Dracula (Universal, 1931). One Sheet (27" X 41") Style F.. ...
In 1897, Irish author Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, the story of a mysterious Transylvanian Count who was also a centuries-old vampire. Although not an immediate popular success, the book received considerable critical praise, and spawned several stage adaptations, most notably a version by actor Hamilton Deane and playwright John Balderston that toured England for several years beginning in 1924. When the play came to Broadway in 1927, the lead role of Dracula was assigned to an unknown Hungarian actor named Bela Lugosi, for which he received overwhelming acclaim from the day's theater critics.
Nevertheless, when Universal Pictures' new studio head Carl Laemmle Jr. announced his intentions to bring a version of the popular play to the silver screen - over the vehement objections of his father, studio founder Carl Laemmle Sr. - Lugosi was far from his first choice to portray the lead role. Other, more bankable actors such as Ian Keith, Paul Muni, Conrad Veidt, Joseph Schildkraut, and Chester Morris, were all deemed more desirable for the part. It was only after the studio determined that Lugosi was desperate enough for the role to work cheaply that they awarded him the plum assignment. In the end, Lugosi received a mere $500 a week for seven weeks work, far from the $2,000 per week received by David Manners, who played Jonathan Harker in a bland and forgettable role. The result was a screen blockbuster, selling more than 50,000 tickets in its first 48 hours of release at New York's Roxy Theater alone, and grossing nearly $700,000 in its first domestic release against a budget of $355,000. In its wake, Dracula would not only make a star of leading man Bela Lugosi, but would usher in Universal's immensely popular - and profitable - franchise of gothic horror films. It is, by any definition, a landmark film, and original paper promoting it is in high demand by collectors worldwide. This lovely Style F stone litho one sheet, with its stunning image of Count Dracula aboard the Vespa en route to London, is a real gem. In March 2009, Heritage sold another copy of this style, from the collection of Nicolas Cage, which realized more than $310,000. At the time, it was noted that the copy offered was one of only three known. The discovery of the poster in this auction brings that grand total to four known to exist in the entire world. The poster had a tear in the upper white border that extends into the image within the green field between Dracula's raised fist and the moon behind him, with a tiny fleck of missing paper at the intersection of the border and the green field. There was tear from the left border into the "D" in "Dracula" and down into the black of the cape. There was two tears in the right border that extend just into the image and there were pinholes in the upper two corners of the artwork. The bottom white border was trimmed just below the black line which delineates the image from the border so no color image was lost and the entire image and all borders were intact other than the lower border. Through careful professional restoration all of these issues discussed were beautifully restored. The colors on the poster are as vibrant as the day it was printed and have not been altered at all. Few posters combine the high degrees of rarity, desirability, and sheer artistic beauty like this scarce showpiece. Any collection, no matter how advanced, will be enhanced by the addition of this almost impossible-to-find gem, a piece of film history sure to be coveted by everyone who appreciates classic film. From the Berwick Discovery. Fine+ on Linen.
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