Who was better as Dracula-- Lugosi or Lee?

Discussion in 'Classic' started by RyanPC, May 22, 2005.

  1. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    Hey, I love Klaus Kinski as much as the next guy, but this thread is for Lugosi and Lee. :p :lol:
     
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    Thread Nazi. :lol:

    I now retract and vote William Marshall for his masterful - Blacula!
     
  3. mutleyhyde

    mutleyhyde Fuck it.

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    Lee = scarier
    Lugosi = classier

    I'm pretty much with Damage on this one.

    Lugosi had the air of distinction and sophistication of a well cultured count, whereas Lee portrayed the more sinister Dracula... brooding, fiercely jealous, aggressive, and even perpetually apprehensive - ever paranoid of being destroyed. Lee brought a lot more aspects to the table, a whole new, far ranging dynamic... and amazingly mostly through facial expressions.

    In Tod Browning's 'Dracula', it is through Dracula's genteel persona (and his powers of hypnotism as well), that he endears himself to Renfield and afterwards wedges his way right into the society set after relocating to London. In comparison, Lee pulled off the self-important regality of a count, but not the affability of a socially mobile one. In Hammer's 'Horror of Dracula', during his first meeting with Harker (now loosely in the Renfield role), Lee is very stiff and is only necessarily hospitable. After this, both in 'Horror of Dracula' and throughout the rest of the Hammer series, even that much gentility takes a backseat to his more negative traits.

    For example, in their respective debuts, when Lugosi-Drac first meets Seward, Harker, Lucy and Mina, he comes off as charmed and charming; Lee-Drac in the Hammer version never even gets this scene, nor any other scene to explore this trait. Furthermore, Hammer never gave Lee much of a chance to display this trait in the rest of their series - but perhaps the argument could be made that after making his way to London and failing to establish a safe haven there and having to high-tail it out of there to other locales for fear of destruction, ole Drac was less concerned with sneaking his way craftily into desirable living conditions than he was with simply surviving.

    Maybe had Lugosi the benefit, the legacy of the several films that Lee does, we would have seen more of the sinister, desperate Drac in his performances as well, but I doubt he would have been as dynamic as Lee; as I've commented on before elsewhere, Lugosi was perfect for the role, the introduction of the character at the time - but he had terrible barriers to deal with in his screen acting career, such as that sound films were a new thing and so the direction and production of such was experimental; he was a stage actor, thus making his line delivery and physical acting perhaps overly dramatic (commonplace among actors of this era); and he was no expert of the English language. In contrast, not only is Lee a classically trained actor (Lugosi was self-made, getting his training on the job in repertory theater), but he also has the benefit of several years, decades of film production advancement in general working for him by the time he took up the role.

    As Watts said, Lugosi and Lee worked in two disctinctly different eras, and because of this, I truly believe that comparing the two, at least in such simple terms as 'which is better', actually does a disservice to them; one has to take many factors into consideration, and define just what criteria the two are to be judged on.

    Personally, I love Hammer, and I love Christopher Lee as Dracula.

    Then again, Lugosi is king of the (movie) vampires.

    I simply can't pick one over the other.
     
  4. Criswell

    Criswell New Member

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    Which is why I also commented later on the other two......... :) :) :)

    But Max needs his name to be always remembered. :glasses:
     
  5. Luna

    Luna Guest

    YES! I love him. :lol:
     
  6. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Well, if dwatts can vote for Blacula, then I'm voting for Yorga. :) All this makes me wish that the Yorga Vs. Blacula movie had been made.

    Otherwise it's Christopher Lee all the way. I love Lugosi, but Lee's Dracula is closer to the source material.
     
  7. Both men did fantastic jobs portraying Dracula, so I choose not to choose between the two of them.
     
  8. Severn

    Severn Member

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    It's all about Lee.

    Everytime I see Lugosi I hear him say "PULL THE STRINGS! PULL THE STRINGS!". Still, Ed Wood genius not withstanding I give my vote for Lee (although to be honest Kinski's version of Dracula actually makes Dracula creepy in my eyes and on many levels. The guy's a freak).
     
  9. MrVess

    MrVess Guest

    Lee merely played Dracula.

    Lugosi was him.
     
  10. Criswell

    Criswell New Member

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    Well put.
     
  11. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    Not really. "Lugosi was him" is grammatically confusing. By "him" does he mean Lugosi was Dracula, or "Lugosi was himself"? That doesn't sound like much of a compliment of his acting skills to me! :p Regardless, if you go back to the source, Lugosi's Dracula doesn't much resemble Stoker's. Lee's portrayal recaptures some of the animalistic intensity Dracula had in the novel.
     
  12. Dilmo

    Dilmo Guest

    Lee used to scare the crap out me as a kid, with those blood eyes.
     
  13. LivingDeadMafia

    LivingDeadMafia New Member

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    im going with Lee
     
  14. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    dwatts: Thanks for the breif retrospect of the Lee Hammer Dracs. I've always wondered about these because my only experience with them is Satanic Rites which sucked. However I will now check out Horror of..

    Personally I like Gary Oldman :D
     
  15. Damage

    Damage Mirror Mirror

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    Take off to the Great White North, eh?
    Okay Mok, let's go, two smokes! Satanic Rites might be the lowest point of Lee's Dracula efforts, but when has the Undead One been more groovy? And satanists sure knew how to party. Still a fun movie I think.
     
  16. maybrick

    maybrick Well-Known Member

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    I swear by the Satanic Rites. It's like Dracula meets The Avengers, and even if you don't appreciate it, at least give Hammer credit for trying something different. I'm with Damage on this one. Very fun movie.
     
  17. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    The Vampire whores in the basement were cool I guess. :)
     
  18. tobaccoman

    tobaccoman White, Proud, and Stupid

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    Vampire whores!
    I've had this laying around forever, but have also put it off for just as long. Maybe I should check it out... nah!
     
  19. Tuzotonic

    Tuzotonic Guest

    I have to go with Lugosi. He was Dracula on film and stage. He relished the role. With Lee you could never tell if he was into playing the part or not. He was almost always menacing, but at times it's as though he is making a cameo as Dracula and not playing the evil villain the film was based around.
     
  20. VenicuS

    VenicuS Guest

    Both Lee and Lugosi were great in their roles as Vlad, but if I have to pick a favorite, I gotta go with Lugosi. He truly loved the role, and loved the fame it brought him (although, of course, he was often tyopecast as a result, and never quite got back to where he had been, sadly). Besides, he was Hungarian, so he nailed the ethnicity, adding realism to the role. "De cheeldren off de night... vat muusik dey make..."
     

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