Sunday, November 14, 2010

Film #138: Disneyland Dream (RIP: Robbins Barstow 1919-2010)

In 2008, among the 25 movies that the National Film Registry included in its yearly list of American movies to be preserved was one title I didn't recognize (not something new for me with the Registry; they're astonishing authorities on indespensible film obscurities). The movie's was called Disneyland Dream, and it was made in 1956 by a Connecticut family man named Robbins Barstow. I saw the title on the list, and simply shrugged back in 2008. But recently, I was looking at a compendium of the 525 movies the Registry has dedicated themselves to, and I saw Disneyland Dream down there again and, curious, I tracked it down on the astounding Internet Moving Image Archive.

I was immediately charmed and won over by Barstow's epic 16mm home movie. As you can surmise, the film tells the story of the Barstow family--Robbins, wife Meg, kids Mary, David and Dan--and their journey to California's Magic Kingdom. But, to me, the equally fascinating aspect of the film takes place in and around the Barstows' New England home, where they prepare to enter a contest given by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. Each family member concocts a little project to illustrate, to parent company 3M, why they love Scotch Tape; the winners will be treated to that tony California vacation. These are the parts I really love--the making of the projects, the wait for results, the talks to the family parrot Binky, and the hilarious slo-mo/fainting/fireworked reactions of each family member as they hear the good news. Whole bunches of sweetness are blooming all around in this movie.

Barstow goes all out with Disneyland Dream. He narrates the film, of course (the soundtrack was added in 1995; I suppose he voiced it live previously). But there are credits, an opening theme via Sergei Rachmaninoff, special effects, and even a movie star (though Robbins could have not know this back then). Apparently, in the shot where the Robbins' family first arrives at Disneyland, they pass under a train's bridge, and you can glimpse a little boy in a top hat down in the right hand corner of the screen. This was confirmed, by the star himself (in a letter to Barstow) to be none other than Steve Martin, caught on film for the first time as he works as a pamphlet hawker for the theme park (Steve Martin appears at about 5:22 in Part 3, seen below). This is a particularly nifty revelation about a film which is already a gem.

Naturally, Disneyland Dream taps into that idyllic 1950s innocence to which many people futilely wish this country could return. I personally feel a rush of warmth when seeing the reaction of the Barstows' neighbors to the family's good fortune; this is a close, friendly world long gone, it seems. But the film's remarkable in other sociological ways. It points to a time where home movie-making was a hobby only a few took as seriously as did Barstow. This film--one of many by the director--clearly required a mini-scaled version of the planning and follow-through that goes into any professional documentary. The shot choices are intelligent and well-schemed, the editing detailed, and occasional effects (simple things like slow motion, rudimentary animation, and backwards-running shots) are unusual for a vacation film. Still, and irresistibly, with its occasionally clunky cuts and camerawork, the movie never feels anything less than a labor of unschooled film love.

And, then, of course, as a travelogue of 1950s California, the film is an invaluable historical document. The Disneyland footage is the main event here, and it doesn't disappoint, of course. But we also get glimpses of 50s-era airplanes and automobiles, luxury hotels, Davy Crockett jackets and hats, St. Louis, Hollywood and Vine, and an aerial view of New York City (the Barstows had to connect to another flight at NYC's NY International Airport, which later changed its name to JFK). Movie fans will also dig the family's trip to Grauman's Chinese Theater (I think the theater is showing The Robe, and we can see the handprints of Bill Hart, John Barrymore, Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe). Plus we get a superb tour of Will Rogers' home, Knotts' Berry Farm and--best of all--the Walt Disney and Universal Studios, where we can peep quickly at old small-town and European-themed backlots and facades. The whole thing--with Barstow's wry, cozy commentary as an essential addendum--is just a spectacular tornado of fun.

Since aqe 10, Barstow had been a lifelong booster of amateur filmmaking, having shown his movies in local outlets and on Connecticut public access for years before Disneyland Dream made the National Film Registry. Once this event occurred, though, the film entered a new era of appreciation, going viral online at 76,000 downloads (an earlier movie of his, 1936's fanfilm Tarzan and the Rocky Gorge, has fared even better at more than 150,000 downloads; 16 more of his movies can be seen at the Moving Image Archive and Disneyland Dream can be purchased on a Barstow-produced DVD--complete with a making-of documentary--through Amazon). Notoriety was a little cherry on top for Robbins Barstow: after the NFR honor was bestowed on him in 2008, the man was tapped--as the most famous of all American amateur filmmakers--to spearhead a lovely PSA urging people to honor Home Movie Day by getting their old 8mm and 16mm movies transferred to digital for safekeeping (this is something I need to do with my own 8mm and 16mm films, too, and pronto):



On November 7, Robbins Barstow passed away at 91, having spent his life as a well-loved educational administrator (his day job), filmmaker, world traveler, husband, father, and grandfather. His legacy is one of time well-spent, and well-documented, here in this terra realm. He's obviously an inspiration to many filmmakers and viewers still today. And here, for that fabled viewing pleasure of yours, is a big reason why: Disneyland Dream, in four parts, via that great repository of amateur film, You Tube. Enjoy it, and thank you, Robbins Barstow!




Thursday, November 11, 2010

Film #137: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

When I hear about something like Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (what a fantastic title), as I just have today, I feel both behind and in front of the times. Behind because this has become an "internet sensation" with nearly 1.5 million hits on You Tube. In front of, because I think it deserves many more hits, and it doesn't even have an entry on IMDB. It's directed and co-written by Dean Fleischer-Camp, and co-written and voiced by whom I suspect is an autuer of equal import, the recently ousted (and unbelievably cute) new/old Saturday Night Live appointee Jenny Slate (she quite understandably let a "fuckin'" slip out in a "frickin'" routine, but that didn't stop her from cruelly being cut from the cast--get a grip, NBC and FCC).

This uncommonly simple, utterly unique little (VERY little) movie is, I'm sure, the beginning of something larger. It charmed so many at the recent American Film Institute Festival that it won the Audience Award for Best Animated Short, instantly putting in qualification for the Best Animated Short Film award at the upcoming Oscars. I'd love to see it nominated. Sometimes, animation is not about the pyrotechnics involved in the movie's making, but about the feeling the results evoke (the editing and sound are magnificent, if you pay attention). This film conjures a powerful adoration for its feisty, diminutive subject, voiced without enhancement by Jenny Slate (who I imagine, at least, has this character in her mind for some time; either that, or it was thought of instantaneously, I imagine, in a very happy moment for Slate). The direction is superb (I really like Marcel's relationship with the interviewer), and the laughs are absolutely well earned; in fact, no feature this year has more joyful moments than you'll experience in Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. I want to see much more of Marcel, and so many others out there obviously want to as well. Wallace and Grommit won three Oscars for just the same reason. Mark my words: this isn't the last of this brave, lovely bit-player. By the way: I defy you to watch this film only once.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Charles Schulz At The Movies


Anybody who knows me knows I'm only a rabid fan of three things: Stanley Kubrick, The Beatles, and Charlie Brown. Charles M. Schulz's daily comic strip Peanuts began its life on October 2, 1950, and ended just over 50 years later, with the final strip appearing only days after Schulz's 2/12/2000 death (it continues to be printed to this day, the only strip ever to have outlived its author by more than a decade, to my knowledge; it seems that comic strip readers can't conceive of a funnies page without Peanuts). To me, Schulz's body of work is paralleled only by the other two artists I mentioned--Kubrick and The Beatles; they are similar to each other mostly in that all three had ultimate control over and mastery of their respective crafts, and that the general public, as fickle as they sometimes can be, all wisely agreed this was obviously so.

I've been collecting Fantagraphic's magnificent volumes of The Complete Peanuts now for the past decade. Brilliantly edited and designed (by comic artist and fellow fan Seth), and indexed with great, amusing detail, these books--two a year--have been given to me each Christmas by my mother as a sort of "of course, you have to have these" gift, and I look forward to them with sublime anticipation. I spend the first six months of every annum pouring over every detail of Schulz's work, and I still marvel at how so many panels (especially in the 1970s, his peak) really make me guffaw with surprise.

In looking at them recently, I noticed I'd perk up whenever the strips referenced the movies or moviegoing, so I decided to do a little research and collect these strips here, mainly for my own amusement, as each are redolent with personal nostalgia. For instance, I remember looking at the kiddie-show Sunday panels as a child and wishing I had interest in such events (I largely went to the movies with my parents or on my own, and don't think I ever experienced a theater full of kids until, maybe, Star Wars showed up in 1977). And the couple of strips showing Linus looking at the movie ads were something I could relate to vehemently (I collected movie ads amassed in little stapled-taped-and-glued-together books of notebook paper when I was young). And, naturally, I wondered what this Citizen Kane was all about.

Surely, when a movie warranted a mention in Peanuts, the title had fully made its way into the zeitgeist. Schulz, to my knowledge, wasn't a huge cinema fan, but he knew what he liked (hence the many mentions of Kane in his strips), and he knew what the public at large would respond to. Other than the 30 strips I've collected here (which end right before 1975, the point where The Complete Peanuts collection is at now), there were many mentions of cowboys, spacemen, as well as a couple of Dracula references--all obviously movie-inspired. But I've not included them; here, I've only comprised very specific pieces. I've listed them in order of their appearance, and have commented slightly on each. If you're somehow a novice to Peanuts, go here and see if you like them. And you can go here to see my piece on the landmark 1965 TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas. Otherwise, enjoy this movie-centric collection, and click on the individual strips to see them much larger. (PS: Though I wish I could have made the strips sharper, this post was a lot more difficult to achieve than it might look.)

April 26, 1960 (Google Albert Schweitzer, if you must. By the way, Jerome Hill won an Academy Award for his 1957 documentary titled Albert Schweitzer.)

April 30, 1960 (These were the days...)

March 26, 1961 (I love Charlie Brown's face as he's watching the movie!)

June 13, 1961 (This is totally hilarious to me...)

March 8, 1962 (Not really a strip about the movies, but about criticism.)

February 1, 1963 (I guess some things don't really change.)

May 20, 1963 (A Hitchcock joke!)

October 5, 1963 (Into the mythic.)

November 19, 1967 (The first, and possibly most iconic, of Schulz's kiddie-show box office Sunday strips.) 

October 20, 1968 (Peanuts trivia question: what are the names of the twin girls at the head of the line?)

December 18, 1968 (The first of many mentions of Citizen Kane, reportedly Schulz's favorite movie.)

January 5, 1969 (The one time Snoopy gets a ticket.)

May 13, 1969 (It was only a matter of time before this reference dropped near Schroeder's piano.)

June 19, 1969 (Lucy agreed to take care of that stupid beagle for a week.)

June 28, 1970 (I like Snoopy's "smoothy" face.)

July 27, 1970 (Nominally a reference to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but mainly to the Oscar-winning Hal David/Burt Bacharach songwriting team.)

February 7, 1971 (Rejected again...)

March 7, 1971 (More unrequited love, and anger at the sometimes secondary nature of the movie's quality; somewhere, Pauline Kael is smiling.)

May 10, 1971 (The blockbuster of its era.)

September 21, 1971 (A movie with green rats and purple vampires is definitely one I have to see.)

May 21, 1972 (These treeside talks about love and life between Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty were nearly always profound. By the way, I LOVE how Snoopy's ears pop up at the botched revelation. How could anyone mistake Susan Hayward for Anne Baxter???)

October 14, 1972 (A long series of strips chronicling Snoopy's investigation into the whereabouts of the Head Beagle's Beagle-in-the-Field Thompson--who was overrun by 10,000 rabbits--concludes with a reference to The Godfather, of course.)

October 29, 1972 (More Kane...)

December 9, 1973 (...And yet more Kane, with the ultimate in spoilers; perhaps the finest movie-related comic of all time.)

February 20, 1974 (An unanswered movie trivia question.)

February 22, 1974 (I wish this trivia thing had been a regular feature; these are great questions.)

March 24, 1974 (The first Gone With The Wind reference; Snoopy's Pawpet Theater goes on to feature a few more movie touchstones.)

April 29, 1974 (Schulz's funniest movie-related strip is clearly about The Exorcist, and about a lot more, too.)

June 30, 1974 (I believe I've read that William Wellman's 1939 production of Beau Geste is another of Charles Schulz's favorite movies)

July 16, 1974 (...and this is what it all boils down to.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

R.I.P. Jill Clayburgh (1944-2010)


God, I loved this woman. And I do mean WOMAN. She was every inch a woman, not a girl. Every time the camera mapped her face, as perfect as it was, I was enthralled. Yesterday, Ms. Clayburgh died of leukemia, from which she had suffered for more than two decades. And I am so sad about it. It's difficult to scan all of the movie-related deaths out there, and I try not to focus on them. But this one is a bear, and I cannot let it pass without comment.

Her run in films was short--only from the mid 70s to the early 80s--but starting with Darryl Duke's terrific 1976 TV movie Griffin and Phoenix: A Love Story, she was a gem. Appearing aside Peter Falk as a man dying of cancer, she blew the TV screen apart with her energy. She was obviously strong from the get go. She put forth a spirited intelligence that was beyond what I can express. If I can be less intellectual and more personal here, I have to say I could look at her face for a thousand years--her penetrating eyes, exquisite nose, pointed chin, marvelous smile, apple cheeks, auburn hair and athletic body: she was simply, utterly ravishing.



Nothing put forward Clayburgh's singular presence more than her signature role in Paul Mazursky's An Unmarried Woman, in which she played Erica Benton, a happily married Manhattan lady surprised by her husband (the forever after hateful Michael Murphy) when he admits he's fallen for another woman (HOOWWW??). Just look at her face as she hears the bad news; it, and the whole scene, is really remarkable:


Mazursky's movie (possibly his best, and he's being lionized by the Los Angeles Film Critics this year) staunchly maps Erica's growth from victim to heroine and as such An Unmarried Woman stands powerfully as a prime document for the independence, sans man, of the American female. I'll never forget seeing her, after her first romantic dalliance following her divorce, dancing lithely through her New York apartment. It's a moment that, even as a 13-year-old kid, made me wonder and marvel at what a woman could be:



Though earlier I'd seen her movies like Hustling, The Terminal Man, and 1976's Silver Streak (as the steadfast female counterpart to confident co-stars Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor), she hadn't made her mark for me. But then she appeared opposite Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson in Michael Richie's excellent Semi-Tough, where she played an open-minded love interest for both leads. Following the Mazursky film (for which she earned Best Actress at Cannes; Jane Fonda stole the Oscar away from her that year, though), Clayburgh scored again in Alan J. Pakula's profound romantic comedy Starting Over.

Written and co-produced by James L. Brooks (it could be said that this was his debut film, as it seems more like a Brooks production than a politically-minded Pakula affair), Starting Over featured Clayburgh as a shaky single diving back into the dating scene, with Burt Reynolds an equally cautious, newly-divorced teacher as her rocky match. Clayburgh's performance here compliments her star-making turn in An Unmarried Woman, because it seamlessly interplays with both Reynolds (who was never better) and Candice Bergen (as Reynolds' showy ex-wife). Here, you could really feel how a man would want to spend his life with the lovely, troubled, funny, mouthy, bashful, brave Clayburgh. Boy, her patient and then explosively angry moments in that dunking booth are completely astonishing (she'd get her second Oscar nod for this one):



She was beautiful, still, in Claudia Weill's It's My Turn, opposite Michael Douglas. And her performance as a mother too into her heroin-addicted son in Bernardo Bertolucci's Luna was stunning. She was the lead in Costa Gavras' controversial Israli/Palestinian conflict drama Hanna K (which I've yet to see, but after checking this scene out, I will soon):



Then she made yet another now forgotten mark of brilliance as a TV journalist hooked on Valium in I'm Dancing as Fast As I Can, and as the first female Supreme Court nominee, opposite Walter Matthau, in the excellent, intelligent Ronald Neame film First Monday in October. But after that, she seemed to disappear from theaters (maybe as a victim of the 40-year-old actress curse). As many movie actresses do, she kept working on television, ultimately landing a prime parts in Nip/Tuck and the recent Dirty Sexy Money. She still has a final movie swan song in the can with the upcoming Edward Zwick comedy Love and Other Drugs (reason enough to see that film). Her final film appearance seems to be in Paul Feig's BRIDESMAIDS, where she joins a spectacular crew of actresses, playing lead Kristen Wiig's quirky mother.

I'll always wonder, though, what she looked like (angelic, I'm sure) singing "Love Song" alongside John Rubenstein on Broadway in Bob Fosse's Pippin. "Love Song" is a gorgeous bit of Broadway melody, and to have seen it sung partly by Clayburgh, well into her career on Broadway, would have been sublime. Here's the big scene, performed by William Katt and Leslie Denniston. If you can, imagine Jill in the lead here (and, no slam to Denniston, it's easy to do):



I have rarely seen a woman on screen I wanted to kiss, caress, and converse with more than Jill Clayburgh. I will truly miss her, and will always adore her.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Movie Poster Collection: B

As always, click on each image to see them larger:

B MONKEY (Michael Radford, 98). Rolled, G
I've never even seen this movie, but I sure do love me some Asia Argento. This is the best American poster featuring her magnificent visage.

BABY LOVE (Alastair Reid, 68). Folded, G
Sure would! Why not? Especially if she wears that little skirt all the time.

BAD COMPANY (Robert Benton, 72). Folded, G
Brilliant, beautiful sepia-toned poster for Benton's equally sumptuous quasi-western.

THE BAD NEWS BEARS (Michael Richie, 76). Folded, G
With art by the inimitable Jack Davis, this is one of my very favorite posters of the 1970s.

BARRACUDA (Harry Kerwin, Wayne Crawford, 78). Black-and-white, folded, G
My copy of this weird Jaws rip-off (filmed in Fort Lauterdale, Florida) is, for some reason, in black-and-white, which is a disappointment to me, now that I see the color version.

BARRY LYNDON (Stanley Kubrick, 75). Folded, VG
Not surprisingly, this is most opulent poster in the Kubrick canon, with artwork by Charles Gehm. Saul Bass did a great style B poster following the films four Oscar wins.

BATMAN AND ROBIN (Joel Schumacher, 97). Pre-release, rolled, NM
I have a thing for Alicia Silverstone, thus I kept this relic from the worst Batman film yet made. I still love this poster, though, because it showcases Silverstone's gorgeous face.

BEDAZZLED (Stanley Donen, 67). Folded, F
I like Raquel Welch as much as the next man but, boy, this dazzling comedy deserved a greater graphics treatment than it got. Bouncing nuns, a pop idol Satan, Eleanor Bron and God...and this is what we're left with? A disappointment, and misleading to boot (since Welch is in, I think, about two scenes).

BEE MOVIE (Steve Hickner, Simon J. Smith, 2007). Pre-release, rolled, NM
Dunno why I have this. I think it's because I thought it was weird to see Jerry Seinfeld's name on a movie poster.

BEFORE NIGHT FALLS (Julian Schnabel, 2000). Rolled, VG
Lovely design, sapped of much color, for this acclaimed yet (I think) dull film.

THE BEGUILED (Don Siegel, 71). Folded, G
I wish I knew which artist designed this stunning, strangely psychedelic piece for Eastwood's disturbing horror/love story/war movie mashup. Absolutely one of my favorite posters ever!

BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (Spike Jonze, 99). Rolled, VG
The best of four styles of posters for this sharp comedy explains exactly, through oddly retro drawings, how this whole portal thing works. Another of the finest posters in recent memory.

BEING THERE (Hal Ashby, 79). Folded, VG
I love the colors in this work, particularly the rainbow framing of the main image. It's also one of the few movie posters to contain a direct quote from its main character.

THE BELLBOY AND THE PLAYGIRLS (Francis Ford Coppola, 62). Folded, VG
Betcha you didn't know Coppola's first movie was a 3D tit extravaganza (filmed under the name "Felix Umgalter"). I like the chaos of this poster--photos and two types of art, plus a terrific logo, all fighting for our attention. This one came from the 3d movie poster collection of the late, great Robert Schneider.

BENJAMIN SMOKE (Jem Cohen, Peter Sillen, 2000). Rolled, VG
A haunting image of the legendary, late Benjamin. Another rare poster, and one of the few I own advertising a documentary. Printed on thick card stock.

THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE (René Cardona Jr., 78). Folded, G
Good ol' Sunn Classics, purveyors of many a lame 70s on-the-fly documentary. They did ones about aliens (The Outer Space Connection) and Bigfoot, too, as well as In Search of Historic Jesus and In Search of Noah's Ark. This is one of their finest poster designs, with an excellent use of literal negative space and a cool view of the triangle's debris-ridden ocean floor.

BEST FRIENDS (Norman Jewison, 82). Folded, G
A really fun take on the stars-against-a-white-background design trope. It's a pretty damn great movie, too, with tremendous supporting performances by Jessica Tandy and Bernard Hughes (as Hawn's parents) and Audra Lindley and Keenan Wynn as Reynold's parents.

THE BEST HOUSE IN LONDON (Philip Saville, 69). Folded, F
Never seen this, but I found it in a dollar poster bin, so I thought, ehh, why not? It's got women's pantaloons on it, and a pasted-on X rating, to boot.

BETWEEN THE LINES (Joan Micklin Silver, 77). Folded, P
Unfortunately, my copy of this cult movie's one-sheet has a tear in it. But what a cast here: clockwise, starting at the top, we have John Heard, Lindsey Crouse, Bruno Kirby, Lewis J. Stadlen, Jeff Goldblum, Michael J. Pollard, Jill Eikenberry, Gwen Welles, and Stephen Collins. Not many of these stars made it onto a one-sheet throughout their entire careers, so it's nice to see them all get such stellar treatment, art-wise (and by the incredible poster artist Richard Amsel, as well).

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (Russ Meyer, 70). Folded, G
When I was a kid, I was obsessed by this ad campaign. Something about all those ample women standing over us, looking down at us as we lay in a pit--this must have appealed to the boy in me, and I never forgot it. When I got a chance to own this poster, I jumped at it, but I had to pull some strings with the previous owner, who didn't wanna let go of it. I think I traded three other one sheets for it, but it was worth it. By the way, this may be the only one-sheet I own for which the film's director himself, Russ Meyer, personally photographed its main image.

BEYOND THE MAT (Barry W. Blaustein, 99). Rolled, NM
Ugh! No thanks. Next...

BITE THE BULLET (John Milius, 75). Folded, G
The burnished artwork by Tom Jung sold me on this poster, even as I had never been much a fan of the film itself.

BLACK BOOK (Paul Verhoeven, 2006). Rolled, NM
Nice layout for Paul Verhoeven's return to European filmmaking.

BLACK CHRISTMAS (Bob Clark, 75). Folded, G
Originally this poster looked like this:

...but the studio changed the film's title after a real-life sorority house was terrorized at Chistmastime by a madman. So they sent out a black-and-white overlay with the new title that was to be pasted over the old poster. I have the original poster, and the unpasted overlay as a separate piece, so it's kind of two posters in one. The illustration of the killer's first victim, suffocated with a plastic bag over her head, remains one of the scariest images ever included in a major ad campaign.

THE BLACK STALLION (Carroll Ballard, 79). Folded, G
A sensationally simple image that's perfect for the film, even if the picture itself is filled with a thousand more striking images.

BLADE RUNNER (Ridley Scott, 82). Folded, F
John Alvin's unforgettable artwork here has done its fair share in continuing to propel Scott's movie into modern classic territory. Surely, this is one of the 20 greatest movie posters of the last 30 years. Unfortunately, my copy has seen much better days, but it's still extremely cool to have it.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, 99). Pre-release, rolled, NM
A rare pre-release poster that's better than the release version, as you will see:

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, 99). Rolled, NM
A classic, I don't care what anybody says. But, yeah, I prefer the other poster.

BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SHADOWS (Joe Berlinger, 2000). Pre-release, rolled, VG
After Saturday the 14th, the worst poster I own, only this one is not nearly as funny as that one. I feel like going to destroy it right now.

BLAZING SADDLES (Mel Brooks, 74). Folded, F
Another great poster by John Alvin, filled with lots of delectable details ("Hi, I'm Mel, Trust Me"), and with a wickedly great tagline. Another of the greatest one-sheets of all time, taking its place alongside Brooks' Young Frankenstein and Silent Movie posters, also painted by Alvin. In fact, all three share key design elements and would look great hung next to each other. Unfortunately, I gave my Young Frankenstein poster away to a friend long ago. She wasn't even that good of a friend. Why the hell did I do that? I didn't even have a crush on her.

BLINDMAN (Ferdinando Baldi, 71). Folded, G
Got this one for Ringo, and Ringo only.

BLOOD SIMPLE (Joel and Ethan Coen, 85). Folded, G
A distinctly 80s-flavored poster for the Coens' debut film. One look at that pink neon border and there's no question from which decade this piece hails. Very cool central image that, in some versions, has only the woman's shoes in color. Makes me think this version is comparatively rare.

BLOW OUT (Brian De Palma, 81). Folded, VG
"Murder has a sound all its own." Almost as good a tagline as "In space, no one can hear you scream." Brilliant black-and-white poster for a very red-white-and-blue movie. It's absolutely perfect.

BLUE VELVET (David Lynch, 86). Rolled, VG
The saturated coloring of the central image is strikingly offset by a batch of blue and one of the finest logos in movie history. This came from the collection of my good friend, the late Patrick Flynn.

BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (Oliver Stone, 89). Rolled, G
A nice image, and one of the best Tom Cruise posters out there.

BOUND FOR GLORY (Hal Ashby, 76). Folded, G
Tom Jung's artwork here makes this poster pop, but the garish blue typeface at the top almost wrecks--no, it DOES wreck--the entire effect. Tell me, was it even necessary to have the words to "This Land Is Your Land" shoved in our faces?

BOX OF MOONLIGHT (Tom DiCillo, 96). Rolled, VG
I like the movie--the only Tom DiCillo movie I do like--but the poster leaves me a little cold.

BREAKING AWAY (Peter Yates, 79). Folded, G
Of course, a classic, but you'd never be able to tell by the poster (who's bright idea was it to lay out the title that way?). Still, I sort of like its low-fi, two-toned look, but you can tell the marketing gurus were trying to make it look like a raucous teen sex comedy.

BREAKING THE WAVES (Lars Von Trier, 96). Rolled, NM
Ahh, the gorgeous simplicity of this one-sheet bowls me over, from the superb tagline to the cool color choices to the magnificent blending of close-up (Emily Watson's knowing face) and extreme long shot (aping the Scottish countryside postcard shots serving as chapter stops in the movie).

BROADCAST NEWS (James L. Brooks, 87). Folded, VG
It's a great movie, but as a poster, it's sort of an eyesore. What's with that banner across the image? Ugh.

BRONCO BILLY (Clint Eastwood, 80). Folded, VG
Sumptuous painting by Roger Huyssen, and a snappy layout by the Warner Brothers team for this, one of Clint Eastwood's favorites from his own ouvre.

THE BROWN BUNNY (Vincent Gallo, 2003). Rolled, card stock, NM
A magnificent work of art, as a film and as a poster. I consider it a great turn of fortune to have landed one of these after rummaging through some posters in the back room of the Plaza in Atlanta, GA. I didn't think the manager would let me take it home but he did, and I'm forever grateful. I adore this piece's simplicity and boldness. Also, it's a particularly sturdy poster that, I think, has to be pretty rare. It's not like Gallo's movie played in a thousand theaters, y'know?

BUG (Jeannot Szwarc, 75). Folded, G
This poster is just hilarious to me. I can't help but smile when I see it. Does that make me sick?

BYE BYE BIRDIE (George Sidney, 63). Folded, G

Oh, Ann. How I love you.