Bela is a character in the 1941 film, The Wolf Man. He was a gypsy fortune teller who traveled with his family throughout Europe in the early 1940s. He was the son of an elderly woman named Maleva. He suffered the curse of Lycanthropy and turned into a wolf when the moon was full. Like most werewolves, Bela could see the mark of the pentagram transposed over the palm of his next victim. On nights of the full moon, a pentagram mark would also appear upon Bela's head.
In 1941, Bela and his gypsy troupe were in Llanwelly, Wales, when he met a customer named Jenny Williams. Bela read her fortune, but was horrified when he saw the image of the pentagram in her hand. Bela warned her to leave, but soon transformed into a large wolf. He hunted Jenny through the moors and attacked her. One of Jenny's acquaintances, an aristocrat named Larry Talbot, came to her aid and beat Bela down with a silver-tipped walking stick, ultimately killing him. During the struggle, however, Bela bit Talbot, transmitting the curse of the werewolf to him. His mother, Maleva, recovered Bela's body and it was taken to a nearby church. A gypsy funeral was conducted, which consisted of people "dancing and singing and making merry".
- Bela is a notable, albeit obscure character, for he is horror cinema's third werewolf to appear on-screen. The first two were played by Warner Oland and Henry Hull in the 1935 film Werewolf of London. Bela is significant for being the one to give Larry Talbot the curse of The Wolf Man. 
- In the film, Bela is seen only as a wolf and not as a full werewolf as demonstrated later by Larry Talbot. Early script treatments wanted to leave the matter ambiguous, allowing the audience to wonder whether Larry Talbot was truly a werewolf, or whether it was just a product of a mental derangement. This is why Bela was never seen as a bipedal "wolf man".
- The stunt-dog used for Bela's werewolf scenes was later purchased by Lon Chaney, Jr..
- When Bela fights with Larry, he resembles a normal dog. When his body is found, he is wearing pants.
- Several scenes show animals acting aggressively while in the presence of Larry Talbot due to his affliction. This plays upon the idea that animals have an innate sense for anything that is wrong or unnatural. However, none of the horses in the gypsy camp seemed to react to Bela in a similar fashion.
- ↑ Tom Weaver; The Wolf Man audio commentary; The Wolf Man Legacy Collection; 2004