I’m adding a new event to the Top Ten By Year celebrations; a round-up of some of my favorite film posters from whichever year I’m focusing on.
I tried as best as I could to find artists and/or designers to credit for their work. I’ve noted where I fell short, and if you click on most of the posters, it will lead you to the site of origin.
First up: A couple of posters from Derek Jarman’s punk collage Jubilee, both focusing on Amyl Nitrate’s (Jordan) iconic “Rule Britannia” garb and snarl:
Next up, two posters from the sleek and striped down neo-noir The Driver. What I love about the poster on the top is the street night color scheme, the stylized strokes used for hair, and the profile of Queen Adjani/how she and her hat are placed on top of the men. As for the Thai poster on the right, it’s just undeniably fun; the bright colors, the poker chips around Queen Adjani, Ryan O’Neal’s terrifying big blues and the policeman who seems to be waving hello to us in the upper right corner.
These next two feature bird figures of some kind and are both from Czech artist and poster designer Marek Ploza-Dolinski. Czech animator Karel Zeman’s Krabat (The Sorceror’s Apprentice) (top) features crows throughout, while The Silent Partner (bottom) does not, but how awesome is it seeing Elliot Gould rendered as a smug horned and winged creature? There’s also tribute paid to his pet goldfish who is unceremoniously murdered by Christopher Plummer in the film.
Richard Amsel was one of the most distinguished American poster designers of all-time and managed a prolific and instantly recognizable body of work before his early death in 1985. His exquisitely detailed and bustling posters always managed to put focus, no matter how busy elsewhere, on the faces of stars, and that is certainly evident in his depiction of the all-star cast of Death on the Nile.
There are a ton of fantastic posters for Billy Wilder’s late career oddity Fedora. Here are my two favorites.
Next are two posters I love for films I love about girls I love. Got all that? The top is a French poster for I Wanna Hold Your Hand, here called Crazy Day. You can’t tell by the poster that it has anything to do with The Beatles, but I love the Nancy Drew quality of the thing. The bottom is a Spanish poster for Girlfriends, which I can’t find a bigger version of, but I’m drawn to the triangular use of space and the mustard yellow color. I’m also amused by the fact that though the film is called Girlfriends, this particular poster seems to feature 3 Melanie Mayron’s.
Two Polish posters, one from the Truffaut film The Green Room (La chambre verte) and the other from Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven
Here are two posters that live and die on partially shielded photographs of enigmatic unknowable women framed by black with the film titles displayed in similar shades of pinkish red. Queen Huppert’s Violette Noziere looks straight at us, while Geraldine Chaplin gives us sunglasses, a cigarette and her profile, the film’s title telling us to remember her name…or else.
Finally, my two favorite posters from 1978. On the top is the precise and doomed purple radiance of Petrus Wandrey for the Rainer Werner Fassbinder film Despair. On the bottom is Josef Vylet’al’s hauntingly direct yet endlessly mysterious work for the Czech fairy tale film Panna a Netvor (Beauty and the Beast or Virgin and the Monster)