Saturday, October 22, 2011

Listen to Orson Welles's 'Dracula' on Psychobabble

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles's Mercury Theater staged a pre-Halloween production of H.G. Well's War of the World. The production was apparently so authentic that a good number of people mistook the drama for a genuine news broadcast. The madness that ensued guaranteed the episode a slot in radio history. When the The Mercury Theater's series debuted a few months earlier on July 11, no one mistook Welles's version of Bram Stoker's Dracula for a bulletin about actual vampire infestations, so it never achieved the infamy of the later program. However, Welles and his players did an equally fine job of capturing a classic of supernatural literature.


Stoker's epistolary format lends itself well to the "immediacy of the first-person singular." Agnes Moorehead is in fey form as Mina. George Coulouris does a better job of embodying Jonathan Harker than most of his cinematic counterparts. Welles takes the parts of the Count and Dr. Seward, but his greatest moment is his wonderfully overwrought farewell that concludes the broadcast. Bernard Herrmann provides the atmospheric score. Listen to the The Mercury Theater's Dracula in five parts below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


Many thanks to the original poster of these videos.
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