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Dracula

Bela Lugosi discusses "Dracula"

The actor explains his intense interest in the role.

March 1931 - I read the book, "Dracula", written by Bram Stoker, eighteen years ago, and I always dreamed to create and to play the part of "Dracula". Finally the opportunity came.

Horace Liveright, stage producer of New York, acquired the stage rights of the novel and he chose me for the part. I have played the role of "Dracula" about a thousand times on the stage, and people often ask me if I still retain my interest in the character.

I do—intensely.

Because many people regard the story of "Dracula simply as a glorified superstition, the actor who plays the role is constantly engaged in the battle of wits with the audience, in a sense, since he is constantly striving to make the character so real that the audience will believe in it.

Now that I have appeared in the screen version of the story which Universal has just completed, I am of course not under this daily strain in the depiction of the character.

My work in this direction was finished with the completion of the picture, but while it was being made I was working more intensely to this end than I ever did on the stage.

Although "Dracula" is a fanciful tale of a fictional character, it is actually a story which has many essential elements of truth. I was born and reared in almost the exact location of the story, and I came to know that what is looked upon merely as a superstition of ignorant people, is really based on facts which are literally hair-raising in their strangeness—but which are true.

Many people will leave the theatre with a sniff at the fantastic character of the story, but many others who think just as deeply will gain an insight into one of the most remarkable facts of human existence.

"Dracula" is a story which has always had a powerful effect on the emotions of an audience, and I think that the picture will be no less effective than the stage play. In fact, the motion picture should even prove more remarkable in this direction, since many things which could only be talked about on the stage are shown on the screen in all their uncanny detail.

I am sure you will enjoy "Dracula". I am sure you will be mightily affected by its strange story, and I hope that it will make you think— about the weirdest, most remarkable condition that ever affected mankind.

This speech was heard over radio station KFI in Los Angeles, March 1931.


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