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16th August 2005War Movies - Are Film Posters Still As Dramatic ?
By Coll
When you think back to the older war movies (of any era), do you remember if the posters advertising them were one of the reasons for drawing you to go and see it at the cinema ?

Obviously, if films cover your interest, such as 'Zulu' or 'Zulu Dawn', you will definitely go and see them, but others which you may not have considered until you saw well-illustrated or exciting posters.

I'm hoping to obtain a book which I know contains an illustration showing the poster for 'Custer of the West' which I really like, and I used to have another book showing the poster for 'The Alamo', both images of the battle scenes.

Have posters changed very much, showing actors mostly 'posing for the camera' ?

I know there are many excellent images still on modern posters, but are there too many others, which show 'bland' or 'empty' images that you feel let the film down ?

16th August 2005Paul Cubbin
Offhand I can think of two reasons why film posters may not be what you remember.

Firstly - posters nowadays are very minor advertising tools and will be way down the list of media for any marketing department. Cinema, TV, newspaper, radio and 'piggyback' product (ie. a free Disney character in your cornflakes, as used in 'James Bond' mobile phones etc..) advertising are all modern favourites. The humble poster is really just a reminder for those who have probably absorbed all the relevant information from one of the other sources.

Secondly - modern advertising is all about impact. When I see trailers for films like 'From Russia with Love' and, yes, 'Zulu', they are more like a film synopses than a quick taster. Our attention span these days is less than it was...............where was I?..........oh yes, and advertisers prefer to pack disjointed images that have a dramatic emotional response to grab a consumer quickly. This trend has been carried over to film posters.
16th August 2005Coll

Thanks for your reply.

The reason I'm asking is because I've been considering ideas for a screenplay, building up pieces of information, etc., then I got to thinking about what sort of poster I would have liked to advertise my film.

I remembered books I got years ago, which contained the images I thought would give the best ideas for that very reason.

Both images I've mentioned above, each illustrating the direction I'm going with regards to posters.

These would be the panoramic versions of the poster, showing the whole thing instead of just a section.

1. 'Custer of the West' showing a detailed illustration of Custer's Last Stand.

This image I would use for Isandlwana. (Shields)

2. 'The Alamo' (1960 version) showing the front of the Alamo and the three main characters - Travis, Crockett and Bowie.

This image I would use for Rorke's Drift (Shields 2)

Obviously, these would just be representations of the type of posters.

However, it was while I was thinking about them, I considered the fact that posters have changed. Many of the older ones (as above) almost paintings in their own right, but modern posters, I feel, tend to lack something to make both them and the films themselves more appealing.

Or maybe I've just got too much time on my hands to be thinking of such trivial matters.

16th August 2005Dawn
You've got as far as thinking of the poster? Man, you work fast!
16th August 2005Coll

My way of working with any project is, if you reach an obstacle at any point and can't 'jump over it', then 'sneak under it' and pursue another aspect, before going back with 'fresh eyes' to where you were held up. As I find staring too long at a problem just causes you to be unable to think at all.

Move on. Then go back.

Hell, I'm even considering the music !

How about 'Brothers In Arms' by Dire Straits ?

A modern, haunting song, that does capture the image (I think). Listen to the lyrics.

If anything, when you collect visual and music details, it does inspire you a little bit more.

17th August 2005Dawn
When I encounter a problem I also walk away and give it some thought. The uncanny thing is the answer will pop out at me from some unusual source when I'm least expecting it. Maybe its got something to do with being more receptive.
As for music, the song that's inspiring me now is "The Crossing" by Johnny Clegg and Juluka. Its actually about crossing to the other side (as in death) but its appropriate for crossing the Buffalo and yes, I guess could refer to the death of all those at Isandlwana.
Do you know that "Spirit of the Great Heart" by the same singer was used in the movie "Jock of the Bushveld"?
17th August 2005Coll

There are many film soundtracks nowadays that are good, but like the posters, etc., somehow they lack the 'epic' feeling which films, especially 'Zulu' have.

It is difficult to try and mix a story from the 19th Century with 'modern' soundtracks that appeal to the present-day cinema visitors.

However, I'm sure it can work.

Take my example above 'Brothers in Arms' by Dire Straits, a haunting them, with lyrics that would suit the end of the film, when the battle is over, the story finished.

Although, I've been trying to think of a modern song that would suit the beginning, being quite lively, preferably covering the subject of a 'Heroes' theme. As the 'epic' music from years back I'm not sure would work.

17th August 2005Paul Cubbin
How about -
'Africa' by Toto?
'Two Tribes' by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
'Mars' by Holst from 'The Planets'
17th August 2005Coll

Mars - The Bringer of War ?

You could be on to something there !

Is it suited to a film about Isandlwana ?

Possibly. If anything, it really is a dramatic piece of music.

I'll go with that at the moment.


17th August 2005Coll
Further to the above.

Screenplay Title - SHIELDS

Title Music - 'Mars' by Holst

Film Subject - The Battle at Isandlwana

End Music - 'Brothers in Arms' by Dire Straits

Poster - Featuring Durnford's Last Stand. (based on the poster 'Custer of the West')

May just be an additional pastime, but it definitely is taking shape.
18th August 2005Alan Critchley
Just out of interest, I've placed a few pictures of posters for 'ZULU' from around the world. (Until someone threatens me for breach of copyright).

19th August 2005Alan Critchley
Sorry, should have said 'in the NEWS section.
20th August 2005Coll

Thankyou. They are excellent.


Just a quick note.

Obtained a cd of 'The Planets' by Holst today.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Cheers mate

25th August 2005Coll
You are all probably aware of this already, but have you also seen the posters from around the world for 'Zulu Dawn' ?

They are fantastic.