Despite the greatness of Murnau's NOSFERATU before it and Guy Maddin's DRACULA: PAGES FROM A VIRGIN'S DIARY after it, Tod Browning's Universal classic (the centerpiece of this cd) remains the standard version of Bram Stoker's tale. In large part this is due to Browning's astonishing sets and the superbly textured deep focus cinematography of Karl Freund. The Castle Dracula, and later the vampuire's stronghold in the UK, Carfax Abbey, are masterfully conveyed with giant sets and superb matte paintings. Bela Lugosi's performance is nothing to compare with, say, Boris Karloff's sensitive rendition of Frankenstein's monster in a nearly contemporary Universal film, but you still will see why it made him a screen legend: he is wonderfully charismatic, and he uses his long hands to spectacular effect. The mise-en-scene is often quite static, but it's the tableaux from this fil one remembers: the brides of the vampire swooping down of Renfield in the castle from the foreground; Renfield (Dwight Frye, in a classic performance) staring up, grinning madly, from the belowdecks of the doomed Vesta; Dracula swooping up Mina (Helen Chandler) in the vertical slash of his cloak in the fogbound grounds of the Seward Asylum. The film provides the option of a beautiful, if incredibly obtrusive, contemporary Philip Glass score since the original film was also without music altogether (which to my mind only enhances its creepiness). There's also the full film of the alternative Spanish-language version filmed on the same sets at night (to save money). Although many cineastes consider the Spanish version actually better than Browning's version, thanks to its enhanced eroticism, greater use of mise-en-scene and greater scene-to-scene continuity, this reviewer felt it crucially lacks the creepier static qualities of the Browning version.