The Missing Link Reviews

Bela Lugosi

by Gary J. & Susan Svehla. Midnight Marquee Press Inc. Softcover. 312 pages. 12.95 ($20.00)

Bela Lugosi by Gary & Susan SvehlaAfter twenty years of publishing the fan magazine "Midnight Marquee" which replaced the zine "Gore Creatures", copies of which are now highly sought after, Gary Svehla inaugurates Midnight Marquee Press. To begin this new dawn the Svehla's have published the first of their "Actors Series" with a man who needs little introduction, Bela Ferenc Denzso Blasko or as we know and love him: Bela Lugosi.

Always a choice subject for close examination, more so now as his life and career have been the subject of much rediscovery. With the benefit of hindsight, Bela is certainly appreciated more now than when he was alive.
While not professing to be a definitive work, Bela Lugosi's format is made up of several donated pieces by writers expressing their opinions on their favourite Lugosi film. This includes an overview of his American silent films, a re-addressing of the classics and a somewhat wry analysis of his lesser known works. In all 32 of Bela's films are discussed including Dracula, The Raven, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Devil Bat and Zombies on Broadway. What the Svehla's have avoided is the usual lambasting of these films, for it is Bela himself under the microscope who treated each film as if it was his last and gave it every ounce of effort despite the many inadequacies that were often taking place around him.

Bela Lugosi in White Zombie (1932)As if we needed a bonus, the reader is treated to a handsome array of stills, many of them are familiar, but others will have never been seen before by the majority. To round things up the Svehla's have also included a brief study over the debate whether Lugosi had posed for the FANTASIA animators at Disney, a fond tribute by director Richard Gordon who briefly acted as Bela's manager in 1950, the resurrection of the Lugosi persona by Martin Landau in the Tim Burton biopic ED WOOD, and finally a complete Bela filmography.

The book is a marvellous reference guide and also a thoroughly entertaining read. Midnight Marquee Press have already set their stall out by using the same format for Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jnr.. Future publications will surely become requisite purchases.

Available in the US click here

See "Dear Old Pals" article for an overview of Lugosi's films with Boris Karloff.

Official Bela Lugosi websiteVisit the official Bela Lugosi website.