Some of the rarest movie posters and lobby cards in the world are coming up for auction this November 16-17, 2013 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. Even if you are not going to be a bidder, this is a real opportunity to learn about this genre of movie posters as each item is expertly described and evaluated.
One very exciting item coming up for bid is a poster of which only one is known to exist. Lot #83287 is a rare British Mandate Palestine poster for the 1933 Universal flick The Mummy. Horror movies proved to be a less than popular genre amongst those in British Mandate Palestine (pre-independence Israel). Therefore, only one print of this film was imported in November 1933 and distributed throughout the area. The print first screened at the Eden cinema in Tel Aviv, which is where this poster originates. It is fair to say this poster is most likely the only one in existence and the first time Heritage has offered it for auction. (see below, poster #2)
Another item that will be fun to watch is lot number 83292, the rare 1935 horror classic Werewolf of London poster. That one is expected to bring $35,000, but who knows? You can read about it further down this post, item #4.
Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas is a top venue for the finest collectibles in the world. And the upcoming Vintage Movie Posters Signature Auction on November 16-17, 2013 will offer over 1,100 diverse lots ranging from original title cards to a fine collection of pre-war travel posters.
All images are © Heritage Auctions. Item descriptions below courtesy Heritage Auctions.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (20th Century Fox, 1951). Three Sheet (41" X 78").
For 1950s sci-fi buffs, this large format piece is an essential and always desirable poster. The film was based on the story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates, masterfully adapted for the screen by director Robert Wise. Thought provoking, this thriller tells of Klaatu, a soft-spoken interplanetary traveler, and his "bodyguard" Gort, a huge robot who shoots laser-like death rays whenever threatened, that land their spacecraft near the White House. Ultimately, Klaatu's message for earthlings is a peaceful one, but this intriguing three sheet captures an ominous Gort unleashing his lethal beam on an alarmed crowd. This ever popular poster has been professionally restored to address missing borders, a long tear at the right side, one at the bottom, and crossfold separations. The restoration is expertly done and these issues do not detract from this dramatic and significant piece. Good on Linen. Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000.
The Mummy (Universal, 1933). British Mandate Palestine Poster (24.5" X 37").
Unique hardly begins to describe this magnificent British Mandate Palestine poster from Universal's classic horror tale. Hot off of the success of Frankenstein, Boris Karloff took to the screen as the Egyptian high priest Imhotep, who returns to life after thousands of years when his tomb is disturbed. Horror proved to be a less than popular genre amongst those in British Mandate Palestine (pre-independence Israel). Therefore, only one print of the film was imported in November 1933 and distributed throughout the area. The print first screened at the Eden cinema in Tel Aviv, which is where this gorgeous poster originates. It showcases a breathtaking image similar to that of the original U.S. one sheet, in which Karloff is seen as the bandaged Imhotep. The number of posters printed in Palestine for the film is estimated to be a mere 30 to 40. Due to the lack of interest in the genre, as well as the rough environment, it is fair to say this poster is most likely the only one in existence. Heritage is proud to offer this incredibly rare poster for the first and possibly only time. It shows a crease and stain in the lower border, a stain from the left border that goes through the title, bleedthrough in the upper border from tape on the verso, minor creasing in the borders, and some fold wear. Despite these issues, this poster displays very well, and is a true gem that would no doubt make for the center piece of any collection. Folded, Fine+. Estimate: $12,000 - $24,000.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (Allied Artists, 1958). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Attack of the 50 foot Woman made a B-movie star out of Allison Hayes, the woman of the film's title. Hayes is the boozy, dejected wife of a wealthy philander who's chasing Yvette Vickers. Hayes' troubles really begin when she encounters aliens who steal her priceless diamond and accidentally scratch her, which has the effect of turning her into a giant. Artist Reynold Brown renders a convincingly hysterical Hayes tearing her way through town in search of her wayward husband. Only light touchup to the folds was required, as the piece is in exceptional condition. Very Fine+ on Linen. Estimate: $8,000 - $14,000.
Werewolf of London (Universal, 1935). Insert (14" X 36").
When Universal decided to make its first foray into the werewolf genre, they brought in master makeup artist Jack Pierce to create the perfect specimen. What he created was considered so horrific that the makeup was shelved until 1941 when Universal would cast Lon Chaney in The Wolf Man. The makeup used in this film was 'abbreviated,' yet many consider it to be superior. Henry Hull was cast as the accursed scientist and Warner Oland (taking a break from his roles as Charlie Chan) was his nemesis - another werewolf on the search for a cure to their mutual fate. The posters for this title have always been some of the rarest of the Universal horror cycle. The insert format is particularly hard to find, as only a handful are known to exist! Signs of handling include surface paper loss at the top and bottom left corner, a slight scuff in the top left background, tears in the borders with tape on the verso, a smudge in the bottom right corner, pinholes in the borders and middle image area with tape on the verso, and creases at the bottom left and top right corner. A phenomenal opportunity for horror flick fans! Rolled, Fine+. Estimate: $35,000 - $55,000.
Forbidden Planet (MGM, 1956). One Sheet (27" X 41").
The Space Race was moving at full throttle when MGM launched its no-expenses-spared sci-fi adventure, Forbidden Planet. The studio splurged on cutting edge special effects and introduced moviegoers to the now legendary Robby the Robot. So impressive was the film, it influenced almost every sci-fi film to follow, and is even cited as the inspiration for the Star Trek series. During the opening of the picture, the narrator states that in the final decade of the 21st century, humans would land rocket ships on the Moon, which would have been about 140 years into the future. In fact, the first Moon landing occurred just 13 years later in 1969. This classic movie boasts an equally classic poster, one that is adored by collectors far and wide. In superb condition, professional restoration has touched up the folds. The linen has been trimmed to the border and there is light surface paper loss on the verso. Very Fine- on Linen. Estimate: $6,000 - $10,000.
The Blob (Paramount, 1958). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Steve McQueen, in his first starring role, plays a teenager who witnesses a meteor crash that begins to ooze a gooey pink substance. He and girl friend Aneta Corsaut (the future Helen Crump of The Andy Griffith Show) try desperately to convince the police The Blob is taking over the town one citizen at a time, but to no avail. Screaming humans flee the parasitic monster on this highly sought after one sheet. Minor signs of handling include light stains in the bottom section, a tear in the bottom vertical fold, pinpoint crossfold separation, a chip in the bottom right corner with a bend, pinholes in the borders, and tape along the folds on the verso. Folded, Fine+. Estimate: $600 - $1,200.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (20th Century Fox, 1951). Half Sheet (22" X 28").
Based on the story "Farewell to the Master" by Harry Bates, this picture set the tone for alien invasion pictures of the 1950s. Directed by Robert Wise, the movie introduces audiences to Klaatu, a mild-mannered space traveler whose sidekick is Gort, a colossal robot. When their spacecraft lands near the White House they try to convince humankind to end its war mongering. The only poster other than the title card to feature Klaatu within the artwork, this will be the crown jewel of any well conceived sci-fi collection! The poster has been pressed, cleaned and touched up to address stains in the right background, and tears in the right and left border that extend into the background. Folded, Fine+. Estimate: $6,000 - $12,000.
Godzilla (Trans World, 1956). Half Sheet (22" X 28") Style A.
One of the classic monsters of the 1950s made his screen debut in this Japanese film. As the legendary Godzilla rose from the depths of the ocean, a victim of nuclear radiation, he takes his vengeance on mankind by destroying Tokyo. The film was originally released in 1954, but was delayed until 1956 for the US release, and new footage featuring Raymond Burr was added. This poster has had the borders airbrushed and there has been very slight color touchup to the fold lines. Very Fine- on Paper. Estimate: $1,200 - $2,000.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Allied Artists, 1956). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Hysteria reigns on this popular poster from one of the top 1950s classic science fiction tales. Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter star as a doctor and his sweetheart on the run from their own friends and family — who have been replaced by alien pod-people from outer space. Based on the novel by Jack Finney and adapted to the screen by Daniel Mainwaring, the film spawned some of the most sought after posters of the sci-fi genre, including this one sheet. Careful restoration has addressed tears in the image area, pinholes in the borders and background, fold wear, and a sliver of missing paper and a tear in the left border. Fine/Very Fine on Linen. Estimate: $1,000 - $2,000.
The Man from Planet X (United Artists, 1951). Poster (30" X 40").
This extremely hard to find poster features superb 1950s sci-fi imagery, all in bright, saturated color. Inspired by the British science fiction picture that has become a cult favorite, the poster is a perfect find for collectors of the genre. Despite a small budget, director Edgar G. Ulmer, of Black Cat fame, turned out a thrilling tale about an alien spaceship crash-landing on the Scotland moors. The extra-terrestrial passengers then use mind-control on the locals while trying to make repairs. It stars Robert Clarke, Margaret Field, and William Schallert. The poster has been lightly reinforced with masa paper on the verso, and minimal restoration has addressed tears in the right and bottom border, creasing, fold wear, pinholes, and chips and tears in the borders and left background. The poster now displays beautifully. From the collection of Wade Williams. Rolled, Fine/Very Fine. Estimate: $2,500 - $5,000.
Plan 9 from Outer Space (DCA, 1958). One Sheet (27" X 41").
"It's so bad it's good" is a phrase commonly used to describe Ed Wood's cult classic science fiction opus. In fact, it's considered the worst movie ever made and that status has made it a genuine classic. Plan 9 also has the distinction of being the last movie Bela Lugosi ever made. Original material on this film is highly sought after and this color one sheet is the more collectible version of the two one sheets produced. Restoration has addressed tears in the title, fold wear, small chips in the bottom vertical fold, a chip in the upper left background, 1/2" of missing paper has been replaced along the borders, and the white areas have been airbrushed. The piece now displays very well. Fine on Linen. Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000.
The Wasp Woman (Film Group, 1959). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Creature-feature maestro Roger Corman was likely influenced by Kurt Neumann's film The Fly when he conceived this tale. Interestingly, the Wasp Woman in the movie has the head and hands of a wasp but the body of woman, which is completely opposite of the insect on the poster. No matter, the one sheet offered here is simply fantastic, with one of the most popular images from the 1950s sci/fi/horror genre. Susan Cabot is an aging cosmetics firm owner that injects herself with an experimental drug made from the secretions of wasps in order to rejuvenate herself. One of the unfortunate side effects is that she takes on the killer instincts of a giant female wasp, and sets out on a predatory rampage. Pinholes in the background corners, a chip in the bottom right corner, and fold wear have all been touched up. The poster is now display-ready for one lucky collector! Very Fine on Linen. Estimate: $2,500 - $5,000.
The Body Snatcher (RKO, 1945). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi join forces once again for this RKO horror classic, loosely based on a story by Robert Louis Stevenson. Val Lewton, producer of such cult classics as Cat People and I Walked with a Zombie, helped adapt the screenplay with Robert Wise directing. Dr. Wolfe MacFarlane (Henry Daniell) is a surgeon experimenting on corpses, dug up by his henchman John Gray (Karloff). In order to keep getting paid, and to provide the freshest corpses, Gray turns to murder, with dire consequences for all. This one sheet had pinholes in the corners, small paper loss at the bottom crossfold, and fold wear. After professional restoration, these signs of handling are no longer apparent, leaving the one sheet with an amazing appearance. With its ghoulish artwork of Karloff, this terrific one sheet will make a prized possession for any horror buff. Very Fine- on Linen. Estimate: $2,000 - $4,000.
Cat People (RKO, 1942). Title Lobby Card (11" X 14").
Director Jacques Tourneur lept into the horror genre in magnificent style with this moody and atmospheric tale of a woman who's convinced she can turn into a cat. This marked the beginning of Tourneur's collaboration with producer Val Lewton to create some of the best horror films of the 1940s; a series that would take a huge bite out of Universal's monopoly on the genre. Simone Simon was absolutely radiant as the unstable, mysterious and feline Irena and this title card depicts her to perfection. The card has one staple mark in the middle of the left border, a slight bit of wear to the lower left corner and a fine crease from the lower edge and going into Simon's arm. Very Fine. Estimate: $3,000 - $6,000.
I Walked with a Zombie (RKO, 1943). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Striking artwork highlights this amazing RKO original poster for the Val Lewton produced horror classic starring James Ellison, Frances Dee, and Tom Conway. Jacques Tourneur directed this film, as he did several other of Lewton's imaginative features for RKO Studios. The RKO/Lewton posters are some of the more highly prized posters in the hobby. This wonderful copy had pinholes in the corners, a blemish in the left border, and a scratch in the top left border. There was a clean paper splice in the left border. Restoration has addressed these issues. Heritage has only sold this poster several times in the past. Fine/Very Fine on Linen. Estimate: $4,000 - $8,000.
Frankenstein (Realart, R-1951). Half Sheet (22" X 28").
It's been three years since we've offered this incredible half sheet, with its marvelous monster imagery alongside ghouls and gravediggers, all in a splendidly gangrene color palette. Realart acquired the reissue rights to the Universal Studios film library in 1948, and the studio insisted on creating new and exciting posters, with some surpassing the graphics found on the original campaigns. With widespread distribution and constant showings, the Realart paper for the top sci-fi/horror titles have been aggressively sought and collected for years. Boris Karloff is The Monster, with Colin Clive and Dwight Frye exhuming the corpses from which they will piece him together. This poster is by far the better of two Realart half sheet styles for the film. Touchup has corrected small tears that extend into the artwork, creasing, fold wear, and small chips and tears in the borders, resulting in an excellent display piece. Fine+ on Paper. Estimate: $7,000 - $14,000.
King Kong (RKO, 1933). One Sheet (27" X 41") Style B.
King Kong is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular movies ever created and the posters for this title are amongst the most collectible in the world. In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked Kong #41 on their list of the 100 Greatest American movies ever made and the tributes lauded upon the film are justified. It was a tour de force of stop-motion animation under the direction of Willis O'Brien that convinced audiences around the world that King Kong actually kidnapped Fay Wray, fought dinosaurs to the death, rampaged through the streets of New York City and climbed the Empire State Building. That final scene with Kong atop the skyscraper, swatting at the attacking bi-planes, has been imbedded in audience's minds and remains one of the most iconic moments of the screen. This fantastic one sheet depicts the giant ape rampaging through the streets trying to desperately find the object of his affection, the golden haired Fay Wray. This poster was previously mounted on poster board by a theater owner in 1933. The borders had been trimmed off and the background around King Kong's upper body had been trimmed out down to Kong's lower left elbow. The poster was restored in 1993 by Igor Edelman who expertly painted in the missing background above and behind Kong's shoulders. Using an unrestored example of this same poster, Edelman recreated this to the smallest detail. The restoration did extend very slightly into the fur of Kong's arms which was beautifully replaced and there was also some minor retouch done to one of Kong's teeth. The yellow in the title has been airbrushed along with some of the white in the cast credits. The white portions of the RKO logo have been touched up as have several small tears on the woman on the lefts face and hair. The letter "F" in the word "From" on the left side has been replaced along with the word "and" under Edgar Wallace's credit. The poster still displays numerous fine wrinkles. This example was last sold by Heritage in 2002 from the collection of famed guitarist, Kirk Hammett and another example may not come onto the market for many more years. Good/Very Good on Linen. Estimate: $25,000 - $50,000.
The Walking Dead (Warner Brothers, 1936). Insert (14" X 36").
Boris Karloff stars as a down-on-his-luck ex-con, who is framed for a murder and executed. A scientist uses an experimental procedure to bring Karloff back to life and he sets out to seek answers from those that framed him. One by one, the men who set Karloff up meet their deaths due to their own guilt. This well-crafted Warner Brothers horror/thriller was directed by the great Michael Curtiz of Casablanca fame and was one of the few horror films created by the legend. Karloff complained early in the production that without dialog, his character was too much like Frankenstein's Monster. Producer Hal Wallis quickly brought in a team of writers, improved the dialog and created another classic film in the pantheon of horror. Posters for this title rarely appear and when they do they are usually from the 1942 reissue. This is the first time Heritage has offered this wonderful and rare original insert. There is one set of staple marks in each corner and some minor wear to the borders. There is also a slight extra horizontal crease by the upper fold line and there is a minor bit of color-break on the folds. Folded, Fine/Very Fine. Estimate: $15,000 - $30,000.
The Creature Walks Among Us (Universal International, 1956). Insert (14" X 36").
John Sherwood directs Jeff Morrow, Rex Reason, and Leigh Snowden in this final film of Universal's Creature from the Black Lagoon trilogy. In this installment, the creature begins to take on human qualities after it's captured by scientists. Things go terribly wrong when the monster witnesses a murder for which he is blamed, and breaks out of captivity. Artist Reynold Brown provided his considerable talents for the design of this captivating piece that shows only a light stain in the title area, extra horizontal creasing, a bottom right corner bend, and pinholes in the corners and background. Folded, Fine/Very Fine. Estimate: $800 - $1,600.
The Invisible Ray (Universal, 1935). Lobby Card (11" X 14").
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi star in this chilling and tense science fiction horror. A brilliant scientist (Karloff) discovers the existence of a radioactive meteor in Africa. His touch becomes lethal when exposed to the meteor's radiation. One of the only cards in the set to depict both legends of horror, Karloff waits under a protective suit, as Lugosi prepares an experiment with a deadly substance. The lobby card shows a pinhole in the background of the upper corners, a pinhole in the lower corners, and a light stain in the lower right corner. Very Fine+. Estimate: $1,500 - $3,000.
The Man They Could Not Hang (Columbia, 1939). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Horror cinema legend Boris Karloff is a brilliant doctor whose radical new medical technique goes wrong, leading to the death of his human subject. Convicted of murder, Karloff arranges for his controversial procedure to be used on him after his death, reviving him and sending him on a terrifying rampage of revenge. Featuring a haunting image of Karloff, this poster had pinholes in the borders and background of the upper corners, a staple hole near the title, a tear in the lower crossfold, small chips in the borders and upper crossfold, and a minor misfold in the vertical fold. Professional restoration has addressed these issues, leaving the poster in terrific condition for display. Fine/Very Fine on Linen. Estimate: $1,200 - $2,400.
Night of the Living Dead (Continental, 1968). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Countless zombie films have been inspired by this timeless classic, the first feature co-written and directed by George A. Romero. At a cemetery to lay a wreath on their mother's grave, siblings Johnny (Russ Streiner) and Barbara (Judith O'Dea) discover that the dead have begun to walk -- and eat. Clammy, claustrophobic, and nihilistic, audiences of the day were shocked, and a legend was born. As popular as the film itself, this one sheet features unforgettable imagery from the movie. Other than a small bit of touchup in the black background, the piece is in impeccable condition. Fine/Very Fine on Linen. Estimate: $600 - $1,200.
The Birds (Universal, 1963). One Sheet (27" X 41").
Alfred Hitchcock is at his directorial finest with this chilling picture fraught with tension and terror. Tippi Hedren, in her starring film debut, plays a wealthy socialite whose pleasure trip to California's Bodega Bay turns into a nightmare when the local birds go on a violent rampage for no apparent reason. Setting a terrifying tone for the film, this pristine one sheet pictures a screaming Jessica Tandy (not Tippi Hedren) in a scene in which the vicious birds come down the chimney. Folded, Very Fine/Near Mint. Estimate: $600 - $1,200.
Adam H. Levy
Nick Sowers +
Adam H. Levy
Nick Sowers +
Horror Movie Posters
John Foster and his wife, Teenuh, have been longtime collectors of self-taught art and vernacular photography. Their collection of anonymous, found snapshots has toured the country for five years and has been featured in Harper’s, Newsweek Online and others.