(director: Lambert Hillyer; screenwriters: Garrett Ford/David
O. Selznick/Charles Belden/John L. Balderston/R. C.
Sherriff/Kurt Neumann/Finley Peter Dunne/based on
a story by Bram Stoker; cinematographer: George
Robinson; editor: Milton Carruth; music: Heinz Roemheld;
cast: Gloria Holden (Countess
Marya Zaleska), Irving Pichel (Sandor),
Kruger (Dr. Jeffrey
Garth), Edward Van
Sloan (Prof. Von
Helsing), Janet Blake (Marguerite
Churchill), Hedda Hopper (Party Hostess,
Lady Esme Hammond), Gilbert Emery (Sir
Basil Humphrey), Halliwell Hobbes
(Hawkins), Billy Bevan (Albert), E. E. Clive (Sgt.
Wilkes), Claud Allister (Sir Aubrey), Nan Grey (Lili),
Edgar Norton (Hobbs), Fred Walton (Dr. Beemish);
Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: E.
M. Asher/Harry Zehner; Universal Pictures; 1936)
"A worthy sequel to Tod Browning's Dracula (1931)."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A worthy sequel to Tod Browning's Dracula (1931). Underrated director of primarily B Westerns, Lambert Hillyer ("The Invisible Ray"/"Batman"/"The Cisco Kid"), does a fine job with a Bram Stoker story adapted by a group of writers into a period horror film: the first film to make vampires sympathetic.
Whitby, England, Professor Von Helsing (Edward Van
Sloan), noted vampire hunter, is
arrested for putting a wooden stake through the heart
of the visiting Transylvanian Count
Dracula. Also dead at the crime scene is Renfield,
Dracula's assistant. The gentle elderly professor from
Hungary tells the skeptical Scotland Yard
superintendent, Sir Basil Humphrey (Gilbert
Emery), that Dracula is a vampire and has been
dead or undead for the last 500 hundred years, and
can only be killed in this way. Sir Basil tells the
Professor he must be charged with murder under
British law, and the Professor requests the help of
his former student, the English psychiatrist Dr.
Jeffrey Garth (Otto Kruger).
the Dracula corpse is guarded by a frightened
constable, Dracula's daughter, Countess
Marya Zaleska (Gloria Holden),
appears and hypnotizes the constable and steals
Dracula's corpse. She gives dad, in his homeland, a
proper vampire funeral, saying prayers to exorcise
his spirit over a burning funeral pyre. The
enslaved daughter hopes she can be free of the
cursed vampire spell dad put over her and returns to
London with her lovelorn manservant Sandor (Irving
Pichel). But in London she finds she
still acts like a vampire, and after performing
hypnosis drains the blood of the starving
impoverished suicidal model Lili (Nan Grey) who was
brought to her by Sandor as a late night snack
before she jumped off a bridge.
an art party for swells attended by Lady
Esme Hammond (Hedda Hopper), Garth attends with his
playful secretary lover Janet Blake (Marguerite
Churchill) and meets the artist
Countess and after hearing he's working for the
defense of Von Helsing, she arranges an appointment
with the shrink in her apartment for a private
consultation about her vampire problem.
consulting with the Countess, the chief of staff at
the hospital (Fred Walton) calls
Garth to look at the emergency case of amnesia victim
Lili. Garth notes she has two tiny vampire puncture
marks in the neck, her blood has been drained and she
is suffering from post-hypnotic trance.
Though the vic dies, Garth discovers she was murdered
in the mirror-less apartment of the Countess.
To ensure that Garth will treat her favorably, the
Countess has Sandor kidnap Janet. The shrink meets
with the troubled vampire aristocrat to see if he can
help with her vampire problem and get her to release
his girlfriend. When the Countess vanishes, under the
counsel of Von Helsing, the shrink flies to Transylvania
and goes to the Dracula castle. The countess promises
to do no harm to Janet if he joins her as an eternal
vampire, but when the jealous Sandor gets wind of this
he tries to kill Garth with a wooden bow
and arrow but screws up and by mistake gets the
Countess in the heart. A happy ending results when Sir
Basil, Von Helsing and the police arrive in time to
kill Sandor and Janet comes out of her trance to hug
her heroic lover.
REVIEWED ON 12/5/2012 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ