12 January 2012

Banton. Dietrich. Angel.

The MDCB reported in their latest newsletter about the sale (by Christie's) of a collection of Travis Banton costume designs for Marlene.

The sketch for Marlene's famous "million grains of golden caviar" dress from Angel fetched $ 10 000. The other sketches offered in the auction included Banton's design for the "Hot Voodoo" number from Blonde Venus.

In 2011 we reported about an earlier sale, which included Banton's designs for The Scarlet Empress. One of these is now housed in the AMPAS' Margaret Herrick Library Production Art collection.

At their website, they have an interesting interview with Adele Balkan, from their Oral History Program. Balkan worked as sketch artist for Paramount in the 30s; it was she who designed the beading pattern for Marlene's Angel gown.

The Academy is currently presenting an exhibition (which will run until 5 February) celebrating Paramount Pictures' centenary . Further information is available at their website.


  1. Thanks for sharing these links! Balkan confirmed that Dietrich had the same high attention to detail and creative input during her Paramount years that she had during her later cabaret career. Whoever transcribed the interview excerpt omitted quite a bit of Balkan's words (e.g., she mixed up "Angel" with "The Devil Is a Woman"). Also, the Academy may be celebrating Paramount's centennial, but the oldest production still in that slideshow is from a Monty Clift/Liz Taylor film. Needs more Dietrich! After all, Morocco saved Paramount.;)

  2. It looks like that Angel dress is getting international attention. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London will put it on display this fall (another source here)? The museum's website, however, only mentions Morocco. Maybe everyone will get their stories straight by the exhibition's opening.