The fragments are a design trick to give it something that is not the normal. You would normally have boxes down the side show all the stills, but this has a bursting excitement to it, like something has blown up. Pieces seem to be flying off the center. So here Jane Fonda is big up top, and then when you come down below, there’s a small sexy little figure with the tag line ‘See Barbarella do her thing’. What’s her thing? We’d love to see it it.
William Gold (1921 – 2018) was a graphic designer of thousands of film poster designs. His first film poster was for Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), and his final work was for J. Edgar (2011), that is a 70-year career! He worked with the greatest filmmakers, including Laurence Olivier, Clint Eastwood, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Elia Kazan, and Ridley Scott.
Gold was born in Brooklyn. He won a scholarship and studied illustration and design at Pratt Institute.
He began his design career in 1941, in the advertising department of Warner Bros. He was drafted into the U.S. Army where he was involved in the production of training films. Following his discharge in 1946, he resumed his career designing posters for Warner Bros. where he became head of poster design in 1947.
Long before poster artists turned to photography and computer-generated images in the 1980s and 1990s, illustrators like Gold billboarded films with freehand drawings, based on scripts and first screen prints, that hinted at plots and moods and mysteries, without giving away too much.
In 1962, following the dissolution of the Warner Bros. advertising unit, Gold created Bill Gold Advertising Agency in New York City. In 1997, Gold moved the company to Connecticut, and continued his business, producing posters for every film Eastwood produced, directed, and/or acted.
Gold was a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Art Directors Club and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science
Gold died a year ago, gone at 97-years-old, after creating of over 2,000 posters.
I know what movie posters should look like, instinctively. I looked at everything that MGM and Paramount and all the companies did, and I never liked anything that I saw. I always found fault with the fact that they showed three heads of the actors, and that’s about all the concept they would use. And when I started to work, I thought: I don’t want to just do a concept with three heads in it. I want a story.
Rope (1948) is about two young gay guys who murder a former classmate in their apartment and host a dinner party at the scene of the crime. It was the first of seven Hitchcock films Gold worked on.
The whole trick here was showing Jimmy Stewart holding a piece of rope. What’s going to happen with that piece of rope? That’s me instigating the curiosity of the film idea. At first the lettering was very crisp and casual and typical. And then I felt it needed something to be more active, something to make it move more, so I added the lines.
I thought all the characters in this film were very important, so I wanted them in the poster. I put them in the background and put Ingrid Bergman in front of them on the left side of Bogart, but I wanted her to be looking on behind him. I didn’t want to tip off that there was a love affair.The studio had but one request: Wanting to sell Bogart as a star, it asked if the poster could be more exciting. So I went back and put a gun in his hand. It worked.