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    Description

    Freaks (MGM, 1932). Pre-War Belgian (24" X 31"). Alternate Title: Barnum.
    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 Universal Studios, 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, pinheads, a armless and legless man, dwarves and 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. 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. This is the original release Belgian poster for the film which the French preferred to call Barnum, who was one of the greatest circus entrepreneurs. The tagline translates "And all of the Monsters of the Universe." There was some paper loss in the white top border and a few small chips in the lower left border. Only minor fold touchup was required in the excellent professional conservation. Very Fine- on Linen.


    Please see full-color, enlargeable images above for more details.

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    November, 2016
    19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
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