Movie Poster of the Week: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and the Posters of Karl Oskar Blase

The minimalist 1960s revival house designs of a major German graphic artist.
Adrian Curry

Above: 1964 poster for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, Germany, 1920).

I’ve written a lot about the German designer Hans Hillmann in these pages and elsewhere, and the current exhibition running through September 27 at the Kemistry Gallery is a must-see if you’re in London (there are some great images of the exhibit here if you’re not), but I only recently came across the work of a peer and compatriot of Hillmann’s, Karl Oskar Blase. Born the same year as Hillmann, on March 24, 1925, and now in his late 80s, Blase was, like Hillmann, a professor at the Kunsthochschule Kassel. Art director of the German design magazine Form, Blase designed every cover of the magazine from 1957 to 1968. He is also renowned as a designer of stamps.

Throughout the 1960s Blase also designed film posters for the revival house Atlas Films (as did Hillmann). His posters are mostly a mixture of pencil or watercolor sketches and clean, sans serif type, combined most beautifully and dramatically in his Caligari poster. Though he rarely used photographs,  I love his incorporation of blurred film stills in his posters for Mon oncleThe Last Laugh and Black Orpheus. He was fond of black and white (though that may have been an economic imperative at Atlas) with bursts of red and green, although the only post-1960s poster of his that I have found was his psychedelic blast of color for 1988’s Candy Mountain

Above: 1962 poster for Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1922).

Above: 1964 poster for Richard III (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1955).

Above: 1966 poster for Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, France, 1958).

Above: 1962 poster for The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, Germany, 1924).

Above: 1960 poster for Daddy Long Legs (Jean Negulesco, USA, 1955).

Above: 1962 poster for The Wages of Fear (Henri-Georges Clouzot, France, 1953).

Above: 1964 poster for Fanfan la tulipe (Christian-Jaque, France, 1952).

Above: 1964 poster for Black Orpheus (Marcel Camus, Brazil, 1959).

Above: 1988 poster for Candy Mountain (Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer, Switzerland/Canada/France, 1988).

Above: posters for Atlas Films’ Film Festival of 1964 and 1965.

Posters courtesy of, MoviePosterDB, Archiv für Filmposter and Galerie für Moderne Kunst und Plakat Kunst.

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Karl Oskar BlaseMovie Poster of the WeekRobert WieneFritz LangLaurence OlivierF.W. MurnauJacques TatiHenri-Georges ClouzotMarcel CamusRobert FrankRudy WurlitzerHans HillmannGerman movie postersAtlas FilmsspotlightColumns
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