10 movies for collectors in lockdown

Looking to scratch that collecting itch while under lockdown? 

With life on deep freeze for a while, chances are you’ve been exploring the deepest recesses of Netflix or Amazon Prime.  

I've picked out 10 movies and documentaries that are widely available and themed around collectors and collecting.  

In no particular order, I recommend the following. 

Nine Queens (2000) 

Lockdown movies collecting

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Nine Queens is a fast and funny Argentine crime drama about two cons who set out to swindle a wealthy Spanish businessman with a set of (fictional) rare stamps known as the Nine Queens.

It was hugely popular in Argentina and beyond and is well worth seeking out.  

Citizen Kane (1941) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Orson Welles based the character of Charles Foster Kane on Joseph Pullitzer and William Randolph Hearst, two of the wealthiest media magnates of 1930s America.

Xanadu, Kane’s palatial home, is filled with fabulous artefacts and collectibles. But on his death bed, Kane’s mind turns to one object in particular.

This enduring classic is well worth revisiting. And if you’ve never quite got round to seeing it, now’s the perfect time.  

Burglar (1987) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

This screwball comedy features a big bag of jewels and Whoopi Goldberg doing what she does best. Sometimes, that’s all you need. 

Freaks and Errors (2017) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Freaks and Errors)

An excellent documentary focusing on that rare breed who spend their lives in pursuit of the world’s rarest stamps.

It features fascinating conversations with key industry figures including George Holschauer of Colonial Stamp Co, collector Ian Gibson-Smith and investor Bill Gross.

If you’re a stamp collector, you’re going to love this. But even if you’re not, it’s a great watch and you’re sure to find plenty to relate to. 

Foxcatcher (2014) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Has there ever been a more colourful stamp collector than John Du Pont? The answer is no – and, honestly, thank God for that.

John was an heir to the legendary Du Pont family fortune and was brought up in fabulous wealth. His twin obsessions were wrestling and stamp collecting. He was the one-time owner of the British 1c Guiana, the world’s most valuable stamp, which sold for $9.4m after his death.

Director Bennet Miller’s biopic focuses on Du Pont’s career as a wrestling coach, which culminated in the infamous murder of one of his charges.   

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

You can’t get any more escapist than The Thomas Crowne Affair.

Steve McQueen stars as millionaire playboy Thomas Crown, who orchestrates a brilliant robbery on a whim.

With Faye Dunaway’s insurance investigator in hot pursuit, it’s a gripping thrill ride with stunts galore - as well as one of the best title songs in movie history (Michel Legrand’s The Windmills of Your Mind).  

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wildly entertaining romp set in a fictional eastern European nation on the eve of war.

The centrepiece is the hotel of the title and its charismatic concierge, Monsiuer Gustave H.

When one of Gustave’s elderly conquests dies, he finds himself in possession of a priceless painting. A painting which the old lady’s awful family is willing to kill for. Director Wes Anderson’s distinctive film making style has earned him legions of fans (and haters).

I consider myself firmly in the former camp.  

Can you ever forgive me? (2018) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Lee Israel was a celebrated biographer and legendary autograph forger.

In 1992, with honest work drying up, she began stealing letters written by celebrities such as Noel Coward, Dorothy Parker and Louis Brooks – replacing them with her own forgeries. She would sell these letters on to autograph dealers across New York City.

Soon she started forging new letters. Director Marine Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me is a dramatisation of Israel’s autobiography of the same title.

Israel is superbly portrayed by Melissa McCarthy in a career-best performance, with Richard E Grant on scene-stealing form as her accomplice, Jack Hock.   

The Art of the Steal (2013) 

Lockdown movie collectors

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Ever wondered what happens when the owner of a legendary collection dies? The Art of the Steal explores the events following the death of American art collector Albert C Barnes (1872-1951), whose extraordinary archive is at the centre of a long-running legal battle.

Barnes stated in his will that his vast collection of impressionist art (valued at $25bn) must only be displayed at its location in Merrion, Pennsylvania and used to further teaching of art. But this arrangement is under threat.  

Herb & Dorothy (2008) 

Collectors are some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet.

That’s very much the case with my final selection, Megumi Susaki’s charming documentary, Herb & Dorothy.

It focuses on two unlikely art world movers and shakers, Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a postal worker and librarian respectively, who built a superb collection of 4,000 pieces of modernist art, which they stored in their modest New York apartment.

In 1992, they donated all of it to the National Gallery of Art for the American public to enjoy. This is a warm, feel-good profile that’s guaranteed to lift your mood. 

Paul Fraser.

PS. Is your favourite collecting film not on my list? Let me know at info@paulfrasercollectibles.com

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