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The Films of Tod Browning

The Wicked Darling

The Virgin of Stamboul

Outside the Law

Drifting

White Tiger

The Unholy Three

The Mystic

The Blackbird

The Road to Mandalay

The Show

The Unknown

London After Midnight

The Big City

West of Zanzibar

Where East is East

The Thirteenth Chair

Outside the Law

Dracula (November 17/12)

Based not on Bram Stoker's tedious novel but instead on a 1924 play, Dracula follows the title character (Bela Lugosi) as he picks up stakes and heads for England. There's little doubt that Dracula, directed by Tod Browning, has been infused with an impressively atmospheric vibe that is, at the outset, impossible to resist, with the movie's unabashedly theatrical feel heightened by Lugosi's over-the-top and frequently campy performance - although, by that same token, the actor's less-than-subtle work ensures that Dracula is simply unable to become the threatening figure of Stoker's 1897 novel. Browning's stirring visuals are only able to carry the proceedings so far, however, and there inevitably reaches a point at which the narrative's uneventfulness becomes oppressive - with the pervasively padded-out atmosphere exacerbated by Browning's reliance on as deliberate and meandering a pace as one could possibly envision. And while there are a few compelling sequences sprinkled here and there - eg a character is horrified to discover that Dracula doesn't cast a reflection - Dracula is, by and large, unable to sustain the viewer's attention or interest for more than a few minutes at a time and it's clear that the movie simply doesn't hold up terribly well all these years later. (It is, having said that, not difficult to spot its influences on both the horror genre and certain filmmakers.)

out of

Iron Man

Freaks

Mark of the Vampire

Miracles for Sale

© David Nusair