Making Great Movie Posters

rosenberg_aug02_jackiebrown_post.jpg

Miramax Films

Movie posters, or series of movie posters based on the blue/orange contrast have been all the rage lately. So even if the 2010 Rolling Roadshow, a movie tour sponsored by Levi's, had to stick with one of those colors, I'm glad they stuck with orange, and via Olly Moss, the artist commissioned to do them, stuck with a series of blunt images, rather than color-tinted stars. The poster for Jackie Brown, in particular, reminds me of the great crooked hand image for The Man with the Golden Arm.


The thing that's really interesting about these posters, though, is that they're an illustration of the extent to which we rely on stars to sell movies today. The reason the posters for these theoretically-classic movies can just have a blocky, evocative image, is that we recognize the central conceit or idea of each film even when it's rendered in abstract. A smoking Smith & Wesson Model 29 isn't enough to get us interested any more unless we know in advance that it's Dirty Harry's Smith & Wesson Model 29, and we know what we does with it. We don't want to be intrigued by fragments, we insist on guarantees, or what we think are guarantees. We're less curious, more cautious. And apparently easily swayed by blue and orange.
Presented by

Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture writer with The Washington Post.

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In