Movie Poster History

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The History and Development of Movie Posters Report
We began our presentation on the history of movie posters by tracing their evolution from the beginning of film, focusing on imagery and typography up until present day 2000s.
Movie making began in the 1890s when the first motion picture cameras were invented. Requiring a new form of advertisement, the movie poster was thus born in Europe and America - also known as movie promoters. While movie posters were created for commercial purposes, they quickly became an expression of art to depict the best parts of the film they were promoting. They were originally printed and produced by the time consuming printing method, lithography.
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Illustrated by Marcelin Auzolle, it depicts an audience at a theatre laughing at a still from the production, marking the beginning of cinema.
Something to note about early movie posters were that actor’s names weren’t originally displayed on movie posters as they wished to remain anonymous, but with time, people wanted to know more about them as actors were even viewed as role models. Producers eventually realised this and cashed in on it, and soon the public were able to recognise the significance of a movie based on the actors.
As early motion pictures further developed, producers also realised that incorporating colourful artwork and hand drawn illustrations depicting scenes and paintings of leading actors from the movie contributed to theatre attendance rising. This is evidently featured in the first official talkie, The Jazz Singer’s movie poster.
This trend was further continued in the late 20s early 30s as art deco was flourishing. Producers believed they should keep up with the current influential art movement using bold primary colours and geometrical designs. Different fonts and letters were warmly welcomed and each genre began to shift towards its own type
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In contrast to the chic paintings, the typography became more bold, borders were often used creating an embossed or shadowed effect, giving the type a more 3 dimensional appearance. As TV became a popular fixture in households at the end of the ‘40s, less movies were made. Also, because of the war, budgets were cut and so less movies were made, rendering movie posters of this era rare and valuable collector’s items. Paranoia films became popular during the cold war era as Americans feared communism resulting from the war, but producers realised that they needed to focus on more genres rather than solely focusing on war, to win back their viewers. Because of this, fantasy films were created in the ‘50s to entice viewers. Eventually, movie posters adopted similar advertising skills to those of the magazine (colour printing influences), generally using bold colours, borders and a photograph. A popular trend that came about was using tinted photos, accompanied by
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