Stephen Rebello, a contributing editor of Movieline and correspondent for Vibe, has written for numerous national magazines, including Playboy, Cosmopolitan, and Success. His books include Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of "Psycho," Bad Movies We Love, The Art of "Hercules": From Chaos to Creation, and a forthcoming study on the making of Hitchcock's North by Northwest. He lives in Los Angeles.
Great Posters from the Golden Age of the Silver Screen
A world-class selection of great movie posters and the stories of their creation.
The General, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Top Hat-if you love movies, you know they just don't make films like these anymore. Connoisseurs of movie posters also know they've quit making the masterpieces of graphic art that promoted such movies-Birth of a Nation, King Kong, G-Men, Gilda, and other classics (not to mention the memorable bombs) from the golden age of the silver screen.The Late Show and the VCR have resurrected many of the great films, and now Reel Art: Great Posters from the Golden Age of the Silver Screen also brings to life the billboards, lobby cards, and posters that originally trumpeted The Jazz Singer, The Maltese Falcon, The Informer, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Philadelphia Story, and other gems made between 1910 and 1950.
Those four decades were an era in which wonderful films were promoted by great graphics created by the diverse likes of Al Hirschfeld, Thomas Hart Benton, Norman Rockwell, Alberto Vargas, Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, as well as a small army of "unknowns" whose acquaintance readers will make exclusively through this book. It was a time when big studios often lavished a fortune on poster campaigns-from the modest "one-sheets" posted on a neighborhood fence, to the gargantuan "forty-eight-sheets" that usurped entire sides of multistory buildings. Studios knew that the right image could seduce millions past the box office and into the theater.
Today, such graphics fetch five-figure prices from collectors seeking a Casablanca or a King Kong.To be sure, movie poster collections have been published before-but never before by a great art book publisher. Each of the 300 posters included in Reel Art has been reproduced to the uncompromising standards of all Abbeville's fine art books. And while meticulous production and design would be enough to set this deluxe volume apart from any competition, there is even more. The selection of posters is world-class, many never before published, and the definitive text, by screenwriter and film historian Stephen Rebello, tells the vastly entertaining story behind the posters and their creators. Posters and text are accompanied by rare historical photos documenting the nickelodeons, some of the nation's most memorable theater lobbies and marquees, great promotional stunts (including a cartload of chained and manacled bathing beauties drumming up an audience for 1923's Souls for Sale), and the early studios. Concise biographies of the poster artists conclude this magnificent volume.