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Lot
86497

Freaks (MGM, 1932). Insert (14" X 36").. ...

2009 March Signature Vintage Movie Poster Auction #7003

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Auction Ended On: Mar 21, 2009
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
Freaks (MGM, 1932). Insert (14" X 36").
It is hard to believe that this film was produced by THE prestige studio in Hollywood and shot on their lot, using their personnel, and their illustrious name. In 1931, MGM's head of production, Irving Thalberg, decided to take on the overwhelming success of competing studio Universal, and their success with such horror films as Dracula and Frankenstein, and create his own niche in that genre. Drawing on a Tod Robbins novel called Spurs, screenwriter Willis Goldbeck created a world even more self-contained than that of Grand Hotel, the warped world of Freaks, the garish world of the circus sideshow, replete with bearded lady, vain acrobats, simpering pinheads, even a hermaphrodite. Thalberg's reaction to the script was: "Well, I asked for something horrifying." The film was shot in 36 days on the Culver City lot, using the same director from Dracula, Tod Browning, with real freaks brought in to populate this bizarre world. When the freaks were given the run of the lot and the MGM commissary, even the most hardened showbiz veterans were shocked! Upon its release in 1932, the film received so much bad press and created such ill will that MGM was forced to withdraw the release from circulation and suffered a loss of approximately $164,000 in Depression-era money. This pre-Code film was a misfire in judgment for the studio, who had the film pulled from distribution for the next 17 years, when it was then picked up by an independent New York distributor for a four-wall campaign in 1949. The posters from the original and short-lived release of this film have always been known to be almost impossible to find. For the horror collector, it is perhaps the rarest and thus, one of the most desirable titles, from which to find posters. Offered in this lot is the only known insert poster to ever surface for this film. The insert was never folded and prior to the conservation work had some chipping from the left border and upper right corner only. The interior image was absolutely intact. The poster had suffered minor fading due to the acid content acquired through improper storage. All of these issues were beautifully corrected and the poster now displays magnificently. This is the only large poster we have ever offered from this title and is likely to be the last we may see in some very long time! Rolled, Fine+.

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