Saturday, March 26, 2016

BORIS KARLOFF'S LAST PHOTOGRAPH


Hollywood fan magazines of the 1930s favored scandal over substance, just as they do today. If they could tantalize, titillate or trash, they had done their job. Like journalistic stage magicians, smoke and mirrors and misdirection were also tools that writers and gossip columnists would use to raise the eyebrow or the ire of the reader.

In this page from PHOTOPLAY (February 1933), the caption accompanying the full-page photo of a pensive Boris Karloff boldly states that this is the last picture that fans were likely to see of him. The catch was that his "bosses" at Universal had made an announcement that any photos henceforth would only be of Karloff in his various monster guises. While it was definitely designed as one more publicity stunt, film historians of today can look back and ponder just how powerful was Karloff's fame, and just how typecast he was, at the time.

The moody, chiaroscuro image of Karloff was shot by Jack Freulich, FRANKENSTEIN's still photographer.

Sinister, those eyes ...

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