Frankenstein (Universal, 1931). Very Fine-. Title ...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionFrankenstein (Universal, 1931). Very Fine-. Title Lobby Card (11" X 14").
On a late June evening in 1816, and while vacationing along the banks of Lake Geneva, Lord Byron suggested to his friends Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley and John Polidari, that they each write a ghost story. Polidari's story Vampyre came first, and then 19 year old Mary Shelley, partially inspired by the science of electricity and the effect it had shown on the muscles of dead corpses, came up with her novel, Frankenstein. The story concerned a scientist who used electricity to re-animate life in a creature made from the dead parts of human bodies. The novel would create an international sensation when it was published in 1818, and would go on to become the most famous horror novel ever written. By 1931, Carl Laemmle, the head of Universal Studios, had already made several major box-office hits adapting horror novels to the screen. First was The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and then The Phantom of the Opera (1925). With the advent of sound, and the popularity of Dracula on the stage, the producer obtained the rights to Bram Stoker's novel and the film version of Dracula (1931) was created. Bela Lugosi in the title role was a huge success and Laemmle wanted the new star to portray the monster in their next production, Frankenstein. James Whale was brought in to direct the picture. When Lugosi turned down the role of the Monster, (as the monster didn't have enough spoken lines of dialog), Whale was secretly delighted as he had already found the actor who would bring "his" Monster to life. Boris Karloff, 44 at the time, and struggling as a character actor in films, was picked by Whale to wear the Jack Pierce makeup that would turn him into the world's most iconic and famous monster. When the film was released, Karloff was such a sensation, women would faint from shock or run screaming from the theatre. The Monster, and Karloff, would both go on to eclipse Lugosi's Dracula as the greatest cinematic monster and leading actor of horror films for all-time. Within the movie poster hobby, no genre is as highly collected and sought after than the posters and lobby cards for the original Universal horror films. And of those few films, Frankenstein is considered the pinnacle of collecting. To say that the 1931 horror classic Frankenstein was monumental would be more than a gross understatement. It is, perhaps, the most influential film in Hollywood history. The title card offered here, is one of only a few known to exist, and of those, it is certainly one of the best condition. Boris Karloff, as the misunderstood monster, rampages across the card; the artwork executed in a style reflecting German expressionism; the style of film-making regarded as having the most influence on the horror cinema. The image of Karloff, as seen on this title card, with his flat head and bolts coming out of the neck, was the first such image that any audience laid eyes on and it would become one of the most recognizable and iconographic images of a monster in the twentieth century. Posters and lobby cards for this title, along with Dracula, are considered to be "corner-stones" within the hobby. Another piece of this kind may not surface for many years, making this an opportunity not to be ignored as it has been 13 years since Heritage has offered another copy. This vibrant and unrestored title card has a small lower left corner bend and some faint staining in the lower right and left border as well as a slight bit of staining in the credits above and including the Mary Shelley credit. The colors are magnificent and must assuredly be one of the best copies of this very rare title card.
Estimate: $50,000 - $100,000.
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