So most people generally tend to think of Dracula (1931) as being the first vampire movie to be released, ever… It isn’t, as a matter of fact… It is not even the first Dracula movie to be released ever….
Now I will get to the first Vampire movie ever made in a later post, but in this case I thought I might discuss with you the topic of the first Dracula movie!
Before I continue though, let me say this… Dracula (1931) may not be the first Dracula movie ever made… But it is the first, ‘legal’ Dracula film ever made, having received the right from Bram Stoker’s estate… Etc…
As for Nosferatu… That is another beast.
You see this movie… One could say, made absolutely no one famous, but made everyone infamous!
This movie was produced by a relatively new silent film studio by the name of Prana Studios. This studio’s owners, ‘Albin Prau’ and ‘Enrico Dieckmann’ built the studio with the intention of creating occult and supernatural films… And at least one Vampire movie!
And so Prana hired out the project to write the screenplay to Henrik Galeen (The Golem) to write a great vampire movie based on the works of, ‘Dracula’, by Bram Stoker!
Now Prana would try to do something basically kind of sneaky… You see due to Prana’s inability to get the rights to do a movie based on the work of, ‘Bram Stoker’. Henrik Galeen wrote a story that everyone had hoped was similar, albeit different enough to the work, so that they would not have to go through Bram Stoker’s estate That they would be able to get away with not having the rights to the story or any of it’s elements.
Prana, Murnau and the rest of the producers were banking alot on this, and opened up this German movie to a ton of fanfare… But after the movie was released to much fanfare, the Stoker estate tried and succeeded in suing Prana to stop the release and to destroy all copies of the movie!
Well unfortunately…. Or maybe fortunately (depending on how you see it…) Prana lost the lawsuit and ended up being ordered to destroy all copies of the movie… But with the movie having been released internationally, it gave people who had grown to become fans of the movie, the opportunity to create one of the earliest cult movies.
See what happened is, is this movie, by the time the courts ordered all copies destroyed, had already been sent out internationally… And a copy survived!
From this lone print, copies were made and distributed through out the world and survived as a cult (underground films,) all over the world… As a matter of fact, it gained such noteriety, that remakes have been made from this movie, songs have been based on this movie and stories have been written because of this work!
At this point, this movie no longer just has a, (cult following,) but is recognized internationally as one of the better silent era vampire movies… And the first representation of Dracula to be released!
For more information about this movie, please check out this trailer!