Original Movie Posters to Trade

These posters are for trade purposes only and are not for sale. Please refer to my want list for things that are of interest.

1900-1919 1920-1929 1930-1945 1946-1964 1965-1979 1980-Present

1900 - 1920:

The dawn of cinema saw quick adoption and exploration of all the genres that would become staples of the cinema. Westerns, horror & fantasy, mystery & detective, science fiction, exploitation, back stage dramas, and virtually everything but the musical were all represented. While US posters were slow to move beyond playbill style posters, the French (who were already masters of the art) were ready to embrace stone lithography of the highest order as the advertisement of choice for the new medium.

The teens saw rapid advancement in the visual art of the cinema, the emergence of the movie star, and the producer/director with an identifiable style. The posters from this period also reflect those refinements as the industry of making movies was establishing the marketing formats and principles that would remain in place for decades.

Photo Title/Description Price

APACHES DU FAR WEST, LES (aka HOOLIGANS OF THE FAR WEST) (1907) - Quite possibly one of the earliest western movie posters in existence, certainly one of the most beautiful. Art work by demented auteur, Vincent Lorant-Heilbronn (1874-1912).

Lorant-Heilbronn served as a production designer, as well as directing a number of films at Pathe Freres prior to 1905. Now whether "directing" at that time meant anything more than glorified art direction might be a matter worthy of discussion. He was, however, primarily a poster artist, and a master at that. Capable of using imagery as surreal as anything Hieronymous Bosch might have dreamed up, his "out there" posters are wonders to behold. One of the overlooked film pioneers, who along with Melies, explored the outer reaches of genre film before most of the world even knew there was film.

Less than 5 years after "The Great Train Robbery," Pathe Freres have jumped on the wild west bandwagon in spectacular fashion telling the tale of cowboys beset by native Americans intent on stealing their horses. This is a rare horizontal grande affiche.

Trade Only (T.O.)

TERRORISTE, LA (aka THE TERRORIST, aka LES TERRORISTES EN RUSSIE) (1907) - Torn from the headlines of the day, Leon Gaumont’s La Terroriste shows just how far we’ve come in the century since its release.

Or not.

Dealing with the events surrounding the lesser known Russian revolution of 1905, it is almost certainly based on the assassination of Minister of the Interior, Vyacheslav von Plehve, which would have been a hot topic of the time throughout Europe. Telling the story of a dedicated revolutionary who draws the short straw to carry out the killing of the hated Governor, our red lady dutifully tosses a bomb into the Governor’s automobile (bomb tossing into carriages was the favored method of assassination at the time, although the twist of using a car was a Gaumont innovation). Surprisingly, she survives the assault only to be captured by the Governor’s loyal bodyguards and sent to prison where she is miraculously freed by the Governor’s widow. Overcome by the generosity of the superior class, she turns the table on her comrades and blows them to bits as they’re about to carry out another assassination.

This is an original release, horizontal grande. Wonderfully appallingly graphic.

T.O.

CHATEAU HANTE, LE (aka THE HAUNTED CASTLE) (1908) - Feeling the sting from the fantasy films of Georges Méliès, Pathe Freres created their own series produced by Segundo de Chomón (the “Spanish Méliès”) to try to win back some of the audience they were losing to Méliès’ Star Film. The result is this extremely early horror movie with absolutely must see design by Vincent Lorant-Heilbronn. Vivid stone litho colors look like they were printed yesterday.

The brave knight is plagued by witches, dragons, ghosts, and his cowardly red-headed man-servant. Apparently good help has always been hard to find.

T.O.

DRAME A LA COTE D'AZUR, UN (1908) - Another Pathe Freres poster masterpiece from lunatic Vincent Lorant-Heilbronn. This time they're taking aim at what can only be described as a very early exploitation film. The entire plot of the movie can be derived from the poster as a young wife is caught mid-tryst with her gypsy lover by her elderly husband, who turns up and busts a cap in said gypsy's tete, after which the lovely wife gets the whip.

I think Grampa and Grandma have some explaining to do, clearly lurid thoughts were not invented in the "modern" age!

T.O.

ENLISE DU MONT ST. MICHEL, L' (aka MIRE OF MONT ST. MICHEL) (1908) - Telling the story of a poor beggar who roams the streets of Mont St. Michel and is befriended by an equally poor family. When the son of his benefactor is taken ill, the beggar takes it upon himself to try to cross the quicksand laden channel to fetch a doctor. Needless to say, it ends badly.

Stunning, original release Pathe Freres art nouveau poster features the iconic Mont St. Michel monastery in the background. If this didn't grab the attention of the early movie going public, nothing would.

T.O.

MORFINISTEN (aka MORPHINE TAKERS) (1911) - A very early example of the horrors-of-narcotics films, this Danish two reeler directed by Louis von Kohl tells the tale of poor Mary, a farm girl swept off her feet by an allegedly wealthy businessman, John Robert, after his car breaks down outside their farm. He sets her up in a posh apartment as his fiancé in Copenhagen and woos her with the fancy urban nightlife. Unknown to Mary is that not only is the lecherous John Robert already married with a daughter of his own, his fortune is being destroyed as his stock shares plummet. Oh, and he is a raging morphine addict. The ideal husband! Reading about John Robert and his wife attending a show, Mary breaks it off and after some desperate times, hooks up with a polite older gentleman who does not threaten her morals but keeps her well taken care of. Desperate to revive his fortunes, John Robert schemes to marry off his daughter to a wealthy Scotsman, but hearing about the engagement, Mary becomes enraged and seeks to break the couple up and ruin John Robert’s plan. She finagles her way on board the ship back to Scotland and quickly seduces young Mac Duncan away from John Robert’s daughter. More morphine is required.

This is one of the earliest signed Danish posters, the artist is Valdemar Andersen (1875 – 1928) and is from the original release. Nothing like some Canadian whiskey and a shot of smack to calm the nerves of a respectable businessman.

T.O.

TARQUIN LE SUPERBE (aka TARQUINO IL SUPERBO) (1911) – Finding itself increasingly losing the battle with Italy’s home grown productions, the boys at Pathé Frères created a local Italian production company, Il Film d’Arte Italiana, to produce movies that aspired to universal and historic stories, but also to take advantage of the magnificent outdoor locations available in the Eternal City and elsewhere on the peninsula. Freed from the artificial stages and studios that nearly defined the type of productions made in the prior decade, these new films were the next step in developing what we now recognize as modern cinema.

Set among the real monuments of ancient Rome, Tarquin le superbe recounts the story of the last king before the Republic, Lucius Tarqunius Superbus, a vicious and scheming man who married the daughter of his predecessor, Servius Tullius, the equally scheming Tullia, and then knocks the old man off and takes his throne. Tullia seals the deal by running over Pappy with her chariot after he’s tossed into the street, the scene so gleefully chosen for this poster.

This is an original release grande and appears to be a part of the trend at the time where French produced artwork was used in various countries, as in this case the credits are in Italian. The artwork is by Pathé favorite, Vincent Lorant-Heilbronn, and while not at the deranged level of some of his earlier work, still manages to be quite lurid. This was a transitional period for French poster art, it was moving away from purely graphic designs and enticing come-ons and into the era of the movie star, which meant that the affiche art would become increasingly secondary to the performers. Perhaps it is better that Vincent would not live to see this era fully come to pass as he died the next year, in 1912.

T.O.

ENVOL POUR LA VIE, L' (aka FLUG UMS LEBEN, DER) (1913) - Original French poster for the German film directed by Paul Otto.

Alfred Duskes, one of the major distributors in Germany at this time, was in the process of merging his distribution company, Duskes Film, with Pathe Freres into a new jointly owned company called Literaria Films. This release is almost certainly from the time period before the merger was final, as both companies are given credit on the poster. Perhaps it was a trial run for their future effort. Posters from this era of German film are obviously rare given the...unpleasantness... that followed in the next 35 years. Needless to say, the same unpleasantness also finished this budding French/German partnership.

The film itself was the story of a love triangle between the daughter of a down-on-their-luck family who becomes engaged to a wealthy gentleman who can save the family’s finances. Rebelling against the marriage after she falls in love with an aviator, the daughter flees to the lighthouse home of their servant and goes into hiding. Unfortunately, the lighthouse catches fire and her only hope of rescue is from her aviator beau.

Also note the early Demoiselle aeroplane designed by aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont providing thrilling adventure in the days just prior to The War to End All Wars.

T.O.

MYSTERY OF THE LEAPING FISH (R. 1970s?) - What could be better than Doug Fairbank's delirious performance as doper extraordinaire, Coke Ennyday? (Get it? Har har!) Setting the bar incredibly high, the story by none other than "Dracula" and "Freaks" auteur, Tod Browning, throws in more shocking drug related activity and puns than in all the Cheech & Chong movies put together.

This is an original later release, probably from the 1970s when these sorts of reissues were all the rage among a certain set.

T.O.

ANTICS OF ANN, THE (1917) - Original release lobby card.

Diminutive Ann Pennington had a quick rise on the Broadway stage starring in the Follies for Ziegfeld and George White’s Scandals in the first part of the ‘teens. A remarkable dancer, Pennington wowed audiences and eventually was signed to become one of Adolph Zukor and Jesse Lasky’s famous players.

Because of her size, Ann was relegated to Mary Pickford-type “young girl” roles that never really suited her talents. In “The Antics of Ann,” she plays a wise-acre daughter who gets tossed out of boarding school because of her constant pranks. That doesn’t stop her any though as she tears through the rest of the film pulling off one scam after another, including posing as a Russian dancer, which had the added benefit of giving audiences an excuse to see her dance.

Pennington soon grew tired of film and only made a handful of them between 1916 and 1918 for the Paramount gang when she went back to Broadway full time and achieved even greater success, returning to Hollywood only after her career had peaked in New York in the mid-‘20s. The Great Depression and an addiction to the ponies wiped her out financially, and eventually she would lurk 42nd Street from her flophouse hotel rooms, depending on the same charities she had once donated her time to when things were more prosperous.

T.O.

COOK, THE (R. 1920s) – Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle was at the height of his filmmaking powers when he, along with co-stars Buster Keaton and nephew Al St. John, made this hilarious short film that was only recently rediscovered. Arbuckle displayed his immense talent for physical comedy in the story about a cook who literally tosses meals to Keaton’s waiter character and does a mean Salome dance to boot. After work, Fatty goes fishing near a seaside amusement park which includes cart rides at “Goatland” where they once again run across the lecherous St. John.

This original French grande is probably from an early 1920s re-release by the infamous Super Film of Paris, who may or may not have been the legal owners of the film at the time. What is interesting is that Super Film used the names “Malec” and “Picratt” for Keaton and St. John, respectively, until after 1925 when Keaton’s star had risen sufficiently that he could use his own name.

This is a delightful image of Arbuckle, pre-infamy, with Luke the Dog, who was not only his frequent co-star, but also Arbuckle’s pride and joy. Luke joined the Arbuckle household as an extra payment to then wife Minta Durfee by one of her directors, but Luke and Roscoe bonded instantly and were inseparable for the rest of their lives.

T.O.

FORBIDDEN CITY, THE (1918) - Silent superstar Norma Talmadge stars in a double role as both the wronged Chinese mother and her equally wronged half-breed daughter in a story rife with the complications of miscegenation and mistaken identities in old Peking and Manila. Despite the embarrassing yellow face performances and pidgin title cards the film isn’t all that bad, and Norma is in fine form hitting all the usual marks that her fans had come to expect in one of her movies from this era.

Original Swedish one sheet on linen, dated 1920 in the print with extraordinarily beautiful artwork of Ms. Talmadge, looking conspicuously non-Asian.

T.O.

SALOME (1918) - Original vamp and late teens superstar, Theda Bara, tackled a number of historical epics in her career, including Cleopatra, or in this case, Old Testament tart Salome.

Restored window card features stunning H.C. Miner lithography in the style of their work that includes "The Thief of Baghdad." Superior to the justifiably desirable one sheet in that it is clearly Theda doing the vamping. As they say, it's unlikely there are very many of these around in any condition.

T.O.

BOLSHEVISM ON TRIAL (1919) - This original release glass theater slide is a little deceptive. Coming from the crackpot pen of Birth of a Nation writer, Thomas Dixon, the film is not so much about Bolshevism being on trial as it is about a trial of Bolshevism.

As an experiment, a group of socialists take over an island in order to turn it into a worker’s paradise. Inevitably, lust for a beautiful member of the island proletariat and the greed of a counter-revolutionary Bolshevik, who co-opts the place for his personal fiefdom, doom the project. Clearly inspired by the takeover of Russia by the Reds, I find the films that appeared in the wake of the revolution fascinating. Coming out of the First World War, people were interested in alternative governmental options and the red menace was not yet as menacing as it would be just a few years later so the movies could examine it without the baggage of the eventual US politics and policies. That’s not say that the studio capitalists were going to give the commies a free ride, but this is the starting point for the cinematic treatment of our friends in the east.

T.O.

KATHLEEN MAVOURNEEN (1919) - After being typecast – and enormously successful – as the prototypical movie vamp, Theodosia Goodman, better known as Theda Bara, was desperately trying to break free from the restrictions placed on her by those roles. To that end, one of her first attempts was with a film adaptation of the popular Irish song, Kathleen Mavourneen.

Kathleen, about as far from a predatory vamp as one could get, is the daughter of a poor tenant farmer who is wed to the local lord to cover her father’s debt. Alack, once the lord finds an alternate gravy train to hop aboard he has Kathleen abandoned in the woods where she is beset by ruffians, finally being rescued by her former fiancé.

The film was moderately successful, although like most of Theda’s output, is now lost. It is perhaps most notable for causing a riot when it was played in a San Francisco theater where the local Irish population took offense at its depiction of the auld sod and tore the theater apart, stealing the print and damaging a projector in a confusing display of Irish culture. This is an original release lobby card.

T.O.

WAY OF A WOMAN, THE (aka BROADWAY’S DROTTNING) (1919) – Norma Talmadge, who along with her sister Constance, was one of the biggest stars of the late ‘teens and early ‘20s and who also had the good fortune to be married to uber-producer Joe Schenck. Schenck and Norma were by this time producing her own films at her own studio in New York, including The Way of a Woman, which while hardly breaking any new ground, definitely fit the formula her audiences craved. The story concerns the tribulations of a girl who is forbidden by her cash poor but pride rich parents from marrying her true sweetheart, so in a fit of pique, she marries a Broadway playa and spendthrift, who dies and leaves her broke.

This is an original Swedish poster, dated 1921 in the image. It is absolutely stunning, showing hints of Wiener Werkstatte graphic design that is quite rare among movie art.

T.O.

WORLD AND ITS WOMAN, THE (1919) – One of the most expensive movies of its day (certainly for Goldwyn), reportedly costing over $200,000 in 1919 dollars, the film chronicles the exploits of an opera singer who falls in love with a Russian count in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution, which was less than two years old at the time and decidedly uncertain as to its ultimate outcome. Not particularly successful, it did prompt one of the most enigmatic lines in a movie review from the New York Times, to wit: “…it permits the hero, instead of the heroine, to be photographed in the act of fondling a dog.”

OK, then.

Starring Geraldine Farrar, a huge star at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, famous for her beauty and gorgeous singing voice (her duets with Enrico Caruso are legendary), Farrar moonlighted in films for a brief period prior to the Jazz Age. In this production she was able to star with her then husband, Lou Tellegen, a notorious rogue and early matinee idol who got his start acting opposite Sarah Bernhardt. Tellegen, after the inevitable divorce from Farrar, was in later, less prosperous years diagnosed with incurable cancer and did what any one of us would have done in that situation, he stabbed himself seven times in the chest with a pair of scissors. Upon hearing the news of her ex-husband’s demise, Farrar warmly offered before slamming down the telephone: “Why should that interest me? It doesn’t interest me in the least.”

Original release US lobby card showing Geraldine amidst some wild-eyed reds who are trying to keep her away from her bourgeois Count. It is in rough condition, but the sign on back from what must have been an immigrant’s shoe shop, makes it worth it.

T.O.

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Thanks for looking!

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