Posts Tagged ‘Dracula’

Dracula’s Cape & Other Ephemera

November 10, 2011

There was a news item on the Internet regarding the decision of the Bela Lugosi family to auction off the cape he wore in the 1931 movie Dracula. Lugosi left the cape to his wife with the instructions that it be given to their son, Bela Lugosi, Jr. The cape will be auctioned by Profiles in History of Calabasas Hills, CA, along with other Lugosi items from December 15 to 17. The cape is expected to sell for $2 million.

Another item dealing with Hollywood ephemera is a Marilyn Monroe dress, specifically the white subway dress she wore in the film The Seven Year Itch. The dress sold at auction in June for $4.6 million. This dress was part of a collection of movie costumes that actress Debbie Reynolds collected during the course of her career in the hopes that they can be part of a museum of Hollywood history. Since the museum is still in the planning stages and it was becoming difficult for Reynolds to keep these costumes, the decision was made to sell the items at a series of auctions. The next auction from the Reynolds collection will take place on December 3 and again Profiles in History will be running the auction.

At the risk of sounding like a crank,  I feel these two items are grossly overpriced. Yes, Dracula was Lugosi’s signature role and yes, the white dress is the iconic image from The Seven Year Itch, yet I don’t feel that they are truly worth the prices quoted. While many items in the Debbie Reynolds’ auction sold for more than what was expected, there were other items that sold for more ‘reasonable’ prices. For example, Laurel and Hardy’s suits sold for $19,000 and Claudette Colbert’s gold-lame dress from the 1930s Cleopatra sold for only $49,000.  (Heck, I could almost afford those items.) The only explanation for the high prices for the Lugosi and Monroe items is that there are those who want these items so badly and price is not an object. It must be good to have THAT MUCH money.

In addition, these items belong in a museum dedicated to filmmaking. While plans were announced recently to have such a museum in a 300,000 square foot building in Los Angeles, things are still on the drawing board and no open date has been scheduled. This lead to Reynolds’ decision to sell the items. While the new owners were contacted regarding loaning the items for future exhibits, it would be good if the Academy would snap up items from the next Reynolds’ auction. Reynolds invested her time, money and energy to purchase and preserve these items for posterity, so it would be a fitting tribute to her efforts that the powers that be at the Academy would grab a film worn custom or two before some billionaire collector does. After all, they are going to need stuff for the museum and they can’t expect all the billionaire collectors to be willing to loan out a every villain’s or starlet’s costume, no matter how many prestige points it earns them.

Note: Any mention of auction houses or dealers of collectibles are mentioned for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken as an endorsement.

Sources:
http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=678662&silentchk=1&wa=wsignin1.0

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-19/entertainment/hollywood.auction_1_monroe-dress-bids-auction?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ

http://www.profilesinhistory.com/press-releases/debbie-reynolds-collection-part-2-auction-press-release

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I Don’t Like Horror Films

September 1, 2011

This past weekend, while Hurricane Irene was creating havoc up and down the east coast of the United States, a remake of the made-for-television horror film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark was released. The film starred Katie Holmes and was directed by none other than Guillermo del Toro. Yet, no matter who’s directing or starring in the film, I must admit that I was never a fan of horror films. Yes, that’s right, while the people I grew up with saw Friday the 13th Part Whatever, I either saw E.T., the latest Star Wars re-release or was working on my book that was destined to become the Great American Novel. Now that Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is in movie theaters, I thought take the opportunity to highlight the reasons why I don’t like horror films.

All that Blood and Gore
The old time horror films such as Dracula with Bela Lugosi and Frankenstein with Boris Karloff were built upon good acting and suspense. The violence happened off screen. Since the 1970’s, the unofficial motto of horror films is “We give you BLOOD!” All that slicing and dicing does nothing for me. I don’t think it is thrilling or even funny. It just seems like a big waste of acting, special effects and film. A car chase, as implausible as it is in a horror film, would be a much better use of all those things.

Too Many Damsels in Distress
Why is it that the chicks in the film are always the ones who are being chased and killed by the villain? If you are going to portray someone who kills indiscriminately, why discriminate against guys? Don’t guys get in the villain’s way?  So how about having a few guys sliced and diced, just to even out the body count? After all, it’s only fair.

Eddie Murphy Was Right
If you are of a certain age, you will remember when Eddie Murphy hosted Saturday Night Live in December 1982. He did a stand up routine in place of a monologue and during the routine he talked about the horror film plot device of the haunted/possessed house. The routine goes like this:

“Wow, baby, this is beautiful. We got chandelier hangin’ up here, kids outside playin’, it’s a beautiful neighborhood, I really love – this is beaut–”

[demonic whisper] “Get out!”

“Too bad we can’t stay.”

Exactly. Horror movies that utilize the haunted/possessed house plot device beg the question of “Why don’t the characters just leave?” The obvious answer is that it would end the movie without much of a dénouement. Still, lots of times in these films the characters heard the stories about said house or place, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise when things start go wrong. Dudes, they put a “Keep Out” sign for a reason. Don’t you think it would have been a good idea to stay away.

Of course, even with these “corrections” I still won’t like horror films. So, if you are in the mood for Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street don’t bother inviting me because I’ll either be working on another blog entry or watching Star Wars on DVD.

Sources:
http://movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/don-t-afraid-katie-holmes-182915204.html

http://snltranscripts.jt.org/82/82imono.phtml

Most Expensive Movie Posters

December 10, 2010

Have you ever wondered what the most expensive movie posters are? Well, here’s a list. Study it and mention it at cocktail parties where you can amaze your friends and confound your enemies with your superior knowledge of pop culture. (ha-ha)

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Heritage Galleries in Beverly Hills recently held an auction and the poster from this film was expected to sell for over $700,000. The bids failed to make minimum, so it didn’t sell. The poster is known as Style E. It is all red with Frankenstein’s monster sitting in a chair and bound by chains. The headline of the poster states, “I demand a mate.” The tagline of the poster is “Who Will Be the Bride of Frankenstein? Who Will Dare?” Of course, in the movie, the bride took one look at the monster and screamed. The monster then imploded the castle, killing the bride, him, Dr. Frankenstein and the good doctor’s assistant. Talk about a bad first date. FYI: A movie poster of Frankenstein sold at auction in 1993 for $198,000.

Dracula (1931)
It is not surprising that a poster Dracula, starring none other than Bela Lugosi is not far behind. An original poster sold in 2009 for $310,700. Remember, these two things when it comes to Dracula:
1) Dracula doesn’t drink—wine.

2) As far as I’m concerned, vampires aren’t sexy.

Metropolis (1927)
This silent film was directed by Fritz Lang and is a science fiction classic. It was the most expensive film made of the silent era and there are only four posters from this movie known to exist. One of these posters was auctioned off in 2005 for $690,000. (Psst, I really like this poster. Does anyone know where I can get a reasonably priced version?)

King Kong (1933)
This film’s claim to fame, other than it featured a big ape that fell from the Empire State Building, was its special effects, which were advanced for its time. Well, a poster from this film was sold at auction in 1999 for $244,500. I wonder how many bananas the person who won the auction had to sell to get the poster?

The Mummy (1932)
This film, starring Boris Karloff as the title character, (the poor guy, he was often typecast as the monster) sold in 1997 for $535,000.

Flying Down to Rio (1933)
This is one of the few non-horror movie posters to command big bucks. How big? It was sold in 2008 for $239,000. Yet another FYI: This movie featured the first on screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.

The Black Cat (1934)
This movie’s claim to fame was that it starred both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Two posters from this film were sold recently. The Style B poster sold in 2009 for $334,600. The Style D poster sold in 2007 for $288,800.

So, there you have it, a nice list of movie posters that brought in big bucks. Still, despite the high prices that these posters commanded, I will continue recommending that people not purchase movie posters as investment vehicles. I do recommend that people purchase movie posters because they like the poster for whatever reason, be it the design, the genre or the actor/actress featured. You rarely go wrong when you buy something that you like.

To see pictures of the posters mentioned are featured in this article, click here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/coming-soon-a-film-poster-to-break-all-records-2127352.html?action=Gallery.

Sources:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/news/coming-soon-a-film-poster-to-break-all-records-2127352.html

http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/2576

ROI From Hollywood Collectibles

September 29, 2010

Recently, I read on Moviematics.com that movie posters, particularly classic movie posters, can be good investments. I also read on Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com that said if a certain item is mentioned in or associated with a successful movie, the value of said item goes up.

Those articles got me thinking. After all, I’ve stated many times on this blog that I don’t recommend people buy movie posters or movie collectibles as investment vehicles, because no one knows which movies will become classics and which ones will be duds. So, I read the articles and found that the authors made good points about collecting with an eye towards return on investment.  Regarding movie posters, Moviematics.com mentions:

Rarity
Take the 1931 classic horror film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. There are only three original movie posters from that film in existence.  One of those posters recently sold on an online auction for over $300,000.  If there more than three Dracula posters, they wouldn’t command those kinds of prices.

The Movie Itself
Classic movies, like Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz have seen movie posters, props and costumes sell very well at auction.  Flops, like Krull* wouldn’t do very well in an auction.

Who Starred in the Movie
Movie posters featuring the likes Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, do well for two reasons. One, they are all dead, which is related to rarity. Two, they starred in classic films, which is related to the movie itself.

What about items associated with a movie?  What’s so great about them? Well according to Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com:

Valuable Before More Valuable After
Items associated with the H.M.S. Titanic were valuable before the film Titanic was released in 1997.  Subsequently, they went up in value after the film’s theatrical release.

Possible To Plan Ahead
A film about Margaret Thatcher is going to be made and reports state that none other than Meryl Streep (Need an accent? Call…) is on board as the Iron Lady. That should renew interest in Thatcher’s political career and England in the 1980’s. Also, there will be two more Harry Potter movies scheduled for release and that should increase the value of things related to Harry Potter movies and series author J.K. Rowling.

My advice remains not to buy a movie poster or other collectible for investment value. Still, it never hurts to research what you plan to buy. After all, knowledge is power.

When it comes to investing, there are other investments vehicles out there and if you are interested in one of them, don’t ask me. Instead, consult a financial advisor as to which one is right for you.
Sources:

http://www.moviematics.com/2010/08/17/classic-movie-posters-a-great-investment/4004/

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/section.asp?catid=73&docid=3826

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085811/


* Krull, released in 1983, is a movie about a world that is about to be invaded by aliens, and a prince and princess marry in order to unite their world and fight the enemy. The princess is kidnapped and prince goes on quest to find her. The film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and Liam Neeson (yes that Liam Neeson)