Classic Stanley Kubrick memorabilia auctioned off in Italy

Symbols of the life and work of Stanley Kubrick went up for auction in Italy on Tuesday, with bidders splashing out tens of thousands of euros for memorabilia from one of the 20th century's leading filmmakers.

Classic Stanley Kubrick memorabilia auctioned off in Italy
Stanley Kubrick film posters on display at the Aste Bolaffi auction house in Turin. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Termed “the most important collection of material relating to the life and work of Stanley Kubrick ever offered at auction”, the items began going under the hammer mid-afternoon and fetched nearly €90,000.

Props, promotional materials and costume items from groundbreaking films such as Doctor Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and even Kubrick's old shopping lists, were all up for grabs.

Some went for eye-catching sums at the Bolaffi auction house sale in the northern city of Turin.

The jacket worn by horror icon Jack Torrance, masterfully played by Jack Nicholson in The Shining as he descends into madness while snowbound with his family in the Overlook Hotel, fetched €19,000 – almost double the minimum list bid of €10,000.

The surprise sale of the afternoon however was Kubrick's Writers Guild of America membership card, which smashed its asking price of €1,000 and sold for €13,000.

The Shining dominated the big sales, with key chains from the Overlook Hotel going for €2,800 – almost triple the asking price.

Two rugs from the hotel's Colorado Lounge went for €13,000 and €4,600 respectively. Both were listed at €2,000.

And a long fragment from the film, in which Torrance's stricken wife Wendy carries her son Danny, sold for more than double the starting price of €3,000. 

The cuts, which went for €6,500, are particularly rare because Kubrick would burn all leftover film after editing.

The collection was put up for auction by Emilio D'Alessandro, an Italian who emigrated to “the frenzy of Swinging London” in the early 1960s and worked with Kubrick from 1971 until the day the American director died in 1999, and his wife Janette.

One buyer spent €750 on a yellow note from 1998 with a message for D'Alessandro, saying: “Have a good trip!”

But a price of €1,500 failed to attract bidders to lot 51, “Shopping with the Kubricks”: a series of notes about food shopping, one of which asks Emilio not to buy any more radishes “because there are so many in the garden”.

D'Alessandro, 76, started out as Kubrick's driver, before in his own words becoming “Mr Fixit, finally confident and trusted friend of one of the great geniuses of the 20th century”.

His first job for Kubrick was to transport a “giant phallus” to the set of Clockwork Orange, making his way across the icy roads of wintery London with the prop sticking out of the window.

“I thought to myself, 'This is shameful'. There were people out there waiting for the bus!” D'Alessandro said in an interview carried out for Bolaffi.

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Now back in his hometown of Cassino, around 73 kilometres from Rome, the Italian has kept storerooms full of Kubrick paraphernalia because if he or the film crew hadn't taken it with them, he says, “they would have had to be destroyed”.

Some people are even using crates from Full Metal Jacket as rabbit hutches, none the wiser as to its origins.

Asked what Kubrick would say if he were still alive D'Alessandro said: “He would say to me, 'Thank you for finding someone who will use these things.'”

All photos by Marco Bertorello for AFP.



Turin chosen to host Eurovision Song Contest in 2022

The next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2022 will be held in the northern Italian city of Turin, organisers confirmed on Friday.

Italy's Maneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam.
Italy's Maneskin performs during the final of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam. Photo: KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP

“Turin has won the race to become the host city of the 66th Eurovision Song Contest, having triumphed over 16 other competing bids,” read a statement on the contest’s official website.

“The Grand Final will be held in PalaOlimpico on Saturday 14 May with Semi-Finals on 10 and 12 May.”

“We won! Turin has won!” mayor Chiara Appendino wrote in a celebratory post on Facebook.

Italian state broadcaster Rai said Turin had beaten off competition from the cities of Milan, Bologna, Rimini and Pesaro to host the event.

READ ALSO: Italy wins Eurovision: ‘We just want to say to the whole world, rock’n’roll never dies!’

Turin will be the third Italian city to host the event after Naples (which hosted in 1965) and Rome (1991), after Rome-based rock band Måneskin’s victory in Rotterdam earlier this year with the song ‘Zitti e buoni’.

That event, watched by 183 million people, was Italy’s third Eurovision win and its first for three decades.

‘Turin is the perfect Host City for the 66th Eurovision Song Contest,” said Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl.

“As we saw during the 2006 Winter Olympics, PalaOlimpico exceeds all the requirements needed to stage a global event of this scale and we have been very impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment from the City of Turin who will welcome thousands of fans next May.”

“This will be the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Italy in 30 years and, together with our Host broadcaster Rai, we are determined to make it a special one.’

Turin was home to the 2006 Winter Olympics and is hosting the ATP Finals tennis tournament next month.