News Column

Iconic bird statuette from 'The Maltese Falcon' to be auctioned

July 17, 2013


July 17--At the end of John Huston's 1941 film noir "The Maltese Falcon," gumshoe Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) says that the iconic statuette of the bird is "the stuff dreams are made of."

One of the statuettes used in the classic mystery-thriller is being offered to the highest bidder at the aptly titled "What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century of Movie Magic at Auction, as Curated by Turner Classic Movies." The special sale will be held Nov. 25 in New York by fine art auctioneers and appraisers Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies. A portion of the proceeds will go to Martin Scorsese's the Film Foundation, which preserves and protects motion picture history.

Prior to the auction, there will be a preview of items for sale Oct. 22-27 at Bonhams in L.A. and in New York from Nov. 20-25.

The falcon being auctioned has been acquired directly from the Warner Bros. prop department and is the only version of the bird known to have appeared in the film. The piece has previously been exhibited at the Pompidou Center, the Museum of Modern Art and the Warner Bros. museum on the studio lot.

Other items up for auction include a polka-dot dress worn by Joan Crawford in 1945's "Mildred Pierce," Theda Bara's tiara and earrings from 1917's "Cleopatra," Shirley Temple's majorette costume from 1936's "Poor Little Rich Girl" and John Huston's handwritten and typed draft of his screenplay for 1948's "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

There's even an infamous nude portrait of early "it" girl Clara Bow, commissioned by her one-time love "Dracula" star Bela Lugosi.

A standard soft copy and a deluxe limited-edition hard copy of the catalog will be available for order.


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