The Return of the Vampire

The Return of the Vampire

Director: Lew Landers Cast: Bela Lugosi, Frieda Inescort, Nina Foch

DVD (Black & White)

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The better name for this picture might've been "The Return Of Dracula," except that Universal controlled the rights to that character name at the time, and so Columbia Pictures had to name its vampire Armand Tesla -- though, as played by Bela Lugosi in one of his last starring roles for a major studio, he is Dracula in all but name. This title, with its "off-brand" vampire and B-team werewolf, has been kicking around movie lists for decades after being widely shown on television in the 1960's, while on laserdisc, it bounced in and out of print so fast that copies have been trading for serious amounts of money since the early 1990's. The story, which stretches across two decades from the First to the Second World War, is one of the more interesting cinematic variations on the vampire legend, in terms of both content -- mixing quasi-modern science (including psychiatry) with the trappings of the traditional vampire tale -- and structure. The DVD gives Return of the Vampire first-cabin treatment, including 28 chapter markers for the 70 minute feature, and a sparkling transfer of the film itself, so sharp that the fog in the grave yard seems almost palpable; the contrasts are rich and deep, with a velvety texture that's downright seductive. The disc also offers the best sound that the movie has displayed in decades, so that even the score by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco comes to life in all of its moodiness and atmosphere. In terms of the care with which it was produced, this disc can be recommended to anyone who has enjoyed Universal's classic horror releases. The menu opens up automatically on start-up, with the "Play" option in the default position. The chapters are easy to access and a pair of trailers -- but not the trailer from this film -- have been included. In recognition of its short running time, the producers have held the list price down to a very desirable $20.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/13/2002
UPC: 0043396078727
Original Release: 1943
Rating: NR
Source: Sony Pictures
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W]
Time: 1:09:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Digitally mastered audio & video; Full-screen presentation; Remastered in high definition; Audio: English; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Japanese; Theatrical trailers; Interactive menus; Scene selections

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bela Lugosi Armand Tesla
Frieda Inescort Lady Jane Ainsley
Nina Foch Nicki Saunders
Roland Varno John Ainsley
Miles Mander Sir Frederick Fleet
Matt Willis Andreas Obry
Ottola Nesmith Elsa
Gilbert Emery Professor Saunders
Leslie Denison Lynch
William Austin Actor
Jeanne Bates Frightened woman (uncredited)
Billy Bevan Actor
Sherlee Collier Actor
George McKay Actor
Donald Dewar Actor

Technical Credits
Lew Landers Director
Lionel Banks Art Director
Paul Borofsky Editor
Clay Campbell Makeup
Louis Diage Set Decoration/Design
Randall H. Faye Screenwriter
Griffin Jay Screenwriter
Lewis William O'Connell Cinematographer
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
John Stumar Cinematographer
Sam White Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [1:52]
2. Tesla Awake [2:14]
3. Lady Ainsley & Prof. Saunders [1:26]
4. The Patient [1:54]
5. Nicki at Night [3:10]
6. Gospel According to Tesla [1:04]
7. "Kill the Monster!" [3:22]
8. Sir Frederick Fleet [1:41]
9. John Ainsley [2:06]
10. Stake Out [1:32]
11. "Ever Hear of Dr. Bruckner?" [1:37]
12. Return of the Vampire [:33]
13. The Master's Plan [2:48]
14. A New Resting Place [2:43]
15. Dr. Hugo Bruckner [3:55]
16. Stolen Manuscript [2:32]
17. "Come to Me, Nicki." [3:58]
18. A Tale of the Spike [1:37]
19. "Armand Tesla Is Alive!" [:53]
20. A Talk With Andreas [:57]
21. "He Turned Into a Wolf." [4:33]
22. Late for the Concert [1:59]
23. "So Now You Know." [1:32]
24. Little Surprises [4:37]
25. Power of Faith & Goodness [4:31]
26. "I No Longer Need You." [2:19]
27. Master No Longer [2:53]
28. Tesla Destroyed [:57]

Customer Reviews

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The Return of the Vampire 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a NYC metropolitan child back in the Sixties, I would rejoice whenever this film appeared on Saturday afternoon TV on WNEW's film program, "Detective Mystery." I had not seen it since till recently. This was the first vampire movie I ever saw, and being quite young it genuinely scared me. Over forty years later, the film holds up quite well. The precredit sequence and especially the attack on the child Nicki, with the windows flying open and leaves blowing in when one should be safe in bed, brought home the notion we are not always safe, if ever, and I still think about that now. A vampire by any otheer name should always be Bela Lugosi. I love the name "Armand Tesla" and he is a truly sinister figure, and less genteel than Dracula. Interestingl, for all his vampiric repute, this was only the first film since "Draucla" he played this role; "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" in 1948 would be his last. No one looks quite as good in a cape as he. The visuals are quite stunning, both the settings and the glmorous Nina Foch, here making her screen debut. Miles Mander is elegant, and Matt Willis as Andreas Obry makes the most adorable talking werewolf in screen history; Willis actually sounds better when he is the monster, and his make up resembles that of a human Toto!!!!!! The outstanding performance, and the real reason the film is worth owning, is Frieda Insescort, she of the stern, clipped tones, as Lady Jane Ainsley. There is nothing like her manner or bearing anywhere else in films, and why subsequent films did not capitalize on her character is a mystery. The scene between her and Tesla at the organ is her finest screen moment. The film also makes use of a fine musical score, and while it runs only 69 minutes it is so full of cinematic brilliance it cries out for a major reconstruction.