Okay, I need these movie posters like a hole in the head…but they do stick in your mind!
Even though my pops loved ’em, I’m not really a super huge fan of Westerns. However, if you take that All-American genre and mix it up with the sometimes anti-American sentiments of the French, you get an artistically interesting movie poster art combination.
Back in the mid-1940’s, Paramount hired Roger Soubie to do a series of French Personality Posters to promote its stars in Europe, most notably Veronica Lake, Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Lamour, and Ray Milland.
And if any movie studio needed someone that could highlight the beauty, radiance, and charm of its “product” — it’s apparent that Soubie was the right artist for the job.
A few years ago, Stanislas Choko, owner of the renowned Intemporel Galerie in Paris, came out with a handsome set of poster books featuring legendary 20th Century French artists, Roger Soubie (Martine Boyer, Pierre Bourdy), Boris Grinsson (Jean Segura), Guy Gerard Noel (Christophe Capacci), and Jacques Bonneaud (Claude Bonneaud, Erwan Serveau).
(FYI, Intemporel means “Timeless” in English for all you non-Francophiles out there.)
Anyway, I recently discovered on Intemporel’s eBay store that Choko has slashed 60% off the prices of each book down to $15 (or, make that 12 Euros from the normal 29)!
So no matter where you’re from or what language you speak, this is an absolute steal as these handsome little tomés feature some of the most beautiful French posters ever created in the history of motion picture art…and thus will most likely be the closest chance I’ll ever have to getting my hands on them!
At first glance, picking a favorite of these books is like picking a favorite child. But since I don’t have kids, I’ll have to say that I probably most enjoyed the Boris Grinsson book. But of course I’m a little biased since I’m a huge Grinsson fan and love a lot of the comedy films he worked on. So depending on your personal taste, it’s really hard to go wrong with any one of these treasures.
IMHO, here are my takes on each of these lovely books below…
The life of Boris Grinsson could be a movie. Born a Russian Jew in 1907, he abandoned his dreams of acting to become a designer in Berlin. But then after doing an anti-Hitler poster depicting the Führer as an archangel of death in 1933, the Nazis soon came after him and he fled to rural France with his German wife. For years, he survived doing farmwork in the liberated zone, painting frescoes in dance bars, cafes, and, yes, movie theatres.
It wasn’t until after the war ended in 1944 that he was able to safely return to Paris and his one true love: designing movie posters. He joined The Synidcat, a French publicity agency, where the established veteran, Roger Soubie, got all the “A” films and Grinsson did all the “B” movies. But Boris finally found his calling as he soon became highly sought after and never met a commission he didn’t like, as he covered pretty much every genre from animated cartoons and comedies to epic period dramas and action thrillers.
While Boris Grinsson was busy doing all the “B” movie posters for The Syndicat, Roger Soubie was the A-lister at the firm. And his top ranking was well deserved as his finely depicted sexy sirens and sci-fi scenarios indeed put him on another planet.
Martine Boyer and Pierre Bourdy’s book showcases Soubie’s flamboyant style with splashes of color and insight, illuminating the artist’s substantial entry into the 2,000+ club. But as lithography was supplanted by offset printing and photography, Soubie met the same fates as those of his comrades, Bonneaud, Grinsson, and Noël, and moved onto other areas of travel and advertising design work until his death in 1984 at the age of 86.
When I was growing up, Elizabeth Taylor was probably more known as Michael Jackson’s goofy, boozy pal than the sultry sex symbol she became famous for in the 1950’s and 60’s. But in Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger’s new book, Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century, readers get a backstage pass to the volatile, red-hot romance between two of the greatest actors from Hollywood’s golden age.
They were married and divorced twice over two productive, but hard-partying decades — and Taylor was more than capable of drinking him under the table. And it’s been reported that right before Burton died of a brain hemorrhage at age 58, he had sent one last letter to his old flame, which she received a few days after his funeral, and apparently still sits on her nightstand to this day.
*NOTE: The stunning French version of The V.I.P.s below (middle, right) was done by Roger Soubie.
The poster work of French artisté, Roger Soubie, is like a beautiful, unattainable woman. Chic. Sophisticated. And expensive! So it’s no wonder that his style translated well for his many vintage travel posters, too. And recently, Le Intemporel Gallerie in Paris came out with a limited edition book celebrating Mr. Soubie that you can peek at here.