Film Review – DRACULA’S DAUGHTER (1936)

DRACULA’S DAUGHTER (1936, USA, 71m, PG) ***
Drama, Fantasy, Horror
dist. Universal Pictures; pr co. Universal Pictures; d. Lambert Hillyer; w. Garrett Fort (based on the story “Dracula’s Guest” by Bram Stoker); pr. E.M. Asher; ph. George Robinson (B&W | 1.37:1); m. Heinz Roemheld; ed. Milton Carruth; ad. Albert S. D’Agostino.
cast: Otto Kruger (Jeffrey Garth), Gloria Holden (Countess Marya Zaleska), Marguerite Churchill (Janet), Edward Van Sloan (Professor Von Helsing), Gilbert Emery (Sir Basil Humphrey), Irving Pichel (Sandor), Halliwell Hobbes (Hawkins), Billy Bevan (Albert), Nan Grey (Lilis), Hedda Hopper (Lady Esme Hammond), Claud Allister (Sir Aubreys), Edgar Norton (Hobbs), E.E. Clive (Sergeant Wilkes).
This sequel to Universal’s 1931 adaptation of DRACULA commences where that film left off with Von Helsing (Van Sloan) arrested for the murder of Count Dracula. Dracula’s “daughter” (Holden) is still alive — and the Count’s death has brought her no closer to eradicating her vampiric thirst for blood. When attempts to free herself of the disease fail, she turns to psychiatrist Kruger for assistance, but soon finds herself struggling with her inner demons. The film lacks the gothic atmosphere of the original and underuses Van Sloan. Holden holds the screen well but there is little progression of the plot during the scenes in London leading to a rushed finale’s return to Castle Dracula in Transylvania. A nice touch is the humorous verbal interplay between Kruger and his secretary Churchill.  Followed by SON OF DRACULA (1943).

Film Review – SANTA FE (1951)

Image result for santa fe 1951SANTA FE (USA, 1951) *
     Distributor: Columbia Pictures; Production Company: Scott-Brown Productions; Release Date: 1 April 1951; Filming Dates: mid Jine 1950 – late June 1950; Running Time: 87m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording); Film Format: 35mm; Film Process: Spherical; Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1; BBFC Cert: U.
     Director: Irving Pichel; Writer: Kenneth Gamet (based on a story by Louis Stevens and the novel by Donald G. Payne (as James Marshall)); Producer: Harry Joe Brown; Director of Photography: Charles Lawton Jr.; Music Composer: Paul Sawtell; Film Editor: Gene Havlick; Art Director: Walter Holscher; Set Decorator: Frank Tuttle; Sound: Frank Goodwin.
     Cast: Randolph Scott (Britt Canfield), Janis Carter (Judith Chandler), Jerome Courtland (Terry Canfield), Peter M. Thompson (Tom Canfield (as Peter Thompson)), John Archer (Clint Canfield), Warner Anderson (Dave Baxter), Roy Roberts (Cole Sanders), Billy House (Luke Plummer), Olin Howland (Dan Dugan (as Olin Howlin)), Allene Roberts (Ella Sue Canfield), Jock Mahoney (Crake (as Jock O’Mahoney)), Harry Cording (Moose Legrande), Sven Hugo Borg (‘Swede’ Swanstrom), Frank Ferguson (Marshal Bat Masterson), Irving Pichel (Harned), Harry Tyler (Rusty), Chief Thundercloud (Chief Longfeather), Paul E. Burns (Uncle Dick Wootton).
     Synopsis: After the Civil War four brothers who fought for the South head west. Yanks are building the Santa Fe Railroad and one of the brothers joins them. The other three still hold their hatred of the North and join up with those trying to stop the railroad’s completion.
     Comment: Disjointed and unevenly directed Western still has its moments, but it uneasily blends melodrama with comic relief. Whilst Scott is as capable as ever in the lead, the film is not one of his best. The story puts Scott up against his brothers in the aftermath of the Civil War. What follows is largely episodic but confines its focus to the construction race and the associated incidents. There is no real standout in production or performance other than Scott’s typically stoic persona and some nice moments of comic relief.