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For a movie poster that screams unbridled terror, do not turn to Czech artist Olga Fisherova, who created the poster on the right in 1975. Instead of going for the hyper-realistic approach that artist Roger Kastel took on the left, Fisherova's minimalist effort looks like a screengrab from an adorable video game.
Spielberg's movie won three technical awards, but lost Best Picture to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Twitter
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One year before the Iron Curtain came crashing down, over on the American silver screen, a tiny child was trapped comically inside actor Tom Hanks' body — a performance which earned Hanks a Best Actor nomination (he lost out to Dustin Hoffman for Rain Man). Czech artist Bartosova went rather more psychedelic in their design.Pinterest
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Ghostbusters was nominated for two Oscars, including Best Original Song and Best Visual Effects. Unfortunately, it was up against Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for the latter and Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You” (from The Woman In Red) for the former, and was soundly beaten each time.
As far these promotional posters go, in Petr Pos' effort seen on the right, it's not clear which part of the movie is represented here.Amazon
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The Conversation (1974)
In 1974, Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather Part II beat his surveillance thriller, The Conversation, for Best Picture. The latter was given the standard American poster treatment, but in Poland, artist Jerzy Filak decided he didn't just want to look at Gene Hackman's face — he wanted to get inside it.Twitter
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The Andromeda Strain (1971)
While the 1971 Oscar nominated film, The Andromeda Strain, focuses on stopping a deadly contagion, the Hungarian poster more closely highlights the physical strain of climbing a ladder — per one scene in this film. LiveAuctioneers
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The Last Emperor (1987)
With a whopping nine Oscar wins, 1987's The Last Emperor is an epic tale of China's last emperor. However, if you were to venture a guess based on the Hungarian poster, you may think it's about using the last Post-It note from the pad.Mutargy
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Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
The Oscars loved Hannah and Her Sisters with three wins and four more nominations. While the East German poster might suggest that it was a clown-themed porn, the movie was a comedy-drama by Woody Allen about a Manhattan family.Posteritati
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Working Girl (1988)
Working Girl revolves around a workplace environment, but at first glance, the Polish rendition may be more suited to a film about a gym and a girl working out.Projector Magazine
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Blade Runner (1982)
It's no shock that Blade Runner took home Oscars for set decoration and visual effects. It's also not shocking that the Polish poster capitalized on one of the more titillating costumes from the 1982 Sci-Fi thriller. Reddit
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Amadeus scored eight Oscars in 1985. The crumbling, black and white Polish movie poster is a stark contrast to the colorful Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart that Tom Hulce portrayed in the film.Polish Poster Gallery
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Oscar darling Cabaret nearly swept the awards in 1973. We'll leave the interpretations of the Polish version of the movie poster up to you.Pinterest
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Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
Winning the Oscar for best costumes in 1970, Anne of the Thousand Days was nominated for nine more — promising a passionate and shocking love story. However, anyone familiar with Anne Boleyn knows the Polish poster really went heavy on the spoilers. Polish Poster Gallery
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Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Nominated for four Academy Awards, Carole Eastman's drama starring Jack Nicholson actually left the Oscars empty-handed. The U.S. poster fittingly captures Nicholson's brooding oil rig worker, whereas artist Karel Machalek's poster is far more surreal, featuring what appears to be Karen Black with a pair of wings sprouting out of her eyes.Original Film Art
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Zdenek Ziegler's butterfly-slicing poster has a cruel simplicity about it, and is similar in style to Henri Charriere's 1970 book cover. Tom Jung's U.S. alternative is all about its two leads — Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman — shackled and looking forlornly into the distance. The film's strong Oscar contention was for Jerry Goldsmith's score, but it lost out to Barbara Streisand singing “The Way We Were” for the movie of the same name. Cinematerial.com
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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Winner of four Academy Awards, three for music and one for cinematography, this buddy western was portrayed rather differently in communist and capitalist territories. The Eastern version, by an artist known as Stanner, is a simple, iconic take, whereas Tom Beauvais' U.S. poster is all guns blazing, Paul Newman and Robert Redford in full charge, complemented with a cut-out of what looks strangely like a Victorian advertisement for a bicycle (but which fans will immediately recognize as one of the film’s most iconic scenes).eBay
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Planet of the Apes (1968)
Award-winning Czech artist Vratislav Hlavaty created 82 film posters in his artistic career. The award wasn't for this one, though, in which his portrayal of the Charlton Heston monkey romp looks a little like a flyer for a student rave. The celebrated film was overlooked in the main categories, but unsurprisingly picked up an honorary award for Best Make-Up.Twitter
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A pair of breasts would most certainly have been an advertising no-no in the United States in 1974. This wasn't the case in Poland, however, where Andrzej Klimowski's risque depiction of Roman Polanski's film noir stands in stark contrast to Jim Pearsall's smokier effort on the left.
The film won Best Original Screenplay but lost out on its other 10 nominations, Jack Nicholson losing to Art Carney (Harry and Tonto) and Faye Dunaway losing to Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore).Pinterest
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Mary Poppins (1964)
Julie Andrews won Best Actress for her tap-dancing, medicine-pushing heroics as Disney's favorite nanny. In the East, artist Eva Galova-Vodrazkova gave Poppins' shoe the star treatment. The U.S. version went far more theatrical, although the end result does end up more closely resembling a promotional poster for a celebrity dance competition than an Oscar-winning movie.Arcadja.com
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Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Winner of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, John Schlesinger's classic drama with Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman was given a hallucinogenic twist by Prague's Zdenek Ziegler — a nod perhaps to the film's drug-induced party scene, which sees Voight's cowboy smoke weed, take a pill, then have a job getting it up with a party girl he's just picked up.
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Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
What would you expect from a British Agatha Christie movie poster? Yes, lots of hats and snooty faces looking politely suspicious. Polish designer Andrzej Klimowski had none of that, giving Albert Finney's Poirot a pop art look, one of his faces with jaundice, the other a nauseous green, presumably after a night spent in the company of a bottle of absinthe.
Finney lost out on Best Actor to Art Carney in Harry and Tonto, but Ingrid Bergman bagged a Best Supporting Actress award.
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My Fair Lady (1964)
Audrey Hepburn and the color pink are certainly the signifiers of choice in both posters. On the left, Bill Gold has crammed the film's entire plot into his sketched American poster, whereas Zdenek Kaplan has just gone for Hepburn's head, reversed and reflected beneath, surrounded by intriguing doodles.
While iconic in her role as Eliza Doolittle, the actress didn't win one of the film's eight Oscars (or even, in fact, a nomination).
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Raging Bull (1980)
Robert de Niro's virtuoso performance as tragic boxer Jake LaMotta earned him the Best Actor gong, and both East and West chose to base their posters solely on his beastly, bashed-up face.
Communist film posters of the '80s were much more similar to the Western originals than in the '60s and '70s, though Zdenek Ziegler still modified American Tom Jung's simplistic design, his kaleidoscopic version far more menacing.
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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (1967)
Who's coming to dinner? Sidney Poitier, that's who. The American film poster ruins any potential surprise there, whereas Karel Vaca's Czechoslovakian effort simply tells you that it's someone who has licked the plate clean. This 1967 film about interracial marriage earned Katharine Hepburn a Best Actress award for her role as the mother, and the film picked up another one for Best Original Screenplay.
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The Professionals (1966)
Howard Terpning's American poster for Richard Brook's Oscar-nominated western is a little messy, with Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster seemingly taped up in old camera film. In Josef Vyletal's Eastern version, the solitary gun fires out of a half-sketched, half-painted background.
In the years 1964-79, Vyletal created over 100 movie posters, most of which bore little or no resemblance to the film's actual content.
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The Sting (1973)
Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, the tone of George Roy Hill's classic crime caper was reflected rather nicely in Richard Amsel's US poster. Over in Czechoslovakia, artist Karel Machalek gave the movie a more sinister look, with Robert Redford and Paul Newman's chiseled Hollywood faces looking like they had been chiselled in a street fight.
25 Bizarre But Beautiful Communist-Era Posters For Oscar-Worthy Hollywood Movies
Big names, big slogans, and even bigger heads. That's typically been the make-up of a Hollywood movie poster since the 1920s. In the Soviet states, however, things were a little different.
As the Cold War dragged on throughout the 20th century, some of the most important ideological battles took place in the artistic sphere. Eastern Bloc artists — mostly from Czechoslovakia and Poland — were not merely stamping actors' grinning faces on a given film's promotional material. Rather, they used the poster medium to show off their artistic talent and technical precision.
Many poster artists hadn't even seen the film they were tasked with depicting. Instead, they created the posters based on an idea or some abstract association. Their stark portrayals of Hollywood's most beloved films revealed a startling, and intentional, divide between the East and West.
See for yourself in the gallery of Oscar-nominated or winning American film posters above.
Posters Symbolized Free Thought In A Stringent Society
From 1948 until the late 1980s, Czechoslovakia's isolation under the Soviet Union made for abstract interpretations of even the most popular Hollywood films.
There were no competing movie studios; just one distribution company. Rather than spend money to ship and receive the original posters, and to not bother with reviewing materials that may be banned, Czechoslokvakian executives commissioned their own artwork.
At least one plus to this system was that the state didn't place many restrictions on the artists, other than the rule that work couldn't be blatantly political in nature.
During the '60s, '70s, and '80s, Communist-era movie posters were definitely dynamic — and fairly surreal — as most artists never even saw the films. They often went off a synopsis or sometimes just a title in order to craft their posters.
Meanwhile, in Poland, most Communist-era movie posters were painted, though there are lovely examples of photo-collage during the late 1950s. From then until the 1980s, the communist state closely monitored the country's film industry.
However, throughout the Eastern Bloc, it was Poland that seemed to maintain the most autonomy — especially when it came to art and culture. Through this time of repression and limited freedoms, they used poster-making as a space to exert their creative freedom.
Poland rightly made poster design a true art form using vibrant colors and clever metaphors.
The Legacy Of Communist-Era Movie Posters
mwichary/FlickrA collection of Polish movie posters on display.
Hollywood couldn't do anything about the treatments their movies received in the Eastern Bloc during this time, but the artists certainly enjoyed their time of celebrated creativity.
That is, until the late '80s, when the Eastern Bloc crumbled, and Western companies could exercise more control over their movie releases there. Now, much of the same promotional materials are used internationally, with the only change being translated text.
While it is a shame to see this period of poster-making end, it has nonetheless left a mark on art history.
Historians refer to this graphic renaissance in Poland as the "Polish School of Posters." While it's not a school in the physical sense, it's definitely a phenomenon that has inspired makers across the world.
The head curator of Poland's poster museum, Marisuz Knorowski, described the breadth of the legacy of the Polish school of Posters: "We are talking about thousands of works' several prominent artists and at least three generations."