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Monday
May212018

EIGHT DECADES OF BILL GOLD'S MOVIE POSTER ART.

Few men have conjured the spirit of American movies from outside a darkened cinema more than Bill Gold. Since he began designing posters for Warner Bros in 1942 (his first being the James Cagney classic, Yankee Doodle Dandy), Gold has crafted some of the most iconic movie one-sheets in Hollywood history. So great was his reputation, directors such as Frederico Fellini and Stanley Kubrick approved his designs personally; Clint Eastwood would only use Gold's services. At the time of his death on Sunday May 20 at the age of 97, Gold had been credited with over 2000 designs.

  
SCREEN-SPACE honours the work of one of the film community's greatest unsung artists with eight posters from Bill Gold's eight decades of sublime cinema marketing...

The 1940s:

CASABLANCA (Dir: Michael Curtiz; 1942)
With only his second design assignment from the Warner Bros brass, Gold created a poster that would become as famous as the film itself. It was Bill Gold's hand that etched star Humphrey Bogart and the visages of all his co-stars... 
Also from the decade: YANKEE DOODLE DANDY; THE BIG SLEEP

The 1950s:

DIAL M FOR MURDER (Dir: Alfred Hitchcock; 1954)
Hitch's foray into the latest theatrical fad known as 3D was perfectly captured in Gold's evocative representation of the film's most chilling moment - Grace Kelly's hand reaching towards the audience as the murderer strikes.
Also from the decade: THE SEARCHERS; THE JAMES DEAN STORY; A STAR IS BORN; THE SILVER CHALICE; RIO BRAVO; EAST OF EDEN 

The 1960s:

MY FAIR LADY (Dir: George Cukor; 1964)
Collaborated with artist Bill Peak in creating the poster art for the musical adaptation that would become a cultural phenomenon, winning 8 Oscars in the process. The legendarily cranky director George Cukor claimed to have contributed to the design work, which Gold and Peak respectfully deny.
Also from the decade: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?; COOL HAND LUKE; BULLITT; BONNIE AND CLYDE; THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODY; PT 109; 8½; THE WILD BUNCH


The 1970s:

THE STING (Dir:George Roy Hill; 1973)
Simple, elegant, superb representation of the star power on offer in George Roy Hill's Oscar smash. A perfect example of Gold's skill at capturing the essence of a film - in this case, the chemistry and class of Redford and Newman.
Also from the decade: DELIVERANCE; THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS; A STAR IS BORN; A CLOCKWORK ORANGE; HAIR; MAME; THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES; MCCABE AND MRS MILLER, DIRTY HARRY, THE EXORCIST; KLUTE; BLAZING SADDLES; INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

The 1980s:

THE UNTOUCHABLES (Dir: Brian de Palma; 1987)
Another example of Gold's remarkable ability to convey a film's star dynamic (the might of a malevolent De Niro; the fight faced by a small but defiant Costner) as well as capturing such crucial elements as mood and location.
Also from the period: GORKY PARK; BIRD; PALE RIDER; FAME; HEAVEN'S GATE; DEATH TRAP; PLATOON; FOR YOUR EYES ONLY; SUDDEN IMPACT; THE STUNT MAN.

The 1990s:

GOODFELLAS (Dir: Martin Scorsese; 1990)
Also from the decade: THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY; THE ROOKIE; THE MASK; UNFORGIVEN; 

 
The 2000s:

MYSTIC RIVER (Dir: Clint Eastwood; 2003)
Retiring from full-time design work, Gold would only be drawn out to work on the occasional prestige pic, usually for his lifetime friend, Clint Eastwood. Mystic River was a career peak of sorts for Eastwood and his troupe of actors (both Sean Penn and Tim Robbins earned long overdue Oscars); also achieving one of his greatest triumphs was Gold, whose inverted imagery and atypical use of foreboding blacks and blues (not unlike Goodfellas) was a masterwork.

  

The 2010s:

J EDGAR (Dir: Clint Eastwood; 2011)
Gold's career came to a close with a special project for Eastwood. J EDGAR was not the best work from anyone involved - it got some of Eastwood's most mixed reviews, fell out of favour with the Academy early in Oscar season and featured an uncharasterically miscast Leonardo Di Caprio as the FBI boss. Gold, however, captured more in his poster image of a ranting Di Caprio than Eastwood managed in his entire film.

 

 

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