“The Vampire” a painting by Philip Burne-Jones
The Devil's Daughter with the Queen of the Vamps, Theda Bara.
(Even as you and I!)
Belong to the woman who didn’t know why
The fool we stripped to his foolish hide
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922)
Max Scheck as Count Orlok. Nosfeatu (1922)
Grau and Diekmann charged Henrik Galeen with the task of writing a screenplay based on Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. Galeen was no stranger to the horror genre, he had previously worked on The Golem(1915) and The Golem: How He Came into the World(1920) with Paul Wegener(the first horror actor). Galeen did change the names and some of the storyline for the novel but not enough to prevent a lawsuit from Stoker’s widow.
Nosferatu was shot in 1921 and released in 1922 with Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau directing. Murnau like Galeen was no stranger to the horror genre or filming unauthorized versions of novels. In 1920 Murnau directed an unauthorized film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde entitled The Head of Janus, (Der Januskopf) in 1920.
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
Before beginning his career as a director, Murnau had served as a German combat pilot during World War I. During his career as a pilot he crashed his plane twice, in one incident he damaged one of his kidneys so badly he was not able to drink alcohol for the rest of his life. During one mission flying through heavy fog he strayed off course and landed in Switzerland, where he stayed until the end of the war directing a play and compiling propaganda footage for Germany. He began directing films after the war in Germany in 1919.
DRACULA (THE STAGE PLAY)
Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931) Universal Pictures
Poster for the Spanish version of Dracula (1931)Universal Pictures
The Vampire Bat (1933)
The Vampire Bat (1933) starred Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas, and Dwight Frye and was directed by Frank R. Stayer. The plot revolves around the unexplained deaths of several Klineschloss residents the town fathers suspect vampirism since the victims are dying from blood loss.
The story of this film’s production is a classic example of the David and Goliath scenario; A tiny production company, Majestic Pictures Inc. competing with the big studios and producing what would become their biggest hit for 1933.
Fay Wray and Lionel Atwill had been in the highly successful film Doctor X (1932) the previous year and had just finished working on Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) for Warner Bros. Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) was a large scale production and would have a lengthy post-production process. Majestic Pictures, a poverty row studio, realized the chance to exploit all the advance publicity connected with Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), contracted Wray and Atwill for their own "quickie" horror film and rushed The Vampire Bat (1933) into production. Majestic also hired Dwight Frye who was known for his roles in the highly successful Universal horror classics Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931).
Majestic Pictures had a much lower overhead than the larger studios, who were struggling to stay afloat during the Great Depression. As a result Majestic Pictures was able to produce a film comparable to the Universal Pictures horror films of the early 1930s at a fraction of the cost. Majestic leased the “German Village” back lot sets left over from Frankenstein (1931), the interior sets from The Old Dark House (1932) and did some location shooting at Bronson Caves, completing the illusion that this was a film from a much bigger studio. A stock musical theme by Charles Dunworth, "Stealthy Footsteps", was used to accompany the opening credits. The finished product had the appearance of a film with a much higher budget.
The release of The Vampire Bat (1933) worked well for Majestic, which was able to rush the film into theaters on January 6, 1933, less than a month before Warner's release of Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933). The Vampire Bat (1933) has a huge hit for Majestic. Over time the film was forgotten and is overlooked by modern-day audiences, but for the true fan of early horror films The Vampire Bat (1933) iscertainly worth a look.
This smart stylish film centers around a vampire, Armand Tesla (Dracula in every way but the name) who is brought back from the dead after his tomb is bombed during the London Blitz. With the help of a talking werewolf Andreas (Matt Willis), Tesla assumes the name of a scientist who has recently escaped from a Nazi concentration camp and seeks revenge upon the family who had destroyed him 23 years earlier in 1918.
Son of Dracula (1943)