Bonhams TCM present The Dark Side of Hollywood Sale, November 20, 2018



2018-11-08 13:16:05

This week's featured auction is Bonhams' TCM Presents...The Dark Side of Hollywood. The sale in New York on November 20 is packed with treasures of cinematic history, with a focus on the fantastic, the sinister and the downright macabre. Here are ten of our favourite items on offer.

Polish Sunset Boulevard movie poster

Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000

This vintage poster for the classic 1957 Billy Wilder film Sunset Boulevard is a stunning example of the alternative artwork found on Polish movie posters.

Created by artist Waldemar Swierzy, the striking poster perfectly captures Gloria Swanson in her most iconic role as Norma Desmond, the faded silent movie star who descends into madness.

Harry Potter's Hogwarts Acceptance letter

Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000

This rare prop envelope was created for the famous scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, in which Harry receives dozens of invitations to Hogwarts which magically swirl around his room.

The envelope bears Harry's address on the front (The Cupboard Under The Stairs, 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, SURREY) along with the Hogwarts crest stamp and an unbroken red seal on the reverse.

Chris Sarandon tunic from The Princess Bride

Estimate: $8,000 - $10,000

This custom tunic was worn by Chris Sarandon as the dastardly Prince Humperdinck, in the timeless fantasy comedy The Princess Bride.

Sarandon wears the costume in the famous marriage scene, and in his final confrontation with the film's hero Wesley, in which he told in no uncertain terms "Drop. Your. Sword."

If you've got your country’s 500th anniversary to plan, your wedding to arrange, your wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it, then this is the outfit for you.

Charlie Chaplin screenplay of The Freak

Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000

In the late 1960s, following his final film The Countess of Hong Kong, Charlie Chaplin began working on a script entitled The Freak, which he intended as a vehicle for his daughter Victoria.

The film told the story of a girl born with wings who is kidnapped and displayed as an angel. She later escapes and falls in love with a professor, but is shunned by society and forced to stand trial to prove she is human.

Chaplin spent years working on the film, although no footage was ever shot, and he had intentions to fulfil the project right up to his death in 1977.

This copy of the script originally belonged to Chaplin's other daughter Jane, and also includes a handwritten letter by her explaining the story behind her father's final script.

John Wayne screen-worn cowboy hat

Estimate: $30,000 - $50,000

This slightly battered cowboy hat was worn by the most famous Western hero of them all, John Wayne.

Wayne wore the hat extensively onscreen in Rio Bravo (1959) and The Train Robbers (1973), and the accorn headband also appeared on another of Wayne's hats in Hondo (1953).

The hat spent many years on display inside a glass case at the John Wayne family home, before being gifted in the 1990s to hat repairer Slim Callahan.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs animation cel

Estimate: $20,000 - $25,000

This original hand-painted animation cel was used during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), the world's first feature-length animated film directed by Walt Disney.

The film took three years to complete, and Disney had to remortgage his house to help cover the $1.4 million budget – but it was a huge critical and commercial success, and today is regarded as one of the greatest films ever made.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein poster

Estimate: $150,000 - $200,000

This 1948 Abbott and Costello comedy is an homage to the classic Universal horror movies of the 1930s, and features three of the original stars: Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula, Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's monster, and Lon Chaney, Jr. as the Wolf Man.

This enormous 24-sheet poster, measuring 20ft across, features superb images of all three iconic monsters and is the only example known to exist.

Michael Jackson's Thriller zombie costumes

Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000 each

This trio of ragged zombie costumes appeared in the most famous music video of all-time, Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Directed by John Landis, and featuring effects by makeup genius Rick Baker, the 13-minute , multi-million dollar video changed the nature of music videos forever.

The video sold more than 1 million copies on VHS, and today it remains the only music video inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

The costumes for the army of undead dancers were designed by Kelly Kimball and Deborah Nadoolman Landis, who sourced items from vintage clothing stores and distressed them to appear as zombie rags.

Darryl Zanuck's copy of the 1927 screenplay of The Jazz Singer

Estimate: $100,000 - $200,000

The Jazz Singer made history in 1927 as the first feature-length 'talkie' film with synchronized dialogue, music and singing.

This copy of the script originally belonged to the legendary Warner Bros. producer Darryl Zanuck, whose Hollywood career spanned six decades from the silent era to the 1970s.

Zanuck served as supervising producer on the film, and pushed the studio to include recorded dramatic dialogue as well as singing. He later won an honorary Academy Award for his efforts on the cinematic landmark.

The script is a pre-production version which shows how studios struggled to adapt to the new era of talking pictures. It is still written in the same format as silent movie scripts, with title cards of dialogue, and for one musical scene the description simply reads:

"The various shots for this will have to be in accordance with Vitaphone technic [sic] and its necessities."

Bela Lugosi's Dracula cape

Estimate: On request

This sweeping cape was worn by Bela Lugosi in his iconic signature role of Count Dracula.

However, he was no longer battling Professor Van Helsing, but the comedy duo Abbot and Costello in the 1948 horror comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

Director Barton remarked that during the making of the film, "There were times when I thought Bela was going to have a stroke on the set. You have to understand that working with two zanies like Abbott and Costello was not the normal Hollywood set."

However, the film retains a reverence for the original stars and the monsters they made famous a decade earlier.

Abbott and Costello were respectful of their co-stars and their legacy, and ensured that neither Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster or The Wolfman received a seltzer spray or a pie in the face during filming.

Aside from the 1931 original, the films marks the only other time that Lugosi played the Count on-screen in a major role, and the cape is a rare piece of cinematic history.

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