Over the course of writing for the Bogie Film Blog, I’ve had the pleasure to meet and chat with folks from all over the world about their passion for classic films. One of the first people that I came across on Twitter was a man by the name of Marc Forester (@TimelessMovieM) who runs the film memorabilia website timelessmoviemagic.co.uk. (Marc was kind enough to send me a pic of the poster he’d acquired for The Caine Mutiny for my post on the film.)
No one would ever accuse me of being an enthusiastic shopper (I really can’t stand to do it in any form – the mall, catalogues, online, etc. . . ), but I can easily lose a few hours tooling around on Marc’s site, wishing and dreaming over all the great movie merch that he has for sale.
With posters, lobby cards, autographs, magazines, and more from all over the world, Marc is an avid fan and merchant who has used his expertise to help grade memorabilia for auction. He was nice enough to chat with me about his start in collecting, as well as offer a few tips for amateur collectors. He even sent a few pics of some of the current Bogart pieces that he has for sale!
Check out the interview, and then head over to his site! If you’re a classics fan, you won’t be sorry!
Bogie Film Blog: Marc, where exactly are you located?
Marc Forester: I live in the sleepy county of Wiltshire, England, surrounded by lots of countryside.
BFB: On your website you mentioned that your appreciation for classic film started with your nan. Can you tell us a bit about her? What she liked to watch?
MF: I used to spend every Sunday with my nan from the age of around 4 until about 17 (and I used to pop into her house after school pretty much every day as well). After Sunday lunch there always used to be a matinee film on BBC, so we would sit down and watch that. My nan loved Bogart and John Wayne. Strong men.
BFB: Was there one film in particular that hooked you onto the classics?
MF: That’s a difficult one. I would have to say Wuthering Heights featuring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon.
BFB: Your bio on the site says your first big poster purchase was a poster from Heaven Can Wait. What was it that that pushed you from that first purchase to becoming a super-fan and then on to a merchant of film memorabilia?
MF: The Heaven can Wait poster I got for a really great price, which was surprising because I purchased that around the millennium when movie poster prices were sky-high. By then I had watched a number of Gene Tierney films (I absolutely adore this woman) and it spiralled from there. I now have a huge collection of Gene memorabilia including posters, lobby cards, autographs, and letters written by her to famous people. My target is to get a poster from every film of her’s. I think I have around 6 to get now.
I actually started being a Poster dealer by buying a large collection of movie stills from a dealer as he decided he had had enough of the business and I knew that in this collection there were a number of Gene Tierney film stills. So I kept all these and sold the rest on [and] then realized I could make this into a business.
BFB: Is there a piece in your collection, Gene Tierney or otherwise, that you treasure more than all the others?
MF: The poster I most treasure is the US one-sheet poster for the film The Ghost and Mrs Muir (1947). I had been waiting for this poster to surface in great condition for a long time, and when it did, I had to have it. I probably paid a little more than its value at the time but it had to go into my collection.
BFB: As someone who’s a far cry from an expert in the business of film memorabilia, can you tell me what exactly you mean by a “one-sheet?”
MF: One sheet posters are the standard size, and up until around 1990, measured 27″x41″ and after that they measure 27″x40″. The vast majority of posters produced before 1970 were folded twice horizontally and once vertically. Sometime in the 1970s studios started printing one-sheets rolled, and most newer one-sheets are now printed double sided for use in light boxes in the lobbies of cinemas.
BFB: Where do you usually find the merchandise that’s available from your site?
MF: I am lucky enough now to have people approach me about selling their collections. This could be as consignment, or purchasing the entire collection in one go so they get their cash and leave me with the hard work!
BFB: As a fan that’s only purchased poster reprints – it seems like the original copies of the bigger films can be incredibly expensive and hard to come by. Apparently, collecting wasn’t on the minds of the studio advertisers when posters were made?
MF: Back in the early days of poster advertising, many film studios only printed limited amounts of posters to advertise at cinemas/theatres, and in most cases, when the film had finished showing at that particular cinema, the poster was carefully taken down and sent on to the next one. Posters or Lobby cards were never meant for the public. That is why some of the classic Universal horror posters from around 1930-1935 are very scarce and can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
What exactly do you mean by “lobby cards?”
MF: Lobby cards measure 11″ x 14″ and were almost always printed in sets of 8. Many lobby card sets (usually pre-1970) have a “title card.” A title card normally has artwork and the credits from the movie, and is different in appearance from the other seven cards in the set.
BFB: If there’s a casual collector reading this, what should they look for when buying a piece?
MF: There is a particular grading scale that a lot of poster dealers use to describe the items they sell. However, I find it is quite easy to hide behind a ‘fine’ grade and not describe the actual flaws of the poster. That is why Timeless Movie Magic uses a much stricter grading system and accurately describes every flaw.
For a fan to know if the poster they are potentially purchasing is valuable, my best advice is to really research the dealer they are dealing with. If the deal is too good to be true, then be suspicious. Experts in movie posters can tell in many ways if a poster is authentic or not by the feel of the paper. Also look for clues on the poster by the writing on it. If the stamp at the bottom of the poster says r66, then you will know it is a re-release from 1966. Always buy from dealers you can trust, and if necessary, they can always email me for advice. This industry is my passion and I want more people to be involved in movie poster collecting.
BFB: Let’s say that I’ve got a halfway decent piece and I want to display it. What should I know?
MF: My best advice is to never display your poster where direct sunlight can get to it. This will almost certainly ruin your poster after a number of years. If the poster is particularly valuable, then I would recommend a special UV glass frame.
BFB: While helping grade posters for auctions, have you ever seen anything really rare or valuable that turned your head?
MF: I have seen a 1958 Dracula quad-poster (British) which was estimated at £3000 ($4,848 – BFB) sell for £18000 ($29,083 – BFB). Even the experts get it wrong sometimes, but that’s what’s great about live auctions. You never know what can happen.
BFB: Is there a piece out there that you really want but haven’t been able to acquire?
MF: My biggest regret was I once had the chance to purchase an original Rita Hayworth Gilda poster one-sheet. Now this was at the beginning of my time in the industry and I passed up the chance. This poster can sell for around £10000 ($16,162 – BFB) if in very good condition. I would love to own this poster. It has a beautiful image of Rita Hayworth.
BFB: Being a Bogart fan site, I have to ask, what’s the best piece of Bogart memorabilia that you have on hand?
MF: The best piece of Bogart memorabilia I have on hand is a Key Largo lobby card.
MF: I have sold a 1950’s African Queen French Grande poster which had a great image of Bogart and Hepburn on it.
BFB: Do you have a favorite Bogart film?
MF: It has to be The Maltese Falcon. Bogart was such a star, but in this film he was out of this world.
BFB: If someone wants to find you on web, see your merchandise, or ask your opinion for a piece, where can they find you?
MF: Visit www.timelessmoviemagic.co.uk to see great film posters for every type of collector. They have some great deals on right now!
BFB: Thanks, Marc! I appreciate your time! Good luck on someday attaining the rest of your Gene Tierney collection!
MF: Thanks for this, enjoyed it immensely. Cheers!
What are you waiting for?!? Click on through one of the following pics that Marc sent me and check out the rest of Marc’s Bogart memorabilia – along with the rest of the merchandise!