Sunday, April 18, 2010
I think I've enjoyed Bela Lugosi's portrayal of Dracula since I was ten years old. Back in those days, TV Guide would put a one word description of the genre of the film in it's listing. For Dracula they used the word "melodrama". I had to look that one up!
Whatever it meant I enjoyed watching that movie, and saw it several times back then, and have seen it many more times since. Lugosi's portrayal was the ultimate Dracula for me; suave, deadly and alluring. You rooted for him instead of being repulsed by him. I think that's the difference in the classic monsters versus the gorefest of today. Back then you had sympathy for the monsters. Some of them, the Wolf Man in particular didn't necessarily want to be the way they were.
Bela Lugosi was a fine actor, who like all of us had issues in his life. I believe these issues prevented us from seeing the full extent of his potential as an actor. I wish he would have done more radio plays, as the few we have are quite decent.
The photo I worked from for this portrait is actually from the film Mark of the Vampire, in which Lugosi plays an actor playing a vampire! It was based on the sadly lost film London After Midnight, starring Lon Chaney Sr. It remains one of my favorite photographs of Bela Lugosi.