Collection Spotlight #1 – Bright Lights 3-Sheet
I have been collecting Ann Dvorak memorabilia over 10 years and have managed to put most of the collection up on this website. I have my doubts that anyone has actually taken the time to look at the 700+ photos and 150+ lobby cards/posters, so I thought I would start highlighting some items from the collection.
First up is my favorite poster, a 3-sheet from Bright Lights (Warner Bros 1935), starring Joe E. Brown, directed by Busby Berkeley. By 1935, Warner Bros had gotten over their initial infatuation with Ann and seemed to be trying to get some kind of return on their $40,000 investment (what they paid Howard Hughes for her contract in 1932) without promoting her too much. She made 13 films for the studio in 1934-1935 and, for the most part, is not featured on the poster art for one-sheets, half-sheets and title cards . Bright Lights is no exception with Joe E. Brown getting all the advertising glory. While Ann is the main female lead in the movie she only shows up on two of the lobby cards.
The first time I saw this poster was in a press book from the Warner Bros archives at the University of Southern California (USC) . As it turns out, Ann was frequently featured on the larger paper (3-sheet, 6-sheet, 24-sheet) for the 1934/35 films, but these are much much harder to come by than the smaller format items (which are hard enough to find as it is). Therefore, when I first laid eyes on the stunning 3-sheet for Bright Lights, I was tempted to cry because I thought I would never find an actual copy.
When I was in grad school, I would frequently put off writing papers by surfing the Web for movie poster dealers. One glorious day about 3 1/2 years ago, while avoiding homework, I found a website for a dealer in Sweden who had a Bright Lights 3-sheet for sale…at a price I could kind of afford. The press book is in black and white, so when this baby arrived in the mail, I was stunned by its royal blue beauty. It’s not in the greatest condition and is glued onto craft paper, but it’s gorgeous and one day I will be able to linen-back and frame it, which I fear will end up costing much more than I paid for it.