Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Earth vs. the Flying Saucers by Anselmo Ballester

John Wayne in The Searchers by Luigi Martinati

John Garfield in Forces of Evil by Averado Ciriello

Vintage movie posters (painted images made prior to the use of photography) are incredibly provocative; the actors seem bigger than life, the single image manages to convey the gist of two hours of storytelling in efficient shorthand. Over time, with newsreels introduced to moviegoers, followed by magazines which were saturated with photos, and finally television, savvy ad men abandoned illustration altogether and photography became the medium of choice. What a loss!

I'm partial to the Italian movie poster designers. Just looking at the dramatic lighting and the gorgeous moody colors you half expect the scene to be from an opera, not a film. In Italy, a movie poster is referred to as a manifesto. In English that word suggests a political declaration, but it is rooted in Latin; manifestare which means 'to make public'. Clearly, the artistry of vintage film posters has transcended the original purpose of promotion.

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