Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Movie Poster

Dan Kremer notices the lack of originality in movie posters. My initial thought is that the template quality reveals the absence of high concept material and is a way to communicate genre without it. And like genre, the difficulty is that while too much repetition is not optimal in selling films, neither is too much originality.

A broader point: I'm left wondering what work has been done on the movie poster. And what work on the movie poster should do. Very often, film scholars will read through the film poster for what it says about the presumed appeal of a film; Rick Altman (Film/Genre) examines the poster for Only Angels Have Wings as an indication for what studios thought of the generic elements of the film. At other times, scholars study posters as bare fact of marketing: for Justin Wyatt (High Concept), the movie poster, say Jaws, is index of the changing place of marketing in the production process. I wonder if anyone studies them as expressive forms in themselves. Such an approach might fall outside the disciplinary purview of film studies proper, raising some of the same issues that film music does, or at least takes the perspective of the graphic designer rather than her bosses. 

1 comment:

Matthew Holtmeier said...

Ha! That's a great collage Dan Kremer put up. Reminds me of a 'misleading movie poster' (http://cinemawithoutorgans.blogspot.com/2009/04/misleading-movie-posters.html#comments) I posted a bit ago. It is interesting that the Hitchcock poster is not so different from the posters on Kremer's collage, even with 50 years or so difference between them.

I think this Marnie poster is actually pretty interesting in the context of the film. It makes me wonder how much guidance the designer really had in creating the poster... Had they seen the film? Why choose this very specific, complicated moment in the film to represent/market it to people who haven't seen it? And, as you suggest, what might the designer say about it?