Bela Lugosi : Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Video countdown to Bela Lugosi's greatest movies 1931-1948


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIBHbQdJLe8

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Hi Steve

Oh, boy

I have seen all of these also.


I really am happy that The Return of Chandu made the list. Serials are overlooked, but this was a somewhat above average one and it was nice to see Bela in a good guy role.

Lots of arguments about favorites would come from fans, and you completely ignored his grade Z efforts. At least one, The Devil Bat, deserves to be in his top twenty off entertainment value. I imagine, though, that upscale critics totally trash a poverty row effort like that.

Of the ones listed, I think his vampire turns in Mark of the Vampire and Return of the Vampire should have made the top ten. Mark of the Vampire for about 80% of its running time might have been the best thing he was ever in, with Lugosi and Carroll Borland the ultimate vampires, until it went off the rails with a cheat ending. Still, I would have to put it in his top ten.

Return is a good little B from the forties when they did them with panache and Bela's scenes with his gabby werewolf henchman alone should put this one in his top ten.

Anyway, thanks for another fun video.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Hi John, well The Devil Bat was a low scorer, it would have been in 27th position with 4.77 which is lower than the IMDB score. if I raised it higher in line with IMDB it would have been 23rd.

Return of the Vampire was actually much lower and off the chart originally with a score of 5.05 but I really wanted to include that one so I raised it in line with rotten tomatoes which gave it 6, I thought that was fair enough. Let's be honest it wasn't that good, but it does have Lugosi as a vampire wandering around with his werewolf servant. :)

I agree about Mark of the Vampire, some great scenes but the ending really let it down, why did they do that? Especially after the success of Dracula.

I thought Lugosi's top 10 was pretty strong, lots of fan favorites there. The odd one out was Abbott and Costello, an acquired taste, but that has ended up being their most famous movie even if it isn't really their funniest.

The biggest shocker is Dracula, when everything was counted and totalled, Tod Browning's (stodgy) classic came in at no.3 behind Island of Lost Souls and The Wolfman. Whoa! I was not having that. Dracula is Lugosi's iconic role it had to be no.1, you could barely see Lugosi's face in Lost Souls and he had a smallish but important role as the werewolf that bit Lon Chaney Jr in Wolf Man.

Thanks again for reviewing my videos, always appreciated.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated


I agree about Mark of the Vampire, some great scenes but the ending really let it down, why did they do that? Especially after the success of Dracula.


Mark of the Vampire is a remake of London After Midnight (1927), and that film also features the twist ending.

MGM really didn't have a lot of interest in horror films, and my guess is that the bare minimum of effort was put into Mark Of The Vampire. I think that the studio thought (not totally incorrectly) that if they just got a dependable cast and crew that the rest would take care of itself.


Return of the Vampire was actually much lower and off the chart originally with a score of 5.05 but I really wanted to include that one so I raised it in line with rotten tomatoes which gave it 6, I thought that was fair enough. Let's be honest it wasn't that good


Return of the Vampire deserves credit for playing with the conventions of the vampire genre (female hero, modern war setting, werewolf henchman), but no, it doesn't work as a whole.

The scenes with Lugosi are eerie and effective, but the movie unwisely turns that mood off when the vampire is not around. The original Dracula gets a lot of flak for long scenes of the heroes standing around and talking, but that movie remains consistent in its tone, and Dracula is always on the mind of the audience.

While it's always a treat to see Lugosi put on the cape, he's also not in peak form in Return of the Vampire. He looks every day of his 60-plus years at this point, and a little jowly from certain angles.


Check Out My Bela Lugosi Tribute On YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EspE2_tVYcc

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

London After Midnight is Lon Chaney's famous 'lost' movie. I didn't know Mark of the Vampire was a remake. Thanks for the extra info, you know your stuff.

Plan 9 from Outer Space features scenes of Lugosi in a cape, what I didn't know until recently is that the L 5b4 ugosi footage was taken from another unfinished movie. And Plan 9 isn't listed in IMDB's Actor filmography for Lugosi.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Though the footage is used to create a character, it is accurate to list Lugosi's contribution as 'archive' because his usage is entirely old footage put into a new movie. As Lugosi had no awareness of Plan 9, it's not really accurate to list him as an active contributor.

If he actually had died during the making of the film, as the urban legend persists, it would be correct to have Plan 9 in his filmography as with other performers who have died during the making of films.


Check Out My Bela Lugosi Tribute On YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EspE2_tVYcc

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

I saw your video. How did Bela become your favorite actor? Dracula fan? I've always had a soft spot for old Boris myself. But they were both fun to watch in the old horror classics. I've watched The Black Cat quite a few times over the decades.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated


I saw your video. How did Bela become your favorite actor? Dracula fan? I've always had a soft spot for old Boris myself. But they were both fun to watch in the old horror classics. I've watched The Black Cat quite a few times over the decades.


Yes, I watched all the Universal Monsters as a little boy and Dracula was my favorite. However, it was The Raven (which is still my favorite movie) that really made me interested in Lugosi as an actor.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

hello Steve

With all the criticisms of Return of the Vampire, I decided to re-watch it last night after the football games,

I still found it very entertaining and well done. In its own way it drips atmosphere. The foggy graveyard certainly was a classic gothic setting. Tesla crawling out from under the dirt in his grave and melting in the sun were the first use of such scenes. Done better later by such as Bava, but still effective.

as for Bela and his age. It didn't bother me. There is no reason a vampire need be young, and his age gave his stalking of the child and later young woman a very creepy vibe. Bela wasn't physically what he had been in 1931, but his excellent use of his voice still made him a commanding vampire. And, of course, he had that perfect accent.

I thought Lew Landers direction, as usual with him, was above average, especially for this sort of forties programmers. Generally, I thought the movie well-staged and briskly paced. Bela's entries with the wind into the girl's bedroom were nicely done.

While the plot followed all the well-worn furrows, there were interesting twists--the Van Helsing figure being a middle-aged woman-the vampire's henchman being a werewolf.

What about the werewolf? Well, I thought it was a great idea. In fact, the idea of a werewolf as a servant of a vampire goes back to Medieval mythology. I don't know if the writers knew that, but it added an interesting touch for me.

The supporting cast did well. Inescort and Mander were properly British and solid. Gilbert Emery and Matt Willis 16d0 were Americans, but respectively pulled off being British and eastern European convincingly. Willis was particularly good as the human Andreas.

All in all I found it helped by a real sense of time and place during the blitz, and remains a fun watch, and one which wisely cast Lugosi in the role he was born to play.

*there is an odd scene near the end. Mander reads a police report on Hugo Bruckner, beginning with the supposedly shocking revelation that Bruckner was 62 years old. "62!!!" Lady Jane repeats in disbelief. Makes little sense as Bela was 61 at the time of the filming and looked it. My guess is that this script was written when another, younger actor was expected to play the vampire (if I remember correctly, Columbia initially thought of Francis Lederer for the role). The script was never updated for this quickie low-budget effort.

**with many Americans immigrants or the children of immigrants from eastern or central Europe, the point of Andreas being a decent guy who was in the thrall of the evil vampire is an obvious metaphor for the average Europeans and Hitler. Like Lady Jane, it was up to the United Nations to help them reclaim their souls.

***Wikipedia has info this movie was produced for $75,000 & grossed $500,000.

****If Lederer was originally considered, how and why did Lugosi end up doing it? There could be a lot of reasons, but Lugosi coming much cheaper might be the most likely.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

An epic post John, cheers. Puts me in the mood to watch the film again, I'm sure I have it on DVD somewhere.

So is Return of the Vampire your favorite Lugosi movie then? A guilty favorite? From his starring roles mine would be The Black Cat.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Hi Steve

"favorite Lugosi movie"

No. Several 1930's movies are better. In the forties, The Wolf Man & The Body Snatcher are certainly better, with small but interesting Bela roles. A & C Meet Frankenstein is also better, with Bela at his vampiric best.

But Return of the Vampire is a solid low budget forties horror film and the best forties film in which Bela is the top-billed star, and (with the arguable exception of the A & C parody) his best 1940's role.

A guilty pleasure?

I don't feel guilty about it. I find it a decent film. Not a top classic, but watchable and enjoyable and striking the proper vampire notes. It is 6.2 here on IMDB. I would rate it closer to 7, about 6.8 or so.

The Black Cat--a good pick.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated


If Lederer was originally cast, how and why did Lugosi end up doing it? There could be a lot of reasons, but Lugosi coming much cheaper might be the most likely


I don't think there's any indication that Francis Lederer was considered. If anything, there's more evidence that the film was written with Lugosi specifically in mind.

- Lugosi had recently b68 been released from Universal after the Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman debacle, so Columbia would have known he was available.
- Lugosi had very recently done a touring show of Dracula which had done pretty decent business, or at least more than might have been expected for a play almost 15 years old. This is another indication that Columbia might have seen a bit of life left in the old ghost.
- The age in the script does match Lugosi's, or quite close.
- He certainly did come cheap, with the same $3500 salary he had received over a decade earlier for Dracula.

All indications are that Columbia had in mind a very specific purpose to get a last cash-in on Lugosi's then-fading celebrity and that they did exactly that.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Hi Fritz

On Lederer. I read on article on Lederer and his role in Return of Dracula (1958) a few years back and the author mentioned that Lederer might have playe 16d0 d a vampire earlier as he was "considered" in the early stages of preparation for what became Return of the Vampire. Two points--I can't say how accurate this article was. And how far into preparation did consideration of Lederer continue.

Whatever, he dropped out or was dropped, perhaps very early.

I reread what I wrote and I used poor and misleading language (on line--cast). Off my memory of the article, it would be much more accurate to say he was under early consideration.

"The age in the script does match Lugosi's"

That is what is odd. In the scene I was referring to, when Sir Frederick and Lady Jane visit Tesla's room, Sir Frederick announces that he has suspected and investigated the false Bruckner for some time. He pulls out a notebook and reads facts which point to Bruckner being a fake. The first fact is that Bruckner is 62. There is a close-up of Lady Jane for her to exclaim "62??!!" in total surprise.

But Bela was 61, so why be surprised at such an age. My conclusion, and it is only mine, is that this points to the old article being correct and that the script was written with a younger actor, such as Lederer, in mind.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

What I am realizing now is that I have officially seen all his major films, and only need to buy a handful to have the bulk of his post "Dracula" films. I just added his two Wally Brown/Alan Carney films to my collection, not that I find them amusing as a comedy team, but because Bela is in both, even funnier than them because he plays the parts seriously. I'm watching Zombies on Broadway now, an unofficial sequel to "I Walked With a Zombie" that is ironic considering Lugosi's participation in "The Body Snatcher" the same year, my favorite Lewton film. I also just got Night of Terror, a very interesting thriller that has a silent film look to it. The only thing left is to find some of his surviving silents, although his voice adds authority to his roles.

"Great theater makes you smile. Outstanding theater may make you weep."

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

Zombies On Broadway is actually slightly better than it's reputation. It moves briskly and is light years ahead of the similar "Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla". Lugosi's in good form in this movie. He gets at least one funny verbal exchange, and a surprisingly amusing comic scene with a monkey.

Re: Bela Lugosi - Top 20 Highest Rated

I enjoyed "Zombies" mainly because of Bela and its connection to "I Walked With a Zombie". The calypso singer repeating his role and the main zombie who was so eerie but seemingly peaceful stood out. I'm just wondering if the screenwriters consulted Val Lewton for permission or advice on how to tie the two together. For that matter, it's also connected to Bela's 1932 classic "White Zombie" which is so much like a silent film in so many ways, although his evil master in "WZ" is far more sinister.

In any case, I've got my Lugosi and Karloff films altogether mainly because of the Karloff/Lugosi disc, and I didn't want to separate the two, especially since it's Lugosi's Universal disc set that includes the three main Lugosi/Karloff pairings, "The Black Cat", "The Raven" and "The Invisible Ray".

"Great theater makes you smile. Outstanding theater may make you weep."
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