Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 65

Who doesn't love movie posters? Commies, that's who! But who cares about them.

What is your favorite movie poster?

Panelist: BevfromNYC

The poster for Jaws. It's simple yet effective; the picture tells you everything you need to know about the movie, while instantly conveying the scariness of it all.

Panelist: T-Rav

I don't really pay attention to movie posters. Never have. I guess that's sort of a generational thing (that's only a dig at your age if you make it one, people). But the poster for the original Star Wars has become pretty iconic, so I guess I'll go with that.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Lots of great ones. How about this one for Sunset Blvd.? (LINK) I love how just her face is outlined in red.

Panelist: ScottDS

I'm going to break the rules and list a few posters. [smile] Despite my feelings for the film itself, I always enjoyed the teaser poster for The 5th Element which features a starfield and the cryptic phrase "It Mu5t Be Found" - candy for a 14-year old geek. Also: the poster for Manhattan featuring the iconic image of Woody, Diane, and the Queensboro Bridge. I'm also a huge fan of Drew Struzan's work (who isn't?). There was also a cool retro poster for Captain America which was produced as a gift for the cast and crew - I love it!

Panelist: AndrewPrice

The Star Wars poster. I grew up with this one on my wall... and my lunchbox. :)

Comments? Thoughts?


K said...


tryanmax said...


I love this Fight Club poster for a number of reasons. 1. The soap is actually very significant to the film, and as oddball as it is, the designers worked it in. 2. The Fight Club logofont is inherently iconic. 3. The relationship between the main characters is perfectly displayed in the composition. 4. I am admittedly drunk-typing, so that's all I've got.

tryanmax said...

There is also something to be said about the poster for One Million Years B.C.

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

I'm kinda like T-Rav. I also don't really pay much attention to movie posters. I have to say the older ones are definitely better! It was like it's own artform, back then. These days, most of the time, they don't even bother to add any creativity.

My favorite poster is probably from the 1991 movie The Rocketeer! (BTW, which IMO, is probably the most underrated movie of all time!) The poster is just perfect for the film! Very refective of the movie's time period.

I also love this King Kong (original) poster, it's just epic!:

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

Damn, sorry about the links. IDK how to make them clickable! lol

Tennessee Jed said...

Tryanmax, the Fight Club Poster didn't come up. This is a tough subject without links, but movie posters and babes :) Love the FRWL poster, "K"!

Anonymous said...

I assume this is the Fight Club poster to which tryanmax is referring.

And this is the King Kong poster...

...and this is The Rocketeer poster that Snape is referring to.

(I use as a poster resource myself.) :-)

Anonymous said...

K -

That's one of my favorite Bond posters, if not my favorite one, period!

It's a shame the home video people never use the original artwork for the DVDs, Blu-Rays, etc. But in that world, it's all about capturing one's attention as quickly as possible, and not aesthetics.

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

I forgot to list it above but this would be the poster for One Million Years B.C. and I agree with you. :-)

Fight Club had some great advertising, from posters to trailers. I only wish I liked the movie more. I respect it, but it's not something I watch all the time.

Anonymous said...

Snape -

You are 100% correct. Movie posters used to be an art form; today, they're mostly collages done by the lowest bidder on Photoshop. And worse than that, they all look the same. Seriously!!

Every now and then you'll get a director with enough clout to get someone like Drew Struzan to do their posters. Like Frank Darabont, who got Struzan to do new artwork for The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile DVD and Blu-Ray releases.

Sometimes it takes a filmmaker-slash-fanboy to come in, put their foot down, and say, "No, let's do it like this!"

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - great link, and HOW TRUE! Still, I have to admit, I have yet to get bored with the "between the legs" genre :)

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Fritz Lang's "M" -- the German poster -- hard to beat German Expressionism for poster art.

Dial M for Murder also has a great poster (total coincidence I swear :-) )

tryanmax said...

My link to the Fight Club poster works for me. IDK what's wrong? But I was actually referring to this poster LINK

If that doesn't work, try one of these: LINK LINK

Though I must admit to not liking the pulled-out version ( b/c it makes the Photoshop apparent.

T-Rav said...

Fun fact: The original movie poster for the first Spider-Man movie had the superhero web-slinging from the Twin Towers, or something to that effect. But after 9/11, they decided that wouldn't be appropriate and changed it. Okay, not really a "fun" fact, but kind of interesting.

Outlaw13 said...

It's all about the $$$, a photoshop image using photographs the studio already has in their possession is much cheaper and more of a sure thing than hiring an artist.

But the result is less than inspiring if you ask me. Amsel did this one which is one of my favorites.

THIS ONE done for the Green Berets is awesome.

And I was always a fan of this one. Of course the Bond series could always be counted on for some great artwork.

Anonymous said...

Jed -

I'm a fan of that genre, too, though it's often used for schlocky T&A comedies. :-)

Sadly, all I had to do was type in "movie poster cliches" and that website was the first result!

Anonymous said...

Floyd -

German Expressionism and Russian Constructivism - both are equally awesome. :-)

Hitchcock's movies more often than not had some very good posters. North by Northwest appears to be an exception.

(When Intrada released the remastered score earlier in the year, they made the art reversible with that image on the front and this better image on the back.)

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

I thought you might've been referring to that one but I wasn't sure... had to take a guess. :-)

I actually like the one I linked to a little better. And you're right, with the wrong resolution, the Photoshop work becomes readily apparent.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

I don't remember the Spider-Man poster but the original teaser trailer was pulled as well, as it also featured the WTC quite prominently.

Anonymous said...

I generally don't give a toss about movie posters, they generally have no sway on my decision on what movie I will or will not see.

Saying that the first movie post that comes to mind is Star Wars, my cousin had the poster for ep 5 poster hanging on our lounge room wall and it was a classic.

The original Star Wars and the Jaws poster are also both iconic posters.


Anonymous said...

Outlaw -

Agreed. Another reason why posters look the way do is that certain actors have certain image rights: they have to take up X% of the poster, their name needs to be listed in a certain order, etc.

For The Towering Inferno, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman both got top billing: Newman's name is listed on top and McQueen's name is listed first (if you read it left to right). That was a compromise.

Anonymous said...

Scott -

I used to own posters for the original Star Wars trilogy but I moved and got rid of all my posters. One day when I'm back on my own, I'll get posters properly framed.

I can't say posters sway me one way or another but I admit a bad poster can make me judge a movie more harshly than I may have otherwise, while a good one will get me a little more excited (though the movie rarely lives up the excitement).

tryanmax said...

Thing is, a competent graphic artist could easily produce posters in the style of Amsel or any other vintage poster artist. But I believe the same contracts that state so and so get X amount of space also stipulate that they have to be photographic, not illustrations. So that limits a lot.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I like that one too. I remember seeing and thinking "what the heck could the soap have to do with this?" and that pulled me into the film and made me curious.... very smart.

AndrewPrice said...

K, That's an interesting James Bond poster. It's definitely "old school" and I like those.

As an aside, we're going to be starting a James Bond series on Thursdays next year. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Snape, As with scores, I think that most movies go for generic because it's safe. But it's the unique ones which stand out.

Check out this article I did to see just how generic movie posters are these days:

The Power of Cliches

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I don't know why the home video people never use the original movie posters. They always make up their own and they really tend to lose something in the process.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I have to say that the between the legs stuff has gotten a little boring for me if for no other reason than I've just seen it too much.

T-Rav said...

Scott, Snape et al., someone was saying this week that for the contemporary movie poster, you really only need four things: smoky background, clouds, sparks, and dirt. Or something to that effect. Look up the poster for any action movie, and it almost invariably has those four elements. The poster for The Avengers broke new ground by leaving the dirt out.

So yeah, kind of predictable.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Coincidence? Sure. LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Several posters and title sequences were changed after that. Futurama removed a part of their opening sequence where they crash their spaceship into a building.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, Most things like book covers and even movie covers are done by photoshop now. It's cheaper and easier. But it lacks any sense of art.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I had the original Star Wars posters on my wall growing up as well. I loved those.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, From what I've seen, especially in books, everyone got to stock photos these days, combines them to get what they want, and then sometimes turn them into images. No one draws at this point.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Check out the link above to my "cliche" article. You will laugh. It's amazing how pathetically identical so many posters are.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

The home video marketing people usually aren't catering to the movie fan; they're catering to the impulse buyer looking through the $5 bin at Wal-Mart and a large face plastered on the cover will get their attention faster than a work of art.

Of course, Criterion does an excellent job creating new covers and some of the smaller labels like Shout! Factory sometimes print reversible covers with the original artwork on the back.

And for the most part, the specialty record labels use the original artwork when they can.

For example, you have this from the big studio and this from the smaller label.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's true. They are looking to attract a different audience, and the audience they are after is not looking at film as art, they are looking at film as an impulse.

shawn said...

Some very good posters on here. The most iconic, at least for me- the original Hildebrandt Star Wars poster. Had that one as a kid.

The one I have now- Struzan's Big Trouble in Little China. Which can be seen at:

The website is a great site to look at and even buy movie posters.

Anonymous said...

I remember being struck by the original poster for The Deer Hunter. Not the stark one with DeNiro holding a pistol to his head,but the original poster from the theatrical release.
The antlers in the background,the jump wings and green beret in the foreground,and all the characters spread around the two images.I thought at the time and still do that it was simple,eloquent and powerful.

Anonymous said...

shawn -

Definitely a classic piece by Struzan! They used it for the DVD but for the Blu-Ray, they changed it, but the new art isn't a total disaster. Click here.

In cases like this, I have to wonder what the studio is thinking. I mean, they know it's a cult movie so why change it up? On the other hand, they assume fans will buy it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Anon -

I assume you're referring to this poster?

Powerful stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, That's a great poster too. :)

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, I remember that poster. That was a classic.

rlaWTX said...

I had a Magnum PI poster on my wall... no movie posters. I don't really notice them.

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