Friday, 12 November 2010

Dino De Laurentiis - The Posters

As a way of paying respect to the legendary producer Dino De Laurentiis who died yesterday at 91, I thought I'd take a look at where I'm used to seeing his name...at the top of the credits on some of the worlds most famous film posters. I'm not necessarily looking at the most obvious ones, but I'm going to work backwards and pick out some of my favourites from a wide array of titles. Trust me though...these are all classics.


Check them out after the jump...


First up it's Sam Raimi's second sequel to The Evil Dead. I find it incredibly quaint that the poster attests this is a film from 'the director of Darkman'. Given Raimi's career in the last decade and current standing of one of Hollywood's biggest directors, it's a cute statement that adds to this posters nostalgic charm. Dino's name is on there (as usual the first one on the credits), as part of the Dino De Laurentiis Communications title.

Next we have 1986's Manhunter, also known as the 'other' Hannibal Lecter film. Apparently it was De Laurentiis' decision to change the title from the original novel's Red Dragon, basing his decision on his perceived bad luck with a previous film with 'dragon' in the title. It's quite an 80's poster, focusing on an image of William Petersen bathed in shadow. It also has a horrendous font for the title, but it kind of works with its sub-Warholian style. Dino's stamp is sitting right on top of the credits, though this time through his De Laurentiis Entertainment Group credit. He started DEG in 1983, but it was defunct by 1989. The familiar DEG logo with the lion atop can be glimpsed in the bottom right corner.

Basically part of a brand that Dino set up, this was one of a score of films that were 'presented' by De Laurentiis, along with Flash Gordon, Death Wish and 2002's remake of Manhunter, Red Dragon. Much like the film of The Dead Zone, this poster is vaguely mysterious in a way you can't quite put your finger on. De Laurentiis worked with Stephen King projects again, producing Silver Bullet, Sometimes They Come Back and King's own directorial effort, Maximum Overdrive.

That's one big monkey. To be honest, Dino's name is hard to find anywhere on this poster, but it's a fantastic image that says all you need to know about 1976's notorious remake. It takes some balls to claim that your film about a giant monkey climbing a New York landmark is 'original', but that's what this painting and photograph blended poster states. It's a lovely idea that you could get King Kong 'For Christmas', but you're going to need one hell of a big tree to fit him under.

Honestly, before I started putting these all together I'd never seen this poster before, but it's a beaut. As well as the garish colour scheme, the poster sells what it needs to, with Charles Bronson's name more prominent than the actual title. Again this poster uses that wonderfully 70's font (just like King Kong), which softly informs us that Bronson's man with a gun is 'Judge, Jury and Executioner'. It doesn't really need to say any more.

Again with the star power, when advertising this film the plot is secondary to the draw of a big name movie star like Pacino, not to mention his Hollywood visage treated with more of the garish after effects. It says little about the film apart from that he's an honest cop, but the colours definitely makes it stand out on a billboard. Like Death Wish, this film also chooses to put it's title in quotation marks. It's a bit of a weird quirk that you don't see any more.

I couldn't really do this without looking at a Barbarella poster, but I've chosen a different version. Again De Laurentiis' name is above both the title and the main stars credit. He really did enjoy (and covet) a level of fame that nowadays is only experienced by people like Jerry Bruckheimer. If anything, it's the image that does all the work here, and the title's been mixed in with a vaguely smutty line about her doing 'her thing'. This poster doesn't quite sell the campiness of the film, and looks more like a softcore porn flick (yes, yes, it's not much more than that anyway).

And so I end with one of the 60's most stylish anti-heroes, with a suitably Bond style poster. There's plenty going on there to sell the action and outright sexiness of the whole thing, but I'm a little confused as to who the main character is. It's the man who's pointing a gun at us, but although I understand that when you've got movie stars you've got to show their faces, Diabolik is easily recognisable by his odd but iconic mask which only makes an appearance in the typeface of the title.


So there you go. A mini tribute to the late, great producer Dino De Laurentiis who sadly died this week at the age of 91. He's left behind some classic films that will last forever, along with some truly outstanding posters that go with them. I've only really scratched the surface with this collection, but if you want to check out more cool posters head to impawards.com, the awesome archive where I found most of these images.

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