Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Return of Dracula (1958)

Here's the deal.  Cinematically, The Return of Dracula is well made.  Director Paul Landres, who has a lengthy TV resume, gives us a film that looks like Hitchcock or Val Lewton.  The black and white images are crisp and well it.  Just the way I like it.  However, the screenplay is oh so boring and totally predictable.  Pity, this could have been a really great film but it never reaches such lofty aspirations.
Czech born actor Francis Lederer plays the infamous Count Dracula.  Lederer, a stage actor who toured Central Europe with the likes of Peter Lorre, has a creepy presence but he brings nothing new or surprising that expands the Dracula mythos.  His performance reminds me of Lugosi in Dracula (1931) but not nearly as good.
In The Return of Dracula, the Count comes to America, disguised as good old cousin Bellac who moves in with the Mayberry family. [Seriously!]  The rest of the cast has that Andy Griffith Show or Leave It To Beaver feel.  They are totally oblivious that their eccentric cousin is a blood sucker.  Everyone plays their part well but it all adds up to nothing special.  I saw this one streaming on Netflix and the print is quite good.  If you're a big fan of vampire movies, you might enjoy this one.  However, if you're looking for something scary, this one does not fit the bill.  It's more thriller than horror.
RATING: Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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