Bonhams and TCM present: The Charlton Heston Collection, Los Angeles on March 22.

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“I had the great pleasure of working with Charlton Heston back in 1998 when he sat down with me to record a Private Screenings interview for Turner Classic Movies. Right from the start, he asked me to call him Chuck. Not Charlton or Mr. Heston. And certainly not Charlie. Only his wife was allowed to do that. What followed soon after was a pleasant, affable conversation —although I couldn’t help but think that any infraction of the rules would inspire a clap of thunder, a burning bush or a major earth tremor. And why not? He was, after all, a guy who was known to either cause or survive any number of lightning bolts, earthquakes and other calamities, at least on screen. So why risk it? I called him Chuck. Meeting Chuck in person made you realize immediately that he was the kind of guy you hoped he would be—a straight-shooter, a thinking man, sturdy, dependable and professional. He was also a shy man one who overcame that shyness because of the nature of his business, but still deep down a shy man. So I imagine he’d be a little baffled to think that people would want to purchase his personal memorabilia included in this auction.

But even he admitted the very nature of his work made people look up to him in a way that reflected the impact of the characters he played— rather than the real Chuck Heston. After all he played some imposing men: Moses, Judah Ben-Hur, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, John the Baptist, Michelangelo. As he told me in our interview— these were individuals who did remarkable things and it tends to rub off a little bit. Well I for one think Chuck was being a little too self-effacing because the fact of the matter is, he was a very good actor, a devoted husband and family man, social activist and, in my experience, a genuinely nice person. Thankfully, we’ll always have his films to remember him by— and if the bidding goes your way, perhaps you can have a piece of his memorabilia to remember him by in your own way”.

Good luck.

Robert Osborne

Host of Turner Classic Movies

“Ho avuto il grande piacere di lavorare con Charlton Heston nel 1998, quando si è seduto con me per registrare un’intervista per Turner Classic Movies. Fin dall’inizio, mi ha chiesto di chiamarlo Chuck. Non Charlton o Mr. Heston. E no di certo Charlie. Solo alla moglie è stato concesso di farlo. Ciò che è seguito dopo è stata una piacevole conversazione, anche se non ho potuto fare a meno di pensare che da un momento all’altro sarebbe esploso in cielo un tuono o il fragore di una scossa di terremoto in terra. E perchè no? Era, dopo tutto, un ragazzo famoso per essere sopravvissuto a un quantitativo infinito di fulmini, terremoti e altre calamità, almeno sullo schermo. Quindi, perché rischiare? L’ho chiamato Chuck.

Incontrare Chuck di persona mi ha confermato l’idea che avevo di lui cioè che fosse uno straight-shooter, un tipo diretto, affidabile e professionale. Era anche un uomo timido uno che ha superato la timidezza grazie al suo lavoro, ma ancora in fondo un uomo timido. Quindi immagino che sarebbe stato un po’ perplesso a sapere che il pubblico sarebbe stato interessato ad acquistare gli oggetti inseriti in quest’asta.
Ma onestamente non posso nascondere di essere stato influenzato dal pensiero di avere di fronte l’attore Charlton Heston. Dopo tutto ha interpretato ruoli imponenti: Mosè, Ben-Hur, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Michelangelo. Era un ottimo attore, un marito e padre di famiglia devoto, attivista sociale e, come se non bastasse, un bellissimo uomo. Per fortuna, avremo sempre i suoi film per ricordarlo e se sei fortunato, forse riuscirai ad avere un suo oggetto per ricordarlo a modo tuo. In bocca al lupo”.

Robert Osborne

Turner Classic Movies

Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies present Picture Perfect: the Art of Movie Posters


Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) present

Picture Perfect: the Art of Movie Posters

Auction July 20th at Bonhams Los Angeles

Lot 418 - King Kong

Los Angeles – June 22, 2015 – Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) present Picture Perfect: the Art of Movie Posters, an auction exploring the history of cinema’s most important marketing tool. The sale – which takes place on July 20th at Bonhams Los Angeles – features more than 200 vintage movie posters, pieces of original poster art and lobby art from the earliest days of cinema, through the Golden Age to the modern blockbuster. Highlights will be on preview at Bonhams New York in Madison Avenue from June 13-16 and a full exhibition of all works in the auction will be on display at Bonhams Los Angeles from July 16-19.

Lot 186 - MetropolisEarly examples

Picture Perfect offers several early examples of the earliest known movie posters such as Thomas Edison’s The Passion Play ($1,200-1,800). Other examples from early cinema include a banner for The Birth of a Nation ($3,000-5,000), a ‘one sheet’ for the 1917 film The Life of Buffalo Bill ($3,000-5,000), and a pair of lobby cards for the first American adaptation of Sherlock Holmes from 1922 ($700-900; $1,000-1,500).

Golden age

By the 1930s, the major Hollywood studios had perfected the movie poster in the form that we know it today, most often featuring a large portrait of the lead actors against a background that gave some indication of the tone of the film. Examples on offer include an extremely rare poster for Top Hat ($30,000-40,000), with a charming image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers; and ‘one sheets’ for This Gun for Hire and Sunset Blvd. ($12,000-18,000 each), featuring Veronica Lake and Gloria Swanson, respectively.

Lot 9 - Queen ChristinaThe famous designers

Under the studio system, the studio art departments designed the movie posters and marketing materials for each new release and so the designers of many of the most famous posters of the period are unknown. However, certain artists did distinguish themselves, including Al Hirschfeld, who illustrated the posters for many of the Marx Brothers’ films including A Night at the Opera (jumbo window card, $5,000-7,000); Alberto Vargas, who worked on the campaign for Moon Over Miami (insert, $5,000-7,000); William Rose, who created the poster for Cat People (one sheet, $10,000-15,000); and Reynold Brown, who is represented by his iconic one sheet for Creature From the Black Lagoon ($8,000-12,000) as well as an original painting for Imitation of Life ($6,000-8,000).

Lot 158 - La Dolce VitaInternational posters

Early on, the studios used the same artwork nationally and internationally, but during World War II the studios began to target viewers in other countries, which led to creating original artwork for each segment of the international market. Picture Perfect features several examples of post-war Italian posters featuring lush, original artwork by the three godfathers of Italian poster art: Alfredo Capitani, Anselmo Ballester, and Luigi Martinati.  Capitani’s gorgeous rendering of Rita Hayworth as Gilda ($20,000-30,000) and Ballester’s timeless portrait of the actress as The Lady from Shanghai ($20,000-30,000) are two classics of the Italian film poster genre. Also on offer are two Italian posters for Federico Fellini’s classic La Dolce Vita ($10,000-12,000; $20,000-30,000), featuring Anita Ekberg.

Lot 219 - a Dan Goozee preliminary painting for Star WarsCreative freedom of 1960s

By the 1960s, the studios disbanded their in-house art departments and began using outside agencies to create poster art. Freed from the studio template, poster art entered a new era of creative freedom, and Picture Perfect contains some of the best examples, including 2001: A Space Odyssey (Starchild style 30×40, $2,000-3,000), Star Wars (British quad, $1,500-2,000) and Jaws (one sheet, $500-700). The sale also features original poster art from this period, including a Jim Pearsall drawing for the Chinatown poster ($2,000-3,000), preliminary artwork for Blade Runner ($1,000-1,500), a Bob Peak painting for Apocalypse Now ($7,000-9,000) and a preliminary painting for Star Wars by Dan Goozee ($8,000-12,000).

To read Matthew Sweet’s article ‘Coming soon’ about the history of movie poster in the latest issue of Bonhams Magazine, click here.