Sunday, July 7, 2013

DR. JEKYLL, I PRESUME?


While everyone may have their favorite, it is most often the 1931 film version of adventure author Robert Louis Stevenson's novella, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, that is cited as the most enduring. Wally Westmore's uncredited makeup of the murderous Edward Hyde is undeniably horrifying and surely went a long way in securing a best actor award for Fredric March. It is astonishing to note that two very memorable makeups came out of Hollywood in this year: Westmore's  Hyde and Jack Pierce's Frankenstein monster.

Currently up for auction are several very rare lobby cards from the Paramount production of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. Along with a description of each card is the range of value for the expected sale.

"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931). Jumbo Lobby Card (14" X 17").
He may be dressed for the evening in a tux, but you just couldn't control the beast in Mr. Hyde. In reality, Mr. Hyde was the hidden and darker nature of Dr. Jekyll's personality. It was unleashed by an elixir the good doctor created in his lab and to his ever-lasting regret, the darker and more evil side was taking more control of him each time he imbibed. The story was written by Robert Louis Stevenson and was an allegory on the evils of drinking and the darker side of man that came with it. The novel was a sensation when it was published in 1886 and became the inspiration for a number of film adaptations including one with John Barrymore in 1920 and another with Spencer Tracy in 1941. However, this is the version that became the one all others have been measured against as Fredric March would take home an Oscar as Best Actor for his amazing performance. As most fans of the film know, in the regular set of lobbies there are only three cards that depict March as the evil Mr. Hyde and one of those is almost the back of Hyde's head. The cards from this jumbo set have at least two scenes with Mr. Hyde and we couldn't imagine that there's a card more spectacular than this. As the leering Mr. Hyde, March charges the police who have come to arrest him. The card, with it's portrait depiction of Mr. Hyde in Wally Westmore's incredible makeup, truly captures the depiction of man at his most foul. The card had conservation to two very minor chips in the upper edge and to another two tiny chips in the right edge. The card also had a few minor crimps within the image area, all of which have been beautifully corrected. Very Fine-. Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000."




"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931). Jumbo Lobby Card (14" X 17").
In one of the most pivotal moments of Rouben Mamoulian's legendary horror film, Mr. Hyde (Fredric March) drinks the elixir that will convert him back to the elegant Dr. Jekyll. This is considered the best version of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story dealing with the good and evil natures that both lie within man and the possibility of each of those natures taking control of the individual. When the film was released on December 31, 1931 it went into competition with Universal's Frankenstein which had been released the month before; making it truly a memorable Christmas for horror fans. March's performance as the doctor struggling with his inner nature earned him an Oscar for Best Actor in the 1932 awards ceremony. And one must give credit to Wally Westmore's incredible makeup which assisted March's performance and helped the actor achieve that Oscar. It was sensational, lurid and completely haunting to audiences of the time and still holds up with viewers today. While this scene was used on a regular 11 x 14 lobby as well, it is far superior to that card by appearing in the larger jumbo lobby format and also making use of the linen finish paper which absolutely glows. And while most theatres would order the regular set of cards from the distributor, very few would order the far more expensive jumbo set. There was a depression on in America in 1931 and every dollar counted, making these jumbo cards an extravagance. Hence-- the rarity. This, and the other jumbo lobbies on this title are the only known examples to ever turn up, and after 82 years, there aren't likely to be any more uncovered. Three of the corners have had some minor creases which were supported on the verso of the card. There were also some minor crimps within the image and a light large crease that started in the center of the top edge and ran slightly diagonal through March's raised arm. These minor issues have been corrected with professional conservation methods and the card now displays beautifully. Once this amazing, elusive and highly desirable card is sold, another may never turn up on the market. Very Fine. Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000."




"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931). Jumbo Lobby Card (14" X 17").
Fredric March as the ever-so-suave Dr. Jekyll embraces the lovely Ivy (Miriam Hopkins) in a tender moment from one of the greatest horror films ever made. As the cabaret singer, Ivy tries to seduce Jekyll but eventually falls under the control of Jekyll's evil "other self" Mr. Hyde. Fredric March would go on to win an Oscar for Best Actor for portraying the dual role. This vertical jumbo lobby features a scene not found in the regular set of lobby cards. The card had very slight diagonal creases in the corners that have been color-touched. There are some very slight crimps within the image area, but none of these imperfections were distracting and the card is in spectacular condition. This is the only example of this jumbo lobby we know of. Very Fine. Estimate: $1,500 - $3,000."




"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931). Jumbo Lobby Card (14" X 17").
Frightened beyond belief and begging for help, the tortured Ivy (Miriam Hopkins) begs Dr. Jekyll (Fredric March) for help in escaping the control of the evil Mr. Hyde. This classic horror film was made during the height of the pre-Code era and featured suggestive scenes that depicted Ivy as a seductress that preyed upon Dr. Jekyll's rather weak morality. Prior to some very minor conservation, this card had some slight diagonal creasing on the corners and some minor crimps within the image area. There was a small tear on the left edge, a very tiny chip off of the lower left corner and a slight crack in the middle of the right edge. All of this has now been corrected and the card shines. This is the only example of this fantastic jumbo lobby we've ever seen or heard of. Very Fine. Estimate: $1,500 - $3,000."




"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931). Lobby Card (11" X 14"). This card depicts Frederic March when he approaches his colleague, Dr. Lanyon (Holmes Herbert), asking for help in his struggle to overcome the grip of his evil alter-ego, Mr. Hyde. The card is in exceptional shape with only a minor stain in the lower right corner and a minor abrasion in the "M" of "Mamoulian" in the upper right corner. Very Fine."

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