Classic Hollywood musicals lead $1.189M movie poster auction

DALLAS – More than 1,200 bidders took full advantage of the more than 1,100 classic movie posters offered in Heritage Auctions’ July 16-17 Signature® Movie Poster Auction, driving the total to an impressive $1.189 million, led by a 1933 poster for Warner Brothers Footlight Parade, the famous Busby Berkeley musical starring James Cagney, which realized $47,800. All prices include 19 1/2 percent buyer’s premium.

“The demand for early musicals is strong with collectors,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Movie Poster Auctions at Heritage, “as this auction proves. There were a number of world record posters sold this weekend and with this group of quality material, collectors responded appropriately.”

The beautiful art-deco image of the Footlight Parade one sheet was the top lot, but a gorgeous three sheet poster for RKO’s 1936 Follow the Fleet, one of the best dancing pictures made by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, still brought plenty of spirited bidding before settling at $19,120 to go home with a determined collector.

One of the most interesting moments in the auction came when a rare “drive-in” style one sheet to the Academy Award winning 1977 film Rocky was brought on to the block and had an estimated pre-auction estimate of $400 and up. When the dust cleared the winning bid was an astounding $5,975 for this rare poster.

Romantic musicals came quickly back into the fore of the auction with a one sheet for 20th Century Fox’s 1941 Moon Over Miami, starring Betty Grable and Don Ameche, which quickly rose to a final price of $14,938, while a one sheet for Warner Brothers’ 1933 mystery Private Detective 62 – one of Williams Powell’s last films before taking on the iconic role of Nick Charles in the Thin Man series – brought $13,145.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

Hula (Paramount, 1927). One Sheet (27 inches by 41 inches) Style A: On the heels of her success with Wings, the effervescent and buoyant Clara Bow was at the height of her fame starring as Hula Calhoun, a free spirit who falls for the very proper and very married English gentleman, Anthony Haldance (Clive Brook). Realized: $13,145.

Casablanca (Warner Brothers, 1940s). First Post-War French Affiche (31 1/2 inches by 46 1/2 inches): Ranked as the number three film of all time in the American Film Institute’s 2007 poll, this is certainly a classic, loved by film fans everywhere. Realized: $11,353.

Cat People (RKO, 1942). One Sheet (27 inches by 41 inches): Val Lewton produced this moody and magnificent film on a very modest budget, and turned it into one of the most frightening films of the 1940s. Beautiful Simone Simon stars as a woman who turns into a panther when emotionally charged. Realized: $10,158.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Warner Brothers, 1938). One Sheet (27 inches by 41 inches): From the classic title painted on a shield, to the colorful image of the dashing Errol Flynn loosing an arrow while “Maid Marian” (Olivia de Havilland) is tucked safely behind him, this poster stands out as one of the defining moments in Hollywood’s storied history. Realized: $9,560.

For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, visit


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