Classic Movie Posters: January Releases

Today, Java journeys through old movie posters. We'll take a brief gander at those images designed to make us plop down cold, hard coinage, grab some Good and Plenty and become transported to another world. Let's have fun.

This Month's Theme: January Releases.  

You Only Live Once (1937)

United Artists released You Only Live Once 75 years ago this month. It's the story of an ex-convict (Henry Fonda) and his wife (Silvia Sidney) who go on the lam after being framed for murder. But you wouldn't guess that from the poster (on the left). 

This looks like the cover of a torrid romance novel where the most action you'll get is the lady fainting from a love that cannot be expressed for the man whose name must not be mentioned.... All that stuff.

The French poster (on the right) - with a prominent jail cell, police search light and an act of violence -  is a bit busy, but it does a better job of conveying urgency, danger and (best of all) the plot!

The Man Who Came To Dinner (1942)

On January 1st seventy years ago, moviegoers in the U.S. lined up to watch Bette Davis play indulgent secretary to Monty Woolley's bombastic radio star in The Man Who Came To Dinner.

This ad reads in part, "There never was a better reason for 'going to the movies.'" This suggests people might have been turning away from cinematic diversions for a bit. It's understandable that everyone's mind was now focused on more serious matters; the attack on Pearl Harbor was not even a full month before the premiere of Dinner.

With that in mind, it's no wonder the marketing department felt the need to give a reason for attending the theater. Every mouth on the poster is in mid-laugh. "Distract yourself," seems to be the message.

The Cimarron Kid (1952)
Another man-on-the-run tale was released in January fifteen years after You Only Live Once. This one involves the wild west, train robberies and Audie Murphy. It's The Cimarron Kid. Beating back the rise of black and white television westerns, this movie brings a cowboy story in Technicolor! Just to get your kiddies unglued from the boob tube, each poster or lobby card is almost its own comic strip. There are are guns drawn, horses rearing, Yvette Dugay doing her best Jane Russell impression.... You almost don't need to see the movie!

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962)
Capitalizing on the sword and sandal movie fad of the time, the Three Stooges (via time machine) run into the son of Zeus. Most of the posters for this film carve the title out of giant 3D blocks, or have the demigod hovering above, flexing, which is fine. However, the most interesting ones have the myth interacting with Larry, Moe and Curly- all of whom are helpless before him. The French poster above is a case in point, where Herc's phenomenal power allows him to pull the comedy team from white space.

See you next month in Classic Movie Posters.


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"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email:


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