Dracula (Universal, R-1938). One Sheet (27" X 41"). With the incredible success of both The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, Universal magnate Carl Laemmle Jr. set his studio on the course that would make his father's company famous: that of producing the most important and significant horror films in the history of cinema. With the box office receipts pouring in, Laemmle set about finding and securing another horror project for his company. A play in England of Bram Stoker's Dracula had become a major sensation and Laemmle thought it would be the perfect project for Lon Chaney, the actor who had starred in Universal's previous two horror hits. But Chaney was under contract to Metro and unless Universal could acquire Chaney, the studio would not buy the screen rights to the legendary Count's story. Universal finally decided to acquire the rights to Dracula when they learned Paramount and Metro were also interested in the project. In hopes of acquiring Chaney from Metro, Universal signed the actor's favorite director, Tod Browning to the film. Unfortunately, Chaney developed throat cancer and passed away before filming could begin. After auditioning several actors they settled on the Hungarian heart-throb who made the role famous on the stage, Bela Lugosi. The film was a major success for the studio upon its release in February 1931 and finally solidified Universal's association with the horror genre. By 1938, Universal had created several horror films that would go on to achieve financial success for the studio as well as cult status with the public. It was time to introduce a new generation of film-goers to the original horror shows of both Frankenstein and Dracula. The studio decided to get a bit creative with this first reissue of their classic: Dracula was reissued with a green tint to some of the prints. The one sheet that was used for this "new look" release was printed with dark greens and black. The effect is startling and captures Lugosi in his most menacing pose, as the undead Count. The poster is similar to the original style A one sheet issued in 1931, but is actually more haunting in this dramatic form. This poster was unknown for many years and to this date, no other copies of this 1938 re-release one sheet have surfaced. However, in 2003, this copy rose from its crypt in Latrobe, PA, and made its way into a collector's hands. It was then that its true value was recognized as one of the most atmospheric horror posters, capturing Bela Lugosi in his most important role: one of the most famous icons of the cinema. Another example of the significant one sheet may never come to light. The poster has had minor color touchups to the fold lines and some minor tears in the borders. There were several pinholes in the dark green background, primarily in the upper and lower corner areas and there was a small chip off of the lower right corner. All of these minor issues were professionally restored so that the poster appears very clean. (Provenance; The Latrobe Collection, The Nicolas Cage Collection.) Fine+ on Linen.

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