Storyboard showing 'one of Hitchcock's biggest mistakes' sells for $28,800

A rare, hand written storyboard for one of Alfred Hitchcock's most problematic films, Stage Fright, went up for sale as part of Bonhams' Printed Books and Manuscripts sale in London on Tuesday (June 7).

Stage Fright became notorious because of a 'false flashback' sequence which Hitchcock later described as one of the two biggest misjudgments 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.

The story includes preparatory sketches for some three quarters of the film, including the infamous "false flashback" initial sequence. From the Stage Fright storyboard it's clear that many of the film's most memorable moments were carefully planned in advance.

Stage Fright Storyboard by Alfred Hitchcock
Sketchy, but precise: Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright Storyboard

Hitchcock was extremely precise and inflexible in his direction, being very specific about camera angles and other such factors that others might have spent less time on. The storyboard sold for $28,800 - near the highest expectations for it.

While the Stage Fright storyboard gives a valuable insight into Hitchcock's mind, collectors looking for pieces of Hitchcock memorabilia may also wish to consider signed photos of the director.

In generally Hitchcock memorabilia has often proved itself as rewarding alternative investments on the private markets.

An original poster for his movie Secret Agent (1936), in which John Gielgud portrays British novelist Edgar Brodie who is surprised to learn that his death has been faked by a government agency, sold for an impressive $17,925 are Heritage Auctions in March of last year.


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