Meet Me At The Movies…
Original Swedish Movie poster for the 1917 film Pinch Hitter, The Bollklubbens Mascotfirst. Released in Sweden in 1919, the film is an American sport comedy about Shy Joel Parker, a man bound for nowhere, until Abbie Nettleton enters his life. With her pushing him, Joel goes from timid nobody, to a baseball star. The artwork is by Swedish Illustrator Eric Rohman (1891-1949). Less than five of these posters are known to have survived, and one can be yours for $7,656.20 via Reel Poster Gallery out of London. Eric Rohman was a pioneer in poster design. Indeed, Rohman was in large part responsible for the development of such a distinctive style in Swedish posters during the first decades of the twentieth century. The simplicity of his graphics and his use of bold colours in two or three tones were ahead of their time. After studying at the Valand Painting School, Rohman began working in film poster design in 1916, and in 1920 opened his own studio. Over the course of his career, his personal output, and that of his studio, was prolific.
Original Russian movie poster for the classic French New Wave film Les Quatre Cents Coups /400 Blows. An Intensely touching story of a misunderstood young adolescent who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. Directed by Francois Truffaut, the film was widely acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including the Best Director Award at the 1959 Cannes Film Festival. The artwork on this poster is unique to the Russian release of the film.
Above is an original British movie poster for The Blues Brothers. This cult fave was directed by John Landis and stars John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd. In this film, viewers get to go along for the ride while Jake Blues, just out from prison, puts together his old band to save the Catholic home where he and brother Elwood were raised. The above artwork was created only for the Advance UK release poster.
This original British poster was used to advertise the film Bus Stop, on buses and in the subway. This artwork was only used on this size British poster. Directed by Joshua Logan, and based on the play written by William Inge, this 1956 release is personally my favorite Marilyn Monroe film.
Original Japanese film poster for the classic Federico Fellini 1960s film, La Dolce Vita. This artwork is unique to the Japanese poster. The film is a series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist living in Rome, played by actor Marcello Mastroianni, and stars a fountain dancing bombshell, Swedish actress Anita Ekberg.
With the holiday season upon us (if you have been REALLY good) perhaps your Kris Kringle will stuff your stocking with the above 1917 original Swedish film poster of Cleopatra. All that remains today of the 1917 silent film Cleopatra is one brittle fragment, lasting no more than a few seconds. At the time, the film was one of the biggest, most expensive productions Hollywood had ever undertaken.
Around 2,000 staff worked behind the scenes, and the surviving snippets show lavishly designed sets and elaborately risqué costumes. The script imagined Cleopatra as a voracious seductress, and the actress chosen for the part, Theda Bara, had been groomed especially for such roles. Discovered and signed by Fox Studios in 1915, Bara is now considered the first film star whose image was meticulously planned and constructed by her studio. Fox set out to create the ultimate sex symbol, wildly blending clichés to the point of creating an exotic Oriental background for the Ohioan tailor’s daughter. Her eyes heavily ringed with black kohl, Bara became one of the silent era’s biggest stars, but found it impossible to escape the powerful but limiting image Fox had created for her.
Today fewer than ten of Theda Bara’s 40 films are known to have survived in full. After the Hays Code began to take effect in the 1930s, her erotic image was deemed obscene, and the remaining prints of Cleopatra were destroyed. These measures, however, were not enough to extinguish her unforgettable allure, and she remains an icon of cinema to this day. The Swedish release poster shows a striking portrait of the legendary queen, in profile according to ancient Egyptian custom. Its pale colours combine superbly with the streamlined geometry of the shapes. Clean lines and an uncluttered composition emphasize the strength of Cleopatra’s features. Fewer than four of these posters are known to have survived.
While on the subject of stockings, I’ll take any of the leggy prints below… All prints (except The Blues Brothers) are available via Reel Poster Gallery and Antikbar.