1930 Gary Cooper as The Texan by Rockwell
2007 SOLD for $ 5.9M by Sotheby's
Rockwell desired a model for preparing a drawing for the Saturday Evening Post that would mingle the cowboy attire and the movie industry. He imagined an actor dressed in chaps, boots, and spurs having his lips painted by a make-up man in an offstage scene.
Gary Cooper was a nice guy and a handsome man. He accepted. Rockwell pictured him perched on a saddle having his makeup applied, wearing his full Texan costume, including his boots with spurs, leather chaps, holstered gun and embroidered vest. The tools of the assistant are tucked behind his ears, draped on his lap, and dropped at his feet.
The Western film The Texan was released on May 10. The picture was the cover page in color of The Saturday Evening Post on May 24, including a chalkboard inscribed with the movie title and the name of its director John Cromwell.
The oil on canvas 89 x 69 cm was sold for $ 5.9M from a lower estimate of $ 1.5M by Sotheby's on November 28, 2007, lot 36.
On the romantic side, Rockwell met his second wife while he was painting Cooper.
1939 The Skin of the Cowardly Lion
2014 SOLD for $ 3.1M including premium
The new Alice is named Dorothy, played by Judy Garland with her long braids of a young girl. Her blue dress with a tight pattern of small squares, consisting of a schoolgirl apron and a skirt, becomes the thread of the human emotions in a crazy world.
Its light blue color in strong contrast with the costumes of the other characters is intended to demonstrate the recent progress of the Technicolor process that had been criticized for its too saturated rendition of colors.
A dress complete of its apron, bodice and full length skirt was sold for $ 1.56M by Bonhams on November 23, lot 67. At the sale of the Debbie Reynolds collection by Profiles in History on June 18, 2011, a test dress of the same model was sold for $ 1.1M.
A pair of ruby slippers worn during test sequences was sold for $ 610K by Profiles in History on June 18, 2011. The actual pair used by Judy-Dorothy was sold in a private sale in February 2012 by Profiles in History to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Cowardly Lion is its most extravagant character of the Wizard of Oz.
This animal is a friend of Dorothy. He sings and dances while dreaming to find some courage and to become the king of the forest. The role was played by the burlesque actor Bert Lahr. He needed some toughness to play within this outfit because the skin is thick and heavy.
The costume was made from a real lion's hide. The realization was difficult because the technicians quickly appreciated that these animals are all different, excluding the possibility to use a spare habit. Two costumes of Cowardly Lion were made, but only one was used in the filming.
The screen used costume was acquired by a specialist who adorned it with a molded head of Bert Lahr's son. It was sold for $ 3.1M by Bonhams on November 24, 2014, lot 128.
A photo of Bert Lahr in the lion's skin is shared by Wikimedia:
1941 The Lead Falcon
2013 SOLD 4.1 M$ including premium
This evil bird that is succeeding the terrible monsters seldom appears in the film. It is an object of intense desire until it is discovered and provides the evidence that it was not made of precious materials.
The detailed on-screen inspection of the handling of this statuette 30cm high shows that it is very heavy. The version made in lead weighing 20.5 kg is authenticated in two units by Warner.
Only one of them was used in the film. It is for sale by Bonhams in New York on November 25. Here is the link to the catalog.
During filming, this heavy prop had fallen from the hands of an actress on the toes of Humphrey Bogart and a lead feather from the tail was bent by the accident. This damage is visible during an action on screen and ensures that the copy for sale by Bonhams is the actual bird of the film.
Yesterday November 7 at Guernsey's, a Maltese Falcon in gray plaster of same size remained unsold from an estimate of $ 1M. It is signed with the initials of the artist : Fred Sexton.
POST SALE COMMENT
This statuette is a true icon in the history of cinema. It was sold for $ 3.5 million before fees, 4.1 million including premium.
(1927)-1942 The Moroccan Piano of Casablanca
2014 SOLD for $ 3.4M including premium
The instrument was made in 1927 and stored by the First National Pictures (FNP) of which it bears an inventory mark. When it was chosen for the film, it was painted with orientalist patterns.
This instrument has a unique feature related to the requirements of the film: the lid is detached from the case in order to enable the gesture of the actor who hides inside it some coveted papers.
This piano with its original stool is lot 83 in the sale of souvenirs of the American cinema organized on November 24 by Bonhams in New York with the participation of Turner Classic Movies.
There is another Casablanca piano, screen used in a flashback scene located in Paris. This instrument of the "Belle Aurore" was sold for $ 600K including premium by Sotheby's on December 14, 2012.
1955 The Most Famous Pleated Dress
2011 SOLD 5.6 M$ including premium
This lovely ivory white gown was a technical achievement. It must be heavy enough to stay graceful while walking, and light enough to fly above the wind tunnel. The designer Travilla chose a rayon-based fabric. A photo of the famous scene illustrates the article shared by the Daily Mail.
In 1971, 20th Century Fox sells many of their movie props, due to financial difficulties. The actress Debbie Reynolds, who was the dance partner of Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain, acquires prestigious pieces before they are auctioned.
She now splits her extraordinary collection, in two sales held by Profiles in History in Beverly Hills. The subway dress is included in the first sale, on June 18. It had never been submitted to a public sale, and it is very difficult to predict the price. The auction house announced a very open estimate that seems reasonable: between 1 and 2 million $.
POST SALE COMMENT
The sale was available live on the bidding provider site LiveAuctioneers. It was well attended by buyers, and the top lot reached a remarkable price: $ 4.6 million before fees.
It is a triumph in the category of movie props.
1956 Robots from Outer Space
2017 SOLD for $ 5.4M including premium
In 1956 the MGM prepares Forbidden Planet. The intelligent humanoid robot named Robby is the star of the movie, especially as the terrible evil monster named Id is invisible. In this Shakespearian drama whose scenario is apparently inspired by The Tempest, the robot dies atrociously : obliged to respond to Asimov's laws that forbids it to harm a human being, it breaks up because it cannot oppose Id which is actually a psychic emanation of the mad scientist.
In the following year Sputnik I is the first artificial satellite of the Earth. Less advanced than the nice Robby it only says "beep beep beep". Meanwhile the real Robby receives a huge popular success and it will then be reused in many science fiction movies.
Robby is a complex machine for its time : talking, walking, reaching out and flashing with all its lights. It is activated incognito by a small man hidden inside. The rubber hands and the dome have not survived the test of time and were changed in the early 1980s by a careful collector. Accompanied by its Jeep, remote control console and some spare equipment, it will be sold in New York on November 21 by Bonhams in association with Turner Classic Movies, lot 1070.
Other robots aroused also later the fervor of the public. R2-D2, shaped like a more modern 1 m high electronic equipment mounted on small wheels, has been continuously modified from 1977 for the needs of the Star Wars series. It was sold for $ 2.75M by Profiles in History on June 28, 2017.
1964 The Ascot Dress from My Fair Lady
2011 SOLD for $ 4.4M including premium by Profiles in History
narrated in 2020
Cecil Beaton was commissioned with the sets and costumes for the film as he had done for the play. His work was rewarded with one of the six Tony Awards attributed in 1957 to the Broadway version and with one of the eight Oscars awarded to the film in 1965.
Horse racing is a pretext for the ladies to exhibit the most showy clothing. The great scene of the film takes place during the Royal Ascot in 1910. In that crowd from which 400 women have been individually costumed, Audrey's dress shall be the most beautiful.
Audrey wears for this action a very tight clear dress in silk, velvet and embroidery, with a few ornaments, a short train and a gigantic hat decorated with ostrich feathers. The scene in which this sumptuously dressed young woman instinctively resumes her cockney accent to encourage a horse is one of the most comical in the history of cinema.
This Ascot dress belonged to Debbie Reynolds. It was sold for $ 4.4M including premium by Profiles in History on June 18, 2011, lot 506 linked here on the LiveAuctioneers bidding platform. In the same auction, the 'subway' dress of Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch was sold for $ 5.5M including premium.
1975 Dune Storyboard
2021 SOLD for € 2.66M by Christie's
The rights for a film are acquired in December 1974 by a French team operated by Michel Seydoux as producer and Alejandro Jodorowsky as director. It should be a breakthrough in sci-fi movies with a 10 to 15 hour running time for a 15 million dollar budget. It will be reported that Salvador Dali accepted to be the emperor on the condition to be the most paid ever actor per hour. Jodorowsky accepted while reducing the role.
The artistic preparation was entrusted to Jean Giraud, the French master of fantasy comics who was using from 1974 the artist's name Moebius, co-founding the magazine Métal Hurlant at that time. Supported by other artists including Chris Foss and Hans Ruedi Giger, they created for Dune thousands of drawings of characters, costumes, vehicles and settings.
A few million dollars were still missing to fit the budget. Jodorowsky had printed a storyboard for appealing the US movie business. This oblong octavo 21 x 29 cm book is made of 11 color plates, 268 black and white plates, plus dialogues in French and English. The plates are photographic reproductions of drawings, printed single-side.
That 1975 Dune storyboard was a working document and the production run, not recorded, may not be more than ten copies. The number 5 was sold for € 2.66M from a lower estimate of € 25K by Christie's on November 22, 2021, lot 116.
Nobody in Hollywood was willing to support a film with such an extravagant running time. The project failed when Jodorowsky refused to compromise. It was indeed more suitable to propose series. Star War from 1977 and Alien from 1979 re-used ideas and staff from the aborted Dune.
The 2013 documentary film titled Jodorowsky's Dune narrated these stories.
1977 Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter
2023 for sale on October 15 by Heritage
Several 1:24 scale models were built in two varieties, Hero and Pyro. Some high quality examples had to match all details for the credibility of the effect. Colored wing markings identified the position within the squadron. Variants included the inclusion of lightings and of pyrotechnics. The Pyro model was flown on thin wires to achieve the shot. The explosion was not always destructive so that some Pyro models could be re-used.
A recently surfaced example 56 x 46 x 20 cm was sold for $ 2.38M by Propstore on June 21, 2022, lot 386. It was considered at that time as the last X-Wing model of the New Hope still in private hands. The auction house shared two videos, for a general presentation and for a detailed analysis.
This item was originally a screen matched high quality Pyro model without lighting associated with the Red One fictional leader of the Red Squadron of the final space battle. Additional wing stripes were applied for the use of the Red Three pilot but is was not screen used in that later configuration. It is kept in superb condition including its solid foam.
For that first film the Hero was made in only 4 units for close up shootings. A Hero X-Wing Starfighter with servo controlled articulated wings and lights operated in turn with Red leaders One, Two and Five surfaced from the collection of the late Chinese American model designer Greg Jein, one of the best designers of miniatures for special effects. It will be sold by Heritage on October 15, 2023, lot 89464.
Also for A New Hope, the blasters for the use of Han Solo had been built on a Mauser C96. They were stripped of their Star Wars arrangement after the shootings. One of them was retrieved in a storage of film props in 2010 and reassembled as a replica of the Han Solo arm in 2018 by the lead armorer of the film. That reconstituted prop was sold for $ 1.06M by RIAC on August 27, 2022, lot 1247.
Red Leader standing by, in The #GregJein Collection Hollywood Platinum Signature® Auction.□ Without question, this Hero X-wing miniature represents the pinnacle of #StarWars artifacts to ever reach the market! https://t.co/eG9KiNPRL0 pic.twitter.com/RBM0peI4Mn— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) September 15, 2023
1977-2002 R2-D2 from Star Wars
2017 SOLD for $ 2.76M by Profiles In History
Remind that in the chronology of the stories, the second trilogy takes place before the first. The chronology of the releases corresponds to the episodes IV, V, VI, I, II, III then VII and beyond.
The robots were maintained throughout the films, in particular to change the obsolete components. On June 28, 2017, a composite example combining the structuring elements with an excellent level of authenticity was sold for $ 2.76M including premium by Profiles in History over a lower estimate of $ 1M, lot 1298 linked here on the bidding platform Invaluable.
The most important element is from the very first film, episode IV, in 1977 and was used in the following three films : it is the aluminum dome designed for the use of Kenny Baker. The other elements of the three feet and of the body are authentic from the first five films, although the right foot prepared for the episode I has not been screen used.
This assembly, which does not include any functional element, could not have been done before the completion of the fifth film, episode II, in 2002.
2022 SOLD for $ 2.56M by Julien's
The creature conceived by Spielberg was so different that its face expressions could not be played by a human. Spielberg commissioned in 1981 the special effect specialist and award winner Carlo Rambaldi. At that time the computer imagery did not exist.
Spielberg imagined an ugly head mingling Sandburg, Einstein and Hemingway. Rambaldi added in the oversized eyes the innocent gaze of his pet cat. He tested on his daughter the empathy with a low scaled clay model. The girl stated "Dad, he's really ugly, but I feel sorry for him and if I ever met him in real life, I'd help him for sure, and I like his posterior, he reminds me of Donald Duck." That was the key of the phenomenal success of the film, released in 1982.
The next step was the animatronic model. Rambaldi prepared a skeleton in duralumin with 85 points of articulation, including 32 points in the face alone. Each point was linked by a 20 m cable to a servo motor during the shooting in the fall of 1981, and a team of twelve specialized puppeteers was entrusted to the realization of the movements. The prop had been prepared in three months at a price of $ 1.5 million.
The first production model of the E.T., 1.63 x 1.08 x 1.08 m, was sold for $ 2.56M by Julien's on December 18, 2022, lot 1052. It is the only surviving example. Part of the proceeds will support the Carlo Rambaldi Foundation and associations for activities dedicated to autistic children.
In the same sale the original maquette was sold for $ 125K, lot 1053.