Directed by: George Melford
Written by: B. Fenandez Cue, based on the screenplay by Garrett Fort, based on the play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Baldeston, based on the novel by Bram Stoker
Starring: Carlos Villar, Lupita Tovar, Eduardo Arozamena, Pablo Álvarez Rubio, Barry Norton, José Soriano Viosca, Manuel Arbó, Carmen Guerrero, Amelia Senisterra
The Spanish version of Dracula, shot simultaneously with the English version, on the same sets, but at night. That must have been a bit frustrating...
It's longer than the English version, as it has more stuff in it. That doesn't necessarily make it better, though it would help. The English version is painfully ambiguous. This one has more... meat (and a hell of a lot more religion, too). For example, they actually explain what happens to Lucy. In the other one they just sort of forget about her. Don't get me wrong, it would still be kind of difficult to follow if you didn't know the story, but these days, who the hell doesn't?
Overall, the movie is actually pretty good. It's got some damn good scenes, the only real problem being Carlos Villarías. He doesn't have the charm, talent or Hungarian good looks that Lugosi had, and comes off as more creepy than anything (the "I molest your kids" kind of creepy). Now, if there were some way to edit Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye into this version... well, then you'd really have something.
Pablo Álvarez Rubio was a pretty good Renfield. He was the best part of the movie, actually (of course, Renfield usually is). He was more intense than Dwight Frye. Screechier, anyway. He was cute, though. Still, Frye was a lot scarier.
Moving on to some highlights... I thought Lupita Tovar was a lot better as Eva than Helen Chandler was as Mina. She was more alive or something, I don't know. She was sexier, too. She had that whole Mexican thing working for her.
Speaking of that, where the hell was this movie supposed to be set? I guess it was in London... I think they said it was in London. It must have been the Spanish ghetto, though. I mean, really. The least they could have done would have been to set it in Spain. (Not that any of the people in the other version actually sounded British, either). But still, Nosferatu was set in Bremen. Why couldn't they have just altered the plot a little to make this set in Madrid or wherever?
Whatever. A minor complication. So yeah, I liked it, all except for Carlos there and his creepy smile. Actually, he was kind of rat-like. Not in a sad, pathetic, Klaus Kinski way, but in a truly repulsive kind of way. Eduardo Arozamena kind of looked like a rat, too. A fat, Eugene Levy looking rat, but a rat none the less. God, the rat people are everywhere.
I didn't like Arozamena that much. I didn't really like Edward Van Sloan, either. I don't really like the Van Helsing character at all, actually. He's weird and irritating, and kind of creepy (unless he's being played by Anthony Hopkins, who knows that he's really creepy and behaves accordingly, or Hugh Jackman, but that's sort of differant).
If we're getting back on to compairing actors, I'll say that Barry Norton (who was about as repulsive as Eduardo Arozamena or Carlos Villarías, if not more so) was pretty much David Manners. I know he was Argentinian, but he sure as hell looked American. David Manners was a bit better looking, but not really.
Sooooo.... I'm kind of torn between the Spanish and English versions. The Spanish one is really quite good. It's just got more stuff. However, the English version's got Lugosi, so I'm going to go with that one. And being a fat, white, American slob, I'm kind of biased towards things that are in English. I don't like to read the subtitles. It hurts my eyes. Whine whine wine.... that's not such a bad idea...