Bela Lugosi

Actors

Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó (October 20, 1882 – August 16, 1956), known professionally as Bela Lugosi, was a Hungarian-American actor best remembered for portraying Count Dracula in Tod Browning‘s 1931 film (a role he originated on Broadway) and for his roles in other horror films. After playing small parts on the stage in his native Hungary, Lugosi gained his first role in a film in 1917. He had to leave the country after the failed Hungarian Communist Revolution of 1919 because of his socialist activism. He acted in several films in Weimar Germany before arriving in the United States as a seaman on a merchant ship. Through the 1930s, he occupied an important niche in horror films, with their East European setting, but his Hungarian accent limited his potential casting, and he unsuccessfully tried to avoid typecasting.

Meanwhile, he was often paired with Boris Karloff, who was able to demand top billing. To his frustration, Lugosi, a charter member of the American Screen Actors Guild, was increasingly restricted to minor parts, kept employed by the studio principally so that they could put his name on the posters. Among his pairings with Karloff, he performed major roles only in Edward G. Ulmer’s The Black Cat (1934), Lew Lander’s The Raven (1935), and Rowland V. Lee’s Son of Frankenstein (1939), starring Basil Rathbone; even in The Raven, Karloff received top billing despite Lugosi performing the lead role.

Other notable roles include Ernst Lubitsch’s Ninotchka (1939), starring Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas; You’ll Find Out (1940), with Karloff and Peter Lorre; The Wolf Man (1941), with Lon Chaney Jr.; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), in which he played the Monster; Voodoo Man (1944), with John Carradine; and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

By this time, Lugosi had been receiving regular medication for sciatic neuritis, and he became addicted to morphine and methadone. This drug dependence was known to producers, and the offers eventually dwindled to a few parts in Edward D. Wood Jr.‘s low-budget films—including Glen or Glenda (1953), Bride of the Monster (1955), co-starring Tor Johnson; and a brief appearance in Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). Lugosi was married five times and had one son, Bela George. Martin Landau would portray him in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood (1994), with Johnny Depp as Wood.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Leoni Leo (1917) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Alfréd Deésy -Hungary
  • Masked Ball (1917) – credited as Arisztid Olt – directed by Alfréd Deésy – aka Álarcosbál – Hungary
  • Lili (1918) – credited as Arisztid Olt – directed by Cornelius Hintner – Hungary
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (1918) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Alfréd Deés – aka Az Élet királya – Hungary
  • The Antique Dealer (1918) – directed by Alfréd Deésy – credited as Arisztid Olt – aka A Régiséggyüjtöshort – Hungary
  • The Wedding Song (1918) – directed by Alfréd Deésy – Hungary
  • Spring Tempest (1918) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Alfréd Deésy – aka Tavaszi vihar – Hungary
  • 99 (1918) – credited as Albert Lugesi -directed by Michael Curtiz (as Mihály Kertész) – aka A 99-es számú bérkocsi – Hungary
  • Struggle for Life (1918) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Alfréd Deésy – aka Küzdelem a LétértHungary
  • The Colonel (1918) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Michael Curtiz (as Kertész Mihály) – aka Az Ezredes – Hungary
  • The Leopard (1918) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Alfréd Deésy – aka A leopárd – Hungary
  • Lulu (1918) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Michael Curtiz (as Kertész Mihály) – Hungary
  • Daughter of the Night (1918) – aka Der Fluch der bösen Tat – Germany/Hungary
  • Casanova (1919) – credited as Olt Arisztid – directed by Alfréd Deésy – Hungary
  • Necklace of the Dead (1919) – Germany
  • Hypnosis (1920) – directed by Richard Eichberg – aka Hypnose – Germany
  • Dance on the Volcano (1920) – directed by Richard Eichberg – aka Der Tanz auf dem Vulkan – Germany
  • The Slave Holders of Kansas-City (1920) – directed by Wolfgang Neff – Die Sklavenhalter von Kansas-City – Germany
  • Nat Pinkerton in the Fight (1920) – directed by Wolfgang Neff – aka Nat Pinkerton im Kampf – Germany
  • The Head of Janus (1920) – directed by F.W. Murnau a aka Der Janus-Kopf – Germany – lost
  • Das ganze Sein ist flammend Leid (1920) – German
  • The Deerslayer and Chingachgook (1920) – directed by Arthur Wellin – aka Der Wildtöter und Chingachgook
  • In the Ecstasy of Billions (1920) – Germany
  • On the Brink of Paradise (1920) – directed by Josef Stein – aka Auf den Trümmern des Paradieses – Germany – lost
  • The Woman in the Dolphin (1920) – directed by Artur Kiekebusch-Brenken – Die Frau im Delphin aka – Germany
  • The Last of the Mohicans (1920) – directed by Arthur Wellin – aka Der letzte der Mohikaner – Germany
  • Caravan of Death (1920) – directed by Josef Stein – aka Die Todeskarawane – Germany
  • The Devil Worshippers (1920) – directed by Marie Luise Droop – aka Die Teufelsanbeter – 6 chapter film – Germany
  • The Curse of Man (1920) – directed by Richard Eichberg – aka Der Fluch der Menschheit, 1. Teil – Die Tochter der Arbeit – Germany
  • In the Ecstasy of Billions (1920) – directed by Richard Eichberg – aka Der Fluch der Menschheit, 2. Teil – Im Rausche der Milliarden – Germany
  • John Hopkins the Third (1921) – directed by Wolfgang Neff – aka Die verschwundene Million – Germany
  • Her Highness the Dancer (1922) – directed by Richard Eichberg – aka Ihre Hoheit die Tänzerin – Germany
  • The Silent Command (1923) – directed by J. Gordon Edwards
  • The Rejected Woman (1924) – directed by Albert Parker
  • He Who Gets Slapped (1924) – directed by Victor Sjöström – uncredited
  • The Midnight Girl (1925) – directed by Wilfred Noy
  • Daughters Who Pay (1925) – directed by George Terwilliger
  • Punchinello (1926) – short
  • How to Handle Women (1928) – directed by William James Craft – uncredited
  • The Veiled Woman (1929) – directed by Emmett J. Flynn
  • Prisoners (1929) – directed by William Seiter
  • The Last Performance (1929) – directed by Paul Fejos – uncredited Hungarian dub
  • The Thirteenth Chair (1929) – directed by Tod Browning
  • Such Men Are Dangerous (1930) – directed by Kenneth Hawks
  • King of Jazz (1930) – directed by John Murray Anderson – uncredited
  • Wild Company (1930) – directed by Leo McCarey
  • Renegades (1930) – directed by Victor Fleming
  • Viennese Nights (1930) – directed by Alan Crosland – uncredited
  • Oh, For a Man! (1930) – directed by Hamilton MacFadden
  • Dracula (1931)** – directed by Tod Browning
  • 50 Million Frenchmen (1931) – directed by Lloyd Bacon – uncredited
  • Women of All Nations (1931) – directed by Raoul Walsh – uncredited
  • The Black Camel (1931) – directed by Hamilton MacFadden
  • Broadminded (1931) – directed by Mervyn LeRoy
  • Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) – directed by Robert Florey
  • White Zombie (1932) – directed by Victor Halperin
  • Chandu the Magician (1932) – directed by William Cameron Menzies & Marcel Varnel
  • The Death Kiss (1932) – directed by Edwin L. Marin
  • Island of Lost Souls (1932) – directed by Erle C. Kenton
  • The Whispering Shadow (1933) – directed by Colbert Clark – 12 chapter film serial
  • Night of Terror (1933) – directed by Benjamin Stoloff
  • International House (1933) – directed by A. Edward Sutherland
  • The Devil’s in Love (1933) – directed by William Dieterle – uncredited
  • The Black Cat (1934) – directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
  • Gift of Gab (1934) – directed by Karl Freund
  • The Return of Chandu (1934) – directed by Ray Taylor – 12 chapter film serial, also released as two feature films
  • The Mysterious Mr. Wong (1934) – directed by William Nigh
  • The Best Man Wins (1935) – directed by Erle C. Kenton
  • Mark of the Vampire (1935) – directed by Tod Browning
  • The Raven (1935) – directed by Louis Friedlander
  • Chandu on the Magic Island (1935) – directed by Ray Taylor – one of two feature versions of the serial The Return of Chandu
  • Murder by Television (1935) – directed by Clifford Sanforth
  • The Mystery of the Mary Celeste (1935) – directed by Denison Clift – released in the USA as Phantom Ship – UK
  • The Invisible Ray (1936) – directed by Lambert Hillyer
  • Postal Inspector (1936) – directed by Otto Brower
  • Shadow of Chinatown (1936) – directed by Robert F. Hill – 15 chapter film serial, also released as a feature film
  • S.O.S. Coast Guard (1937) – directed by Alan James & William Witney – 12 chapter film serial, also released as a 1942 feature film
  • The Phantom Creeps (1939) – directed by Ford Beebe & Saul A. Goodkind – 12 chapter film serial, also released as a feature film
  • Son of Frankenstein (1939) – directed by Rowland V. Lee
  • The Gorilla (1939) – directed by Allan Dwan
  • The Dark Eyes of London (1939) – directed by Walter Summers
  • Ninotchka (1939) – directed by Ernst Lubitsch
  • The Saint’s Double Trouble (1940) – directed by Jack Hively
  • Black Friday (1940) – directed by
  • Arthur Lubin
  • The Devil Bat (1940) – directed by Jean Yarborough
  • You’ll Find Out (1940) – directed by David Butler
  • Invisible Ghost (1941) – directed by Joseph H. Lewis
  • The Black Cat (1941) – directed by Albert S. Rogell
  • Spooks Run Wild (1941) – directed by Phil Rosen
  • The Wolf Man (1941) – directed by George Waggner
  • Black Dragons (1942) – directed by William Nigh
  • The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) – directed by Erle C. Kenton
  • S.O.S. Coast Guard (1942) – directed by
  • Alan James & William Witney – archive footage
  • The Corpse Vanishes (1942) – directed by Wallace Fox
  • Night Monster (1942) – directed by Ford Beebe
  • Bowery at Midnight (1942) – directed by Wallace Fox
  • The Ape Man (1943) – directed by William Beaudine
  • Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) – directed by Roy William Neill
  • Ghosts on the Loose (1943) – directed by William Beaudine
  • The Return of the Vampire (1943) – directed by Lew Landers
  • Voodoo Man (1944) – directed by William Beaudine
  • Return of the Ape Man (1944) – directed by Philip Rosen
  • One Body Too Many (1944) – directed by Frank McDonald
  • The Body Snatcher (1945) – directed by Robert Wise
  • Zombies on Broadway (1945) – directed by Gordon Douglas
  • Genius at Work (1946) – directed by Leslie Goodwins
  • Scared to Death (1947) – directed by Christy Cabanne
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) – directed by Charles Barton
  • Mother Riley Meets the Vampire (1952) – directed by John Gilling
  • Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (1952) – directed by William Beaudine
  • Glen or Glenda (1953) – directed by Edward D. Wood Jr.
  • Bride of the Monster (1955) – directed by Edward D. Wood Jr.
  • The Black Sleep (1956) – directed by Reginald LeBorg
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) – directed by Edward D. Wood Jr. – archive footage – posthumously released