A year ago, I took a college course on the role of technology in the filmmaking process that focused largely on the evolving history of the equipment and of various movements in filmmaking. Discussions on the impact that sound had on movies reminded me of the two Draculas of 1931, and on the standard line about how the Spanish version is "technically superior." I brought this up to my teacher and offered to bring in clips; he declined to discuss the two movies in class, but encouraged me to write a paper about the subject, and I have.
Its primary focus is not so much on technology as on the quality of arguments in film criticism: which version of Dracula you feel is better is a subjective matter, and I have no inherent problem with you disagreeing with my view that the English film wins. But I do get frustrated with the level of argument that I'm given when debating this matter, or even in reading the debates of others. I usually get the standard "Spanish is technically better" line, with no elaboration on why or how that is. Pressed for details, Dracula's appearance on the staircase or the overall use of the moving camera are mentioned, but no real examination of why these moments are superior in the Spanish film is offered. In my paper, I plan to explore key moments in both films, and elaborate on why I think the use of certain technologies or techniques was a help or hindrance to the respective versions.
I've been working on this paper on the side, so it isn't very far along in the drafting process. I'd like to try getting it published when it's ready, but it'll be a while before it gets to that point. I'd like to post key excerpts here and get feedback from other horror fans, and hopefully some of the film historians and critics of the board, if anyone would be so kind.