One of six color painted poster comps I did for Clint Eastwood’s revisionist western, (in addition to 12 black and white.) A photo montage was ultimately used as the poster but working on it was still an invaluable experience. I did several movie posters for European release (the American versions of those films were also photo). I came away mourning that at least for the time being in the US illustrated movie posters like those I fell in love with as a student, were dead in the water. The emphasis seems to be on giving only the absolutely essential info: in as blatant a way as possible. Subtlety or beauty of design is the kiss of death. All the posters seem to be one or two big head shots of the stars, usually side lit and cut exactly down the middle with no background or environment for the heads and the title usually only slightly larger than the star’s name. Subtle, it ain’t.
Even though a poster like that for Apocalypse Now by Robert Peak used large heads and other background elements similar to what I describe here, the final effect was one of pure artistry and intelligence. It conveyed the emotion of the film to me far more effectively than a photo could have. Add to that, the human touch that it was done by hand and extremely well thought out, instead of what feels to me like current trend of stamping out cookie cutter photo clones… ah, hell, don’t get me started.