Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    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.

    View movie details on IMDB
    View movie details on AllMovie


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2016
    19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,524

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 November 21 - 22 Movie Posters Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Grey is a true asset to Heritage Auctions and Heritage Auctions are a true asset to the Movie Poster Hobby.
    Jim G.,
    Ray, MI
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Auction #162028 spotlights


    The War of the Worlds (Paramount, 1953). Very Fine+. Window Card
    BID NOW


    Jailhouse Rock (MGM, 1957). Folded, Fine+. Six Sheet
    BID NOW


    Sullivan's Travels (Paramount, 1941). Fine/Very Fine. Lobby Card
    BID NOW


    The Incredible Shrinking Man (Universal International, 1957). Rolled, Fine/Very Fine. Half Sheet
    BID NOW


    The Postman Always Rings Twice (MGM, 1946). Fine/Very Fine. Title Lobby Card
    BID NOW


    Curse of the Demon (Columbia, 1957). Folded, Fine. Half Sheet
    BID NOW


    The Circus (United Artists, 1928). Fine/Very Fine. Lobby Card
    BID NOW


    The Last Man on Earth (American International, 1964). Rolled, Fine+. Half Sheet
    BID NOW

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search