Movie posters – ANOTHER lost art?

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“Lost art” (not Lost Ark) gets thrown around a lot to mask some nostalgia of how it was all better when we were 10 years of age.

American made cars, crystal sculptures, tapestry weaves, job creation – lost arts all, or they seem to be for the masses. (Faye Dunaway’s eyes above are becoming lost to time, also, but that is the way of things).

Movie posters are fading fast into this category. Today, it is big fiery backgrounds, a half dozen people I have never seen before on the poster looking like they are at a 20-something dinner party on a couch and three names on top that seem to mean something to somebody.

I realize display advertising is bleeding out and rigoring into that “lost art” category, and movie posters are/were a “grab ‘em and sell ‘em sizzle” type of advert. Soon it will all be whatever can be shoved onto a fon screen – tits probably, half covered but well (for the ladies eyes to judge) and just tits for the dude.

Still, there has to be a best for everything on society’s pyramid of happiness and the best goes to: “The Silence of the Lambs,” a 1991 release about serial killers and FBI agents who love … no track them.

“The Silence of the Lambs” was voted the BEST poster of the past 35 years in 2006 by some cinema art association that you can either take my word for or Google the damn thing for yourself. It still stands as that today, and that means the past 42 years now.

It beat out  “A Clockwork Orange,” “Star Wars,” “The Eyes of Laura Mars,” “An American Werewolf in London,” “Risky Business,” “Desperately Seeking Susan” etc (fill in your own non sexed up teen aged boy impressed posters if you like, but these are all posters I have seen on the walls of offices and bedrooms well past their release dates.)

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At first, I was aghast, apoplectic even. I rarely mix my aghast with my apoplectic rage, unlike my chocolate and peanut butter. Then I calmed down, put my distaste for the early 1990s aside, and actually looked at the poster:

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Well, shit. I was wrong. It is a damn fine poster. I love the movie (except for that bathtub in the killer’s house, it creeps me the hell out).

I looked at the poster. Then I stared at it in a way I never looked at it before. In a simple face, with a butterfly on the mouth, this poster conveys the intrigue and fearfest that is “The Silence of the Lambs.”

That was a huge movie in the 1990s in terms of influence. Movies had been drifting from one absolutely awful blockbuster to the next for about three years until Jodie Foster and Anthony Perkins righted the wheel. In terms of influence, in the first half of the 1990s, I think only “Pulp Fiction” would have more influence on other works. Like it or hate it, “Pulp Fiction” was imitated by everything and opened the door for much more artistic license in film and television than since “The Godfather” or “Annie Hall” (sorry “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” were just popcorn movies and “Basic Instinct” was still a sex driven slasher movie).

I firmly believe if there were no Silence movie, then “The X-Files” television show would not have been made.

So, with all this running through my mind, I looked at that poster and thought … “Yep. It is better than Laura Mars, but come on – better than “Risky Business?”

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No, I thought that is a pretty accurate description. The best since 1971.

(But NOT 1958:

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)

All of which tells me something. If a 1991 film advert, crafted just before the dawn of the laptop-palooza, Information Superhighway, Internet, Google, phone app driven love that we know have around us is THE BEST, then the movie poster is a “lost art.”

Still, “A Clockwork Orange” isn’t better? …

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Well … what the hell do I know? I think 1986’s “April Fool’s Day” is pretty damn good flick and has a kick ass poster.

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The Colonel … and give 1986’s April’s Fool Day a try until the end – it is a SHOCKER.

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