Hitchcock's '$49,000' Stage Fright storyboard has collectors in suspense
A revealing pre-production storyboard for Alfred Hitchcock's 1950 film is selling at Bonhams in June
A rare, hand written pre-production storyboard for one of Alfred Hitchcock's most problematic films, Stage Fright, is for sale at Bonhams' Printed Books and Manuscripts sale in London on June 7. It is estimated to sell for £20,000-30,000.
The production files for all Hitchcock's films after 1940 are kept in the Hitchcock archives in Beverly Hills, making this the only example ever to have come on the open market.
Stage Fright became notorious because of a "false flashback" sequence which Hitchcock later described as one of the two biggest misjudgements of his career. Despite a star cast - led by Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd and Sybil Thorndike - the 1950 film was not a success, although it has undergone critical reassessment over the years.
Hitchcock was notoriously prescriptive and used storyboards extensively, detailing each shot down to the camera angles and giving very precise instructions to the cast.
From the Stage Fright storyboard it's clear that many of the film's most memorable moments were carefully planned in advance. And there are enough significant differences from the finished film to show that the director amended, dropped or added scenes as he went along if the circumstances demanded.
The storyboard was owned by Jack Martin, the first assistant director on the film, who gave it to the current owner. Although the film wasn't among the director's most successful, notoriety surrounding the difficulties Hitchcock experienced in making it could boost the document's value.
While the Stage Fright storyboard gives a valuable insight into the genius behind the man, collectors looking for pieces of Hitchcock memorabilia may also wish to consider signed photos of the director. Rare examples have often proved themselves as potentially rewarding investments on the private markets.
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