Movie Poster of the Week: Jacques Becker’s “Antoine and Antoinette”

If there’s one thing I sometimes love looking at even more than movie posters it’s old photographs of movie posters as they originally looked pasted on walls or hung outside movie theaters. I especially love this Walker Evans photograph with billboard posters for Chatterbox and Love Before Breakfast pasted in front of a row of clapboard houses in Atlanta in 1936. And Christian Broutin has some great photos of his posters in situ which you can see towards the end of my interview with him.

So, while searching for posters for Jacques Becker’s Antoine and Antoinette, which opens in a revival at Film Forum next week, I was especially pleased to run across some superb photos of the posters for the film as they appeared in Paris in 1947.

The size of these posters, and that incredible marquee lettering on the second photo, give a sense of what a major film Antoine and Antoinette was at the time, having won the Grand Prize at Cannes (for “a film of psychology and romance,” apparently the only winner of that particular award). A slice of Parisian daily life centering on a young married couple struggling in the post-Occupation years, Becker’s social-realist comedy must have hit a nerve. Unlike Becker’s later films, the masterful Casque d’Or and Touchez pas au grisbiAntoine and Antoinette is little known today, especially in the States. Hopefully Film Forum’s revival will change that and also lead to a retrospective of this underrated director. Becker wasn’t one of the most damaged casualties of the nouvelle vague—Truffaut was a friend of his in his last years and allowed him the back-handed compliment that he “gladly and courageously moved beyond his limits several times”—but he died in 1960, at the age of 53, just as the New Wave was getting going; his final film Le trou appeared posthumously at Cannes the same year as Breathless.

While none of the posters in the photos are identical to the poster at the top of the page, they all have the same central line drawing of Antoine and Antoinette arm in arm: proof that branding was alive and well in late 40s Paris. The design is by an artist named “Romano” about whom I’ve been unable to find any information. Another variation, the 94" wide double grande, can be seen here...

For good measure here are a couple of international variations: a German poster...

...and a Belgian design...

Photographs courtesy of Gaumont and the website DVDClassik.

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  • Brotherdeacon

    “If there’s one thing I sometimes love looking at even more than movie posters it’s old photographs of movie posters as they originally looked pasted on walls or hung outside movie theaters.”

    Yes, I agree. Perhaps it gives a feeling of viewer contemporaneity which merely seeing the restored posters doesn’t quite contain. Walking the avenue, my imaginary French self of the middle century can wonder at what that Cannes award winner with the prominent reverse silhouette might offer. Interesting too that the Director, Jacques Becker receives top billing rather than the acting stars, especially in a love story. In fact, some of the exterior banners don’t even mention the stars. Quite different I think from some other film producing countries in 1947. Thanks

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