September 26, 2008 / 11:43 AM / 12 years ago

Rare Marilyn Monroe footage sold

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - A short amateur film of Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe on the set of “Some Like It Hot” was auctioned for 17,500 Australian dollars ($14,700) on Thursday, nearly 50 years after it was shot.

A still from an amateur film of Marilyn Monroe on the film set of "Some Like It Hot" obtained September 4, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Leski Auctions/Handout

The rare, 2.5-minute-long footage, which shows Monroe and co-star Tony Curtis on the set, was purchased by an anonymous Australian buyer during the Melbourne sale, auctioneer Charles Leski told Reuters.

“We’re surprised there weren’t more bidders, but we are happy that it sold,” Leski, managing director of Leski Auctions, said. “It was a stab in the dark what price the footage would go for.”

The footage was discovered in Australia last month and Leski had set a pre-sale estimate of 20,000 to 30,000 Australian dollars ($17,000-$25,500).

The 8mm film, which also shows director Billy Wilder, was taken in early 1959 by a U.S. naval officer who was invited to the set of the movie after Monroe visited his base in San Diego.

The film, in its original Kodak box, was passed on to his daughter who lives in Melbourne, Australia, when he died and she decided to put it up for sale.

The purchaser also acquires full commercial rights.

Earlier this year, a 47-minute amateur film of Monroe and Clark Gable on the set of the 1961 film “The Misfits” sold in the United States for $60,000 after it was put up for sale by the family of an actor who had a small part in the movie.

“Considering what Misfits reached in the U.S., we are happy, as this means we got A$7,000 per minute,” Leski said.

The lot included a CD copy and DVD copy as well.

Leski had expected the footage, which unlike the film is in color, to generate a lot of interest, as “Some Like It Hot” is listed by the American Film Institute as the greatest American comedy film of all time.

Like other Monroe memorabilia, the footage had generated a lot of media interest since it was discovered.

Monroe died in August 1962, aged 36, from a drugs overdose.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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