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About the Carlotta's portrait in Vertigo

Robert Harris

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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Marc-Emmanuel



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Posted July 11 2009 - 12:56 AM

 Dear Mr Harris,

I'am a belgian film historian and I'm working about some aspects of Vertigo, especially about the european sources of the film and its relationship with the arts. Having consult the Hitchcock's papers at the Margaret Herrick Library, I learned there was two versions of the Carlotta's portrait. The first was painted in Italy by a painter named Manlio Sarra, who received somes photos of a young girl posing for the portrait, and another of Vera Miles with the bun she should have borne in the film. Two ektachromes of the achieved painting had been sent to Coleman before the shipping of the portrait to Hollywood, in the aim it could be accepted by Hitchcock. I don't know what Hitch thought about this painting but it had been shipped in February 1957. I don't know why this first portrait had been given up at the end and why another had been ordered to another artist. According Dan Auiler and other critics, the second portrait had been painted by John Ferren but anybody can't prove it and I didn't find any archives about this fact.
I learned too that you are now the owner of the first version of the portrait. That's why I would like to ask you some questions about this problem : 
1. Have you other informations about Manlio Sarra ?
2. Do you know why the first portrait hadn't been used for the film ?
3. Do you know where are the photos sent to Sarra ? Are they conserved somewhere ?
4. Can you confirm that the second portrait had been painted by Ferren ? Have you some informations about that ? Do you know where is this painting now ?
5. Is it possible to get a reproduction of the first portrait ? Do you agree I reproduce it in the book I'm writting at this moment ?
I apologize for the mistakes of language. My english is not very good.
Thank you for your attention to this message and your help. And congratulations for your wonderful restoration of Vertigo.
Best regards,

Marc-Emmanuel Mélon,
University of Liège (Belgium)

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

Robert Harris


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Posted July 13 2009 - 07:25 AM

I know very little about the portraits other than there were multiples.

I do not now own, nor have I ever owned any of them.  During the restoration, the Paramount Archive was
kind enough to loan us the portrait depicting Vera Miles as Carlotta.  This had a place of honor on our wall
at Universal during the restoration period, and thereafter was returned to Paramount.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman


    Supporting Actor

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Posted July 17 2009 - 03:46 AM

 I do know that the Barbara Bel Geddes as Carlotta original painting was part of an auction years ago at Collector's Bookshop in Hollywood, because someone I know bid on it (didn't win, though).

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Marc-Emmanuel



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Posted July 18 2009 - 09:28 AM

 Thank you for your answer, Mr Harris. I'm going to try to get more informations at the Paramount Archive.

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   sunjayb



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Posted July 19 2009 - 06:37 AM

What is the archive ?

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   FSarra



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Posted January 15 2010 - 09:02 AM

Dear Mr. Melon  I reply with considerable delay to your e-mail, also because I heard about the site Internet "Home Theater" by chance. My name is Francesco Sarra and I am the son of the painter Manlio Sarra, im the supervisor and the bio makers of Manlio Sarra. Let me answer some questions you ask about the work "Portrait of Carlotta" for the Film Paramount "Vertigo." Manlio Sarra (1909 - 1986) was a protagonist of the current avant-garde painting Italian second 900. Also known abroad, especially in North America, Taught painting at "L'Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome," and after having attended the Venice Biennale in 1956 in the painting section, had a great reputation having won the First Prize in painting organized by the Artistic And the international film company "Titanus" for a work inspired by the movie "Il Tetto" Italian director Vittorio De Sica, entitled "L'attesa". Being one excellent and researched portrait painter, created on commission, some portraits of actresses, actors of cinema and television, politicians and personalities.  Precisely for this recognized ability and reputation in 1957, he was commissioned work"Portrait of Carlotta" from "Paramount Film" for the film Vertigo. The work, seen in the film is perfectly in line with the canons of art and technical skill of the Master Manlio Sarra. The picture was sent to the United States in Hollywood for the film was accepted by the staff artistic production after approval and acceptance by Alfred Hitchcock, The Head Office Production in Italy of "Paramount Luigi Zaccardi, was a link with the direction of Hollywood.  As for any other news, you can find on all search engines international Internet presence, you can also consult the book "The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock "by Steven Jacobs (note 39 - p.58)  Artistic and historical information about M° Manlio Sarra you can find on site http://www.manliosarra.8m.com/ or typing Manlio Sarra name. 

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   josephbrown121



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Posted June 08 2010 - 05:34 PM

@ BillyFeldman ome of my friend also went to auction at Collector's Bookshop in Hollywood, he told me the bid for Carlotta original painting was far beyond his reach. This only shows its popularity and its craze among people

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