Drawing On the Side Art Blog
Ever notice when you walk into a movie theater to see the latest blockbuster playing that there are movie posters all around informing everyone what__™s playing next week or next month? Sometimes it__™s a simple two-foot by three-foot poster framed on the lobby wall. Most of the time, however, it__™s a huge cardboard cut-out that takes up half the lobby. Whatever it is, it__™s something that catches your eye, and that___s the artwork of movie posters.
For over a century, movies have been advertised by the method of displaying posters depicting a character or a scene from the movie. It was__"and still is__"the way to sell potential audiences to come to the theaters and pay to see these films. During most of this time, the posters were usually paintings or illustrations portraying a certain part__"usually a pivotal scene__"from the film or maybe showcase the star (or stars) of the film.
Most of the work could be called masterpieces, like the poster for Casablanca or Touch of Evil. Even some modern posters like Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark are nice works as well (my favorite is the movie poster for John Carpenter___s The Thing). The movie poster for E.T.: The Extraterrestrial (featured above) was a great piece of work that showed an alien and a child, worlds apart, connecting.
Knowing that filmmakers think well enough ahead to get an artist to paint or photogragh a scene__"or a collage of scenes__"on a movie poster ___one sheet___ is brilliant. When the collage-of-scenes approach is used, it gets the potential movie-goer__™s imagination going, making them wonder how exciting or dramatic the film will be. When I first saw the movie poster for Escape From New York (another exceptional film from John Carpenter), I was mesmerized by the look of Kurt Russell__™s character with the eye patch and the desolate look of the apocalyptic New York in the background__"not to mention the Statue of Liberty__™s decapitated head lying in the street behind him (although that was kind of a cheat since that didn__™t happen in the film), so this poster really got me going. Unfortunately, I was too young to see this film when it was first released, but it was one of my first rentals when it was available in VHS some years later.
A trend, regretfully, started picking up a bit in the 90s when movie posters began to show off the actors in the film. Typically, the posters had the title in the middle with the faces of the actors surrounding it while they mugged for the camera. It seemed quite narcissistic and didn__™t appeal to me one bit. If anything, it made me want to stay away from the film. Most of the films that featured these movie posters, however, were very good films. Films like the Scream trilogy, Gangs of New York, even the new Wolfman film had its final poster feature the stars__™ heads toward the top hovering over the title character.
Not only do I consider myself an artist, I__™m also a big movie buff and that___s why I thought about this topic. I have quite a collection of films on DVD and Blu-Ray that I keep in faux leather binders, making it a point to keep every film cover to mark each film as I flip through the pages.
My wife recently became okay with me taking over one of our spare bedrooms to make into my own home theater, so I__™ve started getting it ready by painting it and ripping out the carpet to put something to help soundproof the room. In addition to remodeling, I__™ve been going through thrift shops and off-the-wall types of stores to see if I can find any type of movie-themed artwork or d__cor. So far, I__™ve found a lamp that resembles a stage light, some signs that contain movie lingo, and most impressively, I had the chance to pick up two reproduced movie posters: Star Wars and Rocky. Both are great examples of how filmmakers went with an artistic approach to advertise their movie.
The Star Wars poster, created by Tom Jung, includes all the exciting aspects of the film, painted in a realistic, yet comic book-type, tone. It includes Darth Vader__™s head with the Death Star in the background and exaggerated depictions of Luke Skywalker with Princess Leia at his feet. But the artwork is outstanding and eye-catching.
The Rocky movie poster, however, is a photograph of the title character after running up the top of the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It__™s in black & white and Sylvester Stallone is standing at the top of the steps with his arms raised in triumph. But it__™s a shot of his back with the cityscape of Philadelphia before him. It__™s a great photo...or it could be a captured shot from the film.
I__™m hoping to find more movie posters so that I can decorate the room when it__™s ready. But in the meantime, I hope Hollywood puts a stop to these movie posters where the actors look like they love themselves too much and put more thought into making more artistic creations. Don't you agree?