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SOLD at 2012 Jul 31 @ 05:37UTC-7 : PDT/MST
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BEN-HUR EXTENSIVE ARCHIVE OF ORIGINAL MGM CASTING MATERIALS - (MGM, 1959) A monumental production like the 1959 version of Ben-Hur required “a cast of thousands” (in the old byline of previous Hollywood epics), and this archive of many (many) hundreds of original documents from the files of MGM’s casting department proves what a daunting task it must have been to cast those thousands of not just leads and featured roles, but even each and every galley slave and dancing girl. Memos, letters, cables, telexes, etc. show continuity to the degree that most inquiries also retain their responses; a perfect example is the suggestion of Angie Dickinson for an important role, with Sam Zimbalist’s response, “DICKICSON (sic) LEAST LIKELY EGYPTIAN GIRL(S) IN THE WORLD”. Virtually the entire process of casting is covered in this archive, including fees for various actors’ services; special arrangements for certain actors for transportation to various worldwide filming locations; huge lists of nearly every known performer in the world, (all of whom were in consideration for this film at one point or another); a note with names, phone numbers, and height of two “little people” actors, including Billy Curtis; mentions of special services from international directors like Vittorio de Sica; and the usual star-power negotiations like Jack Hawkins requiring no less than 2nd billing, with no cast member receiving larger type size on screen or print. A nearly unprecedented and quite possibly all-encompassing panorama of the creation of this important film, from its beginning stages in early 1955 through completion.
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