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Hollywood Movie Posters: 1914-1990 Book Review

Hollywood Movie Posters- 1914-1990 Book

“Hollywood Movie Posters: 1914-1990” will appeal to movie poster collectors.  

Before movie posters were reduced to lousy photoshopped heads of movie stars, they were an art form that helped sell the movie (obviously). Much like the “Alternative Movie Posters” book, “Hollywood Movie Posters: 1914-1990” serves as a tribute to the glory days of movie posters while also functioning as a film history book AND a price guide. There’s a lot going on in this book so allow me to give you the rundown on what you can find in these pages.

‘Hollywood’ starts out with a foreword by poster collector Gregory J. Edwards before delving into author Miles D. Barton’s book layout which features color and B&W photographs (and prices) for half-sheets, one-sheets, lobby cards, window cards, three-sheets, six-sheets, and inserts for films from 1914-1990 (as the title suggests). The book chronologically features posters from the silent film days to the early 90’s where the poster industry clearly started to die out. Accompanying these images are written summaries about the film biz, Hollywood film advertisements, the studio system, film hits, and the evolution of the film industry in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and the 60’s-90’s (which are clumped together due to limited space I’m sure). The book concludes with a brief poster term glossary.

Despite the 60’s-90’s being short changed here, I doubt many readers will mind as the older posters prove to be more fascinating and also more valuable. Even if you aren’t a collector or know nothing about posters, it’s fun to just see which posters fetch the highest prices. Who knew that a “The Gold Rush” half-sheet was worth 15 grand or that a “King Kong” three-sheet ranges from 100-150k?

‘Hollywood’ also works well as a visual history of movie posters as you get to see hundreds upon hundreds of poster images from various eras while also seeing how the poster industry evolved with each passing decade. While I have seen a majority of these posters before, there were a few that were new to me such as the gorgeous “Lost Horizon” one-sheet, the creepy “Duck Soup” window card, the cartoony “Abbot and Costello in Hollywood” one-sheet and the eye-popping “You Only Live Twice” subway poster. Truth be told, all of these images really make you appreciate all of the hard work and artistry that went into the posters of yesteryear.

Overall Thoughts: While a bit pricey, this coffee table book is an informative piece that will appeal to film buffs and movie poster lovers.

May 21, 2014 - Posted by | Book review | ,

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