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Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, with a Complete Filmography of Their Films Together

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Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster are horror cinema icons, and the actors most deeply associated with the two roles also shared a unique friendship. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff starred in dozens of black-and-white horror films, and over the years managed to collaborate on and co-star in eight movies. Through dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, this gre Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster are horror cinema icons, and the actors most deeply associated with the two roles also shared a unique friendship. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff starred in dozens of black-and-white horror films, and over the years managed to collaborate on and co-star in eight movies. Through dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, this greatly expanded new edition examines the Golden Age of Hollywood, the era in which both stars worked, recreates the shooting of Lugosi and Karloff's mutual films, examines their odd and moving personal relationship and analyzes their ongoing legacies. Features include a fully detailed filmography of the eight Karloff and Lugosi films, full summaries of both men's careers and more than 250 photographs, some in color.


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Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster are horror cinema icons, and the actors most deeply associated with the two roles also shared a unique friendship. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff starred in dozens of black-and-white horror films, and over the years managed to collaborate on and co-star in eight movies. Through dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, this gre Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster are horror cinema icons, and the actors most deeply associated with the two roles also shared a unique friendship. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff starred in dozens of black-and-white horror films, and over the years managed to collaborate on and co-star in eight movies. Through dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, this greatly expanded new edition examines the Golden Age of Hollywood, the era in which both stars worked, recreates the shooting of Lugosi and Karloff's mutual films, examines their odd and moving personal relationship and analyzes their ongoing legacies. Features include a fully detailed filmography of the eight Karloff and Lugosi films, full summaries of both men's careers and more than 250 photographs, some in color.

30 review for Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff: The Expanded Story of a Haunting Collaboration, with a Complete Filmography of Their Films Together

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Lots of information and great photographs. I was disappointed in the author’s repeated use of the word “retarded” and his mean observations. I know this book was released in 2009, but it wasn’t acceptable back then, either.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jason Reeser

    First and foremost, this book will thrill die-hard fans of the 'Golden Age' of Hollywood. Even if you are not the biggest fan of either actor, this book is so filled to overflowing with anecdotes and production notes of actors and directors and film studios that you cannot but be fascinated by it all. As long as this book was, and it is very long, I enjoyed every bit of it. I knew very little about either Karloff or Lugosi before I started this, and now know more about them than most actors. Mank First and foremost, this book will thrill die-hard fans of the 'Golden Age' of Hollywood. Even if you are not the biggest fan of either actor, this book is so filled to overflowing with anecdotes and production notes of actors and directors and film studios that you cannot but be fascinated by it all. As long as this book was, and it is very long, I enjoyed every bit of it. I knew very little about either Karloff or Lugosi before I started this, and now know more about them than most actors. Mank has a streamlined tone, rattling off salaries, movie budgets, and shooting schedules. This might get tedious, save for the fact he can insert a few profound and even poetic observations when he needs to. He is able to follow both men's careers, showcasing their contrasts and similarities as the two careers intermingle then eventually veer away from each other. I was fortunate to find many of the movies that Mank discusses in such detail abailable at Netflix, and have watched some of them, and am waiting for the others to arrive. It has renewed my interest in such classics, and given me a new perspective on them. Lugosi's sad, tragic end is detailed without ghoulish relish; I found his last few years more horror-filled than any of his movies. And though Karloff's end was more successful, it had a certain frenetic pace that was just as chilling. Mank does a fine job of drawing this lengthy documentary into a sobering finish. Adding his personal views to it in a child-like wonder and admiration of the two stars, Mank helps to relieve the gloom that had settled over the book. I don't think most casual fans of moviedom would enjoy this book, as it is so weighted down with detail. Yet, for those who have the time to sift through it, they will find plenty of golden nuggets to make it worth their while.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Walls

    A fabulous book. Lots of research went into this one, and the length of the book was suitable to provide a thorough writing on the subject. The writing style made for an easy read. Recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    Although they only starred in eight films together, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi were Hollywood's Masters of Menace. This book explores the film lives of the twosome, giving their appearances together special attention. Stories have been ripe through the years of Lugosi detesting Karloff, an assertion vehemently denied by Bela Lugosi, Jr. This book doesn't lay the rivalry question to rest, but it does give a balanced presentation, especially through interviews. I was particularly impressed with Although they only starred in eight films together, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi were Hollywood's Masters of Menace. This book explores the film lives of the twosome, giving their appearances together special attention. Stories have been ripe through the years of Lugosi detesting Karloff, an assertion vehemently denied by Bela Lugosi, Jr. This book doesn't lay the rivalry question to rest, but it does give a balanced presentation, especially through interviews. I was particularly impressed with the "feel" of Hollywood generated by the writer. There were many instances when the descriptions were so vivid that it made me feel as if I could walk down the boulevard and identify the sites. The book is well written and easy to follow. The intended audience is definitely fans of Karloff, Lugosi and classic horror. For those readers, the book is well worth the read. However, I do feel that readers interested in Hollywood during the Golden Age will find much to enjoy here, too. And there are those delightful photographs!

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

    Quite simply the best biographical book I've had the pleasure of reading. The rivalry between the two stars is vividly told in all it's detail. Sad to read about the decline of the once great Bela Lugosi compared with the meteoric rise of Boris Karloff. A riveting read you won't be able to put down once you've started! Quite simply the best biographical book I've had the pleasure of reading. The rivalry between the two stars is vividly told in all it's detail. Sad to read about the decline of the once great Bela Lugosi compared with the meteoric rise of Boris Karloff. A riveting read you won't be able to put down once you've started!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Donald Luther

    When I was in graduate school, I truly learned the joys of research. To pursue something that I was genuinely interested in, to uncover small bits of information that lend a whole new coloration to an event, the excitement of seeing bits of information beginning to fit together; all of these things gave a sense of joy and discovery to the process. Unfortunately, research was always followed by writing. Having to wade through (what were then) innumerable index cards, many containing information I When I was in graduate school, I truly learned the joys of research. To pursue something that I was genuinely interested in, to uncover small bits of information that lend a whole new coloration to an event, the excitement of seeing bits of information beginning to fit together; all of these things gave a sense of joy and discovery to the process. Unfortunately, research was always followed by writing. Having to wade through (what were then) innumerable index cards, many containing information I forgot I had noted, became not just tedious, but sometimes actually painful (hand cramps, back and neck and eye strain). And then, of course, the process of editing. The thing about writing is not just creating a readable product, but also making it cogent and coherent. Writing is not just putting stuff together, but also recognizing what to leave out. It's this last thing that is the great failing of this book. While there is so much that is enjoyable, new, touching, funny,... all the things that go into a great story, there are too many times that I was reading along, and the back of my mind was shouting, 'Why the hell is he telling me about this?' In a book about Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, why do we need to know all about the adventures and misadventures of John Carradine and Lionel Atwill. Besides, he told all those stories, in even greater detail, in 'The Very Witching Time of Night.' Mank writes well, he tells his anecdotes very well, but I really don't need to read a full two paragraphs from a review, or three paragraphs from an interview; You can cut down the volume and convey the necessary points more concisely.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lance Lumley

    This huge book follows the careers of the two horror icons, along with several interviews from those that knew them. The book focuses on the Lugosi life and his opinions on Karloff's rise to fame as the horror star at Universal. This is a great read. There are a few parts that contradict the opinion of the author towards the end of the book, but this is still a nice collection for horror fans. (although my book had pages coming out of it towards the end of the book, like the gluing didn't stick. This huge book follows the careers of the two horror icons, along with several interviews from those that knew them. The book focuses on the Lugosi life and his opinions on Karloff's rise to fame as the horror star at Universal. This is a great read. There are a few parts that contradict the opinion of the author towards the end of the book, but this is still a nice collection for horror fans. (although my book had pages coming out of it towards the end of the book, like the gluing didn't stick. For an in-depth read, go to : https://lancewrites.wordpress.com/201...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bea

    This terrific book is the product of decades of interviews and correspondence by the author with the families, friends, and colleagues of Lugosi and Karloff. While the focus of the book is on the films the two actors made together and the so-called "rivalry" between the two, you get so much more. There is more or less a complete biography of both men with at least a mention of every film by each made after they catapulted to stardom in 1931. Some of the key solo films (Dracula, Frankenstein, The This terrific book is the product of decades of interviews and correspondence by the author with the families, friends, and colleagues of Lugosi and Karloff. While the focus of the book is on the films the two actors made together and the so-called "rivalry" between the two, you get so much more. There is more or less a complete biography of both men with at least a mention of every film by each made after they catapulted to stardom in 1931. Some of the key solo films (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, etc.) and all the co-starred films get detailed coverage. When I say detailed, I mean anecdotes from every cast member the author could interview, budget details, salary details, and how the film was publicized. While this might sound dry, I can guarantee it is anything but. Just try out the stories about how openly gay director James Whale revealed an unexpected interest in the costuming of ladies' undies during the making of Bride of Frankenstein! In addition, in the course of describing the actors' social lives and their publicity activities, we get a wide perspective on Golden Age Hollywood. It's pretty clear that Karloff never saw Lugosi as a rival or bore him any ill will. Lugosi, on the other hand, barely disguised a seething resentment at the fact that Karloff worked constantly and became a millionaire while he was bankrupt by October 1932 and struggled almost constantly after that working for peanuts in whatever came his way. The author never comes to a definite cosclusion but others told him several times that one of Lugosi's biggest handicaps was his failure to master English. His thick accent simply wouldn't work for many parts. I wonder if his lack of fluency contributed to his persistent failure to stand up for himself. Another strike against him, I think, was his age. Lugosi was 49 when Dracula was made (Karloff was 42 the same year). For an actor whose appeal, even in his "monster" role, was matinee idol looks, this was a late date to be starting a movie career. Karloff who was essentially a character actor had no such disadvantage. Finally, I think Karloff was simply a finer and more versatile actor. To be fair, however, Lugosi was a major star on the Hungarian stage and we will never know how he would have fared in his native tongue. One anecdote provided by Ray Walston (who played Renfield in a stage revival of Dracula) - Lugosi's wife said "Well, you know, he was the John Barrymore of the Budapest stage!" And with that, Lugosi spoke up in alllll seriousness and said, "No, no. I was the Clark Gable of the Budapest stage!"

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul Wilson

    Surprisingly in-depth and touching biography/career overview on the two "Kings of Horror." As someone who has seen most of their classic works, I knew very little about the men's personal lives, especially of note was their role in creating the Screen Actors Guild, which was prompted heavily by Whale's abuse of Karoff in the original Frankenstein (he made Karloff urinate in a bucket and carry Colin Clive up a hill multiple times out of spite. What a dick!) Universal horror was probably my first " Surprisingly in-depth and touching biography/career overview on the two "Kings of Horror." As someone who has seen most of their classic works, I knew very little about the men's personal lives, especially of note was their role in creating the Screen Actors Guild, which was prompted heavily by Whale's abuse of Karoff in the original Frankenstein (he made Karloff urinate in a bucket and carry Colin Clive up a hill multiple times out of spite. What a dick!) Universal horror was probably my first "nerd" hobby, where I collected the VHS releases and postage stamps, so these movies will always be special to me. Every so often I get the urge to re-watch the classics, and they get better each time, especially Karloff's cadaverous performance (which was never topped) in the first Frankenstein. Always been a Karloff man, myself, but the book offered new appreciation for Lugosi and his tragic downfall in Hollywood. My only complaints are the the book may be TOO long. Much of the text is dedicated to plot synopses of the movies, which bores those who have seen the movies and spoils those who haven't. However, it's one of the best Hollywood biographies I've ever read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Burley

    One of the best film-books I've read in recent years. More of an overview of two highly contrasting careers than a conventional biography. Best of all, it is very generous in it's treatment Of Bela Lugosi, an extraordinary actor who is, too often, dismissed as a tragic hack. As for Karloff, everybody knows that he was one of the best character actors in the history of movies and this work just confirms this assessment. An interesting book all around and a joy for fans. One of the best film-books I've read in recent years. More of an overview of two highly contrasting careers than a conventional biography. Best of all, it is very generous in it's treatment Of Bela Lugosi, an extraordinary actor who is, too often, dismissed as a tragic hack. As for Karloff, everybody knows that he was one of the best character actors in the history of movies and this work just confirms this assessment. An interesting book all around and a joy for fans.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    This book is full of some really great personal information about Bela and Boris and thier suppolsed "Feud" though the years. if you are a Fan or even just a horror movie fan, this is a great and gratifying read by someone who put a LOT of work into it, this is no mere trifle. This book is full of some really great personal information about Bela and Boris and thier suppolsed "Feud" though the years. if you are a Fan or even just a horror movie fan, this is a great and gratifying read by someone who put a LOT of work into it, this is no mere trifle.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Janet Licari

  13. 4 out of 5

    Catrine Munster

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bret

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alistair

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian Halligan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steven Hall

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sean Conley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Burgess

  22. 4 out of 5

    Edward

  23. 4 out of 5

    Artimidor

  24. 5 out of 5

    Timo

  25. 5 out of 5

    William Dyer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Richard Rich

  28. 4 out of 5

    Captain Calculus

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thommy

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