February 22, 2015
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.