running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

The Midas Touch

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Are you feeling lucky, punk? If the answer is yes, then top of the Christmas gift this list year must be 'Bill Gold: PosterWorks', published by reelartpress.

In a career spanning some sixty years, Gold was responsible for some of the most iconic movie posters of all time, starting with Casablanca, and including the likes of Bonnie and Clyde, Bullitt, The Wild Bunch, Get Carter, Dirty Harry, The Untouchables, Goodfellas, Unforgiven and his swansong, Mystic River.

The press release describe the book as -

' a unique 450 page collector's opus detailing the artist’s creative process, his army days, early career, posters for Elia Kazan, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Francois Truffaut through to his final work in 2003 on Eastwood’s Mystic River. Archivist of his own work, with a personal collection of unseen designs, alternative versions, sketches, drafts, notes and photographs, Bill Gold’s incredible history has never been accessible to the public until now.'


We have a couple of Bill Golds on the Inspiration wall in the Studio - a 1980's reprint of Casablanca (a UK version, with different typesetting for the credits), and an original for Dirty Harry (1971).

Gold's early work featured a lot of illustration, but he really hit his stride between the mid 60's and early 70's, when he specialised in action movies and dynamic cropped photos. He developed a stripped down style that went beyond Saul Bass, borrowed from the classic Swiss style, and had an added messy element of brooding pathos.

My personal favourites are a series of posters for the 1971 film 'Klute', which starred Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. The posters feature great stills, an image of a telephone receiver, and the film credits set in Bauhaus font. The compositions look really off-kilter, but they mirror the quick cut film editing that was popular at the time, and if you've seen the movie, you'll recognise the sleazy, complex mood they create.

Klute Poster Series:

The problem now? Convincing Santa that it's worthwhile forking out £300 to buy the book - a limited edition of 1500, signed by Clint Eastwood, who also authors the foreword.

Reel Gallery Exhibition : Bill Gold.
Bill Gold:Posterworks @ reelartpress.com
Book Review - The Telegraph, 8 Nov 2010.