January 27, 2019 2:06 pm
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Ingrid Bergman battle helmet and poster - Joan of Arc

(RKO, 1948) Original handtooled aluminum helmet of medieval styling, with leather side dressing from the temple and around the lower edge of the neck. The face mask, which features two small slits for eyes and small breathing perforations on the right side of the mouth/nose, was designed with hinges which allowed the mask to be swiveled upwards, revealing the refined facial features of the beautiful star, Ingrid Bergman. Internally, the crown is lined in leather which is covered in felt (since deteriorated). Though not a box-office success, Joan of Arc was a thoughtful film produced on a grand scale, with exceptional performances by stars Ingrid Bergman and José Ferrer, both of whom were nominated for Academy Awards. Perhaps most significantly, though, the film received the very first Academy Award conferred for the new category of Costume Design, presented to Dorothy Jeakins and Madam Barbara Karinska. Also nominated that year were Edith Head and Gile Steele for The Emperor Waltz (Paramount, 1948). Edith Head felt sure she would win, as she later wrote in her memoirs: “There was no doubt in my mind that I would win that Oscar. I deserved it – for longevity if nothing else. I had been doing motion pictures before the Oscar even existed… There was no way Ingrid Bergman’s sackcloths and suits of armor could win over my Viennese finery.” But when 17-year-old presenter Elizabeth Taylor stepped to the podium and opened the envelope, it was Dorothy Jeakins and Madame Karinska who had won the very first Academy Award for Color Costume Design. After the sensational announcement, Edith Head wrote that she was “in shock… I do not remember the rest of the evening.” Jeakins’ and Karinska’s costumes were praised as a triumph in the application of creativity and historical accuracy. This armored helmet worn by Bergman in the title role is a wonderful relic from Hollywood’s golden age – the crowning piece of the Ingrid Bergman hero costume, from the film that justly deserved the Motion Picture Academy’s very first award for Costume Design. The helmet is accompanied with an original insert poster from the film, perfect for display. Estimate $4,000 – $6,000

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