'Little Caesar' movie poster - 'holy grail' of gangster films - auctions in Texas

The memorabilia experts we spoke to throughout 2011 - including HA.com's Vintage Movie Poster Director Grey Smith - predicted great things for the rare movie poster markets.

And their positive predictions will be put to the test at an upcoming sale of vintage movie posters in Texas. The rare pieces will be auctioning online, beginning March 1.

As with all the best collectibles, rarity is crucial when hunting for a good movie memorabilia buy. And this poster for Warner Bros' 1931 film Little Caesar certainly fits the bill; being one of only two known copies.

The auctioneer is billing this poster as one of the "holy grails" of the gangster film genre. This is the film which made Hollywood legend Edward G. Robinson a star, thanks to his memorable performance as Caesar Enrico "Rico" Bandetto alias "Little Caesar".

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, Little Caesar is today remembered as the granddaddy of the modern crime thriller; the film which set the standards for all that followed.


little caesar
Little Caesar: the granddaddy of the modern crime thriller

This particular poster doesn't depict Robinson as Rico, but rather co-star Douglas Fairbanks Jr as his reluctant partner-in-crime, pictured with the girl he loves, Glenda Farrell. Other than this poster, only a few window and lobby cards bearing this image were ever produced.

According to the condition report: "The poster had one inch of white border trimmed from the top of the large upper border. There were a couple of small holes in Farrell's cheek and in Fairbanks' shirt front.

"There was [a] touch-up to several dark surface scuffs within the image and tear extending from the center horizontal fold into the "L" of "Little" and several small holes in the lower white border and one extending into the credits. There were small pinholes within the artwork in three corners."

Nevertheless, this poster's colours remain vibrant and the linen poster's condition is described as "fine" overall.

Given the immense rarity of this poster, and the importance of the Little Caesar film itself, you can bet this poster will do well in the upcoming sale.

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