This auction of Film and
at Christie's May 30, 2007 includes a pink dress worn by Audrey
Hepburn from "Breakfast at Tiffanys" and costumes worn
by Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Barbara Streisand and other
legendary Stars as well as iconic photographs of Rudolph Valentino,
Marilyn Monroe, props and artifacts from Laurel and Hardy and
Star Trek, and other memorabilia from the estates of Stan Laurel
and Clark Gable.
Leading the sale will be a pink
Lot 228, by Audrey Hepburn in Blake Edward's 1961 adaptation of
Truman Capote's best selling novel "Breakfast at Tiffany's,"
which has become a much loved classic known to millions of movie
fans across the world. The dress is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
It sold for $192,000 including the buyer's premium as do all
results mentioned in this article.
In 2006, Christie's South
a full-length black column dress from "Breakfast at Tiffany's,"
which set a record for a costume made for a movie when it sold
for $932,738. The haute couture French designer Hubert de Givenchy
donated the dress to a charity called "City of Joy Aid,"
founded by best selling author Dominique Lapierre and his wife
after they met Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India. Givenchy and
Audrey Hepburn were lifelong friends. The proceeds of the sale
of the dress will be used to bring hope to the lives of hundreds
of poor and marginalized children at risk through educational
centers in West Bengal. Audrey Hepburn was a high profile ambassador
for UNICEF, and she supported many causes that benefited children.
The striking pink dress from
of Paramount Pictures is the only one from the movie that was
not designed by Givenchy - it does not bear the label of any designer,
which only adds to its mystery. It is memorable for Holly Golightly's
"meltdown" in the scene when she learns of her beloved
brother Fred's death in a telegram. Her chic facade is abandoned
as she demolishes objects in the living room and bedroom, while
her dashing fiancée looks on helplessly. She finally collapses
on her bed fully dressed in the beautiful pink evening dress as
feathers rain down from the pillows she had thrown around in her
grief. Hepburn's impassioned and endearing role as a fantasy prone
Holly Golightly earned her an Oscar nomination. The pink evening
dress is bound to generate a great deal of interest and is estimated
Audrey Hepburn appears again in
poster, Lot 229, for "My Fair Lady," released in 1964
and directed by Cecil B. DeMille (estimate $500 to $600), and
a witty Beaton sketch in graphite on paper, Lot 230, entitled
"Liza After Delacroix," signed and titled (estimate
$1,500 to $2,500). Lot 229 sold for $960 and Lot 230 failed
to sell. Lot 227 is a marvellous "Breakfast at Tiffanys"
poster of Hepburn with long cigarette holder, outre "up-do"
with diamante pin, and "No Name" cat peering out from
behind her neck is estimated at $3,000 to $5,000. It sold for
Many wonderful leading lady
outfits - and leading
male attire - are included in Christie's sale, as well as a large
selection of "Star Trek" costumes, masks, props and
sketches that look uncannily like the forerunners of Star Wars.
Star Trek was serialized for TV over a period of several years,
and gained a cult following within the US, and with a passion
in Europe, where thousands eagerly watched the escapades of Leonard
Nimoy as "Dr. Spock," with those beguiling pointed ears,
and Captian Kirk and his crew on the Starfleet Enterprise.
In time, Han Solo, Luke
Skywalker, Darth Vader
and Obi One Kanobi came along, changing the scope of blockbuster
space age movies forever, adding spectacular special effects.
But the connection between Star Trek and Star Wars was keenly
felt, and was surprisingly moving in a gallery crammed with iconic
costumes and props, possibly because it was the first space age
drama that caught the imagination of the public. Star Trek seems
innocent now compared with advances in the sci fi genre today.
But everything begins somewhere, and Star Trek still holds up
well. The costumes, props and masks are estimated between $500
to $12,000, with 6 original Starfleet Enterprise uniforms, Lot
279, offered at $2,500 to $3,500. They will most likely go for
more. It sold for $8,400. Lot 282 is a Klingon
model that has an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. It sold for
Switching centuries, the
gorgeous black velvet
gown displayed at the entrance to the preview, Lot 189, was worn
by Vivien Leigh as Lady Hamilton in Alexander Korda's film "That
Hamilton Woman," which was a great favorite of Winston Churchill.
Released in 1941, it co-starred Vivien Leigh and her new husband,
Laurence Olivier. Both had to obtain divorces to marry.
Hard on the heels of her Oscar
for her performance
as Scarlett O'Hara, from "Gone With the Wind," (1939),
this role continued Vivien Leigh's tradition of portraying
strong-willed women. Emma Hamilton was known for her extraordinary
beauty, and as a great performer, but most famously for garnering
the affections of a great British hero, Admiral Lord Nelson. There
is a portrait of her at The Frick Museum in New York, painted
by George Romney, which shows how mesmerizing she was. Henry Clay
Frick awoke to this portrait every day, because it was one of
Lady Hamilton was born Emma
Hart, not of noble
birth, but the daughter of a weaver. Her beauty and talent led
her to marry well - Lord Hamilton was titled and an ambassador.
Emma, throwing caution to the wind for love, risked security and
respectability by having a scandalous affair with Lord Nelson,
who was also married, and their passionate union bore them a child,
which cemented Emma's fate as a fallen woman. Nelson defeated
Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar, but was fatally wounded.
Despite his dying wish that his beloved Emma be taken care of
by the government - which was not a lot to ask in return for defeating
England's greatest foe - his wishes were ignored. Emma, Lady Hamilton,
died in abject poverty in France. The film was a great success
and Leigh was perfectly suited for the role. Churchill loved the
Oliviers, had them to dinner regularly, and was especially admiring
of Vivien Leigh.
There was more than a steely
dose of Scarlett
O'Hara in Vivien Leigh, who was born in Darjeeling, then in British
India, the daughter of a British cavalry officer and a mother
who was reputedly either parsee or Armenian. Vivien Leigh's life
followed a similar pattern of ups and downs as Lady Hamilton.
She suffered from bipolar disorder throughout her adult life,
and from frail health, eventually dying of tuberculosis. Today,
medical advances would have stabilized her mood swings, and TB
is curable. Her marriage to Olivier, the love of her life, ended
The beautiful costume in this
sale is from
Vivien Leigh's golden days, where she is preserved forever in
celluloid, which is how we will always remember her. That is the
beauty of film. The dress, which is trimmed in lace and embroidered
with bugle beads, is to be sold with the photograph, and is estimated
at $1,500 to $2,500. It sold for $7,800.
Lot 221 is Elizabeth Taylor's
length "Southern Belle" gown from "Raintree County,"
(1957), in which she starred as Susannah Drake opposite her close
friend Montgomery Clift, is another example of exquisite handiwork,
embroidered all over with exquisite violet flower heads that echoed
the color of Liz Taylor's famous violet-blue eyes, the likes of
which have never since appeared on a movie screen.
In an interview for Turner
Classic Movies honoring
Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor said "Raintree County"
was her first "grown up" role, where she was not acting
with children or horses. She off-handedly described herself as
"this Hollywood thing," awestruck by the brilliant,
professionally trained, charismatic New York "stage"
actor Montgomery Clift. The gown, which has an estimate of $1,500
to $2,500, is accompanied by a winsome sketch by Walter Plunkett,
who received an Oscar nomination for costume design, as did Elizabeth
Taylor for best actress. Even though she dismissed herself as
not being in the same league as stage actors like Clift, Elizabeth
Taylor is arguably one of the greatest screen presences of all
time, beginning with her childhood role as "National Velvet."
The lot sold for $7,800.
Lot 233 is a striking orange
worn by Barbara Streisand in her wonderful portrayal of Fanny
Brice in "Funny Girl," in the scene when she receives
a note and flowers from Nick Arnstein, played by Omar Shariff.
The lot also has another dress from the same movie and an estimate
of $2,500 to $3,500. It sold for $33,600.
Whether they were period gowns
or modern suits,
there were no comprises in quality in these "made for the
movies" Hollywood costumes, and nothing was spared in their
creation. It was mind numbing to contemplate the sheer brilliance
and artistry of the handiwork involved. A comprehensive story,
"Movie Star Style," about many more of the wonderful
costumes featured in this sale - including those worn by Ingrid
Bergman, Greta Garbo, Jean Simmons, Betty Grable, the famous Ziegfield
girls, among others - will soon be featured in the "Style"
section of this website. Additional male costumes will also be
Representing the male
contingent are a pair
of karate slippers, Lot 245, worn by Bruce Lee in "Enter
the Dragon," (1973), a cult film that launched an avalanche
of kung fu and karate movies that appeal to a global audience.
The slippers have an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. They sold
for $3,840. The sale also features Al Pacino's navy blue suit
from "The Godfather," which has an estimate of $2,000
to $3,000, a robe worn by Marlon Brando, which has an estimate
of $500 to $700.
Fans of the legendary comedy
and Hardy" will have the rare opportunity to acquire 30 lots
from the Estate of Stan Laurel, including his signature bowler
hat ($10,000 to $15,000), bow ties ($800 to $1,200), a black leather
binder with ideas for gags ($2,000 to $3,000) and two wonderful
wardrobe cases, Lot 66, with Stan Laurel's name painted on the
exterior, and smothered with Cunard Line labels and stickers from
the hotels where the famous duo stayed while on tour: Royal Crescent
Hotel, Brighton; Midland Hotel, Belfast; Park Hotel, Cardiff;
and Golf Hotel, St. Raphael. The trunks are estimated at $1,500
to $2,500. It sold for $6,600.
Romance abounds in black and
white and sepia
toned photographs of legendary stars of the silver screen, including
show stoppers of Rudolph Valentino from the estate of his first
wife Jean Acker, circa 1919 taken by Shirley Blaine, L.A. Lot
35, shown above, is estimated between $2,000 to $3,000. It
sold for $5,040. Valentino's smoldering good looks were
by a passionate nature, illustrated in the tender inscriptions
on his photographs to Acker: "To a young, adored woman. Never
forget who loves you like mad." Valentino clearly had all
the necessary "heart throb" qualifications that propelled
thousands of women into movie theatres to see him as "Son
of Sheik," among other glamorous roles.
The 1920s was the era of silent
the majority of women were still traditional housewives, providing
ample opportunities to attend movies in the afternoon, from which
the term "matinee idol," emerged. Valentino was the
first of what would become a steady stream of Hollywood "hunks,"
many of them featured in photographs in this sale. Illustrated
below is Lot 174, a photograph of "the king of cool,"
Steve McQueen, (1956), taken by Roy Schatt, estimated at $1,000
to $1,500. It sold for $960.
A recently discovered archive
of unseen photographs
of Hollywood icons like James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra,
Dean Martin, Jane Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe were taken by the
Los Angeles photographer Frank Worth, and were based on his personal
acquaintance with them. Worth worked in Hollywood in the 1940s
and 1950s, and his unwillingness to cash in on his celebrity
displayed a gallantry and loyalty totally absent from papparazzi
Amazingly, Worth shared only a
few of his photographs
with the public during his lifetime. When he died in 2000, his
family found a large collection of wonderful photographs of some
of Hollywood's greatest screen idols. Two of the most memorable
are of Liz Taylor, Lot 154, and James Dean, Lot 156, on the set,
and during filming, of "Giant." This was Dean's last
film before his death in a car crash right after he completed
"Giant." This is the first time any of the photos have
been offered at auction. Estimates for the Worth photographs are
between $1,000 to $1,500, but should go for more. Lot 154
Among other sizzling
photographs of Marilyn
Monroe in the famously revealing white dress which billowed up
on a gust of air from a vent in the sidewalk, Bernard of Hollywood's
"Marilyn in White," Lot 142, (estimate $8,000 to $12,000),
which was singled out in 1999 by the Museum of Modern Art as the
photographic "Symbol of the Century" in their "Fame
After Photography" Exhibition. The International Center of
Photography also chose this exuberant photograph of Marilyn for
their documentary "20 Unforgettable Photographs of the Century."
These are impressive accolades from world famous institutions,
but then Marilyn had awesome star power and did not hesitate to
flaunt it. She loved her adoring public, and it shows in this
stellar image, which looks as if it was staged, but in fact was
totally spontaneous. A true professional, Monroe maximized on
the sensation her swirling dress caused. The lot sold for
There are two wistful
photographs by Sanford
Roth of James Dean playing the bongos, Lot 159, in between filming
on the set of "Giant," (1955). Dean was a sensitive
soul who loved the arts, and was an artist himself. By the end
of the making of this iconic film, Dean would have run out of
time, which makes these spontaneously captured images all the
more moving. The photographs are estimated at $1,500 to $2,500.
The lot failed to sell.
Most people think of Clark
Gable as the swashbuckling
Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind," but there was
another side to him that is revealed in a U.S. Army Air Corps
examination paper circa 1941, Lot 112, in which he scored an impressive
98 ½, (estimated at $700-900), and a U.S. Air Force World
War II era brown leather flight jacket, Lot 113, (estimated at
$2,000 to $3,000), with a name tag Clark Gable, and a later addition
303rd Bomb Group Association, accompanied by a candid photograph
of him, Lot 114, wearing a similar jacket in England during the
war. Gable was devastatingly handsome whatever he wore. The "spit
and polish" grooming of his military career clung to him
even when he was attired as a horse rustler in jeans and cowboy
hat in "The Misfits," also starring Marilyn Monroe,
Montgomery Clift and a spectacular Eli Wallach. Lot 113 sold
for $5,740 and Lot 114 sold for $1,440.
A sepia portrait photograph of
Gable, Lot 111,
taken by Russell Ball, circa 1930s, is graciously inscribed in
black ink: "To Jim, Many thanks for helping make all this
possible, Sincerely, Clark." There is also a rare contract,
Lot 110, for Clark Gable's first speaking role as Rance Brett
in "The Painted Desert," (1931), which is signed by
him in black ink, estimated at $2,000 to $3,000. The bomber jacket
and contract are from the estate of Clark Gable. The lot sold
This sale also features a
Mickey Mouse poster
by Walt Disney, Lot 30, "The Cactus Kid," dated 1930,
estimated $10,000-$15,000, a rare drawing in black ink of Mickey
Mouse, Lot 31, by Walt Disney estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.
A selection of original animation art from Disney studios features
like "Donald Duck With Paintbrush," Lot 8, estimated
at $1,500 to $2,500, " and "Jiminy Cricket and an Elephant,"
Lot 6, (estimate $1,000 to $1,500), amongst many others ranging
in price from $400 to $12,000. Lot 30 sold for $7,200. Lot
31 sold for $28,800. Lot 8 sold for $2,160.
Two posters will capture the
interest of movie
buffs, both from cult films by Stanley Kubrick that have stood
the test of time: "Dr. Strangelove," (1964), with art
by Tom Ungerer, is Lot 241, which has an estimate of $600 to $800;
and Lot 242 is "2001: A Space Odyssey," (1968), which
has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. The catalogue notes that
this 2001 poster was originally printed in small numbers, only
to be pasted on walls across New York City, consequently few have
survived. Lot 241 sold for $480. Lot 242 sold for $7,200.
Among other notable Marlon
and photographs is Lot 168, a copy of Tennessee Williams's book,
"A Streetcar Named Desire," which is signed by 13 actors
and actresses of the original Broadway production, including Marlon
Brando, who added "Please vote for Wallace" near his
name. Other names include Kim Hunter, Karl Malden and Jessica
Tandy. The lot hs an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold
Lot 134 is Marilyn Monroe's
1962 script for
"Something's Gotta Give," annotated by her. This was
her last film but was never completed due to her untimely and
tragic death. It is estimated at $12,000 to $16,000. It sold
A full review of "made for the
costumes featured in this sale, showing the incredible attention
to detail lavished on them, will soon be featured in "Movie
Star Style," in the "Style" section on this website.