Oct. 25--Think you're man enough to wear John Wayne's chaps? Or fan enough to drive the 1940 Buick Phaeton that took Rick, Ilsa, Louis and Victor to the airport at the end of "Casablanca"?
These and many more classic movie items hit the auction block Nov. 25 in "What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century of Movie Magic at Auction as Curated by TCM," at the New York showroom of venerable auction house Bonhams.
To whet the appetites of film-frenzied Angelenos, the goods are on display through Sunday at Bonhams' showroom on Sunset Boulevard. And though the stuff is pricey, the looking is free.
The event brings more than 300 items to the block, from the silent era to the time of the modern blockbuster.
"We worked with Turner Classic Movies to reach out to some of the best collectors in the country and to curate, really, an auction that runs the gamut of film history," Catherine Williamson, Bonhams' director of entertainment memorabilia, said at the L.A. kickoff Tuesday night.
"We hold memorabilia auctions pretty regularly, but this is the first time we've partnered with someone like them," she added. "They are the best possible partner we could have. They really are carrying the torch forward in terms of evangelizing the love of classic movies."
"Seeing it in a catalog is not the same. I knew the car was here, and I walk in and it still takes your breath away a little bit," TCM host Ben Mankiewicz said of the Model 81C Aztec brown convertible Phaeton. "I'm as amazed as, I think, anybody else is here,"
That little honey should go for some $450,000-$500,000. Steep indeed, but hey, it still runs.
The pinnacle of the event is one of only two known cast-lead statues of the epony mous bird from another Humphrey Bogart film, 1941 film noir "The Maltese Falcon" -- the iconic last line of which inspired the auction's title. Though arguably priceless, it is expected to fetch in the seven figures.
Those with only five-, four- and even three-figure budgets can delight in the likes of these: Vivien Leigh's "Gone with the Wind" negligee, a sequined Esther Williams bathing suit, Errol Flynn's ratty shorts from "The Sea Hawk," all kinds of stuff that touched Charlton Heston in "Ben Hur," Tom Hanks' Army uniform from "Forrest Gump," a Jack Nicholson Joker costume from the 1989 "Batman" (along with Michael Keaton's Batsuit from "Batman & Robin" and, er, Chris O'Donnell's Robin getup from the 1997 Caped Crusader incarnation), Peter Fonda's "Easy Rider" psychedelic shirt, miniatures created for "War of the Worlds" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and even a couple of elaborate Gwyneth Paltrow gowns from "Shakespeare in Love."
Posters -- a big, postwar French "Falcon" one is particularly striking -- annotated scripts and production artwork abound. Make off with one of Indiana Jones' bullwhips or a cast of Han Solo's "Empire Strikes Back" carbonite-frozen face.
"There's a 'Citizen Kane' working script here -- I think a third final revision, with no screenwriter credit to either my grandfather or Orson Welles," said Mankiewicz, whose forebear Herman co-wrote what is generally considered the greatest film of all time.
Mankiewicz had his eye on a pair of bowler hats worn by Laurel and Hardy.
TCM is programming a night of films containing some of the memorabilia on Nov. 19. A portion of the auction proceeds benefit The Film Foundation, a movie-preservation nonprofit.
Peruse the items in person through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., at 7601 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; or online at bonhams.com/auctions/21427/. Register at the website to leave absentee bids and participate in the live auction online, which begins 10 a.m. PT on Nov. 25. Or follow the proceedings with Bonhams L.A.'s live simulcast. For more information, call 323-850-7500.
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