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Dracula's Daughter



Gloria Holden - Countess Marya Zaleska
Otto Kruger - Dr. Jeffrey Garth
Marguerite Churchill - Janet Blake
Edward Van Sloan - Prof. Von Helsing
Gilbert Emery - Sir Basil Humphrey
Irving Pichel - Sandor
Lambert Hillyer - Director
E. M. Asher - Producer
Garrett Fort - Screenwriter
George Robinson - Cinematographer
Albert S. D'Agostino - Art Director
Heinz Roemheld - Film Score

Gloria Holden Curiously neglected, perhaps because it had no stars, this first sequel to Dracula (1931)--based on Bram Stoker's story "Dracula's Guest"--is in many ways the better film, though obviously made on an extremely low budget. Picking up exactly where Dracula left off, it has the police arrive at Carfax Abbey, find Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan again) with the bodies of Dracula and Renfield, and arrest him for murder. A strange woman in blcak (Gloria Holden) appears and, after hypnotizing the police guarding it, removes Dracula's body. In a lonely forest, holding a crucifix and intoning an exorcism, she consigns her father's body to the flames. As Dracula's daughter condemned to the nocturnal agitations of a vampire, she years to be free, and confides her problem to Dr. Garth (Otto Kruger), a sympathetic psychologist who adviser her that she must confront her porblem if she wishes to be free of it.

After this slow, moody, beautifully shot--by George Robinson--and acted--in an extraordinarily effective low-key tone--first impressive part, the film begins to stutter a little. It never, however, falls apart completely and still boasts at least one remarkable scene in which, determined to test her resolve to resist, Holden has her slavishly devoted retainer Sandor (Irving Pichel) bring her a model to pose for her. The erotic undertones as she asks the girl (Nan Grey) to lower her shoulder straps for a head-and-shoulders portrait--and almost loses control, whereupon the camera cuts to a grinning mask on the wall--are far more subtly expressive than the explicit lesbian nudges offered in Blood and Roses (1960) and the films that followed in its wake.

Even the flurry of action towards the end--acknowledging the impossibility of cure but in love with Kruger, she tries to force him to go to Transylvania with her by kidnapping his fiancee (Marguerite Churchill)--contrives to maintain the mood of bleak and hopeless desperation that only ends when she finally sacrifices herself to save the man she loves for death at the hands of the jealous Sandor.

--PHIL HARDY, ed. from The Encyclopedia of
Horror Films
, 1986

Kruger & Holden Universal brought the golden hage of horror full circle with a sequel to the story that had started it. Lambert Hillyer directed Gloria Holden, and unknown from London, as Countess Marya Zaleska from Transylvania, otherwise Dracula's Daughter (1936). A moon-faced beauty, Hungarian of cheekbone, slumber-lidded of eye, Miss Holden played with sombre restraint as the cursed soul who sought only release. She intoned lines by John Balderston and Garrett Fort with sadness and belief, aided perhaps by some years in radio. Stealing the staked corpse of her father, she presides over his funeral pyre.

Unto Adoni and Aseroth, into the keeping of the lords of the flame and lower pits, I consign this body, to be for evermore consumed in this purging fire. Let all baleful spirits that threaten the souls of men be banished by the sprinkling of this salt. Be thou exorcized, O Dracula, and thy body long undead, find destruction throughout eternity in the name of thy dark, unholy master. In the name of the all holiest, and through this cross, be the evil spirit cast out until the end of time.

Her own epitaph is less wordy but more telling. Says old Van Helsing (old Van Sloan), "She was as beautiful as when she died--a hundred years ago." The Countess had expired at the hands of her jealous servant, Sandor (Irving Pichel in black hair and nostrils), shot through the heart by his wooden arrow. It was a fitting funeral for the first Universal epoch.

--DENIS GIFFORD, from A Pictorial History
of Horror Movies
, 1973

A selection of Dracula's Daughter related films.

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A selection of Dracula's Daughter in books.

A History of Horror

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