'The Castle' conceptual artwork by Roy Carnon for 'Where Eagles Dare' – £1100 at Excalibur.

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When an auction of items from his private collection was held at Excalibur (25% buyer’s premium inc VAT) on March 13, lots related to an earlier, 1968 film took some of the highest prices: Where Eagles Dare.

During the early stages of pre-production it was quite common for producers to commission paintings for use by the production team to get a feel for what the scenes would look like on screen.

Two such paintings produced for Where Eagles Dare were created by one of the greatest conceptual artists in history, Roy Carnon (1911- 2002), who also worked on films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Superman and Return of The Jedi.

Kastner’s son Dillon – the vendor here – said: “The famous cable car and control centre used throughout the film, and especially for the escape scenes, were not possible to build at the actual castle location and had to be pasted and ‘matted’ together in a rotoscoping technique in post-production in the same way used for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

“Blue screen and green screen were modern computer techniques used only much later, therefore it was up to Roy Carnon to imagine how the two elements would appear together for the entire pre-production team. The control centre and room were built on a soundstage at MGM’s Borehamwood studios in the UK after all the location shooting had been completed, where they also built a miniature of the entire castle and mountain range.”


Control Room concept artwork for Where Eagles Dare – £1650 at Excalibur.

Estimated at £300-500, The Castle sold for £1100 to a UK buyer bidding on, while Control Room made £1650 against the same guide, going to a private UK phone bidder who has bought from Excalibur before.

The Kastner items on offer at Excalibur included photographs, personal letters, posters, unmade film scripts, advertising press packs, books, artwork, pictures and much more, all of which came from Kastner’s office at London’s Pinewood Studios, where he was for much of his career and until the end of his life.

Some 80% of Kastner’s archive was previously donated to the BFI.

Original script

An original screenplay script for Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean, 138 pages with revisions, also from Kastner’s estate, sold for £500 (estimate £150-250) at Surrey saleroom Ewbank’s (25% buyer’s premium) on January 9 last year. It was offered with Kastner’s original copy of the novel and three US Front of House cards.