One of the earliest films in Universal Studios’ classic monster movies series was Dracula. Dracula was released in 1931 and starred Bela Lugosi as Dracula. The director of the film, Tod Browning, based the movie on Bram Stoker’s book of the same name, but Universal Studios made several changes to his literary work.
The film was well-received upon its release, but has gotten even more famous in the 85 plus years that it has been out. Today, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula is one of the many faces of cinema’s classic horror era, right up there with the Mummy, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman. Here are 10 things you didn't know about Dracula (1931).
10 The Movie Didn’t Get A Score Until 1998
Dracula begins with the song Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky, but the melody was not originally created for the film. It would have been too costly to produce an entire score for the film, but in 1998, Philip Glass created a score for the movie, which has been included in several DVD releases since it was created.
9 Bela Lugosi Played Dracula On Broadway First
Balderston’s play was one of the first English speaking roles Lugosi (who grew up in Hungary) had as an actor. He was joined by Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing and Herbert Bunston as Doctor Seward, both of which would play the same roles in the film adaptation of Dracula in 1931.
8 Bela Lugosi Was Not Their First Choice
But before Laemmle could get Chaney signed on for the movie, Chaney died of a throat hemorrhage. Actors like John Wray, Paul Muni, and Conrad Veidt were all considered for the role before Lugosi was approached.
7 David Manners Never Saw The Movie
David Manners was born in April 1901 and by the time he was in his late ‘20s, he had started his acting career in Hollywood. Manners appeared in nearly 40 titles in his career, but he is most known for his role of John Harker in Dracula. Manners would go on to work with Bela Lugosi four more times after Dracula’s release.
Despite having 67 years before his death to watch Dracula, it was reported that Manners never saw the movie. David Manners passed away in 1998 in Santa Barbara California at the age of 97.
6 A Spanish Version Of The Film Was Made
The Spanish crew was able to watch the raw footage from the English version in order to make their lighting and camera angles better than Tod Browning’s film. Over the years, many people consider the Spanish version of Dracula to be even better than the English version.
5 David Manners Got Paid More Than Bela Lugosi
Despite Dracula coming out in the early years of The Great Depression, $500 a week for an actor was still a small amount. In fact, David Manners got paid significantly more than Lugosi. Lugosi was apparently so excited at the opportunity to play Dracula again that he was willing to work for a cheap price.
4 It Originally Had An Epilogue
The epilogue was later removed from the film due to the Hollywood Production Code and out of fear that religious groups would get offended for promoting the belief of the supernatural. Unfortunately for horror buffs, this short epilogue has yet to be fully recovered after all these years.
3 The Stock Market Crash Affected The Film
Universal is one of the biggest movie studios in the US, but the stock market crash of 1929 affected everybody. The film didn’t have as big of a budget as they were hoping for, so in order to cut costs, they went with an adaptation of the play instead of the book.
2 The Cinematographer Took Over For Tod Browning
Universal Studios originally wanted Lon Chaney to play Count Dracula, but his death forced them to go with someone else. The news of his death hit Tod Browning especially hard since he considered Chaney his friend after working on several movies with him.
Chaney’s death affected Browning so much that Dracula’s cinematographer Karl Freund had to step in and direct some of the scenes. It’s believed that Browning was unprofessional and sometimes intoxicated during filming, with Manners once saying that Lugosi was one of the few actually devoted to the project.
1 Parts Of The Film Had To Be Censored
As mentioned previously, the Production Code forced Universal to delete the epilogue, but the studio also had to censor the groaning of the Count after he is killed and the screams of Renfield as he dies. Other scenes that were censored overseas included the bug coming out of the coffin, Dracula’s brides, and Renfield’s pleas to eat spiders and bugs.