These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art.
There was a time when I loved seeking out new movie posters. Anytime I make the trek to one of the multi-screen bunkers on the edges of Madison, I prowled the hallways looking for new additions to the wall. It got even better when I managed a movie theater. Every day the mail delivery would bring a new handful of slender cardboard tubes stuffed with rolled up one-sheets. For me, it was a like a magical Christmas tree that populated with new gifts on an almost daily basis. In the handful of frames that dotted our lobby, I tended towards those posters that I found aesthetically pleasing rather than the ones aggressively, obviously, and blandly touting the next wanna-be blockbuster on the horizon of the release schedule. During my tenure there, one of the most memorable posters I set on the wall was for the little-known and barely seen grim drama Flesh and Bone.
I had cause to be excited about the movie, since it was writer-director Steve Kloves’s long-gestating follow-up to the utterly terrific The Fabulous Baker Boys. (It also stands as the filmmaker’s last directorial effort to date, although he made scads of money as the sole credited screenwriter for all the Harry Potter movies, so things worked out okay for him in showbiz.) But it was the striking quality of the poster that made it a fixture in our lobby for weeks. Stark and foreboding, the image on the poster is a like an old Walker Evans photograph infected by a poisoning of the soul. Then there’s the tagline. “Evil is Patient.” It promises a devastation that completes the unkind promise of all of the elements of the image: the rifle, the seemingly naked woman wrapped in a cloak of inadequate protection, the dead tree, the blackening sky. All on its own, the poster tells a harsh, compelling story. Indeed it’s a story that is, quite frankly, better than the one found in the film which it serves.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.