"The challenge of finding and collecting such "taboo" posters was a hobby that became more serious when university scholars and museums and other institutions began to ask permission to use images from the website for exhibitions, books, and scholarly journals."
English / Deutsch
The collection began well over 20 years ago and the impetus was accelerated when, early on, the very rare Belgian poster for Harlan's JUD SÜß was acquired in France, which signalled that controversial and rare "Tendenzfilme" posters were not completely unobtainable on the open market.
Over time, auction houses, poster galleries, and then the internet, were all used to source new acquisitions. As the collection became better known, private collectors and poster dealers made private offers to the Gillespie Collection, and posters such as the two Czech originals for OLYMPIA, and many others, were bought off-market.
There are also a few posters from 1926 - 1954 which are not Tendenzfilme, such as the original French poster for Clouzot's masterpiece LE CORBEAU made under German occupation, Riefenstahl's post-war TIEFLAND, or Emil Janning’s Oscar-winning DER LETZTE BEFEHL, which are important in their own right, and worthy of collection in any case.
The challenge of finding and collecting such "taboo" posters was a hobby that became more serious when university scholars and museums and other institutions began to ask permission to use images from the website for exhibitions, books, and scholarly journals. In some cases the posters were simply unavailable anywhere else at all; in other cases normal negotiations with state archives and institutions holding posters were too difficult, slow, and restrictive; despite those institutions proclaiming a commitment to the public.
State archives have no money for poster restoration and preservation, despite their claims to do so, whereas over 50 of the rarest posters in this Collection have been professionally de-acidified, cleaned, and backed on Japanese rice paper as part of our commitment to keeping these pieces of history intact. There is no doubt that these posters, because of their notoriety, would be buried deep inside the vaults of state archives and not available to scholars or to the film student or general public were it not for private collecting efforts such as ours.
Other William Gillespie Collection materials, such as issues of DER DEUTSCHE FILM (RFK, 1936-1943) have been scanned for scholars, who have no easy access to these rare Zeitschriften. The Index of the first 5 years of the magazine published is available at the upper right of this Home page menu bar.
Three books and one pamphlet have been published by or in conjunction with the Gillespie Collection to date. These titles are: Film Posters of the Third Reich (2007), Veit Harlan's "Testament 1945” (2010), Karl Ritter - His Life and 'Zeitfilms' under National Socialism (2012) and The Making of The Crew of the Dora (2016). All titles are available exclusively for purchase from International Historic Films, Chicago, USA.
Acquiring original posters and other film materials from this historical era is a bit like stumbling blindfolded in a very large dark room, where one cannot see or comprehend the 'universe' of what was published and printed at the time in its entirety; and doesn't know what one doesn't know...and there is now nobody alive to ask. So much was lost in the napalm fire–bombing of Germany, so much looted by the Red Army and so much by souvenir–hunting American GIs that present–day German archives have nothing close to a full set of magazine print–runs, or film posters, or related ephemera... and no money to even transfer nitrate 35mm film prints to safety film for posterity. In our small way, new discoveries and surprises still happen from time to time; and whole new areas of collection and pursuit become visible as the years go by. Hence the varied menu subjects above.
As at 2017, the Collection's posters alone have cost over €185,000- since inception, and retail prices and winning auction prices paid when an item is considered a "museum piece" which probably would never be available again. A quick look at the poster gallery will confirm how rare most of the posters are, as well as film stills, press–books and other ephemera from the era. Very occasionally an item has been won at auction at an incredibly low price through pure luck. In January, 2005 the original Veit Harlan 22 page signed document from May 1945 entitled 'Wie ich zum Nationalsozialismus stand' was purchased for just £100. It is one of the only originals in the world. We were the only bidder. The original Uƒa film script for Karl Ritter's ÜBER ALLES IN DER WELT was purchased for €35,50 in 2005, the iconic poster for S A MANN BRAND was won at auction in Berlin for €754,– in late 2006; the extremely rare poster for Karl Ritter's KADETTEN bought for €332,- in 2008, the 50 Tobis film stills for Riefernstahl's OLYMPIA won at live auction in Berlin in May, 2010 for €1,502.38 or just €30 per photograph. The extremely rare French poster SUIS–JE UN ASSASSIN? (ICH KLAGE AN) bought for €380 in July, 2009. In August 2014 the impossible–to–find original cinema owner's guide to Hitlerjunge Quex (the "Werberatschlag") was purchased for $109 net, after other items in the 'Lot' were re–sold as unneeded. In September 2015, the original Hitlerjunge Quex sheet music was won at auction for €16....Miracles do happen. The search continues!
Please note: the images on this website are best appreciated on a desktop or large laptop screen, not on a mobile/cell phone or on a small tablet. The architecture of this website has not been updated for mobile phone formatting, as we do not believe that our posters are shown properly on tiny screens.
Our new book " The Making of The Crew of the Dora," written by William Gillespie, has been published by German Films Dot Net in February 2016. The book uses research from the exclusive access to Karl Ritter's unpublished diary entries from May 1942 through to August 1943 to tell the story of how Besatzung Dora was conceived, written, produced, and filmed in occupied France, in Berlin, in Italy and deep inside the Soviet Union, 85 miles south of the Siege of Leningrad, between August and December 1942. Over 50,000 words of these diary entries have been transcribed from Ritter's Sütterlin handwriting and translated into English by the author. The book will also contain 90 photographs, sketches, maps and charts -- many of which are being published for the first time -- with 219 footnotes. The book is 320 pages long, Perfect–bound in a trade paperback, 6 x 9 inches in dimension. The book has been issued ISBN # 0-9808612-3-5. It is available for purchase exclusively within Australia via this website's Poster Shop, at a price of the rough equivalent of AUD$48 postpaid within Australia (Listing is priced €29). The US retail price is US$29.95 from International Historic Films and on Amazon Books, plus approximately US$24 in international postage.
The prestigious The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television reviews the book Karl Ritter.
SUCCESS! After two years of negotiations, we have acquired on 19 May 2015 the other original poster graphic design of the historic and iconic film SA MANN BRAND (1933). We are undoubtedly one of the only collections in either private or institutional hands, to own both versions of SA MANN BRAND. You can search for the film in the Poster Gallery and both versions of the poster will be displayed.
We have just added a flag counter to our website, to show how many persons from each country have visited. As we never had a counter before, this is a new addition to our website.
New original Ufa studio article on the 1944 Alfred Weidenmann film Junge Adler can be found here. And, we have added the German A3 advertising broadsheet for the Imperial Japan military feature film, Nippons wilde Adler (1942) here.
GOOGLE ANALYTICS data indicates that 37% of visitors to this website are returning visitors, who spend an average of 8 minutes, 11 seconds per visit, and see 7 web pages on such a visit. Of these visitors, over 8% remain on the website for 6 to 30 minutes and a small percentage remain on the website for 30 minutes or more per visit, and see an average of 49 web pages on that visit. Amongst the most visited web pages are those on Karl Ritter, Hannes Stelzer, Besatzung Dora, Ostland Film GmbH; the Der Deutsche Film Index, and individual posters in the Poster Gallery.
This website last updated on 7July 2017 (AEST) – All images © 2012–2017 – no reproduction allowed without written permission..