A rare, hand written pre-production storyboard for one of Alfred Hitchcocks most problematic films, Stage Fright, of 1950 is for sale at the Bonhams
Printed Books and Manuscripts sale in London on 7 June. It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.
The production files for all Hitchcocks films after 1940 are kept in the Hitchcock archives in Beverly Hills making this the only example ever to have come on the open market.
Stage Fright became notorious because of a false flashback sequence which Hitchcock later described as one of the two biggest misjudgements of his career. Despite a star led cast by Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd and Sybil Thorndike it was not a success though it has undergone critical reassessment in recent years.
Hitchcock was notoriously prescriptive and used storyboards extensively, detailing each shot down to the camera angles and giving very precise instructions to the cast. From the Stage Fright storyboard it is clear that many of the films most memorable moments were carefully planned in advance. Equally there are enough significant differences from the finished film to show that the director amended, dropped or added scenes as he went along if the circumstances demanded.
The storyboard was owned by Jack Martin, the first assistant director on the film, who gave it to the current owner.