MovieMaker Magazine interviewed three kings of 1970s film poster illustration: Drew Struzan (Star Wars, First Blood), John Berkey (King Kong, Towering Inferno), and John Solie (Tidal Wave, Savage!). Excerpted from the three profiles:
When Struzan painted the poster for First Blood, the only request Sylvester Stallone had was a small change to his image of the gun-toting Rambo. “I have bedroom eyes,” he said. “Make my eyelids a little heavier.”...
Some of Berkey's best ad campaign art includes the remake of King Kong and the disaster film The Towering Inferno, both of which feature incredibly detailed buildings and skylines. What helps give them their stomach-dropping feel is that Berkey is afraid of heights. When painting the King Kong campaign, where the gigantic ape straddles the World Trade Center, Berkey was offered a trip to the rooftops of the buildings to make sketches—but was too terrified to go. So a photographer went up instead and took snapshots for Berkey to draw from. Once Berkey received the slides, he projected them in the darkness of his laundry room and the sights of the city hundreds of stories above the ground made his hands drenched with nervous sweat....
For New World Pictures, where Solie worked for four years, he had tremendous freedom. “If they gave me as much of a free hand as possible to do the work, I didn't care whether I was working for a B-movie company or a major,” he says. “At New World, I'd go to lunch with the art director, he'd tell me the story of the movie, I'd make a drawing on a napkin, he'd approve it and I'd go home and do it. I never saw any of the movies, but I made the movie ads and they made a lot of money!”
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