Reading movie posters

Psycho (1960)

This has to be THE most deliberately misleading movie poster in film history. Janet Leigh had a brief scene at the beginning of the film in which she appeared partially dressed but she didn't spend a whole lot of time trotting around in her bra in this movie. And the appearance of the shirtless John Gavin (bottom right) was just as fleeting. And tucking Anthony Perkins, the real star of the flick, on the far left was clearly calculated to throw moviegoers off.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

This poster's image is all edges and sharpness, things that hurt, which is entirely appropriate considering the film and the source novel is set in a world of "ultra violence" and chaos. The poster is disturbing and the text intriguing enough to pull folks in who had never heard of the Anthony Burgess novel. I don't believe this was an original movie poster as the film was first rated X, as was the next film.

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

One of the most famous motion picture portraits, this image ~ cold, brittle and gray ~ reads "desolation." Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie's daddy (Jon Voight) have been immortalized in this film about a gimpy conman and a naively inept gigolo who form a bond on the mean streets.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)

This film and the one that follows are about parties at which the hosts start chewing on the guests. I like the Virginia Woolf poster at top better than the one that displays more conventional photographs of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton because the outlines of the faces of Taylor and Burton spewing at each other in blue and red bounce around in my head.

The Boys in the Band (1970)

This film poster featured the image of the nine men who were in the off-Broadway production ~ the boys, if you will. Playwright Mart Crowley, who never matched this play's success, offered unrelenting anger, bitterness and self-loathing in his play and in the film, which is why the note "is not a musical" is especially rich.


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