Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Starring Otto Kruger, Gloria Holden, Marguerite Churchill, Edward Van Sloan, Gilbert Emery
Directed by Lambert Hillyer
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After driving a stake through the heart of Count Dracula, Professor Von Helsing is arrested for his murder, while a woman corrupted by Dracula can't resist the urge to seek new victims of her own.

The first sequel to the classic 1931 Dracula, which ushered in a wave of horror films and made a star of Bela Lugosi, is a rather small scale effort and would likely have benefitted from the return of Lugosi, but that was not to be.  After the impact of Bride Of Frankenstein, which featured the original Frankenstein's star, Boris Karloff, in another memorable performance, it's curious that the Universal studio didn't elect to bring Lugosi back for a more grandiose followup, but that doesn't mean this is a bad film, just a lost opportunity.  Holden should be praised for her performance which convincingly brings across the anguish of a victim of the Count now compelled to victimize others, pleading with Kruger's psychologist to save her from herself.  The crisp photography by George Robinson makes the film lovely to look at, and lends atmosphere to sequences in which the police enter Carfax Abbey and Kruger hypnotizes one of Holden's victims.  It's a good picture, but lacks the scope and scale a full-fledged sequel with Lugosi could have been.

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