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Movie Poster of the Week: The Illustrated Lauren Bacall

The late great star as she was drawn and painted throughout her career.

An Italian To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, USA, 1944). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Lauren Bacall, who left us last week after an astonishing 70 years of making movies, was one of the most beautiful women ever to grace a movie screen and the first golden age Hollywood star I ever fell for. With her unmistakeable features—those eyebrows, those lips—she must have been one of the easiest stars to capture in an illustration and thus a gift to poster artists. For most of her career, however, while she was never less than a star, she was rarely a leading lady, playing co-star to her great love Humphrey Bogart in four of her first five movies, then to Charles Boyer, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable, Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Gregory Peck and so on. As a result, she rarely appeared solo in posters and is often dwarfed by her male co-stars. That Italian To Have and Have Not, above, is a wonderful exception to that rule from Luigi Martinati, who painted her more often than any other poster artist. To redress the balance and as my own personal tribute , I’ve tried to find, and isolate, the best illustrated images of Bacall from posters throughout her career. Click on the film titles to see the full poster.

Detail from an Argentinian one sheet for To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, USA, 1944).

Detail from a Belgian To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, USA, 1944).

Detail from an Italian one sheet for To Have and Have Not (Howard Hawks, USA, 1944). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Detail from an Italian one sheet for Confidential Agent (Herman Shumlin, USA, 1945). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Detail from a Belgian poster for Confidential Agent (Herman Shumlin, USA, 1945).

Detail from a French grande for The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, USA, 1946). Art by Rocher Vacher. 

Detail from an Italian 2-foglio for The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, USA, 1946). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Detail from an Italian 4-foglio for The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, USA, 1946). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Detail from an Argentinian The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, USA, 1946). 

Detail from an Italian 2-foglio for Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, USA, 1947). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Detail from a French Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, USA, 1947). Art by Pierre Pigeot.

Detail from a US six-sheet for Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, USA, 1947).

Detail from a Danish poster for Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, USA, 1947).

Detail from an Argentinian one sheet for Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, USA, 1947). 

Detail from an Australian daybill for Dark Passage (Delmer Daves, USA, 1947). 

Detail from a French grande for Key Largo (John Huston, USA, 1948). Art by Pierre Pigeot.

Detail from an Italian 2-foglio for Key Largo (John Huston, USA, 1948). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Detail from an Italian Key Largo (John Huston, USA, 1948). Art by Luigi Martinati.

Detail from a Spanish one sheet for Key Largo (John Huston, USA, 1948). 

Detail from a British quad for Key Largo (John Huston, USA, 1948). 

Detail from an Argentinian Bright Leaf (Michael Curtiz, USA, 1950). 

Detail from a US How to Marry a Millionaire (Jean Negulesco, USA, 1953). 

Detail from a Spanish one sheet for How to Marry a Millionaire (Jean Negulesco, USA, 1953). Art by Soglio.

Detail from a French grande for How to Marry a Millionaire (Jean Negulesco, USA, 1953). Art by Boris Grinsson.

Detail from an Italian 4-foglio for Blood Alley (William A. Wellman, USA, 1955). Art by Alfredo Capitani.

Detail from an Italian 2-foglio for Blood Alley (William A. Wellman, USA, 1955). Art by Alfredo Capitani.

Detail from a Belgian Blood Alley (William A. Wellman, USA, 1955). 

Detail from a US one sheet for Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, USA, 1956).

Detail from an Italian 4-foglio for Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, USA, 1956).

Detail from an Italian 4-foglio for Designing Woman (Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1957).  

Detail from a US one sheet for Designing Woman (Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1957). Art by Jacques Kapralik.

Detail from a US three-sheet for The Gift of Love (Jean Negulesco, USA, 1958).

Detail from an Italian 4-foglio for Flame Over India aka North West Frontier (J. Lee Thompson, USA, 1959). Art by Averardo Ciriello.

Details from US one sheets for Murder on the Orient Express (Sidney Lumet, USA, 1974) and The Shootist (Don Siegel, USA, 1976). Art for both by Richard Amsel.

Posters courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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