Boris Karloff’s green head floats over the swooshing title and a luminous, redheaded victim on the movie poster-like dust jacket for the 1931 American edition of Mary Shelley’s novel. The art deco illustration is by Nathan Machtey.
Publishers Grosset & Dunlap struck a cross-promotion deal with Universal Pictures, releasing the book as a “Photoplay Edition” illustrated with a handful of stills from the James Whale film. Booksellers were urged to promote film showings at the local Bijou and theaters would reciprocate with lobby displays of the book.
Today, because of its direct connection to the movie, Grosset & Dunlap’s 1931 Frankenstein — though not scarce — is a highly desirable collector’s title. If the book comes complete with the very rare original dust jacket (as opposed to a facsimile jacket), it’s value rises dramatically.
Besides Frankenstein, the company’s horror movie tie-ins included London After Midnight (1927), Dracula (1931), Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and a novelization of King Kong (1933).
The Rue Morgue cover art features a composition similar to Frankenstein’s, complete with recumbent redhead.
The Selling of Frankenstein