by Gary J. & Susan Svehla. Midnight Marquee
Press Inc. Softcover. 312 pages. £12.95 ($20.00)
After 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
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.
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
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
See "Dear Old Pals" article for an overview of Lugosi's films with
Visit the official Bela Lugosi website.