I Do Movies Badly: Dracula/The Mummy

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1 Response

  1. FictionIsntReal says:

    Glad to hear your thoughts, and I’m fine with your pushback on mine. I actually accept some of the “new criticism” approach and the attending “death of the author”. But I strive to distinguish between what actually has grounding in the “text” of the film and what the individual viewer is bringing into it. Of course filmmakers are part of society, but given how prone people are to pattern-matching and drawing connections where none exist, there is little reason to put much stock in the divinations of people without access to some particular knowledge behind the film’s production. We find things salient to us and assume that’s the reason they are there.

    Gavin had a number of negative things to say about David Manners’ performances in these films. Surprisingly enough, Manners himself might have agreed, as he hated the roles he was typecast in and gave up acting. “And You Call Yourself a Scientist!” recommends The Death Kiss as a better role for him:
    I haven’t seen that, but after the Mummy I continued a Universal binge with 1934’s The Black Cat, in which he’s still sort of the normal romantic lead in a Lugosi vs Karloff film, but isn’t as lame as the type he normally plays for these roles.

    You pointed out that Francis Ford Coppola’s version of Dracula seems to borrow the monster’s-reincarnated-lover angle from this, but the more direct source is probably Dan Curtis’ film, from which Coppola had to buy the rights to “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” as the name for a film. This is part of why I don’t think of it as just a remake of Todd Browning’s Dracula. Gavin might have been conflating that one with the later adaptations of Dracula which borrowed that element of The Mummy. At the same time, it does have the same screenwriter (John L. Balderston), likely reworking some of his old ideas and improving them. The villain’s motivations are certainly more comprehensible than when Dracula just kept showing up at Harker’s house.

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