THE ART OF THE MOVIE POSTER - Content
THE ART OF THE MOVIE POSTER
For Hicksflicks.com, Sept. 19, 2014
At the Cinemark Theaters in Draper, Utah, near one of the exit doors, is a framed poster (shown above), and it never fails to catch my eye. I'm utterly enchanted by it, though I'm not sure why.
To be sure, it's a lovely painting for the 1933 Jean Harlow-Clark Gable comedy "Hold Your Man," although it's for the Italian-dubbed version, titled "L'Uomo Che Voglio" (which is, more literally, "The Man I Want," according to Google).
The poster depicts Gable and Harlow as they embrace, perhaps dance, capturing them when both were young and at their most appealing, their movie careers just gaining steam. (Compare the poster with the photo above, which obviously served as a model.)
I have no idea who did this particular poster but it's so beautiful and entrancing that I can't go to that theater without stopping to take it in once more. There's something about the painting's style and grace, the simplicity of the form and the lack of background, save a slanted shadow.
And it's interesting to compare it to other posters for the same film that are aimed at American audiences, several of which you can view on this page.
They're all interesting and quite charming in their own way but none manages to climb the heights achieved by the painting on the Italian poster. At least to me, it's truly a masterpiece of understatement.
The film itself is a bit of fluff, light and airy — quite an enjoyable piece of fluff but not nearly as mesmerizing as the Italian poster.
"Hold Your Man" was Harlow and Gable's third pairing (after "The Secret Six" and "Red Dust," both 1931).
Gable was a year away from his Oscar for "It Happened One Night" and six years away from "Gone With the Wind."
Harlow would make 11 more films — including three more with Gable — before succumbing to kidney disease in 1937 at the age of 26.
I've always loved movie-poster art, especially for the classic studio contract-era films. But I must admit that for me, this painting, to be used as a publicity device for an assembly line studio comedy — and for a foreign-language version at that — somehow transcends all the rest.