Thursday, March 31, 2011

James Whale's Dracula's Daughter, last part

The actual script printed here, as I’ve said, actually includes Bela Lugosi’s Dracula character for a good fourth of the movie. It explains how Drac became a vampire, and the origin of the gal who plays the title role of Dracula’s Daughter.

It is also very plain in this script from 1933 that the author (probably screenwriter and Laemmle friend R.C. Sherriff) was sixty years ahead of his time. See if these plot elements don’t remind you of Coppola’s Bram Stoker's Dracula. It appears that James V Hart, credited writer of the 1992 film’s screenplay, *might* have been inspired by some things in THIS script. Here are some similarities:

-- Dracula was Vlad Dracula, who led his armies to success against the Turks

-- He was a cruel despot who enjoyed torturing his subjects

-- He was converted to a vampire for his evil

-- When van Helsing leads his party of vampire hunters back to Castle Dracula in pursuit, they must encamp in the snow.

-- van Helsing protects them by making a circle in the snow and crumbling communion wafers into the circle, saying, “I have a dispensation.”

Quite a few similarities, eh?

The film treatment uses many plot points from the original novel that were not used in the 1931 film – chasing back to Transylvania after the vampire; using the vampire’s victim as a clairvoyant aid to track the monster; and so on.

But the finished script takes another tack, first by introducing Dracula in the 1400s and his conversion to vampirism, and then by showing the sexual enthrallment that his “daughter” casts over her (male) victims.

If you are fascinated by monsters and what might-have-been, you must read this book!

As another bit of fun, take a good hard look at this unused publicity piece for Dracula’s Daughter. Then look at the original depiction of Magenta from Rocky Horror. Coincidence? I think not!

See you later, Gator!

Monday, March 28, 2011

James Whale’s Dracula’s Daughter (part two)

Thanks to the magic of “Memorama” (a term I just invented!), we can learn about the Dracula’s Daughter that never was.

In the original script, the title gal was a peasant girl, one of a bunch of young lovelies kidnapped by Dracula for the pleasure of a party of noblemen in Castle Dracula. Jane Wyatt, young and fresh-looking, would have been a great fit for this role.

She becomes Dracula’s Daughter when the King Vampire makes her into one of the Undead after desecrating her husband’s corpse in front of her.

Both she and Dracula would remain in the castle until she is released through the blundering of a couple of English would-be tough guys who are showing off for their girlfriends by exploring broken-down Castle Dracula. After this point Dracula (to be played by Lugosi) would exit the film’s storyline.

Now, after becoming Undead, DD is exotically beautiful, her country-girl charms having taken on a new, dangerous seductiveness. She enslaves one of her unwitting liberators and uses him to enter England, where she established herself as the rich and mysterious Countess Szelenski.

Professor van Helsing, and Dr Seward, reprising their roles from the first film, become involved in the quest to rescue the film’s “hero” from the clutches of Dracula’s Daughter.

Read this “The Main Idea” for original author John Balderstone’s take on the – umm, more sensational, shall we say? – other aspects possible by using a FEMALE vampire.

The three-page early treatment of the idea, like the actual eventual film, picks up precisely at the end of the 1931 film. Besides van Helsing and Seward, John and Mina Harker from the first film also appear, giving aid and advice to their friends, one of whom is enthralled to the vampire.

More on this creepy non-extant classic next time!
All original content
© by Mark Alfred