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    Sale 4918

    Cameras, Photographs and Optical Toys

    22 November 2006, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 84

    Mitchell no. 66

    Price Realised  

    Mitchell no. 66
    Mitchell Camera Corp., West Hollywood, 35mm., black crackle finish to body, four lens turret on rack-over base, high speed movement stamped no. 66, a Bausch & Lomb Baltar f/2.3 25mm. lens no. BF8866, a Bausch & Lomb Baltar f/2.3 50mm. lens no. XF677, a Cooke Speed Panchro f/2 35mm. lens no. 303307, a Cooke Speed Panchro f/2 75mm. lens no. 303253, a 400ft. Mitchell magazine no. 4878, a 1000ft. Mitchell magazine no. 7153, a Mitchell matt box no. 164, a Mitchell side-mounted viewfinder no. 885, a Mitchell variable speed motor no. 1321, two Kestler Bros. fitted outfit cases, a Mitchell friction head and tripod legs; accompanied by a file of production photographs of King Kong and a letter from Roy H. Wagner ASC, the Chief Archivist of the American Society of Cinematographers Archive, confirming the provenance.

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    Eddie Linden (1891-1956) was an independent cinematographer who owned his own camera. In the late 1920s he worked primarily on shooting westerns for Universal Studios. Working with directors such as William Wyler and Ben F.Wilson, he would have already been familiar with actress Fay Wray before his engagement on King Kong, having photographed her in a number of pictures where she starred opposite the likes of Art Acord.

    Without a doubt, Linden's most famous credit was for RKO's 1933 production, King Kong. Directed and produced by the larger than life team of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, King Kong was to become a milestone in the history of the movies and both a popular and critical success that would spawn two remakes, most recently the three-hour version directed by Peter Jackson (2005). Linden's role was as chief cameraman for all the first unit photography - the many special effects and model shots being assigned to a department under the supervision of Willis O'Brien. Linden's personal camera was thus the first unit 'A' camera on this historic production. William Clothier, assistant cameraman to Linden, who himself went on to have a distinguished career as cinematographer working with the likes of John Ford and John Wayne, recalled that it was necessary to use Linden's personal camera, sometimes housed in the RKO blimp, because the studio did not have enough cameras to supply all its own productions.

    The HS designates provision of a high speed movement which was a comparatively rare upgraded factory specification which made the camera particularly suitable for special effects work.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    As stated in the Mitchell Camera Corp. sales records, the Mitchell Standard no. 66 with high speed movement was purchased new by cinematographer Edward 'Eddie' Linden in late 1925 or early 1926.

    Pre-Lot Text

    The Movie Camera that filmed King Kong