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Mark of the Vampire
AKA: Vampires of Prague Das Zeichen des Vampirs

USA 1935, black and white, 85 min
Director Tod Browning
Screenplay Guy Endore/Bernard Schubert
Book: Tod Browning
Camera James Wong Howe
Lionel Barrymore Prof. Zelen
Elizabeth Allan Irena Borotin
Lionell Atwill Inspector Neumann
Holmes Herbert Karel Barotin
Jean Hersholt Otto von Zinden
Bela Lugosi Count Mora
Carol Borland Luna Mora
Donald Meek Dr. Doskill

Baron Karel is dead! He was obviously the victim of a vampire, as a servant finds him bled white and with two bite marks on his throat. But nevertheless, Inspector Neumann, who arrived from Prague and is investigating this case stays sceptic and asks the experienced Professor Zelen to help him. But the vampire theory seems to be confirmed when the dead Baron begins to walk in the chapell of the castle. Furthermore Irena, the daughter of the Baron is often visited by a misterious young lady. Then a diabolical man appears in the castle. There's no doubt - it's vampires.

In the end, it is discovered that Otto von Zinden, a friend of the family is the murderer. It's him who poisoned the Baron and cunningly emptied him from his blood. Being responsible for the assets of the count, he wanted to hunt the family's inheritance. The vampires as well as the undead Baron Karel turn out to be actors hired by the inspector in order to unmask the murderer

The final gag of the movie brought Tod Browning quite some criticism, as everything turned out to be a masquerade of a number of actors, far away from real vampire spook. O.K., the one or the other element of the movie is not that logical, sometimes even unvoluntarily comical, for example when Bela Lugosi plays the Horror-Vampire, when he is alone in a room, a thing he as an actor doesn't need to do.

But nevertheless, the movie is very atmospheric and captured in wonderful images by camera man James Wong Howe. Furthermore, Carol Borland as Luna Mora is THE vampire bride of movie history. Tod Browning and Bela Lugosi already worked together successfully five years before when making the first Dracula movie.

All in all, "Mark of the Vampire" is a very atmospheric movie, typical for the Columbia gothic horror movie of the 1930s. We think the outturn of the movie, the actor-story, is quite O.K. as well, that's something new for a change. The movie was made in 1935, at a time when the Idea was quite original and we think, even today, nearly 70 years later, it still works very well.

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