Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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Brooksie
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Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Brooksie » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:41 pm

Following the latest edition of Mostly Lost, I'm seeing all sorts of wonderful photos from participants of the artefacts they saw at the Library of Congress - the original negative of The Great Train Robbery (1903) in particular. There's a sort of magic to these artefacts. They're concrete connections to a quasi-mythic past; the Dead Sea Scrolls of our particular hobby.

For me, two artefacts that I've seen in person qualify for this category. The first is a booklet that was designed to accompany the original screenings of The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906). This is not only a tangible link to what is acknowledged as the world's first feature film, but an incredibly rare item. Only four or five are known to survive. This one, in the possession of a private collector, had a tattered cover, but the inside pages might have been printed yesterday.

The second, on exhibition at the Cinematheque Franćaise, was a costume from Lumiere's A Trip to the Moon (1903). For something so staggeringly rare and fragile to have survived to the present day seemed just short of time travel.

What breathtaking artefacts have other members seen in person?

salus
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by salus » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:18 pm

When i was in high school which was about 10 blocks from the then newly reopened Astoria Paramount Studios which is now Kauffman Studios. They were using only one building in the complex the rest where like run down warehouses, in the yards outside i saw the Taxi from Jodie Foster's taxi driver and other things associated with that film and about 6 months to a year later the props from the Movie the Wiz with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, in those days there was nobody around there im guessing you could meet the stars then , i wasnt as interested then but i remember seeing that stuff. The Wiz props really looked amateurish.

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westegg
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by westegg » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:55 am

While on tour at Universal in 1967, high up on wall, almost like an afterthought, was an original Creature From the Black Lagoon mask.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:09 am

Image

Lotte Reiniger's handcut animated drawings from The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Cinematheque Francaise, Paris.

Second would be Peter Ellenshaw's glass painting of London from Mary Poppins, I think. Disney exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by missdupont » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:10 am

At the Harry Ransom Center, I saw the surviving William Cameron Menzies' production designs for GONE WITH THE WIND as well as the original costumes, which were restored a couple of years ago. The archive also has the prop sailboat from PORTRAIT OF JENNIE and the giant pair of scissors and hand used to shoot the gun from SPELLBOUND. I also was able to handle Selznick's Thalberg Award he won in 1939.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by wich2 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:21 am

At MOMA once, one of the Disney NAUTILUS models...

At a great show at another Manhattan museum (maybe the Frick?), several things including the piano from CASABLANCA, and one of Bolger's scarecrow costumes from OZ.

At his little barn office in Hollywood, some shields from a DeMille film - I think the Silent TEN COMMANDMENTS?

In Episcopal Actors' Guild Hall, a Christmas tree ornament from MIRACLE ON 34th ST., donated by John Payne.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by rudyfan » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:24 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Image

Lotte Reiniger's handcut animated drawings from The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Cinematheque Francaise, Paris.
OMG that is fantastic!
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by luciano » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:25 pm

I also went to the Cinematheque and saw the costume. Seeing the original drawing of the moon by Melies was quite something as well. As for my favorite brush with film history, an acquaintance of mine who worked on Lawrence of Arabia’s restoration gave me a frame from the negative. It shows someone holding a slate board that says “Mirage Effect” Lens 450 at infinity. Holding that little frame is a really wonderful thing. It reminds me that all these great films were once an idea and nothing more. They needed to exist, and people worked very hard to make that happen. I scanned it once, here’s the image.

https://imgur.com/a/wClH0iE" target="_blank

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:16 pm

At MOMA once, one of the Disney NAUTILUS models...
That was in the same Disney exhibit, and I almost named it too.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Paul Penna » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:25 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
At MOMA once, one of the Disney NAUTILUS models...
That was in the same Disney exhibit, and I almost named it too.
I was lucky enough that several of my Disneyland visits in the 1960s occurred when several 20000 Leagues props and even partial sets were a "walk-through" exhibit. I have color slides I took of one of the larger Nautilus miniatures and a frigate, plus Captain Nemo's pipe organ.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Dave Pitts » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:18 pm

My story deals with a film from '73, but here goes: Paper Moon is one of my all-time favorite movies. On a trip across Kansas back around 2000, I decided to visit some of the towns listed as locations. I went to the town with the old train station where Mose tries to get Addie on the train -- only to find out the building had been demolished a few years previously. I did not find out until I was back home where the big old hotel was located -- I would bet it's gone by now. My one true find, in fact, was spotting the corner stoop where Addie and Imogene sit waiting for Mose and Trixie to show up. This was in some little town whose name I can't remember, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was the spot. I would love to know where Bogdanovich filmed that last classic shot -- the stretch of curving road going on forever -- but will probably never find it.
I've also been to Archer City, TX, which is where The Last Picture Show was made -- only to find that the movie house was nothing more than a facade with the interior caved in behind it (which I believe is actually shown in the sequel, Texasville.)

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:04 pm

Paper Moon is one of my all-time favorite movies. On a trip across Kansas back around 2000
My first boss in advertising, in my home town of Wichita, grew up near Hays in western Kansas. His third-grade teacher is the older lady who says "Give the child her $20 bill."



I imagine much of it is gone now, since we are further from it than it was from the Depression...

My pilgrimage like that was to some of the locations of Heaven's Gate, which whatever you think of it as a deeply flawed movie, has spectacular Montana locations. The easiest to find and tour is the Stockman's Association club house in the film, which is actually the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell, a handsome example of what one might call Western Arts & Crafts design.

http://www.conradmansion.com/About-Images.html" target="_blank
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by greta de groat » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:40 pm

Garbo's dress with the low neck and standing collar (on this year's SFSFF program) was on display when i went to the Svenska Filminstitutet. It was smaller than i expected, but looked to be in good condition.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by linquist » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:03 pm

While I have nothing, back in the late 70s, my father was visiting my sister in Antioch, Illinois, and while driving back home, he saw all these police cars stranded on the median of I-94 and the highway was shut down. He called me after he got home to tell me about it and I told him I had heard on the radio that they were filming the Blues Brothers movie that day and that the highway was closed.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by tthacker » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:21 pm

As someone who has been researching the life and work of photographer Nelson Evans for the last several years, the most extraordinary film related items that I've seen make up a large collection of photographs and other items that came from the Evans Studio. Nearly 2000 photographs, many never published, of such stars as Gloria Swanson, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, Olive Thomas, and on and on. Not portraits, but stills and behind the scenes shots. Going through the collection, it dawned on me that Evans was witness to an incredible list of actors at work. The collection also includes nearly 90 glass negatives, some which show how the effects that he is known for were accomplished. However, the most amazing thing about the collection is that it is currently sitting in my dining room, patiently waiting the journey to it's final destination.
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by JRozgonyi » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:25 pm

Back in the mid-1980s, when I was working in a small video store in Connecticut, I sold Anne Baxter a VCR. Does she count as an artifact that I saw? :lol:

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by bobfells » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:39 pm

I am the proud proprietor of the Arliss Archives that may well be the world's largest collection of George Arliss Memorabilia. I have posted many of the items on my blog (see address below) and in a total so far of five printed volumes and ebooks. I have copies of many of GA's letters but I especially treasure original handwritten letters on stationery from his London home (now owned by Lulu). Among original items I have is GA's 1933 signed contract with Darryl Zanuck for two films that eventually were made at Twentieth Century Pictures, a mimeograph original script for THE IRON DUKE, an original script for OLD ENGLISH originally owned by William Janney who appeared in the film, ditto for the script for THE LAST GENTLEMAN. I have copies of scripts for all ten of GA's Warners films, copies of his Warner contracts and extensions, and a copy of the scenario used in filming the 1923 silent version of THE GREEN GODDESS, complete with intertitles.

Perhaps the prize of the collection is a bronze bust sculpted and signed by Ivan Simpson of GA as the Rajah of Rukh in THE GREEN GODDESS. Mr. A mentions this bust in his first volume of memoirs.
Image

I thought so much of this object that I managed to photograph it in genuine 3-D using just a standard digital camera:
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Mike Gebert
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:03 pm

re: the Blues Brothers anecdote. I posted this a while back:
We were walking home one night years ago and saw SWAT officers around a triangle-shaped building at Lincoln and School. They weren't exactly on high alert, though-- they were lounging about, which seemed rather unprofessional, until we realized they were actors, and they were shooting Baby's Day Out, a long forgotten John Hughes movie. While there we saw Fred Thompson, who was at that point rumored to be likely to run for Al Gore's senate seat. As he worked the crowd of onlookers... we knew it was true.
Addendum to that story: turns out there was another future political candidate in the movie and on location that night. Cynthia Nixon, now running for mayor of New York.
“I'm in favor of plagiarism. If we are to create a new Renaissance, the government should encourage plagiarism. When convinced that someone is a true plagiarist, we should immediately award them the Legion of Honor.” —Jean Renoir

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by siriami » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:49 am

The Cinematheque Franćaise in Paris has the original "Mrs Bates" head from "Psycho" on display - apparently donated by Mr Hitchcock. Now that's what I call an artefact!

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by luciano » Thu Jun 21, 2018 2:22 am

siriami wrote:The Cinematheque Franćaise in Paris has the original "Mrs Bates" head from "Psycho" on display - apparently donated by Mr Hitchcock. Now that's what I call an artefact!
I tried to sneak a photo of that but their quite strict!

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by westegg » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:42 am


Second would be Peter Ellenshaw's glass painting of London from Mary Poppins, I think. Disney exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.[/quote]


Wow! Thanks for the memory jog! I saw one of Ellenshaw's glass Poppins paintings (with an open space for film insert) at a NYC museum (forget which) circa 1980. Might have been the Whitney, which was promoting Disney animation and its current The Fox and the Hound. Or was it MOMA?

:x
Last edited by westegg on Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by westegg » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:49 am

After further searching the catacombs of memory, I recall a spectacular costume exhibit at Met Museum of Art circa 1975. It was the ultimate display of Classic Hollywood costumes. I particularly recall how small Fred Astaire's shoes were! Many '30s gowns, but I don't recall from what. I wish to heck I bought the catalog, assuming there was one.

Does a Classic Hollywood Star qualify as an artifact? In 1986 I observed Gregory Peck being extremely gracious to a crowd of people at a signing event. He was supposed to be there an hour but stayed three, until every last person had his attention. Total class.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Brooksie » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:43 pm

greta de groat wrote:Garbo's dress with the low neck and standing collar (on this year's SFSFF program) was on display when i went to the Svenska Filminstitutet. It was smaller than i expected, but looked to be in good condition.

greta
And yet when I saw Garbo's gowns at the Hollywood Museum, I was struck by how much larger they were than most of the others. At 5 foot 7, she was taller than average even by today's standards. By contrast, Mae West's dresses were so tiny they looked like a child's Halloween costume.

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Donald Binks » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:19 pm

I've been through Universal's props department - an Aladdin's cave of goodies. I've also been on a tour through the Warner Bros., studios and seen a lot of things. I must admit that I have seen so much that I became somewhat blase about it all. Perhaps though, being allowed to wander about the old house used in "Psycho" gave me the tinglies. Then, I have also seen a collection of the outrageous costumes worn by Dame Edna Everage... I've really been quite lucky.
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by oldposterho » Thu Jun 21, 2018 3:41 pm

This was a pretty cool exhibition and IIRC, had some of the original King Kong armatures among other nerdly delights. Always wished I would have visited the Ackermansion to see more of them though.

Image

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Roseha » Fri Jun 22, 2018 11:36 am

In late 2013 I went to a preview of a Bonham's auction of Hollywood memorabilia in New York City, I think there was a TCM connection of some kind. I tried to locate some of the photos I took last night but at the moment I can only find these of the film artefacts:

Sam Spade's chair, with a notice not to touch:

Image

and the Black Bird itself - well, I happened to ask a man in charge who admitted that two Maltese Falcons were used in the film. Still pretty amazing to see.

Image

If I remember correctly I also saw a script of sorts for The General, Theda Bara's jewelry from Cleopatra and the Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz.
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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by Brooksie » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:44 pm

Roseha wrote:and the Black Bird itself - well, I happened to ask a man in charge who admitted that two Maltese Falcons were used in the film. Still pretty amazing to see.
It's rare that there is ever one single version of a key prop. Two would be the absolute minimum - there were usually four or five, often made in different materials for different conditions. There's a particular controversy over how many Maltese Falcons were used, and what became of them - see https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/20 ... ese-falcon

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by wich2 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:30 pm

oldposterho wrote:nerdly delights. Always wished I would have visited the Ackermansion to see more of them though.
I don't know if you're up on recent 4SJ news...

But, as well-documented at the Classic Horror Film Board, you might have inadvertently come across some other very discomfiting "delights" there...

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by wich2 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:39 pm

bobfells wrote:I am the proud proprietor of the Arliss Archives that may well be the world's largest collection of George Arliss Memorabilia.
Bob, as I've mentioned here before, I'm a long-time member of an organization that Arliss was the first President of, the Episcopal Actors' Guild.

I'm sitting in Guild Hall typing this as I House Manage a production of THE GLASS MENAGERIE, and I'd bet there's paper material relating to his tenure in the "attic" archives upstairs (the one beneath the "secret" upper attic, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad.)

And pertinent to this thread, as I spoke the Invite to the house tonight, I pointed out to them the desk owned by Richard Mansfield, the landscape painted by Joe Jefferson, and Margaret Hamilton's curio cabinet.

- Craig

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Re: Extraordinary Film Artefacts You've Seen

Unread post by oldposterho » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:05 pm

wich2 wrote:I don't know if you're up on recent 4SJ news...

But, as well-documented at the Classic Horror Film Board, you might have inadvertently come across some other very discomfiting "delights" there...
EEK! I was not and had to go read the thread.

Double EEK!

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