Wednesday, July 12, 2017
'FREAKS' VAULT COPY SCRIPTS
Offered today is a duo of "vault copy" scripts from FREAKS that are up for auction. A worthy addition to any Monsterologist's collection, don't you think?
Freaks (MGM, 1932). Vault Copy Scripts (2) (Approx. 44 & 53, 8.5" X 11.5").
For horror fans who like their films to be on the more bizarre end of human depravity, this picture has to rank as one of the most unusual and enticing. In 1931, MGM's head of production, Irving Thalberg, decided to take on the overwhelming success of competing Universal Studios' Dracula and Frankenstein, hoping to create his own niche in the horror genre. Drawing on a Tod Robbins novel called Spurs, screenwriter Willis Goldbeck created a setting even more self-contained than that of Grand Hotel, the warped world of Freaks. The script lived up to its name, taking place in a grotesque circus sideshow replete with bearded lady, vain acrobats, pinheads, an armless and legless man, dwarves, and even a hermaphrodite. When presented with the finished product, Thalberg remarked, "Well, I asked for something horrifying." The film was shot in a quick 36 days on the Culver City lot and directed by Dracula's famous Tod Browning, with real circus freaks brought in to populate the bizarre big top. Unfortunately for all involved, the film was more than a flop. It received so much bad press and created such hostility that MGM was forced to withdraw the release from circulation and suffered a loss of approximately $164,000 in Depression-era dollars. The studio shelved the picture for the next 17 years, and it only again saw the light of day when an independent New York distributor picked it up for a four-wall campaign in 1949. Since then, it has become a cult classic, making original release items crowning achievements for horror fans. For these serious collectors, we are thrilled to offer two official MGM vault copy scripts from the original 1932 release, one a full cutting and reel continuity script, the other a partial screenplay. Both script covers show edge wear with small tears, chipping, and staining at the edges. The interior pages also show some faint staining. Since these are official copies, they contain various notations and other markings from the film's production, adding to their authenticity. Fine/Very Fine.
Estimate: $6,000 - $12,000.