Bram Stoker Dracula Compatibility Between the Films and Book

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Dracula, a novel by Bram Stroker, is currently still known for being one of the most successful novels in literary history. No other novels have been subjected to the popularity of transforming into a movie as much as Dracula (1897). The book Dracula has been made into various film productions that remain serving justice to the author of the original work.

Because of the expense it takes to create a film, it creates difficulty for a novel to be reproduced into a movie. The length of a book must be compacted into a reasonable time limit, typically one to two hours. Because the novel needs to be compacted, there are factors missing from the movie that are essential to the storyline, such as important characters or events. But one true issue of a novel based motion picture is fabrication. The producers either add or eliminate an event or character which would change the actual storyline to conserve the visual appeal, which changes the authors work.

In 1922 the first motion picture based off Bram Stoker’s Dracula is Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s Nosferatu: Eine Symphonie des Grauens (The Symphony of Horror) was released. Nosfratu is known as the first novel based movie of Bram Stoker’s vampire story Dracula. Film historians of the genre consider it to be the father film and Holy Grail of all Dracula reproductions. Nosferatu is seen as the most influential but most unfortunate at the same time, because of legal restrictions the film was released but taken from the public for about 50 years. The producers Prana Films used contents straight from the novel without using any copyright authorization from Bram Stoker. This caused a lawsuit which the court was on Bram Stoker’s side therefore causing the takedown of the classic film. Prana Films argued that the film was different from the novel because the movie altered the setting, plot, and names of all the main characters. Opposed to the novels plot of the destruction of Dracula, the film focused its plot to problems all caused over a woman.

The setting and the characters of the novel are additionally changed by the substance of the first content. The timeframe slides from the late 1890s to the late 1830s, in this manner killing the whole thought of significance of the Industrial Revolution. The film is set in Germany and Bremen rather than London and Transylvania. The names of the heroes are additionally manufactured. Dracula is marvelously played by Max Schreck. Murnau’s Orlock is the main screen rendition of Dracula that catches the basic awfulness that Stoker planned.

As depicted by David Skal in his book, The Monster Show: ‘without precedent for the film, obtusely superimposed the human and the creature to make a picture of overpowering fear’ (Skal 48). Mina who is currently Ellen (Nina is used in certain translations) is played by Greda Schroder, the Professor depicted by John Gottowt, is a subordinate of Van Helsing, Harker is played by Gustav Von Wagenheim and is presently known as Hutter, lastly the tally’s accessory is currently alluded to as Knock, which is a bending of Renfield, is played by Alexander Granach.

The victim of the first assault in Murnau’s film is Hutter. Dracula never assaults Harker in the novel, rather Dracula’s vampire ladies coordinate the underlying assault on Harker. The assault comes after Hutter slashes his finger on a blade while endeavoring to cut himself a bit of bread. Hutter is the check’s first injured individual and Ellen, his better half, is the last. The vampire’s assault on Lucy, who is available in the film yet effectively wedded and of no genuine noteworthiness, is killed from Murnau’s rendition.

These real contrasts from novel to film simply depicted exceed the similarities in the 1922 film. In spite of the fact that the similitudes are not many, they are exact. Similarly as depicted in the content, the carriage driver that vehicles Hutter from the Borgo Pass to the château is the check. While looking through the substance of the manor, Hutter finds the vampire in the pine box. The transportation of Orlock and his earth boxes (despite the fact that the quantity of boxes reduces in amount) on the Demeter is likewise precise.

The second adjustment of Stoker’s novel is Universal Picture’s Dracula. The executive, Tod Browning, and the screenplay producer, Garret Fort, put together this realistic adjustment with respect to Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston’s stage adjustment of Bram Stoker’s novel. Discharged in 1931, Tod Browning’s Dracula is the primary vampire sound film and the most acclaimed of the class. The prominence of the film is due to Bela Lugosi’s elucidation of Count Dracula. With his valid Balkan pronunciation and his evil appearance, Lugosi’s Dracula caught pop culture’s creative energy of what a bona fide vampire is. The iconography of Dracula’s physical appearance and character is an immediate consequence of Lugosi’s depiction of the vampire.

In 1930, Universal Pictures purchased the rights to Dracula from Florence Stoker, Stoker’s widow, for the quantity of $40,000. The business enterprise’s producer, Carl Laemmle Jr., initially meant Dracula to be a huge finances film after witnessing the fulfillment of the theatrical production. Due to economic regulations, in large part because of the stock market crash, Laemmle became cautious of overspending and decided to base the movie on the Deane/Balderston play rather than direct content material from the radical. Except for the elaborate stage units built for the movie, the relaxation of the production changed into finished beneath very tight budget restrictions. The entire forged became set, including Helen Chandler (Mina), David Manners (Harker), Dwight Frye (Renfeild), Edward Von Sloan (Van Helsing) and Francis Dade (Lucy), except the most essential player in the movie, Dracula.

After numerous contemplations and following the passing of Carmelizing’s first decision for the film, Lon Chaney Jr., General gotten the obscure Bela Lugosi, in the job he appeared to be bound to play, for a small amount of the cost paid to the less significant characters ($500 a week contrasted with the $3,500 they paid Manner in a progressively subordinate job). As flawlessly expressed by David Skal in Hollywood Gothic, ‘Lugosi marked, in ink, not understanding he had made an agreement in blood’ (Skal 125). This is valid because of the way that subsequent to beginning as Dracula, Lugosi was pigeonholed and stereotyped as just having the capacity to play Dracula. Lugosi would play Dracula till his passing and was really covered in one of his capes. Dracula was an amazing achievement and increased global recognition with the reflected accomplishment of the Spanish rendition recorded at the same time with the Sautéing form. All inclusive’s benefits expanded significantly because of the staggering accomplishment of the film and as per James Holte, creator of Dracula In obscurity, ‘Dracula may have spared Widespread Pictures from chapter 11’ (Holte 38).

After many considerations and following the death of Browning’s first choice for the film, Lon Chaney Jr., Universal contracted the unknown Bela Lugosi, in the role he seemed destined to play, for a fraction of the cost paid to the less important characters ($500 a week compared to the $3,500 they paid Manners in a more subordinate role). As perfectly stated by David Skal in Hollywood Gothic, “Lugosi signed, in ink, not realizing he had made a pact in blood” (Skal 125). This is true due to the fact that after starting as Dracula, Lugosi was typecast and stereotyped as only being able to play Dracula. Lugosi would play Dracula till his death and was actually buried in one of his capes. Dracula was a phenomenal success and gained international praise with the mirrored success of the Spanish version filmed simultaneously with the Browning version. Universal’s profits increased dramatically due to the overwhelming success of the film and according to James Holte, author of Dracula in the Dark, “Dracula may have saved Universal Pictures from bankruptcy” (Holte 38).

Tod Browning’s Dracula opens just as it does in the novel. Stoker’s initial plot is respected with a young, ambitious solicitor traveling from London to Transylvania to finalize the purchase of Carfax Abbey to an aristocratic count named Dracula. But unlike the contents of the novel, the young solicitor is substituted. In Browning’s version, it is R.M. Renfield, not Jonathan Harker that is picked up at the Borgo Pass. The initial introduction of Renfield to Count Dracula is slightly varied but accurate. They exchange dialogue similar to the novel during which, in one instance, Dracula utters one of his most famous lines, “Listen to them- the children of the night. What music they make!” (Stoker 19). As Dracula leads Renfield to his quarters, Dracula walks through a giant spider web leaving his guest paralyzed with disbelief. This is one of the few examples in which Browning depicts Dracula’s Supernatural powers.

After reviewing the documents concerning his real estate purchase, Dracula offers his guest nourishment to replenish the energy lost during his journey. Then in a scene reminiscent of Murnau’s film, Renfield suffers a paper cut at the table. Upon seeing the abrasion, Dracula advances towards Renfield but is repelled by his guest’s crucifix. The crucifix was given to Renfield by a native woman at the inn to which she accompanies with, “for your mother’s sake” (Stoker 5), as is described in Stoker’s tale. After drinking the wine offered to him by his host, our protagonist falls unconscious and is approached by Dracula’s brides. As the women advance, Dracula appears and prevents their intentions with a slight hand gesture, this eliminating the dialogue exchange in Stoker’s novel. Browning takes the sequence of events described above, which occur throughout several entries in Harker’s journal, but Murnau compacts them all into one night.

Upon reaching London, Browning deviates from Stoker’s text and continues the film utilizing the Deane/ Balderston play script. Unlike the novel, Dracula’s first victim in London is a flower girl in the streets, not Lucy. Dracula then enters the theatre and introduces himself to Dr. Seward, who in turn, introduces the count to his daughter, Mina, Lucy Weston and Mina’s fiancé, Harker. This interaction thus eliminates Dr. Seward as one of Lucy’s potential suitors along with the other two, Holmwood and Morris, which are completely stricken from the script. Again we witness the restrictions that Browning suffered as described in The Celluloid Vampires: “Characters have been eliminated, apparently for the sole purpose of holding down expenses”(Murphy 18). Turning Dr. Seward into Mina’s father in the film is also a perversion of Stoker’s dialogue.

Dracula’s introduction and incorporation at the theatre proves costly as Lucy pays with her life. He next sets his intentions on Mina after insinuating himself as a frequent visitor in the Seward estate. Baffled by the occurrences and ailments surrounding his daughter, Dr. Seward seeks the experience of his colleague, Prof. Van Helsing. As quickly as he is introduced, Van Helsing attributes the occurrences to the malicious work of a vampire. The sage professor exposes Dracula’s identity after utilizing a mirrored box, to which Dracula casts no reflection. Mina at this point is coming into the final stages of her transformation and is abducted by Dracula. The vampire flees but is followed by Van Helsing, Harker, and also Renfield. Unlike Stoker’s novel, Browning’s climatic conclusion is set in Carfax Abbey, not in Dracula’s Transylvanian castle.

After kidnapping Mina, he murders Renfield for transgressing against him and seeks refuge in his coffin as the sun rises. Van Helsing discovers Dracula’s resting place and impales the vampire with a stake through the heart. This action completely eradicates Harker’s participation in the destruction of the vampire as described in Mina’s last entry in her journal. She writes, “But, on the instant, came a sweep and flash of Jonathan’s great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat” (Stoker 378). Browning takes an unorthodox approach and portrays Dracula’s destruction off screen. The final scene of Universal Picture’s Dracula is Mina and Harker, nested in each other’s embrace, ascending the grand steps of Carfax Abbey.

The final installment of the Dracula Trilogy based on Bram Stoker’s novel is Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Coppola’s film actually was set to be released with an alternate title, in The Vampire Film: From Nosferatu to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the two authors add: “ Originally entitled Dracula: The Untold Story ” (Silver, Ursini 155). With a screenplay by James V. Hart, the film was released in 1992 and was the winner of three Academy Awards for best make-up, best sound effects editing, and best costume design. Coppola’s film is supported by an all-star cast that includes Gary Oldman (Dracula), Winona Ryder (Mina), Anthony Hopkins (Van Helsing), and Keanu Reeves (Harker). It is the most expensive vampire movie ever produced and also the most loyal in elements of literary accuracy.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula is considered the most important interpretation of Stoker’s novel since the late 1970s. The film was highly successful and grossed more than $ 32 million dollars. When asked by the producer why remake Dracula when its be done countless times, Hart responded, “Because the real Dracula has never been done before. Anyone who has read Bram Stoker’s brilliant, erotic Gothic novel can understand that my answer was not meant to be arrogant, but rather reverent of Stoker’s literary classic”(Holte 82). Columbia Pictures decided to produce the film, which resulted in the most expensive, and the most spectacular Dracula screen version ever produced.

Although Coppola’s introduction and conclusion are completely fabricated, his version is the most authentic in terms of literary text. Coppola’s storyline is reduced and occurrences of events are mixed in order of sequence but extremely accurate when compared to the contents of the novel. Although the introductory scenes are greatly influenced by the discoveries of Dracula scholars Raymond McNally and Radu Florescu, Coppola incorporates two key elements overlooked by his predecessors.

Coppola’s version is the only film that includes every single character that appears in the novel. Earlier versions eliminate or downsize the participation and important contributions that Lucy, Seward, Holmwood, Morris, Dracula’s brides, and even Berserker play in Stoker’s novel. Also it is the only version that depicts the technological advances produced during the Industrial Revolution. These elements and others are the reason why some film critics believe Coppola’s version to be superior, as John Tibbets and James Welsh describe in their book Novels into Films: “to date, the most faithful adaptation of the book is Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (Tibbetts, Welsh 67).

Unlike the previous reproductions of Dracula, as described by Leonard Wolf’s introduction in the Signet Classics edition, “The film starts in the 15th century and directly identifies Dracula as the historical Vlad Tepes” (Stoker XV). Dracula is represented as a feudal warlord that defends the Catholic Church against the invasion of the Muslim Turks, which he later briefly explains to Harker. Coppola uses direct and accurate dialogue in the film that comes unmolested directly from the book. I’d say about 80% of Coppola’s film is direct dialogue from Stoker. For example, in the novel between pages 29 to 31 of Dracula, the count explains to Harker his lineage and his hereditary participation in the Order of the Dracul (Dragon in Romanian) and their demise.

In the film, this dialogue is exchanged during the completion of the purchase of the Count’s new London estate. Harked notices a portrait of a gentleman behind the Count and inquires as to his identity due to the striking resemblance. Harker is oblivious that the portrait is of the Count before his vampirism. Dracula says, “The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days of Dishonorable peace; and the glories of the great races are but a tale that is told” (Stoker 31). This interaction is depicted word for word in the film.

While murdering masses in the name of the church on his campaign against the Turks, his wife, Elizabeta receives false news that Vlad has been killed in battle. Overcome with grief she commits suicide. Upon his return from a victorious campaign, he finds his deceased wife on the floor of his chapel and is informed by the priests that due to her suicide her soul cannot be saved and she cannot be buried on consecrated ground. Vlad’s overwhelming grief transforms into uncontrollable rage. Dracula screams words of sacrilege and heresy as he curses God. He then turns to the priest (who many do not recognize, but is Anthony Hopkins) and asks if this is his reward for defending God’s church. He draws his sword and thrusts it into the cross, which overflows with enormous amounts of blood. He takes a chalice and fills it with the blood flowing from the crucifix. As he drinks from the chalice, he utters the words, “the blood is the life”, a phrase frequently repeated by Renfield, thus completing his vampirism.

The film then shifts to 19th century London. Jonathan Harker is sent by his firm to finalize the purchase of Carfax Abbey by a certain Count Dracula. This is the outset of complete and direct dialogue from the novel. Just as in the novel, Coppola’s film is divided into several sections that consist of journal, diary, phonograph, and telegram entries and is the only film version that utilizes these medias as narratives as in the case of the novel. Coppola’s interpretation is the only version that portrays the advances of technology during the Industrial Revolution. These inventions are displayed in the novel and helps evolve the progression of the characters. They aid in the destruction of Dracula and in the communication and organization amongst themselves.

The author of Vampire Legends in Contemporary American Culture sums it up best. He states, “ through the scenes in the cinematograph, Coppola shows us in our continuity with as well as our distance from the Victorians; they were the end of an era but the beginning of our own” (Day 77). For this reason Coppola incorporates them into the film. Coppola’s masterpiece reduces the storyline, although the central plot remains unmolested, and occurrences of events are mixed in order of continuity but precise and accurate. The dialogue, which is directly transferred from the novel, is integrated in parts of the film where the scene and dialogue are not compatible to the format of the novel due to time restriction but spoken word for word.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the only adaptation that includes every single character that appears in the novel without any deviation of personality or participation in occurrences. The only character that suffers any real creative interference is Dracula himself. Coppola does not portray Dracula as a monstrous, malicious entity as Stoker does; rather Dracula becomes a tragic, romantic soul in a quest for true love. After losing his wife to the church, Vlad believes she has been reincarnated in the person of Harker’s wife, Mina Murray. In a scene reminiscent of Murnau’s Nosferatu, Dracula sees a picture of Mina while finalizing the real estate documents with Harker. Dracula believes that he has been giving a second chance with the love life that was violently taken away from him as he describes to his demon brides when he interrupts their seduction of Harker.

The vampire bride tells him that he has never loved, to what Dracula responds, “Yes, I, too can love; you yourselves can tell it from the past” (Stoker 40). To justify this response more clearly Hart adds at the end of the sentence, “and I shall love again”. Not only does he loose his earthy love but also God’s love in a deeper sense. Due to this fabrication, Coppola’s Dracula transforms from a Victorian horror tale to a dark romance.

Due to the fact that Coppola’s version is so authentic regarding the text and its dialogue, which does not mean that this film version does not suffer its own set of fabrications. The major deviation from Stoker’s novel is the fabricated conclusion substituting the literary ending. In the novel, Dracula is destroyed by being impaled in the heart with a bowie knife and having his jugular lacerated, compliments of Quincy Morris and Jonathan Harker. The film portrays the identical events as described in Mina’s last journal entry, but that is not where the vampire perishes. Bleeding to death, Dracula is escorted into castle Dracula by Mina, due to having fallen in love and believing that she is the reincarnation of Elizabeta.

Their destination is the chapel, which is the initial scene of the film where Vlad discovers his deceased wife and the location of his damnation to vampirism. Realizing that he had been defeated, he asks Mina to give him peace. At Vlad’s request, Mina thrusts Morris’ knife completely through Dracula’s heart. A celestial light penetrates from the chapel window, symbolizing Vlad’s return to God’s grave and love. Once dead, Mina removes the knife and decapitates Vlad, thus ending the dark reign of Count Dracula. As the scene fades, there appears a fresco of Vlad and Elizabeta reunited, surrounded by clouds. This provides the viewer with the notion that both are in God’s kingdom, never to be separated again

In conclusion, although many prestigious directors and skillful actors have attempted to recreate Stoker’s horror classic, not one has been completely successful. F.W. Murnau is successful in capturing Stoker’s aspect of horror and darkness, like the other German expressionist films of the early 1920s such as The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. His illusional use of shadows and the grotesque appearance of Count Orlock cements the eerie and cold feeling that Stoker’s novel intended. Tod Browning’s Version is successful in portraying the aristocratic personality that Count Dracula displays to Harker in their initial encounters. Browning’s film is also responsible for the iconography associated with Dracula in popular culture.

Finally, Francis Ford Coppola manages to incorporate the historical aspect behind Stoker’s novel with the person of Vlad Tepes. He also grasps the eroticism and sexuality hidden between the lines of Victorian novels; he incorporates the realistic world surrounding the literary characters. Coppola is the only director to provide a sense of authenticity through direct and accurate incorporation of the text’s plot, themes, and dialogue. Even if there were a method of combining Murnau’s, Browning’s, and Coppola’s versions, this conjunction would still fall short. Each version is loyal to Stoker’s novel in it’s own unique way but subordinate when compared.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is considered one of the greatest Victorian classics ever committed to paper. Dracula has become the most important reoccurring literary manifestation in film. Even though he is destroyed in the pages of the novel, he has managed to immortalize himself in cinema for more than a century. Dracula’s legacy can never be entirely reproduced, no matter what media is utilized. The Count has survived decades of reproduction and with Hollywood’s obvious obsession with the legendary vampire, it appears he will endure additional decades to come. Whoever would have imagined that the character Stoker invented to symbolize death, fear, and evil would become the world’s most beloved monster.


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