movie posters

Poster me Vintage: The Evolution of Movie Posters through A Star is Born

The filmmaking industry began in the late 19th century. It’s another art form of storytelling that caters to a wide range of audiences. In order to persuade audiences into a theater to see a movie, a film poster is used to promote and advertise it. Studios often print several movie posters that vary in size and content for various domestic and international markets. They normally contain an image with text.

Just like the film industry, poster-making for movies has gone a long way. Since there are a lot of movie posters created as there were a lot of films created the past 100 years, we will be comparing the posters made from the film “A Star is Born”. It is about how a woman yearns to become a Hollywood star and how she found love along the way. 

The film has been remade three times: in 1954 (directed by George Cukor and starring Judy Garland and James Mason), in 1976 (directed by Frank Pierson and starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson), and in 2018 (starring Bradley Cooper, who also directed, and Lady Gaga).  Therefore, we will be looking at four movie posters that advertised the same film.

1937 – Original

This poster just screams TECHNICOLOR. The first thing that our eyes were instantly drawn to is the actors in front and center. The characters are embracing each other, which indicates intimacy and immediately sells a love story to the audiences. 

Below the actors is the slightly curved title on top of the black arc that looks like a stage. By using this curve-like structure, it captures the 1930s era. This curve angle here creates a stage for these characters to emerge from this golden light. 

Another thing that is noteworthy is the background. The hand-drawn quality of the star in the background gives these human emotional characteristics to the story. 

1954 – Remake

Seventeen years later, this 1954 version incorporates the element of collage. There are more people in the background, and once again an actor is in front and center. However, it only features our main protagonist. Also, Judy Garland was a huge star at the time. 

Not only that, but musicals are one of the highest selling art forms of entertainment at that time. From a marketing perspective, the experience of musicals and singing and dancing as a promise of entertainment seems to dominate the poster compared to the previous one that feature a love story. 

Compared to the previous poster, this one involves multiple elements that take this to a new perspective. On the other hand, we see little differences between the art styles.  The art style of this poster is similar to our original poster. 

1976 – Remake

Let’s first start from the top. The photography of the two main characters is very glamorous. A provocative picture with a sexy approach that was a trend in the 70s. It is also more realistic that the first two posters. 

Covering the photograph is a red border with a color gradient in the background. What links to the border is the diagonal typography of the title “A Star is Born” which is also reminiscent of that era. It is very much a 70s aesthetic. 

Below the typography, there is also a stage that was like the “stage” of the first poster. However, this stage looks more realistic and it introduces a crowd. This element boosts and sells the movie’s plot. 

2018 – Remake

In contrast with the three previous posters, the 2018 version incorporated the black and white fashion aesthetic in the photography. It uses negative space which allows your eye to go to the center of the poster. The use of gold for the title reminds me of the colors of the Oscar Academy.

The main aspect of this poster is the actors engaging in this human-like moment; realistic and candid. Their connection is very much the highlight of this poster. There are two parts of an equal partnership. There is also the guitar which is an obvious connection to music and promises the audience a musical romance in the movie.

The latest movie poster is more minimalistic compared to the others. The other posters had a lot of elements and color involved. 

Conclusion

Notice how A Star is Born posters focus on the different aspects of the experience which watching the movie. The original depicts the personality of the leading male as something dark while emphasizing the love story. First remake focused on the female lead being the main protagonist instead of the love story that was part of the story. Second remake focused on the trend and how they would present the amorous love story the protagonists had. And the last remake focused on how connected the protagonists were. Just pure love and emotion right there.

Despite movie posters being used for advertisement to gain more viewers for the movie itself, it adapts to the audience of the era it was entertaining. From technicolor to musicals to the sexy trend to minimalism, posters make sure to evoke emotions and feelings that the audience could identify with which helps boost the allure for movie buffs to come and view the movie. Creating movie posters is a versatile kind of art form like how painted pieces evoke emotion.

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