ORIGINAL VINTAGE MOVIE POSTERS
Original vintage movie posters have a long and fascinating history. An enormous number of different posters were made and there are an almost infinite number of different collecting strategies that a collector or curator might follow.
Birth of the Movie Poster
Around 1895, the invention of cinema happened pretty much simultaneously in France and the U.S. Almost immediately, movie posters came into being to promote what was an amazing new invention. During the twenty years between the creation of cinema and the onset of World War I in 1914, the movie poster evolved in many countries. And, in each country, different artwork was used and different standard sizes emerged. The art form of movie posters marked huge headway between 1905 and 1910 and by the 1910's, most of the standard sizes and formats had been established.
Movie Posters as Art
WalterFilm has always had an interest in international film poster art. Since 1982 we have presented the finest original vintage film posters from the United States, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the Soviet Union, Poland, and many other countries.
We are always searching for the finest original, vintage film poster imagery. On certain film titles there are huge variations as to how the film is represented. For example, on the classic 1962 Robert Aldrich thriller, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, the U.S. posters (which have imagery of a broken doll) were undoubtedly effective—to lure audiences to see the movie. However, the French poster (with its wild design in bright color of a heavily made up Bette Davis menacing a bound and gagged Joan Crawford) has to be considered the strongest graphic work for this classic film.
The Art of Collecting Vintage Movie Posters
Here are a few of the many different approaches which people can take to movie poster collecting:
- Favorite Stars or Favorite Directors — People focus entire collections on Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Barbara Steele, Howard Hawks, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, etc.
- Collections on Specialized Subjects — This could include African Americana, LGBTQ film, silent films, exploitation films, horror, aviation, rock and roll, hot rods, James Bond, Star Wars, westerns, and pre-Code cinema of the early 1930's.
- Posters of Favorite Movies — Posters for films that you love without any regard to what category they belong to.
- Poster Design — Movie posters can be bought simply for their design, which might include some very obscure pieces for unknown films where the poster art is striking. This can also be a project to collect film posters designed by great illustrators, and that can include artists from Europe and the U.S. A few names, from what would be a very long list: Folon, Martinati, Ballester, Frazetta, John Held, Jr., Bob Peak.
Vintage movie poster collecting, when taken to the highest level, is an art form in its own right.