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The kick-ass movie poster art of Frank McCarthy

‘Where Eagles Dare’ (1968).
I don’t go to cinema as much as I once did. In large part because there is too much stuff out there waiting to be seen in places other than the cinema but also because today’s movie posters don’t sell their product. Most of them—and okay there are quite a few exceptions—look like they’re selling something other than a damn good film. They could be hawking deodorant, beer, suppositories—anything but a movie. They’re bland, anonymous, tasteful, safe and utterly in-o-fucking-fensive. They look like they’ve been designed by a committee of cockwombles who are all dressed in identical wool shirts and bowties who like to stroke their imaginary beards and talk about you know nuance.

That’s not the movie posters I like. I want to see the ingredients on the label first before I consume the product. That’s why I dig the artwork of Frank McCarthy.

McCarthy (1924-2002) produced a staggering and unparalleled selection of movie posters, book covers and magazine illustrations during his long and respected career. When I look at one of McCarthy’s film posters I know I’m gonna go and watch this movie—even it turns out to be a piece of shit—because he sold me the damned thing in a single image.

McCarthy started out copying frames from his favorite comic strips. After high school, he attended Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute where he majored in illustration. And so on and so on, into his career as a commercial artist. But you know an artist’s life is rarely as interesting as their work and McCarthy’s film work is the best. Just look at the way he gets the whole thing down to a few key painstakingly detailed scenes. That’s how you sell a movie.
‘The Chairman’ (1969).
‘Danger Diabolik’ (1968).
‘The Dirty Dozen’ (1967).

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Ken Adam: The Man Who Designed for James Bond and Stanley Kubrick

You will know Ken Adam for the War Room in Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove. Or, perhaps his car design for Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. And of course, his unforgettable designs for the James Bond movies - from the specially adapted Aston Martin car, to his vision of Fort Knox in Goldfinger; the jet pack in Thunderball; or his stunning rocket base, within a hollow volcano in You Only Live Twice - Adam has created some of the most brilliant and unforgettable set designs ever filmed.

The 007 Set: A Profile of Ken Adam tells the story of cinema’s best known production designer from his birth in Berlin, between the wars, to his escape to England after the rise of Hitler, his training as an architect, and his career as the Royal Air Force’s only German fighter pilot during World War 2. First broadcast in 1979, this is a fascinating portrait, with great archive and an excellent interview with Ken Adam.

With thanks to NellyM

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Competing James Bond themes: Tom Jones vs. Johnny Cash’s ‘Thunderball’
12:26 pm


Johnny Cash
James Bond
Tom Jones

It’s the Man in Black vs. the bombastic Welsh crooner…

I like the Johnny Cash version, it’s cool, but more for a James Bond film that might take place in Texas than underwater. It’s pretty obvious why they didn’t use this one!

And here’s a smoking live version from the 1960s by the one and only Tom Jones….

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment