25 May 2011

Slightly Used, Second-Hand

A lot of Dietrich-related memorabilia has come on the auction market recently. We reported about the Juliens auction of a cache of Dietrich letters earlier this month.

On June 18th, Profiles in History will auction off the dress Marlene wore while singing "The Boys in the Back Room" in Destry Rides Again.

It is offered as part of the Debbie Reynolds collection; the over 500 lots span film history from the teens up to the recent past. Highlights of the auction include a pair of test "Arabian" ruby slippers made for (but not used in) The Wizard of Oz, Marilyn Monroe's subway dress from The Seven Year Itch and the Cecil Beaton-designed Ascot dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. This auction is the first of several that Profiles in History are planning of items from the Reynolds collection.

The Dietrich costume on offer was previously sold by Sotheby's in 2002 when it sold for $ 19 120 (buyer's premium included).

Destry Rides Again, Dietrich's 1939 comeback vehicle after having been declared "box-office poison", was included in the National Film Registry in 1996. On its original release, Frank S Nugent remarked in his New York Times review that "[i]t's difficult to reconcile Miss Dietrich's Frenchy, the cabaret girl of the Bloody Gulch Saloon, with the posed and posturing Dietrich we last saw in Mr. Lubitsch's Angel."

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