Cinema Retro's Dave Worrall spreads the news about an
important new film book:
Film Posters – An Illustrated History is a must-have book for any serious
student interested in the world of cinema and design. Covering all aspects of
this fascinating subject, including design, printing, display – and even
detailed biographies of all of the major artists of that period, author Sim
Branaghan takes the reader back to a time when cinema was great – Cinema Retro time!
Poster for "Puppet On a Chain"
For fans of
Witchfinder General, don’t miss Issue
#5 (Spring/Summer 2006) for our great 8-page feature on the film loaded with
rare photographs and interesting behind-the-scenes stories. Go to ‘Back Issues’
for more details.
Birmingham-born author Sim Branaghan was
only a year old when I ‘stole’ my first film poster. It was the quad to Witchfinder
General from outside The Plaza cinema, Stockland Green – also in Birmingham!
In those days posters were pasted into specially made frames in the neighbourhood,
and could be peeled off if still wet from the glue used to hold them in place.
One got to know what day a ‘new’ poster would be displayed, and I could often
be seen (or not, as is the case) taking my dog for a walk at night, the route
just happening to take me past these many hoarding sites in my area of Erdington.
Being as the latest poster was merely pasted over the previous one, it was simply
a case of peeling off the poster, but maybe having to lift several thicknesses
of them so not to damage the one you wanted. Once home, you carefully ‘steamed’
off the top poster and dried it out. Of course, the results were never perfect,
but at least you had a film poster that (in those days) was virtually impossible
to obtain – collecting was a hobby yet to begin or be recognised. Ah, I remember
those days well – my heart thumping like a tractor engine every time a car went
by, with me hiding in the shadows like Richard Attenborough on the run in The
Great Escape. Wonderful times.
So for me,
this book virtually sums up my whole life’s interest in cinema in one tome – a
trip down memory lane on every page. As readers of Cinema Retro will know, I’m
the ‘half’ of the team who designs the magazine, so layout and artwork are
foremost in my mind. Of all the posters produced around the world, the British
quad (size 30” x 40”) was the best, allowing artists total freedom within the
framework of the landscape proportions that was restricted by other boundaries
such as the US
one-sheet. I love them, and have been collecting quad posters ever since that first
‘stolen’ escapade back in 1968.
Poster for "Dracula Has Riven From the Grave"
Sim Branaghan has a passion for posters.
It’s as simple as that. His research is second to none, and not only does he
trace the history of the British film poster from the early days until the demise
of using ‘painted artwork’ in the mid-eighties, but has even interviewed the
many artists themselves, including, where possible, a history of the printing
companies who actually produced them! To be able to read about (as well as see
examples of their work) Tom Chantell, Brian Bysouth, Eric Pulford, Renato Fratini
and Arnaldo Putza is a dream come true for me. There are hundreds of colour
illustrations of quad posters included in the book. The Carry On comedies, James
Bond, Hammer horror, British classics – you name it, and they are in here. Covering
all aspects of design, printing and display, including detailed biographies
of all the major artists British Film Posters: An Illustrated History
is simply a must-buy book for anyone who loves both the cinema and design.-
British Film Posters: An Illustrated
by the BFI
format paperback/ 281 pages.