'Frankenstein,' circa 1931
That's a very unique poster. It's the only one known to exist.
A big, revealing thing about this poster is that it credits the original director, Robert Florey, for the film, as well as James Whale [who stepped in later]. The story goes that Robert Florey was going to use Bela Lugosi as the monster. There was some shakeup at Universal, and, all of a sudden, and Robert Florey was taken off the job. James Whale came in and decided to use Boris Karloff instead of Bela Lugosi, and the rest is history. So knowing that story, on this particular French Frankenstein double grand poster, it credits both Robert Florey for story and production, as well as James Whale. It's the only Frankenstein poster to come out during the original release to credit Robert Florey, so that's why this poster is pretty interesting to me.
Now the pure graphical representation of the poster is great. What is depicted is a scene from the opening of the film, where there is a funeral procession in a graveyard and they're putting coffins into the ground – the typical thing, gravediggers throwing dirt on the casket. Then the next scene is [actor] Dwight Frye, who played Fritz, who later morphed into the Igor character, and Colin Clive, who's Dr. Frankenstein, and they're scheming to get the body. The image that you see on the poster is a part of that whole funeral scene, and then the image that's superimposed over that is of idealized version of what the Frankenstein monster was. Back then, he was more thought of as part man, part machine, other than something that was put together using dead bodies. If you look at the stylization of the character, you'll see that Frankenstein has a metallic appearance to him. That was the illustrator's interpretation of what he thought the Frankenstein monster would be.