Friday, November 7, 2008

Political Poster Children

[For the Politics & Movies Blog-a-thon.]

Oliver Stone’s W. wasn’t short on publicity materials. There were as many as 10 different promotional poster designs, some of them lackluster (a pair depicting George W Bush as either “Angel” or “Devil”), others of them inspired. Too inspired, in fact. As I argued in my review of W., Stone’s film never captures its subject with greater accuracy or commentary than is achieved in two of the print ads: one showing Josh Brolin’s Bush resting his chin on his folded hands in childlike contemplation, the other showing him sitting back in his chair in the Oval Office with his boots resting on his desk in Texas cowboy arrogance.

Those images advertise the film that Stone should have made, but didn’t. And though one would suspect that the W. posters would join a long line of provocative or at least evocative political-movie artwork, a quick scan of the library suggests otherwise. Below is a hardly-complete collection of promotional posters for political films. Of these, I think The Candidate best evokes the film’s philosophies (though the poster for The American President makes it clear that it’s a love story more than a political yarn).

If you notice a glaring omission, please point it out in the comments section, and I’ll try to add the image. Reactions to the current collection are encouraged.


James Yates said...

Wow, that was an impressive image collection.

As I scrolled through them, I couldn't help but think about the film "Dog Day Afternoon." I'm not sure if it would fall into the realm of political movies, since it's more about media. However, crime, desperation, and homosexuality definitely play into political conversations.

Mark said...

Yes, excellent collection.

It made me realize I never saw the remake of "Manchurian Candidate," although I'm not sure I want to. Your recommendation, Coolerites?

I'm looking forward to "Frost/Nixon." Michelle and I saw the play on Broadway and it was terrific.

Richard Bellamy said...

What a compelling collection of images! Got home weary from a week of teaching and it was a great feast for my tired eyes!

"Seven Days in May"
"Richard III" (recent one with Ian McKellan)

Jason Bellamy said...

Mark: My memory of the "Manchurian Candidate" remake is that it's forgettable. But I can't remember why.

Bob Westal said...

My main problem with the Demme version is that it was pretty much entirely lacking in humor -- a pretty important part of both the first film and the original novel by Richard Condon. Also, I thought it did a pretty lame job of transferring cold war issues to the modern era, which shouldn't have been all that hard seeing as we just exited an era that certainly echoed the McCarthy days -- it also didn't have a very strong point of view that I could see, either politically or just in terms of its characters.

I'm obviously a big fan of the original film and novel, and I actually have no problem with remakes, so this was a big disappointment to me.

Cool posters, btw -- hear's a challenge for a super-obscure political film that I've been trying to see for decades that had a great poster -- "The Spook Who Sat by the Door." If Jason can find that one, I'll be impressed.

Jason Bellamy said...

Bob: Challenge met! I also added a poster for a film you mentioned in the comments of "Assassination Meditation."

Hokahey: "Seven Days in May" has been added too.

Jason Bellamy said...

One more thing: I haven't seen "Spook," but can't you just picture the meeting between the casting director and the film's producers ...

- "For the role of Joy, we got Janet League."

- "Janet Leigh!? Wow!"

- "No, no. Janet LEAGUE!"

- "Oh."

Bob Westal said...

Good work.

And, I can't be sure, but I suspect that Janet Leigh was a bit fair-skinned for the part. (It's about a black ex-CIA agent who starts a racial revolution. I just found out that it's actual been available on DVD since 2004.)