Sunday, October 28, 2012

178. DRACULA (1931)


Universal's new Blu-ray restoration of Tod Browning's DRACULA is one of the most revelatory refurbishings of a black-and-white film I've seen. It's possible that no other film has become more identified and confused with the facts of its own slow sliding into deterioration; over the years, people have commended its murkiness, its moldiness, its creakiness, comparing its groaning starch to ballet. The new 1080p presentation lifts all of this away, leaving behind only what was intended. The matte paintings and matte shots are now more beautiful, recalling the hand of Gustave Doré, and the hiss has been stripped from a much creepier quietude that hangs over the film like the hush of baited breath. All of the performances are enhanced, and Browning's auteuristic connections with the film also become clearer. I was moved to write about the film at length for the next VIDEO WATCHDOG (#171), so I must reserve my fuller thoughts for there and then.

Viewed via Universal's UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION Blu-ray box set.   

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