Movie Poster Art – Foreign Versions

Pickup on South Street-posterCARTEL ESPAÑOL - 70x100When searching online for posters and stills for English-language films, I often stumble upon foreign posters for those films. Many of these simply re-purpose the original poster art, but the ones that really get my attention are re-imagined in ways that are often more dynamic and dramatic. Some are almost painterly, with evocative use of color, light and shadow, and often depict characters frozen in action. Some of the posters I’ve included here do reference the originals, especially when someone like Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, or Ingrid Bergman star in the film. Here are a few examples of foreign posters for American films, most of which are from the 1940s and 50s. They’re not all graphic reinventions (though some are), but I think it’s interesting to compare them with their Hollywood counterparts.

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Big Heat-posterBig Heat-Italian poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Heat-German poster****************************************************************************************

Scarlet Street-posterScarlet Street-Spanish posterScarlet Street-Italian poster*****************************************************************************************

In a Lonely Place-poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a Lonely Place-Italian poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enforcer-posterEnforcer-French poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enforcer-Italian poster******************************************************************************************

Notorious-posterNotorious-French poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notorious-French poster2*****************************************************************************************

Long Haul-poster4Long Haul-French posterI’ve not seen this film, and it’s probably not the greatest, but the French poster at right really pops, and the Italian poster below is truly amazing.

 

 

 

Long Haul-Italian poster*****************************************************************************************

Point Blank-poster2Point Blank-French poster****************************************************************************************

Casablanca-posterCasablanca-Italian poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casablanca-French poster3******************************************************************************************

Finally, here are English-language posters from the 1930s that exhibit strengths seen in the best of the foreign posters above; i.e. a strong sense of mood, atmosphere, and drama, as well as excellent design, especially in the choice of fonts. I think this approach was largely abandoned in later years. I’ve not paired these with their foreign versions, but they are just too great not to include here.

Little Caesar-posterLittle Caesar-poster2The poster to the left is particularly beautiful, but what’s interesting is that it showcases Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. rather than Edward G. Robinson.

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Maltese Falcon-1931 posterSatan Met a Lady-1936 posterThese are for the first two versions of The Maltese Falcon, the one at left from 1931 and at right from 1936. Both are greatly inferior to John Huston’s definitive adaptation in 1941.

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Frankenstein-posterInvisible Man-poster

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And what better way to close than with a great Citizen Kane poster I’ve never seen before.

Citizen Kane-poster******************************************************************************************

If you’re interested in the films beyond the posters, all of these titles are available on home video. And if you’d like to see more foreign posters for American films, check online. This is only the tip of the iceberg. – Ted Hicks

About Ted Hicks

Iowa farm boy; have lived in NYC for 40 years; worked in motion picture labs, film/video distribution, subtitling, media-awards program; obsessive film-goer all my life.
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