April 8, 2011

The Posters of Frankenstein : Il Mostro di Frankenstein

This Italian playbill from 1926 is one of the earliest of all Frankenstein movie posters. There are heralds or pressbooks for the two previous Frankenstein films, the Edison Company’s Frankenstein (1910) and Ocean Films’ Life Without Soul (1915), but this is a rare instance of a true poster, meant for display. A typeset placard without illustrations, measuring 24 by 38 inches, it is typical of theater or movie playbills printed in very low numbers for local distribution.

Il Mostro di Frankenstein (1921) was made in Italy with German backing. Its stars, Luciano Albertini and mostro Umberto Guarracino were well known as sword-and-sandal movie strongmen. Albertini is identified on the Frankenstein poster as Samson, a character he reprised in several films.

The film mentioned at the top of the bill, Bebe Gode, is I Do (1921), a frantic two-reeler written and produced by Hal Roach. Star Harold Lloyd would marry his co-star, Mildred Davis, in 1923. A line at the bottom announces the upcoming Galaor contra Galaor (1924). This one’s a peplum attributed to Eugenio Bava, a cinematographer acclaimed as a pioneer of movie special effects in Italy, and father of cult director Mario Bava. In 1960, Eugenio sculpted the memorable torture mask for his son’s Black Sunday.

A lost film, very little evidence remains of Il Mostro di Frankenstein. A tantalizing image appears on a Belgian flyer, and now this poster, with the main character’s name misspelled, reveals that the film was still touring rural Italy five years after its initial release.

With information gathered from The Classic Horror Film Board.

The Silent Frankensteins

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