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Movie Poster of the Week: “Shadows” and the Posters of Hans Hillmann

A current exhibition of the great German graphic designer and an excuse to showcase more of his work.
Adrian Curry

Above: 1968 Hans Hillmann poster for Shadows (John Cassavetes, USA, 1959).

There is an exhibition of the great German graphic designer Hans Hillmann currently running at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany. Devoted entirely to Hillmann’s film posters from 1952 to 1974, the show, called The Title is Continued in the Picture, runs through the 1st of September and I’m sorry that I didn’t know about it sooner. But for those of us who can’t make it to the Ruhr in the next three weeks, the website Kunst + Film has posted a wonderful, almost-as-good-as-being-there video of the show. 

The revelation of the video for me is the size of that Seven Samurai poster. Where most of Hillmann’s film posters are 33" x 23" (slightly smaller than a US one-sheet), and the Cassavetes above is only 16.5" x 23", that glorious Seven Samurai is 93" x 132", or 11 feet wide.

While many of Hillmann’s witty, spare and inventive designs are very well known, there were a number of the 90 posters in the exhibition that I had never seen before, like that fabulous troika of Glauber Rocha posters that can be glimpsed at the 3 minute mark.

All of which gives me the perfect excuse to feature a number of Hillmanns I have discovered recently, still but a small selection of his prodigious oeuvre. 

Above: 1962 Hillmann poster for I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini, Italy, 1953).

Above: 1971 Hillmann poster for A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, Italy, 1964).

Above: 1959 Hillmann poster for Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1953).

Above: 1964 Hillmann poster for The Man in the White Suit (Alexander MacKendrick, UK, 1951).

Above: 1965 Hillmann poster for It Happened Tomorrow (René Clair, USA, 1944).

Above: 1960 Hillmann poster for Mr. Puntila and His Man Matti (Alberto Cavalcanti, Austria/West Germany, 1960).

Above: 1969 Hillmann poster for The General (Clyde Bruckman & Buster Keaton, USA, 1926).

Above: 1970 Hillmann poster for Mr. Freedom (William Klein, France, 1969).

Above: Hillmann posters for The Game of Love (Claude Autant-Lara, France, 1954) and Bellissima (Luchino Visconti, Italy 1951).

Above: Hillmann posters for The Old Devil (Anatole Litvak, France, 1933), The Ladykillers (Alexander Mackendrick, UK, 1955) and Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1950).

Posters courtesy of Museum Folkwang, Heritage Auctions and especially KinoArt.net, where many Hillmann originals are available to purchase.

And many thanks to Max Reiss for alerting me to the exhibition.


Movie Poster of the WeekHans HillmannJohn CassavetesAkira Kurosawaimagesvideos
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