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“It was a terrific success and it made it lot of money,” Mexican spitfire Lupita Tovar enthused about the Spanish-language version of Drácula that she made at age 20. “I saw it for the first time at the studio {Universal}. There was a special screening for the whole cast” {Lupita luminous in white}.

“We got a lot of compliments, and we were very excited about the movie. Above all, we wanted our version to be the best.” As for the more famous film, Tovar “didn’t see it until years later. I think the Spanish is better!

“The other one is a little dull, it’s too passive. And ours has a little more excitement in it.” And it’s trans•pair•ently clear why!

Tovar had been a star of silent films, but when talkies came in … accents went out: In 1929, she “was released from her Fox studios contract,” writes Deadline.com. “Having sent most of her money home to Mexico, she scrambled to record Spanish dubs for Universal Studios films, usually for $15 a night 3 nights a week.”

Lupita later lamented: “I realized it was very, very tough to stay here [in America] because I couldn’t depend on 2 or 3 days of work. I didn’t make enough to pay rent and support my grandmother {who was monitoring her in Hollywood}. I decided to go back to Mexico and return to school.”

But when she said goodbye to intense Universal executive Paul Kohner—who had fallen hopelessly in love with the lovely Latina …

… the powerful producer panicked. “He said to give him 24 hours before I did anything,” the actress admitted. “He went to {the Universal founder’s son who’d replaced him as studio head} Carl Laemmle with an idea. Why didn’t they make Spanish versions of the films they were shooting on the lot?

"Laemmle was concerned about money. Kohner told him it would cost less than the English versions {it was made for $66,000, less than afifth of the $355,000 English budget}. There were Spanish-speaking actors working as extras at Universal and the sets were already built.”

Thus Drácula was re-born … and Lupita had a role she could really sink her teeth into!

“The Spanish version benefits from not being so hampered by censorship worries,” notes one reviewer. “Vampirism is much more frankly dealt with. Eva {Tovar} actually bites Juan on the throat, snarling like an animal when she is driven back. Eva is also permitted to be far sexier than Mina [her American counterpart]: she spends much of her time in low-cut dresses and thin, clinging nightgowns.”

Especially right after the Drac attack: “Eva emerges from her bedroom the morning after being bitten by the Count with all the energy and cheer of someone who has had a night of stupendously good sex,” gushes Cine Outsider. “It’s an aspect emphasized by the costume design, which is far more risqué than the more censor-fearing English language version, never more so in this very scene, where Eva’s top is transparent enough for her nipples to be visible {and about as subtle as those subtitles}!

“There is no question here—the whole scene is about sex.”

And on top of that, adds another site: “She also ending up marrying the film’s producer, Paul Kohner. He may have lost the studio, but he got the girl in the end. Lucky man.”

Just after Dracula has finished necking with Eva, he tells her frightened friends that she is now immortal:

Not quite … but Lupita’s next 85 years would be lived to the fullest … so let’s examine her altogether amazing life ‘after death.’

“Once bitten, twice shy,” the saying goes, and Tovar took it to heart—returning to her homeland for the role that would truly make her ‘immortal’ there … in the 1932 religious film that “started Mexico’s film industry.”

“Mexico’s first big commercial success,” writes reviewer Ross Lincoln, “Santa made Tovar an icon in her home country, where she was known as ‘The Sweetheart of Mexico.’

“She would later be featured on a postage stamp commemorating the role.

Santa was screened by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences {which gives out the Oscars} in 2006 as part of a tribute to Tovar.” Which she attended, at age 96.

While looking surprisingly similar to her saintly role!

But like the ‘sultry sweetheart’ headline earlier evidenced, Lupita somehow always managed to combine sweetness and sin …

… which helps explain the endless erotic experiences on which she’d next embark.

“I considered my career over when I was on top,” she sighed. “My husband didn’t want me to work.” Mostly, he wanted her on his arm: “There were a lot of people at this party,” Tovar told of attending her first Hollywood soirée as a star. “Paul knew most of them, and left me for a moment to say hello to somebody. Moments later Mrs. Pommer (one of the dowagers and also our hostess) came over, and with her two hands, lifted my bare bosom out of my dress! Showing it to the others, she said, ‘Schau was für eine schöne Brust, so appetitlich!’ which meant, ‘Look what a beautiful bosom—delicious!’”

Sleuth has determined that the forward fräulein was Gertrud Levy, wife of German ‘genius film producer and businessman’ Erich Pommer—the man behind Dracula forerunner The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and the movie that made Marlene Dietrich a star, The Blue Angel (1930, just two years before this intrusive incident}. The Pommers seem quite impressed with Lupi’s pommes (below left) …

… even as she screams, “I was horrified, beyond embarrassed! I swatted at her hands, trying to cover myself again” (above right).

Tovar wouldn’t have been able to cover herself enough for what would otherwise have been her next history-making role: “Paul Kohner left to Europe [later in 1932] to produce movies there and I was working in America. We were deeply in love, so when he called to tell me that I was cast into a film called Ecstasy, I left my filming behind and bought a boat ticket.

"Then Paul got a script of the Ecstasy film, and didn’t like the idea of me running naked there! In Barrandov studio {the famous Czech lot where it was to be filmed} we met director Gustav Machatý and actress Hedwig Maria Kiesler, later known as Hedy Lamarr” {and later still known as ‘The Mother of Wi-Fi}.

As Lamarr’s biographer confirms: “Hedy was not the first actress to be considered for the role of Eva {ironically, the same name as the Drácula heroine}. Lupita Tovar was offered the role first, but she had to turn the part down when her husband read that Lupita was required to appear nude in one outdoors scene. Machatý then offered the role to Hedy {a virtual lookalike, below left}, and she agreed to do the picture.”

Another Lamarr book offers even more detail and documentation: “Lupita Tovar was working in Hollywood but traveled to Berlin to meet Gustav Machatý, anticipating the Ecstasy role would be hers. However, when Kohner saw the script, which made it clear that nudity was expected, he insisted she not take the role.”

Later, Lupita reveals: “Paul and I went to Prague to visit the set. And I remember Hedy Kiesler playing the piano {for a scene, below left with director Machatý and producer Kohner}. She was very shy.” Perhaps because Hedy was due to shoot the nude scene (below right) next!

Returning to America, Tovar would have to balk at nudity again: “In late 1932 I was going to play instead in a movie called Robinson Crusoe for United Artists, so I was invited by [studio co-founders] Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to the pre-film party at their [legendary] house called Pickfair, which was no mean feat. Fairbanks probably liked me, since next week he invited me for a party by the studio pool.

“Once I walked in, I was horrified to realize that all were naked, including Fairbanks!

“I turned and ran away. I later found out I was going to be the only woman there.”

That’s Doug at left, lounging nude alongside Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz director Victor Fleming—a confirmed cocksman whose conquests included Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Clara Bow and ‘The Mexican Spitfire,’ Lupe Vélez.

So Lupita would have been right up his alley. Or vice versa.

She barely escaped that time … but wasn’t so lucky after Kohner relocated to Germany to make films when work in Hollywood dried up. They remained there until 1935: “Had it not been for Hitler, we would have stayed longer,” Tovar trembled. “Things were getting bad in Germany [and her hubby was Jewish!]. No one knew how terrible it was.”

When the Nazis concocted a charge against Paul, Lupita was brought in for questioning: “I was taken to a cold, bare room without even a chair to sit on, and left there. A fat, nasty woman came in and told me to get undressed to my panties. My long hair was tied in a bun—she made me take it down. I was stupid and said in German, ‘Do you want to look in my ass, too?’”

Let’s END there … while looking forward to enteringPart 3!