DescriptionBilly Wilder - Stalag 17 Press Archive and Signed Correspondence from Charlton Heston, Related Correspondence. The remarkable lot includes 28 items on Stalag 17 , among them a German poster, a Denmark poster, photos from the openings in Paris and Brussels, the March 24 and March 26, 1954, issue of Variety reporting the Oscar poll and Oscar wins (Stalag 17's William Holden as Best Actor), an Overseas exploitation publicity book, Box Office Digest (May 16, 1953), Today's Cinema (May 12, 1953), financial figures, assorted quotes from New York City critics, a congratulatory cable to William Holden from Wilder, a map of the prison camp, letters, a telegram from Jose Ferrer (who directed the play), and various letters. Four especially unusual items:
1.) A letter from Billy Wilder regarding a proposed release of the film in Germany, changing the Nazi German informant into a Pole (Wilder protests - "...I am both shocked and disgusted...I promise to raise a stink of world-wide proportions...").
2.) A March 15, 1954 letter to Wilder on Academy Award Motion Picture Arts and Sciences letterhead, outlining the Academy Do's-and-Don't's regarding the upcoming March 25 ceremony (where Wider was a nominee for Stalag 17). One of the rules is "...our time problem is such as to permit only the shortest of acceptance speeches," and indeed, William Holden gave the shortest Oscar acceptance speech to that time - "Thank you." A seating chart of the Academy Theatre is attached to the letter.
3.) A February 14, 1952 letter from censor Joseph Breen, listing many censorship concerns (e.g., "...Stosh would not be portrayed as a man who is on the verge of losing his mind trough sex frustration. Instead of any such pathological flavor, he would merely be a man who likes to talk and kid about girls.")
4.) A postcard postmarked New York, September 1951, advertising the Broadway play Stalag 17, sent to Wilder with the written question, "I wonder if there would be a film in this?" and signed "Chuck Heston." Charlton Heston became Wilder's first choice for Stalag 17's starring role of Sefton before William Holden took the role!
This is a genuine wealth of material on one of the greatest films of the 1950s, in Fair to Good condition. From the Billy Wilder Archive.
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