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Tag Archive: Batman Returns


Blade Runner one-sheet John Alvin   Young Frankenstein one-sheet John Alvin

Back in early 2012 we reviewed one of several books released on movie poster artist Drew Struzan, a useful and interesting resource called The Art of Drew Struzan, reviewed here.  It chronicles the best of painted motion picture advertising one-sheets that Struzan created, and even more enlightening, includes commentary by Struzan about his process and the politics and business of his years of leading the craft.  The picture he painted wasn’t pretty, but despite his own roadblocks he is generally thought of as the best motion picture poster artist of the last 50 years.

Along with Struzan, another poster artist created posters that often could be confused for Struzan’s.  That was the late poster artist John Alvin.  Unfortunately Alvin did not document his own personal account of his creative and professional experiences, but his wife Andrea has put together a book that at least documents his most popular work, released this month by Titan Books as The Art of John Alvin What we don’t know from any of the books we’ve reviewed on poster artists is how they might have competed for work over the years.  Andrea Alvin makes no mention of Struzan, but seems to indicate Alvin was able to keep a nice niche of clients over the years, ranging from the decision-makers behind the movies of Mel Brooks, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, and the renaissance of animated Disney blockbusters.

ET one-sheet John Alvin   Empire of the Sun one-sheet John Alvin

Alvin’s work seems far more commercial compared to the paintings of Struzan, as can be seen in Alvin’s posters for Empire of the Sun (1987), Cape Fear (1991), Batman Returns (1992), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), and Batman Forever (1995).  But that doesn’t mean they were any less effective at drawing moviegoers to the theater, the entire point of the poster.  The one-sheet for Empire of the Sun is often seen as one of the most memorable images in the history of movie posters.

The power of much of Alvin’s posters is the simplicity.  In 1982 when the public first learned of a movie called E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, the only thing we knew was a newspaper ad showing a wrinkled alien hand touching the hand of a kid, inspired by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.  His teaser poster was equally as effective—never did these pictures show E.T. himself.  Those same images were reproduced on movie posters, cardboard standees, and eventually all over picture books sold via school book orders.  Simple images, but lasting images, and what they didn’t show was part of the enticement to reel in an audience.

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AMC Theaters’ newest marathon event is tonight, the Dark Knight Trilogy Marathon, and with more than 60,000 advance ticket sales it has already become the biggest selling marathon movie event to date.  Starting at 6 p.m. and culminating with the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at midnight, tonight is sure to be a big night for Batman fans.

Until then, for your viewing pleasure and to get you psyched for Batman night, here is a gallery of all of the Batman cars–the Batmobiles–that have appeared on-screen, from the TV series in the 1960s to today’s bulky offroad vehicle, featured on the lawn between the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and the San Diego Convention Center last weekend as part of the Comic-Con festivities.  The photos I took this weekend don’t do justice to these big, sleek, bad Bat-cars.

First off, above is the original 1955 modified Lincoln that became the Batmobile driven by Adam West in the original Batman TV series.

My favorite of them all and the best looking in person–Michael Keaton’s Batmobile from the 1989 Batman and Batman Returns movies.

Val Kilmer’s Batmobile from Batman Forever.

George Cooney’s Batmobile from Batman and Robin.

Christian Bale’s Batmobile “The Tumbler” from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

Christian Bale’s Batmobile from the new film The Dark Knight Rises.

Christian Bale’s Batcycle from the new film The Dark Knight Rises, on display in the Comic-Con exhibit hall at the Warner Brothers booth.  The cycle is a separating feature of the Tumbler.

Details for tonight’s movie event across the country:

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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