George Melford

A director of the silent and post-silent era who eventually left directing altogether to be an actor.

Dracula [Spanish Version] (1931) -- When Universal Studios created Dracula in 1931, rather than doing Spanish overdubs to Tod Browning's version, they decided to hire Spanish-speaking actors (and American director George Melford) to shoot on the same sets, with the same script (though there are variations), and some of the shots (mostly long shots) from the Browning version.  What you end up with is a version that many critics have cited as being superior to the American version, but isn't that what you would expect to hear?  First, this one is a half hour longer, which takes away from the brilliantly economical way that Browning told the story, even though it does round out the movie a bit and fix some flaws in the story.  Second, everything is sexier (you even get to see thinly-veiled nipples!), but -- as I explain in my review of Browning's version of Dracula, sex in a vampire movie is redundant.  The vampire is sex, and therefore the more "Victorian" the presentation, the higher the collars, the less you see, the better.  Browning's direction was also more "flat," but I prefer the stage-like, almost stilted, direction; though I can understand why someone would prefer to more "lush" direction of Melford.  The major factor missing in this version, of course, is Bela Lugosi (and, for my money, the American Renfield) who became such an icon as Count Dracula and was really what made the movie so famous in the first place.  In the end, the Spanish version of Dracula is well worth seeing for fans of the original movie, but -- once again -- I think everyone is hypnotized by those subtitles into thinking anything foreign (even when by American directors who only speak English) is better. B

Copyright (c) Nov 2005 by Rusty Likes Movies