Posts Tagged ‘bela lugosi’

A Brief Film History Timeline – The 1930’s

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Part 2 – The 1930’s 

This is the second of a four-part film history timeline highlighting some selective moments from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

The 1930’s film decade presented us with the expansion of “talking pictures,” the development of film genre’s, the growth of the major film studios, and the beginning of what is known as “The Golden Age of Hollywood.

Color film production became the rage, new stars were created, and some of the old stars faded from the industry.

1930 – The Immortal Garbo Talks – Greta Garbo, having been one of the major silent screen stars, successfully made the transition to “talking pictures.”

MGM marketed the popular actress in her first speaking role with the catchphrase “Garbo Talks.” The film was Anna Christie and Garbo received an Academy Award nomination for her role and became the Queen of MGM.

1931 – “M” Thrills Audiences – Director Fritz Lang’s first sound film “M,” a suspense thriller starring Peter Lorre, sent chills down the spines of movie goers.

Reportedly based on the case of a real-life serial killer, “M” would go on to become a classic and the film Lang considered to be his finest work.

Bela Lugosi Immortalizes “Dracula” – Famed horror director Tod Browning brings Bram Stoker’s Dracula to life on the screen. The death of actor Lon Chaney along with the financial troubles faced by Universal Studio opened the door for Bela Lugosi to assume the title role.

Lugosi had experience with the role on Broadway and would work cheap. The resulting production is a timeless horror classic and the role in which Bela Lugosi would always be identified.

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Horror Films In The 1930’s

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Horror films of the 1930’s took the foundation of terror created during the twenties and evolved quite effortlessly. Many 1920’s horror films were a combination of mystery and comedy, where scary events were often filmed as much to amuse as to frighten.

The plots concerned themselves with perceived horror – ghostly visions, unexplained noises, and mysterious strangers lurking about. By the films end it would all be neatly explained as the workings of some evil-doer who was intent on concealing their activities.

However, there was one notable and historic exception to this innocent form of terror and his name was Lon Chaney. Evil was no longer a brief supernatural element easily explained away, and more often than not came in human form.

When it came to accomplishing this villainous task, no one was, or will ever be, better than Lon Chaney. Dubbed “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” Chaney was a man whose make-up artistry allowed him to create shocking and mutilated characters with only one goal in mind…to frighten the public out of its wits.

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Universal Studios Monsters Collection

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection includes eight distinctive and iconic horror films produced by Universal Studios during the 1930’s through the 1950’s. Universal has provided a treasure chest of horror films for their fans since the 1920’s. However, those films included in this collection have proven to be some of their most popular.  

Universal’s horror film production began with the making of 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney. This silent era classic paved the way for a successful series of monster films that created an unforgettable impression on generations of fans.

A Video Tribute to the Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection

In spite of the financial woes caused by the Great Depression, Carl Laemmle Jr. was able to produce two massively successful monster films for Universal Studios. Both Dracula and Frankenstein were released in 1931 and are permanently entrenched in movie history. The success of these two motion pictures skyrocketed the careers of their stars Bela Lugosi (Dracula) and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein). These landmark horror films helped give birth to a new generation of cinema monster films.

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The Black Cat

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The Black Cat (1934)

Tagline – Karloff and Lugosi together! Those stars of “Frankenstein” and “Dracula”.

Starring– Boris Karloff (Hjalmar Poelzig), Bela Lugosi (Dr. Vitus Werdegast), David Manners (Peter Alison), Julie Bishop (Joan Alison).

Released – May, 1934

Directed By – Edgar G. Ulmer

Produced By – Universal Pictures

Distributed By – Universal Pictures

Description– Peter and Joan Alison are honeymooning in Hungary when a train reservation mix-up causes them to share a compartment with cat-phobic Dr. Vitus Werdegast.

The Alison’s learn that Dr. Werdegast is on his way to visit old friend Hjalmar Poelzig, an Austrian architect. Eighteen years ago, Dr. Werdegast left his wife to go to war and has spent the last fifteen of those years in a prison camp.

Arriving at their destination, the three board a hotel bound bus that crashes due to a storm, causing an injury to Joan. Dr. Werdegast suggests they go on to the home of Hjalmar Poelzig where he can treat Joan for her injuries.

Poelzig’s home is built over the ruins of Fort Marmorus. This installation was commanded by Poelzig during the war.

While in Poelzig’s home the newlyweds learn that Dr. Werdegast’s visit to an “old friend” will not be so friendly after all. The doctor accuses Poelzig of betraying his countrymen during the war resulting in the deaths of thousands of Hungarians.

Werdegast also accuses Poelzig of stealing his wife while he was in prison and learns that his friend has plans to sacrifice Joan in a satanic ritual.

NOTABLE: The Black Cat was the first of eight motion pictures to pair horror film legends Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and proved to be the biggest box office success of the year for Universal Pictures.

Some countiries required cuts to some of the films more gruesome scenes, while Italy, Finland, and Austria banned the film altogether.

The Black Cat was the first Universal Pictures production to introduce the major characters with actual film clips during the opening credits.


The Frankenstein Monster Comes To The Big Screen

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The classic 1931 film Frankenstein is loosely based on the nightmarish novel written by Mary Shelley in 1818. The film itself more closely resembles the 1920’s play by Peggy Webling. The Universal Studios motion picture was produced by Carl Laemmle Jr. and released the very same year as the equally notable horror classic Dracula.

Historically, the film was first put on film as a 16 minute silent picture by the Edison Company, and would again be created in a lost silent film by Joseph W. Smiley titled Life Without a Soul (1915).

Actor Colin Clive plays the mad scientist Dr. Henry Frankenstein whose experiments create artificial life by piecing together parts of the human body. The monster, played unforgettably by Boris Karloff, begins a reign of terror over the Bavarian countryside. In Shelly’s original novel, the monster’s savage behavior is the result of his mistreatment due to his inhuman appearance. In the film version, the monster’s actions are said to be a result of Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant Fritz (played creepily by Dwight Frye) providing a “criminal brain” to be used in its creation.

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