• Vintage Film Posters and Film  auction at Christies

    Sale 5872

    Vintage Film Posters and Film Memorabilia

    24 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 381

    Denholm Elliott

    Price Realised  

    Denholm Elliott
    A typescript letter addressed to Mrs N Elliott signed in black ink from Wing Commander G L Cheshire of Royal Air Force squadron 76, dated 26th September 1942, a letter notifying Mrs Elliott of the presumed loss of her son Denholm Elliott It was with the deepest regret that I had to telegraph you to tell you that your son, Sergent Denholm Elliott, is reported missing. G L Cheshire continues he and his crew had only been in the Squadron a few days. It was the first operational flight they had done here...We heard no news of them from start to finish but that in itself does not mean very much, since it is only one in a hundred cases that we have any indication of what happened. The letter concludes His loss is indeed a very sad blow and the squadron join me in sending you my very sincerest sympathy. 1p; together with a book Four Plays of Shakespeare, London: Jonathan Cape, ?, stamped on the front cover and front end Stalag VIIIB Gepruft: Nr. 28, additionally signed in pencil four times by Elliott and inscribed by him Valley End Cottage, Chobham, Surrey (2)


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    This letter was sent to Elliott's mother wrongly presuming Denholm and his squadron were shot down and lost in 1942 during the Second World War. In fact Denholm's plane was shot down over Denmark and the service men were captured and held in a Prisoner Of War camp in Selesia, for the remainder of the war.
    In that time Elliott read and re-read the Four Plays of Shakespeare, as offered in this lot, a book supplied by the Red Cross which was available in the POW camp. The book still with the distinct Stalag VIII B stamp.
    Whilst held captive in the POW camp the inmates, to spend the time, would set up amateur dramatic groups and performed many plays. According to the family the re-reading and perorming of the Shakespeare plays in this book was one of the reasons that Denholm's interest in acting grew, and partly why he pursued it on his return to the United Kingdom, where he later made his film debut in 1949 in Dear Mr. Prohack.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    The Elliott Family