When I was originally researching the Stembridge catalog, for Little John’s Stembridge Collection Auction, one of the few pieces on my “short list”, which I considered secondary to my two top wants (the T2 and True Lies pistol) was one of the pair of Hammerli pistols offered, which were “sort of” attributed to Point of No Return starring Bridget Fonda.
I say “sort of”, in that, in the Stembridge catalog, the two pistols were described as:
…similar to others used by Bridget Fonda in the movie “Point of No Return”
Given that my research found that many pieces in the catalog that were promoted as “used by ______ in ______”, that I found didn’t agree with what was seen on screen, I thought the specific notation in the catalog “similar to” was substantive.
Because of the use of conservative language in the catalog, the lack of rental agreements, and my own inability to match them to the screenshots (more on that in a moment), I did not ultimately place a bid at auction. I knew the pieces that I did win were absolutely authentic, so I did not want to take any risks on pieces that were inconclusive in my own personal research. As I’ve said in several articles on the blog, I like to approach a piece assuming it is inauthentic until proven otherwise. Given my lack of knowledge in many regards on these pieces, I didn’t have the comfort level, on the front end (pre-auction), to pursue one during the auction event.
Fast forward, post auction, and it ends up that I was acquainted with the winner of both of the Hammerli pistols offered. He informed me that Hammerli pistols were not manufactured with chrome finish, and that these two pistols were custom chromed for the production, which I found very compelling, in terms of provenance and authenticity. More, the pieces actually did match up to what is seen on screen – also unknown to me beforehand was that there is an adjustment on the grip to adjust the horizontal “bar” across the bottom, which contributed to my inability to match the pieces to my visual collateral during the preview. It is also a very uniquely shaped piece, which takes on an array of appearances at different viewing angles. Given the single, straight on photo in the catalog, it made it impossible for me to truly match up shots in the film based on the one image available pre-auction.
I did openly question the other collector’s research into these pieces, on the Movie Prop Forum (see discussion topic, “Stembridege Auction (Prop Guns)“), noting that I could not match them up. I’m happy to report that his assessment of these pieces proved to be superior to my own, and more, that I had an opportunity to inspect them before the event and still missed failed to pick up on features that spoke directly to authenticity.
I was impressed with these insights, and happy to know another collector was able to take advantage of this information to get a great deal on these hero props.
Once he had them in hand, he sent me some clear photos at different angles, which I compared to the screencaps, and I could clearly see that they were indeed “good” props and matched up to the images in the film. In addition, I noted one detail on the photos shared with me that appeared to perhaps screen-match the pistol to the one seen in the case in the film.
The original buyer recently decided to sell one of the two recently, so I jumped at the opportunity – it is rare in this hobby to get second chances at anything…
I did receive the Hammerli yesterday, and I am extremely pleased.
The most amazing thing is, once I got home, I pulled the DVD off the shelf as the quickest reference point to compare the prop “in hand” with what is featured in the film. This was the first time that I had a chance to really look at the detailing on the pistol (without the distraction of being at the event), including the serial number. The photos in the catalog were washed out and the opposite side, so my initial research was very limited, and my first hand examination during the preview right before the auction was preoccupied with trying to figure out the grip issues (which were solved with the adjustment, noted above, which I failed to determine on my own at the time).
I saw that the serial number is right above the trigger, and though I looked at the DVD cover carefully pre-auction, which features the one sheet image, I never saw a serial number to match up with the numbers in the catalog. Well, I looked again, and realized, it was there all along! Though very faint and very tiny, now knowing where precisely to look, I could clearly make out the last four digits of the serial number on the one sheet image – “0714” (the full serial number is 020714). So not only is this piece from the film, but it is THE pistol Bridget Fonda is posing with on the one sheet!
I did scan my DVD case, but the quality of the scan is not as high as the original (cropped and rotated) – in fact, it’s quite poor, but it shows just how faint the serial number is (and why I missed it before the auction, looking right at it)…
Also of note, comparing the poster image and my photo below it, there is also a point to the right of the button in front of the trigger in which the chrome is scratched off, revealing the black underneath. Additionally, there is silver (touch up?) paint around the black mark, which is matte finish in contrast to the chrome plating. I will update this article with a better scan, once I have the full one sheet to work with.
Here is a scan of the full DVD cover:
Also, as mentioned above, there appears to be a “match” with the shot of the pistol in the case – again with the silver touch up paint:
Here is a close-up of the marks (from the two photos above), just in front of the button (in front of the trigger guard), where the bottom of the barrel and top of the magazine receiver intersect:
So, in my opinion, there is a very good chance this pistol is the one seen in the case, as well as on the one sheet.
Here are some photos…
Here are a few screencaps…
Thanks again to the fellow hobbyist who had the foresight to pick these Hammerli pistol up and for giving me a second chance at one.
Jason De Bord