In The Maltese Falcon, after all the betrayal and misery and death, a cop gazes at the title object and asks, “What is it?” The hard-boiled detective played by Humphrey Bogart gives an answer that is not only #14 on the American Film Institute’s list of all-time top movie quotes — it could very well be used to describe the movies themselves. He says, “it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.”
That is also the very apt title for the November 25 Bonham’s/Turner Classic Movies auction of a mind-boggling array of movie treasures, including, incredibly, the Maltese Falcon itself. Items include Scarlett O’Hara’s neglige, Shirley Temple’s majorette jacket from one of my all-time favorite musical numbers in “Poor Little Rich Girl,” a Bette Davis gown from The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, John Huston’s annotated script for Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and a car from Casablanca. Someone you love must want to find W.C. Fields’ joke file under the tree Christmas morning. Or Steve McQueen’s jacket from “Le Mans.” Or an eight-page letter from the teenaged Marilyn Monroe. The stuff that dreams are made of, indeed.