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2015-11-07 03:56 pm (UTC)
I'm flat-out delighted that you got to watch the Browning "Dracula." It's uneven, it's messy, and it has the best Renfield I've ever seen. Dwight Frye and his big burning eyes are the unpredictable element that stays unpredictable--the monster has to pretend to be human, Dracula's actions are limited more and more, but no one ever puts Renfield in a corner or defines him.
The one big decision Browning made that I think is a net plus, is having Renfield be in Jonathan's position at the beginning of the story. He becomes the most developed character in the movie, if only because so much change is thrust upon him, while everyone else manages to remain static or return to what they were.
Yanno, I think you could make a case for Renfield as protagonist of a tragedy. He does the things he does at the beginning of the movie because he doesn't know any better, then he has no choice. Everything he does becomes inevitable because of who he is. First lawyer (or real estate agent? Not sure), then civilized man: doing your job and being polite sure do get you punished here. No wonder I like his arc. It's very M.R. James/Lovecraft/E. Nesbit horror story, where Nerd Does An Innocuous Thing And Then Suffers For It.
I'm about the same when it comes to the overall arc of the movie--the action shifts to England and gets blah, and I peace out till Renfield shows back up and starts going, "Rats! Raaats! RAAAAATS!" It's hard to make Renfield boring, even with lesser actors, and Dwight Frye may be hammy but he's never dull.
Maybe I'll have to watch "The Monster That Challenged The World." It sounds like my sort of thing, and you think highly of it, which usually means I'll also appreciate it. And I need to have watched "Aliens" like yesterday.
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