Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    St. Louis Blues (Sack Amusement, 1929). Fine/Very Fine on Linen. One Sheet (28.25" X 41").
    Bessie Smith makes her only film appearance as the star in this musical short directed by Dudley Murphy (Emperor Jones 1933). Smith, who never played in a "white" club, was earning $800 a week, in addition to $1,000 a recording in the 1920s. This seventeen-minute short film shot in Astoria, Queens, in New York City, is "the Empress of the Blues'" only screen role. She plays a wronged wife. Co-produced by W.C. Handy, author of the title song, the film also features Isabel Washington (sister of actress Fredi Washington) who plays the "other woman." The music was provided by James P. Johnson and The Hall Johnson Choir. The overwhelming pathos and emotional interpretations of Smith's singing makes this a true film classic. The Depression forced Columbia Records to cancel her contract effectively ending her career. In 1937, a car accident in Mississippi claimed her life, silencing one of the the all-time greatest stars of the gramophone record. Of particular note is her cover of the title track, "The St. Louis Blues," which Smith recorded with the great Louis Armstrong. Although RKO produced the film, Sack Amusement Enterprises, known for their connections to a network of black cinemas, took over the film's distribution. There is no known RKO paper for this film. Heritage is proud to present this scarce one sheet for the first time, one of only three copies known to exist. Exceptionally rare, this poster had edge wear, slight fold wear and separation, creases, and pinholes. Also present were small tears, minor chips, as well as a reattached chip near the bottom right corner. Other signs of use included smudging and scattered stains. Fine/Very Fine on Linen.


    Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000.

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

    View movie details on IMDB
    View movie details on AllMovie


    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    July
    5th Friday
    Auction Dates
    July
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    8 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 78
    Auction Type
    Signature®:  Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through www.HA.com/Live. Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing Bid@HA.com or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)

    Signature® Floor Sessions
    Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.

    Track Item