Stanley Kubrick memorabilia goes under hammer in Italy

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Turin (Italy) (AFP)

Symbols of the life and work of Stanley Kubrick went up for auction in Italy on Tuesday, with bidders expected to offer thousands of euros (dollars) for memorabilia from one of the 20th century's most important filmmakers.

Termed "the most important collection of material relating to the life and work of Stanley Kubrick ever offered at auction" by the Bolaffi auction house in the northern city of Turin, the items began going under the hammer mid-afternoon.

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 for eye-catching sums.

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 euros ($23,500) -- almost double the minimum list bid of 10,000 euros.

Kubrick's military green coat, which he first wore during the filming of Full Metal Jacket, was also on offer for 10,000 euros, while bidding for the small camera bag that hardly ever left his side was starting at 8,000 euros.

The hat worn by Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann, the screaming, profane drill instructor from the Vietnam war epic, had a list price of 3,000 euros.

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.

- Giant phallus -

For the relatively measly sum of 300 euros, buyers could snaffle a small yellow note sent to D'Alessandro that reads "I found my ring! carpet next to bed."

Meanwhile, 1,500 euros could seal 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."

Hia 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!" said D'Alessandro said in an interviewed carried out for Bolaffi.

Now back living in his hometown of Cassino, around 73 kilometres (117 miles) 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 have been destroyed."

Some people in his home town 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.'"