This classic seems stage bound in comparrison to the Spanisn version on the Universal Monsters Collection DVD.The Spanish version features more fluid camera work. Lugosi is the better Dracula,but the sets are the same in both versions.Edward Van Sloan is an imposing Van Helsing.David Manners and the rest of the cast do their best in this atmospheric but slow moving version of Bram Stokers novel.Both features are included on one DVD.
It took John L. Balderston (Dracula) to move the story from poverty row-styled potboiler to deeper atmospheric tones built firmly on the Egyptian craze peaking after Howard Carter opened King Tut's tomb ten years earlier. Drawing on his knowledge of Egyptology (as a journalist he covered the discovery of Tut's tomb), and staging the action similar to Dracula, Balderston turned Cagliostro's driving hatred into desire. He then added pity to lighten the dark shade over Im-#!@%*#-tep's futile longing for his lost love. Like Dracula, Im-#!@%*#-tep has survived death, wields great occult power, and seeks to possess a particular woman. Unlike Dracula, Im-#!@%*#-tep is at heart a romantic and harms others only when they stand between him and his lover, Princess Anck-es-en-Amon (Zita Johann). Johann captures the allure of the sultry golden sands in her portrayal of Helen Grosvenor, the reincarnated princess, with her kolh-darkened eyes and plunging neckline, struggling against Im-#!@%*#-tep's hypnotic influence as he forces her to remember her past life with him.