Bela Lugosi Collection

Bela Lugosi Collection

DVD - 2007
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ManMachine
Dec 31, 2014

After patiently sitting through all nine (Yes - 9!) of these Bela Lugosi vehicles, I'm now quite convinced of one thing - And, that is - If you've seen Bela in one of his movies, then, by-cracky, you've seen him in them all.

I know that that's a really sorry thing to say, but, believe me, it's true.

Bela Lugosi was what I would call a "one-note" actor. By that, I mean his performances from one movie to the next were all so alike that one really cannot distinguish any of his character portrayals from another.

And, hey, if that isn't bad enough - I also found all of Bela's roles had a tendency to come across as being nothing but pathetic parodies.

The nine movies in this collection (which mainly consisted of absurd and inferior murder-mysteries) cover the years from between 1932-1947. In that period of time Lugosi starred in approx. 50 films, all super low-budget "quickies" with running times of about 65 minutes.

Already seriously addicted to morphine during this stretch of his long acting career, Lugosi (born 1882) died of heart failure in 1956. His very last film was Ed Wood's z-grade wonder "Plan 9 From Outer Space", which, of course, was released posthumously in 1959, 3 years following his inevitable death.

c
cineaste
Aug 20, 2013

I didn't watch all the films on this collection (although I have seen most of them on occasion during the previous century). My reason for checking it out this time was to revisit "The Black Cat." This is a fever-dream worthy of Luis Bunuel. Lugosi and Karloff together again. All kinds of horror film cliches--a stormy-night car crash and a newly-wed couple forced to seek shelter and spend the night in a creepy home, satanic cults, torture, obsession, revenge, creepy servants. Lugosi has here acquired a better command of spoken English since "Dracula," while Karloff's sonorous, lisping delivery is among his finest. Two immortal hams tearing each other to pieces (literally, in one scene). Still, it all works. Great sets, over-the-top music score. Director Edgar G. Ulmer was a master of low-budget melodramas. He was later to direct "Detour," a legendary film noir masterpiece.

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