Through his many examples of beautiful vintage movie posters, film historian and collector Ira M. Resnick reveals the history of Hollywood and the leading men and screen goddesses of cinema’s golden-age. From the biographies of silent-era stars such as Louise Brooks and Gloria Swanson, to the personal travel tales as a poster collector, his affection for these gems of film marketing is contagious and offers genuine insight on these iconic images and the ever-fascinating people behind them.
To view the book as an illustrator with a taste for old movies, I found this an addictive, educational and inspirational celebration of a colourful period in movie poster art, and one that’s unmatched in other books of this type (of which I own many). The large, hardback format does each of the near 300 posters justice and the author separates them into clear chapters focusing on Silent Film, Age of the Talkies, From Citizen Kane to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Great Directors, Classic Films and Little-Known Movies with Great Graphics.
Each chapter is as strong as the next with masterpieces of advertising art coming from each studio. My own personal favourites might have to be Carole Lombard sporting a black eye in Love Before Breakfast, Marlene Dietrich looking dangerous in Blonde Venus and the twisted take on Pin-up art in The Sin of Nora Moran.
It’s a shame that there isn’t more information on the artists responsible for this great work. I suspect artistic credit has long been lost in the studio system, but being able to put a name to the artwork would have made an otherwise brilliant book perfect. It’s a minor complaint in one of my favourite books of this year, and if, like me you take your illustration with a dash of Hollywood glamour, I urge you to go and buy it.