Follow TV Tropes


Trivia / Dracula (1931)

Go To

  • AFI's 100 Years... Series
  • Awesome, Dear Boy/Doing It for the Art: Bela Lugosi was so eager to repeat his stage success and play the Count Dracula role for the film version, that he agreed to a contract paying him $500 per week for a seven week shooting schedule, an insultingly small amount even during the days of the Depression.
  • Advertisement:
  • Creator Backlash: David Manners (Harker) hated this movie and hated talking about it. Considering he had easily the worst role in the film it's hard to blame him.
  • Creator Breakdown: During the filming, director Tod Browning was very hard to work with due to his alcoholism and the sadness caused by the loss of his friend Lon Chaney.
  • Gay Panic: The studio did not want the scene where Dracula attacks Renfield to be filmed due to the perceived gay subtext of the situation. A memo was sent to the director stating "Dracula is only to attack women".
  • Missing Episode: In its original release, the movie had an epilogue in which Edward Van Sloan addressed the audience. It starts out sounding like a reassuring This Is a Work of Fiction message, until at the last moment he subverts it with "There really are such things as vampires!" The epilogue was cut from the 1936 re-release due to fears of offending religious groups by endorsing the occult, and is now considered lostnote .
  • Old Shame: Despite the film being a horror classic, many cast and crew members of Dracula (1931) felt this way about the film:
    • Bela Lugosi enjoyed making the film and playing the character, though he later referred to it as a "blessing and a curse" and disliked the typecasting that occurred after the film. He spent his later years making B-films (at best) and battling drug addiction.
    • Director Tod Browning did not enjoy making the film, since his original choice for the film, Lon Chaney, had died, and the film was being made on a much lower budget than he wanted. The cast complained about Browning being a hands-off director, and showing no enthusiasm for the project whatsoever.
    • Dwight Frye (Renfield) was also typecast as crazy loons after the film, and he was not happy about it. His career never recovered, and he died of a heart attack in 1943 at the age of 44.
    • Helen Chandler (Mina) wanted to play Alice in a film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland and wasn't happy being stuck in a horror picture instead. Her career never got off the ground, and she battled alcoholism only a few years later, and nearly burned to death in a fire 15 years before her death at age 59.
    • Advertisement:
    • David Manners (John) didn't have it as bad as his co-stars, but he disliked being a Hollywood actor and making Dracula, and in an interview shortly before he died in 1998, claimed to have never seen the finished film.
  • Real-Life Relative: In the first scene, the young woman reading from the tourist book was played by Carla Laemmle, niece of Carl Laemmle, founder and head of Universal Pictures.
  • Recycled Set:
  • Star-Making Role: For Bela Lugosi.
  • Those Two Actors: This Universal production became the most famous and successful film to pair David Manners with Helen Chandler. The pair had made two films at Warner Brothers/First National and one at Fox.
  • Troubled Production: In addition to being an early talkie film, with all the troubles that implies, the film was plagued by Tod Browning's alcoholism and unfocused direction, forcing cinematographer Karl Freund to direct many scenes himself.
  • Urban Legend: While it is rumored that Bela Lugosi, could not speak English very well, and had to learn his lines phonetically, this is not true. Lugosi was speaking English as well as he ever would by the time this was filmed.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • If he hadn't died, the role of Dracula would have gone to Lon Chaney. Conrad Veidt was also considered. John Carradine (who donned the cape in two later Universal films) claimed he was a candidate.
    • The producers originally wanted the film to be a faithful adaption of the original Bram Stoker novel with a big budget, but the depression crunch forced them to adapt the stage play instead.
    • The shooting script features a scene not found in the film in which Van Helsing kills Lucy following her transformation into a vampire. In the scene, Van Helsing brings John into the graveyard to prove the existence of vampires. There, they witness Lucy walking into a mausoleum. After consoling John, Van Helsing pulls a parcel from his pocket and makes clear his intentions to follow Lucy and destroy her. At this point, the film was to have cut back to a scene of Dracula abducting Mina.
    • Bette Davis (who had a contract at Universal at the time) was considered to play Mina Harker. However, Universal head Carl Laemmle Jr. didn't think too highly of her sex appeal.


Example of: