Thursday, July 14, 2016

A RARE PAIR


A couple of items headed for the auction block -- an "extraordinarily rare" one sheet movie poster for 1935 THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN printed by the independent publisher, Leader Press, and an "extremely rare" poster for the original LE THEATRE DU GRAND GUIGNOL, from 1917. This pair is so rare that the auction house has watermarked the images. Both offer a unique glimpse of unusual genre images.


Auction Lot Description:
The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal, 1935). Leader Press One Sheet (28" X 41") James Whale's sequel to his 1931 masterpiece Frankenstein quickly became a classic in its own right, surpassing the original in many ways. Boris Karloff and Colin Clive return as the Monster and his maker, and Ernest Thesiger is pure genius as the mad Dr. Pretorius. Dr. Frankenstein is torn between his new bride Elizabeth (Valerie Hobson) and his desire to continue his gruesome experiments with Pretorius. When Frankenstein is blackmailed into creating another monster, the Bride is born, played beautifully by Elsa Lanchester who also stars in a dual role as the narrator Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. The superb makeup by Jack Pierce, gothic sets, and powerful performances by the stars, make this a flawless masterpiece. To say that paper from this film is popular with movie poster connoisseurs is an incredible understatement, and collectors will be thrilled to see this Leader Press one sheet, a Heritage first. The famous Leader Press film posters were printed by an independent manufacturer in Oklahoma City that made posters for studio released product and sold them to theater owners at reduced prices. The print run was normally much smaller than the standard studio one sheet run and thus the Leader Press posters are more rare. In this image, the Monster is depicted in bold swaths of garish blue and green, perfectly juxtaposed with his lovely mate in all white. An extraordinarily rare find for horror film poster collectors. Touchup was applied to the folds, pinholes in the corners, and a tiny amount of paper loss at the top along the vertical fold. Very Fine on Linen. Estimate: $12,000 - $24,000.


Auction Lot Description
Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol (1917). French Affiche (37.5" X 62") "Greatest Curiosity of Paris." Orsi Artwork. Although Oscar Meteniere would create the Theatre du Grand Guignol in 1897 and run it for two years, it was under Max Maurey's stewardship starting in 1899 that the theatre truly began to take shape and be recognized for it's contribution to horror. This was a unique theatre for its time. Although horror had been used on the stage in the past, the Grand Guignol focused on it, developing styles and techniques for shocking effects. Nightly performances would include horrifying scenes such as eyes being gouged out, people being disemboweled, limbs cut off, surgeries performed without anesthesia and even rapes... all within a few feet of the stunned audience. It was not unusual for members of the audience to faint, run screaming from the theatre or even lose their dinner they had just paid for prior to the performance. By 1914, and with the outbreak of the First World War, Maurey felt the Grand Guignol could not compete with the real horrors of war, so he turned the control over to Camille Choisy. However, he could not be more wrong and under the new director, the theatre entered into it's Golden Age. The Grand Guignol became the cause celebre of Paris and it became so fashionable that even Hollywood celebrities and European royalty would attend. It is not surprising then to know that this theatre and it's plays would impact film makers and help usher in the era of horror from studios like Universal Pictures. This poster dates from this Golden Age as Choisy would leave his directorship by 1926. It was also designed by the famous and mysterious "Orsi." Orsi (1889-1947), was a well recognized poster artist in Paris during the 1920's, creating over 1000 posters for the various Parisian theatres including a stunning image for Josephine Baker at Theatre de L'Etoile, but this is the only design we've seen on a Grand Guignol poster. Who he really was, no one seems to know, and so, it remains fitting that he would design such an atmospheric and horrific poster for one of the theatres most macabre plays. Posters for the Grand Guignol are extremely rare, are almost unknown to exist as they were printed in such small quantity and are almost never offered for sale. And when they are, they are usually from the later period after WWII. This offering is a rare chance to own an original Grand Guignol from the peak years of it's fame. The poster has been paperbacked and touchup was applied to tears in the top border with tape on the verso, stains in the top border, fold wear, and small tape patches in the bottom left and right border. Fine/Very Fine on Paper. Estimate: $10,000 - $20,000.

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