Since the turn of the century, milk has been touted for its calming effects, and this 1920s sign joins in the chorus. As you can tell, there was no fear of cream back then. A charmer.
19 1/2″ x 13 1/4″
Price on request.
Richard MacDonald was a storied production designer, and, as this terrific gouache attests, a very fine painter. Executed for the 1975 film of The Day of the Locust, this production sketch for the film’s set design captures the scene of a premiere at Grauman’s and the atmosphere of 1930s Movieland with the very mixture of romance and realism that Schlesinger’s film attempted. Glamorous, noir and melancholy. From the private collection of legendary producer, and all-round macher, Si Litvinoff.
Gouache on illustration board, 11″ x 15″. We have, for your pleasure, included pictures of the scene as seen in the movie in the listing.
Price on request.
Price on request.
The Curious Case of Edward M Plunkett, or how to define this charming obsessive? Coming to New York in the 50s, like many young men he decided to remake himself into an artist and a man-about-town. Where his preoccupations and predilections landed him was somewhere between Edward Gorey (whose work his most closely resembles) and Florine Stettheimer, with a touch of the New Yorker’s Mary Petty. An uncertain draughtsman, this Michigander schooled himself diligently to successfully depict imaginary recreations of a time and milieu that obsessed him, which was the dawning of the age of the movies and the first flowering of the twentieth century before the Great War cut it short. A fantasy world. And it is his devotion to it that invests his work with the considerable charm it possesses. He believes. Therefore it truly lives. He is a classic naif, a social-climber folk-artist, an outsider’s outsider, a self-enchanter.
This scene (and someone is definitely making one) is terribly amusing. At a rather swank movie theater, the clientele in evening dress, it looks like the film is being projected out of register, and a lady, looking very like the star of the film (it must be her!) has risen in her seat to complain to the projectionist. Her companion is urging her to sit down, but Lyda is, indeed, “In Torment”! The motto on the proscenium, “Fiat Lux”, means Let There Be Light. Pretty delish.
Framed, bearing the label of his gallery, the David Herbert Gallery, on the back, 22 1/12″ x 15 1/2″. Ink and watercolor.
Price on request.
Lyda Borelli was born on March 22, 1884 in Rivarolo Ligure, Genoa, Liguria, Italy. Daughter of stage actor Napoleone Borelli. She was an actress, known for Satan’s Rhapsody (1917), Love Everlasting (1913) and Malombra (1917). In 1918 she stopped acting and married the Venetian businessman Giorgio Cini. Their son Giorgio Cini Jr. died in a plane crash while going to meet the actress Merle Oberon to whom he was engaged. Lyda Borelli died on June 1, 1959 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Edward M. Plunkett born in 1922 in Highland Park, Michigan. Comes to New York in 1949 for graduate studies at The Institute of Fine Arts and then continues at the
Sorbonne in Paris, subsequently attending the University of Chicago and the School of the Chicago Art Institute.
In 1952, Plunkett began as a lecturer in Art History at The City College of New York and later taught at The Chicago Art Institute. In 1970, he gave a course on The History of Motion Pictures at the Philadelphia College of Art. His paintings have been exhibited at The Whitney Museum in New York, museums in Holland, Switzerland and Le Musee de l’Art Moderne in Paris. His work is found in numerous collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Chicano artist Frank Gutierrez is having a whale of time here mixing and morphing iconic imagery into a pointed nightmare. Gustave Doré’s famous take on Puss-In-Boots is has its head removed and the cat changed to a rat before being plopped onto to the body of an ultrapatriotic matron standing proudly next to a dubious American foot-soldier of the War To End All Wars, while behind them lurks a classic fat-cat businessman. We know what Frank’s getting at. Spectacular pen and ink and mixed media drawing. Undated. But we can tell what war is dragging on.
Price on request.
From the 1951 novel by poet and novelist Julio Sesto, starring Mary Esquivel, who was one hot number, directed by the prolific Juan Orol. A rough tough Western crossed with a hell of a floor show.
Frame 32″ x 42″, poster 26″ x 35″
Price on request.
Juan Orol was a “one man band” in his movies. In most of them, he participated in more than two or three of the main activities of the film: production manager, director, producer, writer or actor. He was a man who felt he should participate in and supervise everything. Despite this, he was not a sophisticated technician, unlike his friend Ramon Peon. Orol did things because of his drive and his passion for the films without taking much time in his studio. He did not try to explain the psychology of his characters and the geography of the locations that he used. For him it was enough that there were scenes and characters. However, his films proved successful and managed to reach the public taste. Not surprisingly, Orol boasted that he was The director of the crowds.
Juan Orol has been compared with American filmmaker Ed Wood, canonized as “the worst director of all time”. However, unlike the American filmmaker, Orol did not need a posthumous tribute to be recognized. He earned box office success in his time, the public admired his filmic muses and his evil gangsters, no matter the plot and technical poverty of his productions. He ignored criticism of his work, like with I Hate You and I Love You (1957), a film that the critics directly called “very bad”. He even had the luxury of doing remakes of his own work: he made a new version of Dear Mother, his biggest hit, in 1950. Ed Wood, meanwhile, never hit the mainstream. His works were a succession of failures with limited exhibitions, and he only made a fifth of the number of films that Orol made. But both share the precariousness of their mode of production, and today are considered “cult directors”.
Orol stretched his film’s budgets and was known as a director of one shot. He did not use special effects in his works. In Gangsters Versus Cowboys virtually all the armed men died, but none shed a drop of blood. The film director Sergio Véjar, camera operator of Zonga, The Diabolic Angel (1957), says that Orol ordered Mary Esquivel to paint each of her nails a different color to extend her hands to the camera, thus reducing production costs. Likewise, he did not go in search of exotic locations, although his plots required them in most cases. In Los misterios del hampa(1944), whose screenplay was set in Chicago, a bus in the background reads “Cozumel Peralvillo-Line”, a typical line of trucks of Mexico City. In Zonga…, a film that takes place in the Amazon rainforest, there is in the background a monument to Bolivar from the Bosque de Chapultepec in Mexico City. Juan Orol did not care about details.
Juan Orol is also regarded as the spiritual father of the called Rumberas film for having the laid the foundations that enriched the film genre. Also, he is known for having imported to the Mexican Cinema two of the biggest stars of the genre: María Antonieta Pons and Rosa Carmina.
In 2012, Juan Orol was the subject of the biopic El fantástico mundo de Juan Orol, directed by Sebastian del Amo. Orol is played by the Mexican actor Roberto Sosa. The film is based on real events, but freely interpreted by the authors.
This film, popular enough to have a sequel, proudly proclaimed the participation of the great Mexican singer Javier Solis, billing him above the film’s putative stars Antonio Aguilar and ex-Miss World Susana Duin, the first Venezuelan to win it by the way (and not the last!). Four terrific horses were also billed above the title. Norteño all the way. This is cinematic soul-food.
Frame 32″ x 42″, print 26″ x 35″
Price on request.
Javier Solis began his acting career in 1959 and appeared in more than 20 films, working with such artists as Pedro Armendáriz, María Victoria, Antonio Aguilar, and Lola Beltrán. His last movie, Juan Pistolas, was finished in 1965, the same year that his film, Sinful, was released. During his lifetime, he was considered a better singer than actor by his public, who rated him alongside such accomplished artists as Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante who with Solis, made up the “Three Mexican Roosters” of Mexican music and cinemas.
Antonio Aguilar Barraza (17 May 1919 – 19 June 2007) was a Mexican singer, songwriter, film actor, film producer, and screenwriter. During his career, he recorded over 150 albums, which sold 25 million copies, and participated in more than 120 films. He was given the honorific nickname “El Charro de México” (The Horseman of Mexico) because he is credited with popularizing la charrería, considered to have originated in Mexico, to international audiences. To this day he has been the only Hispanic artist to sell out the Madison Square Garden of New York City for six consecutive nights in 1997.
Aguilar was best known for singing traditional Mexican folk songs (rancheras) and ballads (corridos) as well for his roles in films concerning rural themes, such as the Mexican Revolution. He won the Latin ACE Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Emiliano Zapata in the 1970 epic film of the same name. He also portrayed Pancho Villa twice in film. In 1997, Aguilar was awarded the Special Golden Ariel for his “invaluable contribution and spreading of Mexican cinema”.
With his second wife, popular singer and actress Flor Silvestre, he had two sons, Antonio Aguilar Jr. and Pepe Aguilar, who also became singers and actors. His family is known collectively as “La Dinastía Aguilar” (The Aguilar Dynasty).
A wonderful poster for the Mexican release of an American movie serial. Fabulously hallucinatory.
The Phantom of the West is a 1931 American Pre-Code Mascot western movie serial and was the second all-talking serial they produced.
Tom Tyler stars as Jim Lester, trying to prove that Francisco Cortez (Frank Lanning) is innocent of killing his own father. The real villain is the mysterious Phantom and his League of the Lawless. Francisco Cortez escapes prison after serving fifteen years for the murder of Jim Lester’s father and proclaims his innocence and lists seven men who may be the real killer, who uses the name “The Phantom”.
This was 1938’s The Fighting Devil-Dogs, a Republic Pictures serial that found a release in Mexico. As you can see, every expense was spared, but we bet it entertained the kids really well. One of its two leading man (a former shot-put champion and one of movie land’s Tarzans in the the 30s), Herman Brix, broke out of the Poverty Row rut by changing his name to Bruce Bennett, and enjoyed a more distinguished career thereafter. The other, Lee Powell, was the first Lone Ranger and died in the Second World War.
The Fighting Devil Dogs (1938) is a 12-chapter Republic movie serial starring Lee Powell and Herman Brix, the latter better known by his later stage name, Bruce Bennett. It was directed by William Witney and John English. While not often considered one of the best serials ever made, as it contains a lot of stock footage and two recap chapters, it is famous for its main villain, The Lightning—the very first costumed supervillain. There is some speculation that George Lucas used The Lightning as a template for Darth Vader.
Plot: In Singapore, two Marine Lieutenants, Tom Grayson and Frank Corby, uncover the threat of a masked terrorist called The Lightning, who uses an arsenal of powerful lightning based weaponry in his bid for world conquest. However, the battle becomes personal when The Lightning annihilates the officers’ unit, and later kills Lt. Grayson’s father as he was helping the investigation of the weapon. Now, the marines have dedicated themselves to stopping The Lightning and bringing him to justice…
Price on request.
Herman Brix was a star shot-putter in the 1928 Olympics. After losing the lead in MGM’s Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) due to a shoulder injury, he was contracted by Ashton Dearholt for his independent production of The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935), a serial and the only Tarzan film between the silents and the 1960s to present the character accurately, as a sophisticated, educated English nobleman who preferred living in the jungle and was able to speak directly with animals in their own language. He subsequently found himself typecast and confined to starring roles in other serials and character and even bit parts in poverty row features and two-reeler comedies. After starring in the Republic Pictures serial Hawk of the Wilderness (1938) as the Tarzan-like Kioga, he dropped out of films for a few years, took acting lessons, and changed his name to Bruce Bennett. He made many movies after that, gaining fame as a leading man in many Warners products. In 1960, he retired from acting and went into business, becoming sales manager of a major vending machine company, making only occasional TV guest appearances. A reclusive man, he eschewed interviews, although he did appear at one Burroughs-oriented convention in the 1970s and discussed some of his experiences during the making of his Tarzan serial. In 2001, he allowed himself to be interviewed for a slender biography by a Mike Chapman, and held signings at local bookstores, enjoying his “rediscovery” by the general public in the few years remaining before his death.
One of the great rivalries of the 70s is commemorated in this classic Mexican boxing poster. It was great card that night.
Frame 27 1/2″ x 26 1/2″, poster 22″ x 21″.
Price on request.
Rubén Olivares (born January 14, 1947) is a former Mexican boxer and current member of the Boxing Hall of Fame. A native of Mexico City, Olivares was a world champion multiple times, and considered by many as the greatest bantamweight champion of all time. He was very popular among Mexicans, many of whom considered him to be Mexico’s greatest fighter for a long period. Olivares also had cameo appearances on Mexican movies, and he participated in more than 100 professional bouts. Bobby Chacon (born November 28, 1951, in Pacoima, California) is an American former two-time world boxing champion.