Drácula (Dracula, Spanish Version) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Drácula (Dracula, Spanish Version) Reviews

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flixsterman
Super Reviewer
January 16, 2009
Although the cinematography is more atmospheric than the Tod Browning version, it's obvious that Carlos Villarias is no Bela Lugosi.
ScoopOnline
Super Reviewer
December 14, 2009
As said before there are a lot of Dracula Movies out there from Blockbusters to B ones. Its the old same thing, just tiny bits difference sometimes.
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
September 7, 2008
Filmed at night using Spanish-speaking actors on the same sets the Tod Browning/Bela Lugosi crew used in the day, this is an alternate version of the Dracula story. Melford's variation is more eerie and atmospheric than the English language version, and less stagebound; if Lugosi had starred in this one, it could have been the greatest horror movie ever made.
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2008
Very interesting seeing the same sets and most of the same scenes from the Bela Lugosi Dracula of the same year given extra life in this Spanish language version. Universal had the English speaking cast and crew shooting on the sets in the day and the Spanish speaking cast and crew shooting over night, with the Spanish version to be released in their Latin market at the same time as the American version was released. An anecdote shared on a special feature doc was that the Hispanic crew would arrive early to see the dailies that the Americans had shot and then try to do better. I believe it in most cases. The script, costumes, blocking, and framing of shots were not exactly the same as in the more well known version. When compared next to the classic version it is a mixed bag with some elements coming across stronger and some weaker.

Other people here on Flixster have stated it before, however I'll repeat that Carlos Villarias as Count Dracula is not as strong of a performer. Though I didn't realize until I saw this version with a very toothy Dracula that neither Villarias or Lugosi wear prominent fangs. Lupita Tovar as Eva instead of Mina wears flimsier outfits and gives a good performance, except that the scene when she tries to bite her fiancee does not seem as lustful as the Americans were able to pull off. Norton as Juan Harker, which makes me giggle, seemed more concerned for Eva and physically willing to confront the Count. Similarly Arozamena (Van Helsing) portrays a bulkier, slightly younger, and more physically able force against Dracula's evil. Pablo Alvarez Rubio as Renfield overall gives a more nuanced and believable portrayal of madness. Renfield has surely been bitten by Dracula. But he is not fully a vampire. He must do Dracula's will and needs to drink blood, but is too squeamish to feed on humans. Also several of the additional scenes in this version of the script, which I do not regret add length to the story, involve Renfield being fearful about his soul, knowing he has done evil, and not being ready to die. Harker, Seward, and Van Helsing confront Renfield a couple extra times as he repeatedly breaks out of his cell in the sanitarium and Dracula pays extra visits to Eva to further her transformation into one of his brides. The effects, particularly with Dracula's coffin opening on its own with smoke rising out of it and then Dracula appearing out of the smoke, instead of cut-aways were noticeably improved. I'll go along with the opinion that this version is better, though only by half a star, than the iconic Tod Browning version and that Lugosi should have appeared in this production.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2014
A stunningly atmospheric horror tale shot during 1931 Dracula's off time, this Spanish language version bests it's legendary English counterpart by a bloody great degree. Like English version director Tod Browning, George Melford came from an impressive run in silent film (The Sheik). It shows. Whereas the former evinces a sloppy Devil-May-Care approach to Bram Stoker's novel, the latter took full advantage of the production's studio resources, crafting an oftentimes more frightening scaremaker. Admittedly, the English language version remains more iconic for two reasons: Lugosi's introduction and Browning's spine-tingling take on the ghost ship just can't be touched.

In this unrated Spanish language version of the horror classic, the ancient vampire Count Dracula (Carlos Villarias) arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina (Lupita Tovar).

Granted, some tropes came down to culture (Mexico allowed for more cleavage and actual rats used in place of opossums), but the shadows fall in the right place as did the thrills. Of course, nothing at the time trumps Bela Lugosi in the titular role. In fact, wild-eyed vampire Carlos Villarias sometimes looks like a goofy game show host when he should be playing up the Latin lover angle. Vibrant Lupita Tovar and seemingly psychotic Pablo Alvarez Rubio (as Renfield), however, make up the difference.

Bottom line: Fangs for the Memories
Dracula787
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2007
Some call it superior to the English version, and I can see why. Still, the old version feel more like a classic to me. This is like a cover version of a classic song, it may have more sophisticated instrumentation, but it's just not the original.
½ September 25, 2008
Superior to the Lugosi version in every way except two.....Lugosi is the definitive Dracula- and it goes on longer than it should. But in every other department, I feel it is a better movie!
Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2007
An interesting idea, making a spanish version of the same movie, with basically the same script, at the same time with the same set. Well of course there are going to be comparisons. Let's start off with the title character. Villarias wasn't that bad of a Dracula, but he just couldn't compare to Legosi. Legosi was much more menacing, while Villarias kind of looked out of place. I thought the man who played Renfield in this movie brought a subtler madness to the character than Dwight Frye did and did a decent job with the character even though, once again, Dwight Frye was the better actor for the role. Lupita Tovar though was much more sensual in her role and most of the supporting cast were decent, except for the man who played Van Helsing. The camera work and the directing seemed much better as well. This isn't so bad either, you might get a little chuckle out of Villarias' facial expressions. Maybe the Count's toiklet overflowed? Who knows. Not too bad of a movie.
November 26, 2007
Bela Lugosi was made for this role. The sets were spooky, and the dialogue was well done. I love the Vampire genre, and this is the classic against which all are judged.
March 18, 2007
Se no hable espanol or whatever, but it's worth reading subtitles. It was filmed along with the English version, using the same sets, but a Spanish speaking cast and a different director, etc. The expressions are a bit broad, but most justifiably regard his as thesuperior version.
April 8, 2007
Villarias can't hold a candle to Bela, but the pacing has a slight edge over the Browning version. Plus Lupita Tovar is one spicy dish.
½ April 23, 2015
Despite being basically a alternative version of the Bela Lugosi film, this edition is longer, more cinematic, and creepier. While the pacing is slower and the acting not as memorable, it still pulls off the atmosphere and story nicely, and in some ways, better than the English-counterpart.
December 27, 2014
A More erotic and coherent version than the English version of this Classic. But then Latin censors were more understanding of Dracula's "erotic charms"...
½ May 24, 2013
There's a tendency to say that this version of "Dracula" is better than it's more famous cousin. I wouldn't say that. They complement each other, one is strong where the other is week and vice-versa, neither really being meaningfully better or worse than the other. The Spanish version is a more lusty and lively take on the material. It's loose where Browning's "Dracula" is stiff and is generally an edgier film. The actors playing the heroes are easier to warm up to. Where it really suffers is not having Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye on hand. Carlos Villarías is just fine as Dracula, but Lugosi is magnetic. Pablo Álvarez Rubio is really good as Renfield, but he lacks Frye's oddball, otherwordly appeal. The first half hour of this version particularly suffers. Where Browning's version initially grabs you by the throat, this version is a poor copy.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2014
A stunningly atmospheric horror tale shot during 1931 Dracula's off time, this Spanish language version bests it's legendary English counterpart by a bloody great degree. Like English version director Tod Browning, George Melford came from an impressive run in silent film (The Sheik). It shows. Whereas the former evinces a sloppy Devil-May-Care approach to Bram Stoker's novel, the latter took full advantage of the production's studio resources, crafting an oftentimes more frightening scaremaker. Admittedly, the English language version remains more iconic for two reasons: Lugosi's introduction and Browning's spine-tingling take on the ghost ship just can't be touched.

In this unrated Spanish language version of the horror classic, the ancient vampire Count Dracula (Carlos Villarias) arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina (Lupita Tovar).

Granted, some tropes came down to culture (Mexico allowed for more cleavage and actual rats used in place of opossums), but the shadows fall in the right place as did the thrills. Of course, nothing at the time trumps Bela Lugosi in the titular role. In fact, wild-eyed vampire Carlos Villarias sometimes looks like a goofy game show host when he should be playing up the Latin lover angle. Vibrant Lupita Tovar and seemingly psychotic Pablo Alvarez Rubio (as Renfield), however, make up the difference.

Bottom line: Fangs for the Memories
½ December 28, 2010
At the same time Universal Studios was producing the classic "Dracula" film starring Béla Lugosi, they were making another version of "Dracula" with a Spanish cast and crew on the same set; this was apparently common practice in the early days of the sound era in cinema. But this isn't just "Dracula" spoken in Spanish; it's very much a different interpretation. Scenes play out differently, and there are different cinematic techniques. The result is a film that's a classic 1930s horror film in its own right.

HOWEVER...this one is sort of graded on a curve. Back when these movies were being made, the English version would shoot during the day, while the Spanish version would shoot at night. Therefore, the Spanish crew got to watch the English raw footage in the evening, so they would figure out different camera angles and different uses of lighting. In those cases, there are times when this film is superior. But they had a huge advantage at their disposal; it makes me wonder what would've happened if the Spanish version shot in the morning, and the English version shot at night.

So it's going to be difficult for me to properly review this, because I already described the story in my review of the English "Dracula" last year. The best way I can review "Drácula" is to compare the execution of its scenes, based on the cinematography and the performances. But I'll give you a real quick rundown of the plot anyway. A man named Renfield (Pablo Álvarez Rubio) travels to Transylvania to see Count Dracula (Carlos Villarías), despite the villagers' warnings. Dracula is, of course, a vampire, and he makes Renfield his slave before they travel to England and meet the other characters of the story.

Carlos Villarías is really good as Dracula. While Lugosi played him sinister with that Devil's stare, Christopher Lee played him like a violent predator, Villarías plays him more like a mad-eyed lunatic. Often, his eyes are bugging out and he looks ready to snap at any second. The same applies for Pablo Álvarez Rubio as Renfield. The scene where authorities discover him on the ship cackling like a maniac is a prime example of his performance.

For the most part, I actually find the supporting cast better than the English version; I just think there's more conviction in their faces, particularly from Professor Van Helsing (Eduardo Arozamena) and Eva (Lupita Tovar), who has the same role as Mina. That's something else to mention; the characters' names are altered slightly to make them appear more Spanish. Jonathan Harker is now Juan Harker, Lucy Weston is now Lucía Weston, etc.

But the biggest differences in this film are the cinematography and the runtime. This film is roughly half an hour longer; part of the reason is the movie really takes its time. There are plenty of moments where the atmosphere takes over for long periods of time. That's a good change. But sometimes they have scenes go on longer, which I don't necessarily agree with. I feel like the English version did a good job with not showing everything; there was more mystery, like in scenes where Dracula hypnotizes someone. But there are good scene changes, like when Renfield passes out in the bedroom in Dracula's castle. In the English version, the scene fades out after he falls. In this one, he falls, and then Dracula's vampire brides slowly descend on him. That's a really impressive change because it still leaves that mystery, and adds a new creepy element.

There are also new camera tricks. In the original, when Renfield first meets Dracula, it's an ordinary still shot from afar as he appears at the top of the stairs. But in this one, it's more of a point-of-view shot as the camera moves up the stairs, with Dracula perched at the top. But again, it doesn't always work effectively. In the later scene when Van Helsing shows Dracula the mirror where he doesn't have a reflection, I prefer the English version because of how fast and angrily Dracula reacts. In this version, it's sort of unnecessarily delayed and actually kind of awkward. Also, the moment where the maid faints after Renfield laughs doesn't seem right here. It doesn't seem like the kind of laugh someone would faint from; the English film had it down perfectly.

Now for all my nitpickings, let me make it clear: "Drácula" is a great movie. It still has that eerie, disturbing atmosphere thanks to its great use of shadows, and the performances are solid. Because it stands out so much from the English film, it firmly establishes its own identity, and can't just be called a remake. Like the English version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," it's its own interpretation in comparison to the version that already existed.

This movie was thought lost for decades before turning up in the 1970s; I'm very glad for that, because this is a movie that deserves to be seen by horror fans, just as long as they don't mind having to read subtitles. So while I definitely prefer the English film to the Spanish one, I acknowledge this movie's strong points, and in some cases, its stronger points. It's flawed, but it's still a real treat.
September 26, 2012
I Don't Like The Spanish Version Of 1931's Dracula, I Only Like The English-Language Version Of 1931's Dracula With Bela Lugosi, I Don't Watch The Spanish Version Of 1931's Dracula On The 75th Anniversary Edition DVD On Disc Two Of 1931's Dracula That I Own, I Only Watch The English-Language Version Of 1931's Dracula With The Original Soundtrack Not The English-Language Version Of 1931's Dracula With The Philip Glass Score On The 75th Anniversary Edition DVD On Disc One Of 1931's Dracula That I Own.
February 27, 2013
The Best version of Dracula out there.
½ February 2, 2013
While Universal's DRACULA was being filmed in the daylight hours, a lesser-known classic was also taking shape as night fell on the studio backlot. In almost every way (save for Bela Lugosi's iconic performance), the Spanish-language version of DRACULA is the superior film. Using the same costumes, script, and sets as the English version, it would seem that the end result would be very similar, however there are many distinct differences that set the two films apart. George Melford's DRACULA is filled with romanticized performances from each of the expressive cast members, lead by the beautiful and enchanting Lupita Tovar playing Eva Seward (this version's Mina). Likewise, Melford and cinematographer George Robinson explore each of the sets with more artful enthusiasm than the Browning/Freund team. Carlos Villarías would star as this version's Dracula, and while he is very good, some of his more comical movements and mannerisms may have resulted from his instructions to imitate Bela Lugosi's performance. Still, he brings an air of sophistication and menace of his own that allow him to excel in the role. The Spanish DRACULA cannot be overlooked by fans now that it is available in wide circulation, and it is should be considered right alongside the English version as a classic of its era.

-Carl Manes
I Like Horror Movies
January 23, 2013
Great movie i am very surprised in how much more they showed within the movie than the original Dracula. The major difference is Bela Lugosi look and the assistant they both are great in their own ways wonderful movie give it a try if you know Spanish or find one with English subtitles.
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