Transformation of Drachma Drachma Is a timeless novel written by Abram Stoker and to this day remains a thrilling read about good vs. evil In the form of Van Helping and his companions pitted against the supernatural forces of Count Drachma, the vampire from Transylvania. Not only was this novel about good vs.. Evil but upon inspection found to have many themes and views relevant to the time it was written. This caused it to be a huge success of its time and in 1922 the German director Murmur seeing the success of the story put it under transformation and named it Nonstarter.
This silent film was very similar to Drachma except It was more relevant to the times It was written In. Public opinion about certain aspects of society had changed and even though both forms of media were set in the same timeshare some themes had been eliminated or turned on their heads. Now both these media were made in different styles with Drachma made in the gothic style. This is apparent with the Supernatural aspect of Drachma and his Vampire kin. Stoker’s descriptions of Drachma are always set as comparisons to animals so even when In human form Drachma Is not quite human but rather meeting far more unnatural.
In Nonstarter the style Is the one of the time being German expressionism with themes prevalent throughout the film, the most obvious being the use of shadows to signify darkness and evil as well as the unknown. This is best captured with the powerful Image of count Errol walking up the stairs to attack Nina with his eerie shadow adding to the sense of darkness and mystery. Drachma had many themes but like Nonstarter was an expression of the times In which they were conceived In, so many themes in Drachma did not make the transition. Gender
Hierarchy was viewed as an Important cog of Victorian culture and that held true throughout the book with the submissive, helpless females needing the help of the apparent stronger sex, males. The only exception to this is Mina but even then she is only able to by having “a man’s brain”. Christian salvation and imagery was not part of the transformation process into nonstarter as being an important theme in Drachma is non-existent In Nonstarter. A great scene to help show this Is the killing of Lucy where after being killed for a second time Lucy Is restored to “unequalled sweetness ND purity’. SE of holy symbols only reinforces this theme with the crucifix and holy wafers making appearances. The theme of superstition vs.. Science is also at the forefront with the logical, rational dry Seward unable to explain the biting with all of his reasoning and it is only through superstition from a man of higher faith who is unable to uncover the mystery. Also when it comes to the hunting and killing of Drachma science is not enough to defeat the beast and faith Is needed to kill the monster. The big thing of the unknown ,strange east Invading progressive closed
England was also not only an issue in the book but an issue at the time with high immigration rates making some conservative Englishmen very nervous. Nonstarter due to the time it was made after the 1st world war therefore had more themes applying to post war Germany and some themes from Drachma where completely rubbed out with the gender hierarchy almost reversed as the men look like bumbling and his blatant disregard of clues from a book of vampires accompanied by Errol being deterred by the rosary the only mention of these two themes. Religion vs.. Science wasn’t as big of as issue as at the time of nonstarter.
This was different for Drachma as Charles Darning’s origin of species had Just been published; challenging the faith of many Christians perhaps leading conservative Abram Stoker to show that religion is still important. In the sass’s this wasn’t as big of an issue and therefore was not a theme in the film. WWW was the bloodiest war in human history at that point and the Spanish influenza had Just ripped its way through Europe. This is reflected in the way Count Errol brings death to Thomas Hatter’s city with the scene f the coffins being taken down the street.
You will notice that Count Oarlocks teeth are different to Drachma’s. Errol has the teeth of a rat rather than the stereotypical enlarged canines. Also his arrival is matched by some rats who are also bringers of plague. So count Errol could be a symbol for the rat as he brings what is reported in the film as plague. All in all I believe Transformation to be a useful tool as it can expose people who enjoyed the original to something different and in Drachmas case show a great contrast between different times and different people.