Dracula's Daughter (1936)

69 or 72 mins | Horror | 11 May 1936

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HISTORY

According to some contemporary sources, this film was based on the story Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker. However this story, originally a chapter of Stoker's novel Dracula , was not published until 1937, twenty-five years after the author's death. According to modern sources, the film Dracula's Daughter was also loosely based on the 1872 British novel Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, frequently called the first work of British fiction to deal with lesbian relationships. Oliver Jeffries, a name included in the onscreen credits after Stoker's with the words "Suggested by Oliver Jeffries," was a pseudonym for David O. Selznick, an executive producer at M-G-M from 1933 to 1936. According to news items in HR and DV , Selznick considered purchasing the story for use by M-G-M, however, Universal purchased the rights in Jul 1934. Information contained in the Universal properties book notes that the rights were obtained by Universal on 5 Oct 1934. The news items record that rights to the story were to revert to M-G-M if Universal did not begin production by Oct 1935, however, Universal was granted an extension to Feb 1936. HR notes that Universal began production in Feb 1936 with the script only partially completed in order to meet their final deadline. The SAB notes that Garrett Fort's screenplay was developed from a story by John L. Balderston, based on Stoker's story, and a production chart in HR credits the original story to Balderston and R. C. Sherriff. The Universal properties book indicates that Balderston's treatment, submitted to Universal in ... More Less

According to some contemporary sources, this film was based on the story Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker. However this story, originally a chapter of Stoker's novel Dracula , was not published until 1937, twenty-five years after the author's death. According to modern sources, the film Dracula's Daughter was also loosely based on the 1872 British novel Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, frequently called the first work of British fiction to deal with lesbian relationships. Oliver Jeffries, a name included in the onscreen credits after Stoker's with the words "Suggested by Oliver Jeffries," was a pseudonym for David O. Selznick, an executive producer at M-G-M from 1933 to 1936. According to news items in HR and DV , Selznick considered purchasing the story for use by M-G-M, however, Universal purchased the rights in Jul 1934. Information contained in the Universal properties book notes that the rights were obtained by Universal on 5 Oct 1934. The news items record that rights to the story were to revert to M-G-M if Universal did not begin production by Oct 1935, however, Universal was granted an extension to Feb 1936. HR notes that Universal began production in Feb 1936 with the script only partially completed in order to meet their final deadline. The SAB notes that Garrett Fort's screenplay was developed from a story by John L. Balderston, based on Stoker's story, and a production chart in HR credits the original story to Balderston and R. C. Sherriff. The Universal properties book indicates that Balderston's treatment, submitted to Universal in Jan 1934 (and possibly originally submitted to M-G-M), was the first, followed by a short treatment by Kurt Newman, that apparently was rejected. Subsequent to Sheriff's first screenplay submission in Jul 1935, he wrote three revisions through Oct 1935. Fort wrote two versions, one in Jan and one in Feb 1936. The final Fort screenplay, with revisions by Charles Belden in Mar 1936, was apparently the one used for the film, and he is the other writer credited onscreen, aside from Stoker.
       Bela Lugosi was initially slated to appear in the film, as noted by DV news items. Edward Van Sloan, who appeared as Professor Von Helsing, portrayed the same character in Universal's Dracula (see above). A pre-production news item credits Charles Carroll with sound. According to correspondence in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, a story was submitted unofficially to the Hays Office, which advised Carl Laemmle, Jr. that it was unacceptable under the guidelines of the Production Code. Further revisions by Sherriff were still found to contain an unacceptable "combination of sex and horror." In a letter to Joseph I. Breen, director of the Studio Relations Office of the AMPP, associate producer E. M. Asher announced that the first script had been discarded. During a Feb 1936 conference with Universal executive Harry Zehner, Asher and Fort, Hays officials requested that the scene in which the character Lili poses for a painting by Marya be handled in a manner to suggest that she was not modelling nude. In addition, they asked that "the whole sequence...will be treated in such a way as to avoid any suggestion of a perverse sexual desire on the part of Marya or of an attempted sexual attack by her upon Lili." In Apr 1936, the completed film was viewed and deemed acceptable by the Hays Office, although it was later rejected by some countries for its horror elements. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
15 Nov 35
p. 4.
Daily Variety
19 Nov 35
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 May 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 May 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Feb 36
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 36
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
2 May 36
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
4 May 36
p. 22.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Mar 36
p. 34.
Motion Picture Herald
9 May 36
p. 42.
New York Times
18 May 36
p. 14.
Variety
20 May 36
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Suggested by
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Supv film ed
COSTUMES
Gowns
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Sd supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Special cinematographer
MAKEUP
Hair
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr clerk
Prod secy
STAND INS
Stand-in for Otto Kruger
Stand-in for Gloria Holden
Stand-in for Marguerite Churchill
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on a work by Bram Stoker.
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
11 May 1936
Production Date:
4 February--10 March 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
20 May 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6370
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
69 or 72
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
2019
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Whitby, England, Professor Von Helsing is arrested for the murder of Count Dracula after he drives a wooden stake through his heart, and Renfield, Dracula's assistant, is found dead nearby. Sir Basil Humphrey of Scotland Yard refuses to believe that Dracula was a vampire and, that as one of the living dead, has already been dead for five hundred years. Von Helsing is convinced he has finally put Dracula to rest, but while his corpse is being guarded, a mysterious woman hypnotizes the guard and removes the body. The woman, Countess Marya Zaleska, Dracula's daughter, lights a funeral pyre in a rite to exorcise his spirit, hoping that this rite will also free her from the curse of the vampire. Marya and her companion, Sandor, who is in love with her, return to London, where, much to her dismay, she finds the same bloodthirsty urges calling her at night. At the same time Von Helsing seeks the assistance of his friend, psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth, for his defense. At Lady Esme Hammond's party, Jeffrey and his fiancée and secretary, Janet Blake, meet Marya. Jeffrey discusses Von Helsing's case and states that Von Helsing is merely deluded and can be cured. Marya sees Jeffrey for some personal counseling, hoping her vampirism is also a delusion that can be cured. Jeffrey advises her that the next time she feels the influence of the dead using her for their own will, she should face it, and fight it. Jeffrey is called away, and that night Marya attempts to follow his advice. She has Sandor bring in a young woman, Lili, to pose for one of her ... +


In Whitby, England, Professor Von Helsing is arrested for the murder of Count Dracula after he drives a wooden stake through his heart, and Renfield, Dracula's assistant, is found dead nearby. Sir Basil Humphrey of Scotland Yard refuses to believe that Dracula was a vampire and, that as one of the living dead, has already been dead for five hundred years. Von Helsing is convinced he has finally put Dracula to rest, but while his corpse is being guarded, a mysterious woman hypnotizes the guard and removes the body. The woman, Countess Marya Zaleska, Dracula's daughter, lights a funeral pyre in a rite to exorcise his spirit, hoping that this rite will also free her from the curse of the vampire. Marya and her companion, Sandor, who is in love with her, return to London, where, much to her dismay, she finds the same bloodthirsty urges calling her at night. At the same time Von Helsing seeks the assistance of his friend, psychiatrist Jeffrey Garth, for his defense. At Lady Esme Hammond's party, Jeffrey and his fiancée and secretary, Janet Blake, meet Marya. Jeffrey discusses Von Helsing's case and states that Von Helsing is merely deluded and can be cured. Marya sees Jeffrey for some personal counseling, hoping her vampirism is also a delusion that can be cured. Jeffrey advises her that the next time she feels the influence of the dead using her for their own will, she should face it, and fight it. Jeffrey is called away, and that night Marya attempts to follow his advice. She has Sandor bring in a young woman, Lili, to pose for one of her paintings, but is unable to resist the need for Lili's blood and attacks her. After she is found in the alley, Lili is rushed to the hospital and, diagnosed as an amnesia case, is placed under Jeffrey's care. He recognizes the symptoms of a post-hypnotic trance and notices puncture wounds, which are like those discovered on a man the night before. He becomes suspicious of Marya upon recalling their strange discussion. Jeffrey warns Marya not to leave London. While he brings Lili out of her trance, Jeffrey discovers where she was assaulted, after which she dies. Meanwhile, Sandor has kidnapped Janet under orders from Marya so Jeffrey will come to her. Jeffrey finds Marya at her studio, where she tells him she will do anything to be rid of Dracula's curse and hints that she has Janet. Marya disappears, and when Von Helsing later tells Jeffrey she has probably returned to Transylvania, Jeffrey charters a plane and goes to the castle alone. There, Marya promises to save Janet's life if he will allow her to make him a vampire and join her for eternity. In a jealous rage, Sandor attempts to kill Jeffrey with a wooden bow and arrow, but accidentally pierces Marya's heart, killing her forever. Just as this happens, Sir Humphrey, Von Helsing and the police arrive and kill Sandor. Marya's death releases Janet from unconsciousness, and she and Jeffrey are reunited. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.