Movie Poster of the Week: Kirk Douglas’s “Posse”

Four remarkable posters for Kirk Douglas’s revisionist Western from 1975.
Adrian Curry

This extraordinary poster caught my eye recently. It is quite unlike any American poster I have ever seen, with that beautiful ink drawing at the top (signed by one G. Contreras) dwarfed by that boldface sans-serif three-beat tagline. And no images of either of its stars. Made in 1975, Posse was Kirk Douglas’s second and final film as a director (he had previously co-directed the children’s adventure film Scalawag in 1973), the story of a politically ambitious U.S. Marshal (Douglas) who, with the help of “five of the most ruthless killers ever trained in the name of the law,” goes after a notorious bank robber (Bruce Dern) to further his career. 

And as if one extraordinary US one sheet for the film wasn’t enough, there is also this one, which in many ways is even more unusual with its Muybridge-esque still frame of figures in motion spelling out the missing third part of the tagline.

The German poster for the film is unusual too in that it has two artist signatures, using the Contreras art from the American poster but adding a yellow wash and a craggy, towering portrait of Douglas by one of the most prolific of German poster artists, Lutz Peltzer (1925-2003). The German title translates as “Day of Reckoning,” but there is no teaser tagline for the German audience.

And finally, for good measure, there is the Polish poster for Posse, which is classic Jan Mlodozeniec (1929-2000), its bold-lined cartoon of a lawman with hundred dollar bills for a face, speaking volumes.

Posters courtesy of Posteritati, Heritage Auctions and Great Western Movies.

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Movie Poster of the WeekKirk DouglasBruce Dernimagesspotlight
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