THE COUNT: The Life and Films of Bela ""Dracula"" Lugosi by Arthur Lennig

THE COUNT: The Life and Films of Bela ""Dracula"" Lugosi

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What a happy inspiration this is, a life of Lugosi that restores his dignity as an actor, his magnetic delivery, his wit and Hungarian charm. Lennig turns out to be an ideal Lugosi biographer, worshipful but entirely literate, not the usual tired phrasemaker of movie bios. Once you start, you can't put this book down, so riveting are Bela's eyes, the ""tongue that was too big for his mouth"" (as someone once said), his stressed consonants and hypnotically drawn out vowels, ""as if he were forcing a mouth long dead to move again."" Lugosi passed up his chance to play the original Frankenstein monster, gave the plum to Karloff because Lugosi feared heavy makeup would ruin his sexy image as a matinee idol. (Always a villain, he fancied himself a romantic lead.) He'd just scored enormously as Dracula, a success which imprisoned him in weird roles. He said about his films that he'd never been given a chance. For his last ten years his flicks were of a quality beneath contempt; he grew ever more haggard. But when he spoke, even his worst pictures sprang alive (in his last two he didn't even speak). He became weird in real life, was buried in his Dracula cape. A moving, lively, witty, sad book that revives once more the longk dead-d Count Dr-racula: ""I bid you--welcome--to Transylvania!

Pub Date: June 24th, 1974
Publisher: Putnam