THE movie poster is dead. Long live the movie poster. Gone are the days of hand-drawn studio posters that possessed a creativity and artistry matching that of the films themselves. Think of “King Kong,”with its harrowing illustrations, or Saul Bass’s Minimalist design for“Vertigo.” The contemporary studio poster is often a literal, less adventurous affair, like the vision of Julia Roberts on the back of Tom Hanks’s scooter in the poster for “Larry Crowne,” a typical example of today’s photography-driven advertisements.The posters have become so popular and revered that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have begun archiving them among their vast collection of artifacts, film prints, and posters from cinema history. All of this is to say that I first came across them a little over a year ago and immediately caught the fever to get one of these like everyone else. At the beginning of the this year I told my wife I was determined to get one this year. My wife almost secured the Pan's Labyrinth one earlier this year, but it sold out while she had it in her cart and was checking out. I popped on at one point and was able to add the Sucker Punch poster to my cart, but I decided against getting it because I had no interest in the movie. I have tried on and off all year to get one. I even considered getting one on eBay at the inflated prices they are going for there. But my patience paid off today. I was brushing my teeth this morning when it dawned on me that this poster was going on sale today. I resisted the urge to stop what I was doing and run over to the computer to see if it had gone on sale yet. (They go on sale at an unspecified time.) I figured I would finish what I was doing and go check to see if it had gone on sale yet before going about the rest of my morning routine. I logged on and they hadn't gone on sale yet. I open a new tab in my browser and checked my email. Before turning off the computer I clicked back over to the Mondo site and reloaded the page. The new Jurassic Park posters were not only up for sale already they hadn't sold out yet. I panicked! I frantically added it to my cart and hunted for my wallet. I tried setting up an account but I was bounced to a page that said my email was already associated with an account. I forgot I had set up an account previously to try to speed up the process in the event that one day I would be able to get one. I couldn't remember the password I had used!! It felt as those the poster was slipping through my hands. I tried 3 different passwords and the third one worked! I made it through and was able to pay and complete my check out before they sold out! I know it seems ridiculous but it felt like a huge victory. Tiny in the grand scheme of things for sure, but I'm excited to finally get one and see it hung on a wall.
But an outfit far from Hollywood has sought to recapture the vintage hand-drawn spirit while injecting some contemporary flair. The company is Mondo, an offshoot of the Austin, Tex., theater chain Alamo Drafthouse. It commissions artists to design alternative versions of posters for films considered cult or genre pictures. The styles range from multi-tiered, character-packed collage (like Tyler Stout’s fanboy-friendly work for “The Empire Strikes Back”) to subdued prints that express a movie’s mood more than anything else (like the simple smoking gun forming Clint Eastwood’s profile inOlly Moss’s “Dirty Harry”).
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I got my first Mondo poster!
Mondo is a company that has affiliated itself with the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. They commission and screen print original artwork to serve as posters for screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse. These posters are screen printed in very limited quantities and often sell out in minutes online. The New York Times wrote an article recently discussing the popularity and attention these posters are getting. The article entitled Hand-Drawn Homage to Classic Films begins with this...