comic | The true and tragic story of Bela Lugosi, the “Dracula” of Hollywood




On February 12, 1931, it premiered draculathe adaptation of Tod Browning from the novel of bram stokerwhich would change the history of cinema by starting Universal’s famous series of horror films and introducing us to Bela Lugosi, the first Dracula in history and for many the best. However, that impressive Hollywood debut did not prevent the actor’s life from was marked by continuous failures and his addiction to morphine. A life that discovers us the wonderful comic Lugosi. Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula (gorge editions)by the Israeli-American illustrator koren shadmi (Bionic).

We all remember the fabulous interpretation of Lugosi that Martin Landau (which would win an Oscar), made in Ed Wood (1994), Tim Burton’s masterpiece. A tape that recreated the last days of the life of the Austro-Hungarian actor, when he was admitted to a detoxification center and collaborated with Ed Wood (Johnny Depp), director of the worst film in the history of cinema, Plan 9 from Outer Spacefor which he would use some images of Lugosi shot in the last months of his life.

Koren also starts from those last days of Lugosi, specifically from that internment in the clinic, to recreate his entire life, from his childhood in Lugoj to his death in Hollywood. Precisely his artistic surname (Lugosi), he would choose it as a tribute to that town where he was born in 1882 (his real name was Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó).





Page from ‘Lugosi. The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula’

Son of a bank employee, actor and trade unionist

How we see in the comic, Lugosi was the youngest of four brothers and always wanted to be an actor, which led him to clash with his father, a strict bank employee. When his father died, Lugosi left home, barely 12 years old, to fulfill his dream. He began his career performing Shakespeare plays and became very politically involved, participating in the founding of the actors’ union in his country, the first in history.

A political involvement that led him into exile to save his life. He first fled to Germany and then to the United States, where he formed a company that performed theater in Hungarian for exiles. There he got the opportunity to play Dracula on Broadway, for which he had to learn English.

His strong accent contributed to the character’s success, as did his aristocratic demeanor, his gallant appearance and his height (1.85). And since then, the cloak has been associated with vampires. The success led him to make several tours with the work.





Vignettes from ‘Lugosi. The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula’

With Dracula the monsters of Universal were born

Unsurprisingly, most of the comic is devoted to dracula (1931), the film that would change the history of cinematographic horror. The producer Carl Laemmle, Jr. was convinced that the adaptation of the novel would be a success and wanted it to be starred by Universal’s big star, Lon Chaney, but the actor died of cancer before filming. After considering several names, they chose Lugosi due to the success of the theatrical adaptation.

The shooting was not easy due to the problems of the director, Tod Browning (The stop of the monsters), who was replaced on numerous occasions by the director of photography, Karl Freund (The Mummy), but Lugosi’s performance caused a sensation. A star was born.

As seen in the comic, one of the most curious things is that at night, and on the same sets, the spanish version of the movie (remember that dubbing had not been invented) which was directed by George Melford and starring Carlos Villarias and Lupita Tovar. In the vignettes we see Lugosi and Villarías smoking a cigar together and dressed as the Count. By the way, that Hispanic version is, for many critics, superior to the original.





Page from ‘Lugosi. The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula’

Lugosi and Karloff

After the success of Dracula, Lugosi was offered the role of the monster in Frankenstein (James Whale1932), but the actor he was uncomfortable with the character’s heavy makeup and lack of dialogueso the monster was played by an unknown Boris Carloffwho became the star of the moment.

Another of the most interesting parts of the comic is the one that explores the relationship between these two great horror myths, who participated together in eight films. Interestingly, the more Boris Karloff shone, the more Lugosi’s success faded. But together they left us true works of horror art.

the comic too explores the many crises Lugosi went through, who spent long periods without a job and even lost his house just when his only son was born. Some crises that led him to live almost in poverty and that ended forcing him to accept any role, no matter how unfortunate. One of the most humiliating moments was when she had to play Frankenstein’s monster in the third installment of the saga, Frankenstein’s son, when Karloff refused to put the bulky costume back on. He would play the monster again in Frankenstein and the werewolf.





Vignettes from ‘Lugosi. The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula’

A heartthrob who was married five times

Lugosi was a womanizer throughout his life and married up to five times. The first very young, in 1917. Already in the United States he separated to marry a millionairess (1921), but he soon met one of the great stars of silent cinema, Clara Bow (wings, it), with whom he had a brief but stormy relationship, which ended in the actor’s divorce. Apparently, Lugosi treasured a nude photograph of Clara throughout his life.

With his fourth wife he would have his only son, Béla George Lugosiand in his last years, with more than 70 years, he would marry one of his admirers.

In a scene from the comic, Boris Karloff asks him about his success with women and his answer is priceless.





Vignettes from ‘Lugosi. The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula’

Addicted to alcohol and morphine

Another of the things for which Lugosi went down in history was for being one of the first Hollywood actors to acknowledge his addiction to alcohol and morphine (which he used to relieve the pain of a leg injury he sustained during World War I). Lugosi confessed that he was addicted for 20 years.

That is why the comic focuses on that stage in which he met Ed Wood and experienced a kind of rebirth that made him overcome those addictions. But that stage of happiness with Ed Wood did not last long, since He died of a heart attack on August 16, 1956.

He was buried in Dracula’s cape.

Stand out the wonderful drawings of Koren Shadmiof which you have a sample in this news, and that the comic has an interesting prologue by the famous Science Fiction writer, Joe R. Lansdale.





Cover of ‘Lugosi. The Rise and Fall of Hollywood’s Dracula’

comic | The true and tragic story of Bela Lugosi, the “Dracula” of Hollywood – RTVE.es