:21 - 00:53:19 Cut to scene set in Renfield's room where Dracula appears outside window.
00:53:19 - 00:55:13 Van Helsing, Harker, and Seward in library, joined by Renfield. Seward calls Martin to tell him Renfield has escaped again.
00:55:13 - 00:56:28 Dracula's first visit to Mina's bedroom, included portions of later scene where Dracula hypnotizes nurse, deleted repeated footage of bat at window.
00:56:28 - 00:59:05 Van Helsing, Harker, Seward, Renfield in library. Others leave as Dracula confronts Van Helsing.
00:59:05 - 01:00:57 Harker visits Mina upstairs on terrace.
01:00:57 - 01:02:48 Conclusion of Dracula's confrontation with Van Helsing in library.
01:02:48 - 01:13:56 Conclusion of scene upstairs on terrace, Dracula's second visit to Mina's bedroom (slightly reworked to disguise missing footage used to support Dracula's first visit to Mina's bedroom), chase to Carfax Abbey and dispatch of Dracula.
What's so divine about this edit is that Kristen Stewart has been removed almost entirely. Unfortunately, all the Kate Beckinsale scenes were excised, which should make the People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves rather happy, I guess. The scenes were reordered so that Van Helsing comes off as an even greater know-it-all badass, in that he clearly foresees the production of Blacula.
Great work, Billy Batson! I've never been too crazy for this Dracula, but this is now my definitive version.
Old and creaky, the 1931 Dracula bears more cobwebs than Carfax Abbey. It never really escaped its West End production roots. Lugosi’s riveting count more than compensated, as did terrific photography by Freund, and outstanding set design which set the template, still resonating in Horror films to this day. The second half of the movie is deadly slow, however. To quicken the pace, Billy Batson rearranged scenes slightly and added material from the Mexican version of the film.
Video - This is the nicest, sharpest version of this film I have seen. Superior to my laserdisc and DVD circa 1999. Credit excellent source material and attentive editing. Deft work here, though I noticed a repeated scene (56.25 - 1:07.15) where Mina removes her wolfbane necklace.
Audio - As to be expected, mono mix. Sound level extremely low, and I wish Billy would have amplified this. Not a complaint, not an issue. All dialogue was clear, just had to boost it. No Glass score, by the way, or any other track.
Narrative - No substantial change here. Second half of the film still moves slower than the first, but the pace is no longer glacial. Scene modifications definitely helped.
Enjoyment - I did enjoy this, and I appreciate what Billy Batson did, but this will not bump my DVD off the shelf. Rather, I burned a copy and sleeved it in the keepcase. A great alternative to the classic version.
I'm not a big fan of 1931's 'Dracula', it's terribly dated in a way that other films from the same period and studio aren't. Having said that, this edit does much to improve matters story-wise and must surely be the only way to watch it from now on. Especially as the quality of the encode is superb, rivaling the pinsharp Blu-Ray oiginal.
The transitions/fades between the new re-arranged scenes are sometimes quicker than is ideal but the material doesn't allow for anything else. They are executed in an authetic way for a 30s movie.
I'd have liked a score to be included as the music-free soundtrack is one of the elements that really dates this film to the post-silent era. Also a faneditor could have 'gone to town' on the sparse soundmix, adding much of what is missing, or lacking definition on the foley front. But for a "Restored" project, such revisonism was never going to be one of the goals (A 'Dracula: Special Edition' would be a nice future project).
I'd reccomend this to owners of the original cut, as it's a better way to watch this movie.
A 'Dracula: Special Edition' would be a nice future project.
It was an absolute pleasure watching Billy Batson's edit of this all time classic. The reshuffling of scenes in the later parts of the movie definitely improves the pace and the continuity of the story.
It still pains me thinking what we lost when the studio hacked up the original director's cut, but this edit feels like it offers the best possible representation of what it may have been like. Tension slowly builds through the film rather than slowing down half way, and this makes for a more satisfying finale.
The blu-ray rip was crisp and clear. I highly recommend this to fans of the Dracula mythology.