Play It Again Sam
The Good German movie poster visits Casablanca
Whether you choose to call it an homage, rip, or branding, movie posters (like all matter of advertising) frequently emulate designs from other film posters. Occasionally this film poster deja vu can be unintentional, but often it is a calculated effort.
For the upcoming George Clooney film The Good German (a murder mystery set in post-WWII Berlin directed by Steven Soderbergh), the studio invoked the image of an old Hollywood film poster (and one of the greatest films of all time). The Good German movie poster recreates the look and layout of a popular Casablanca movie poster from the 1940s.
Varations of this particular Casablanca artwork originally appeared as a movie poster three sheet (41″x81″), poster insert and Australian daybill. This Casablanca film one-sheet was chosen as one of the classic posters in AFI Presents 100 Years 100 American Movie Poster Classics, and was part of the AFI program (PDF) to create high quality lithographic reprints of the top classic movie poster one-sheets:
Through this historic project — a collaborative effort by the AFI, major Hollywood film studios and Art of the Movies (an S2 Art company) — the 100 most memorable and striking movie posters of the 20th century are being recreated as a spectacular collection of limited-edition fine art lithographs. Using old-time, hands-on lithographic techniques, the program recreates early film posters in exactly the same way they were created during the first half of the century — from painstakingly hand-drawn plates, slowly ‘pulled’ one color at a time on the extremely rare antique lithography presses of the S2 Atelier in New York City. At the same time, later 20th-century movie posters, which typically were produced using cheaper, lower-quality photo reproduction methods, are being reborn in the form of these exquisite, aesthetically superior lithographic artworks.
The Good German movie poster reproduces many elements of the Casablanca movie poster, including the “stacked heads” cast gallery and the brush hand-lettering style title treatment. Since The Good German film draws inspiration from Casablanca and the classic film noir genre, a movie poster echoing those same conventions seems to be a good fit.
Speaking of poster comparisons, the film studio recalled The Good German movie poster for not getting permission from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for using “Academy Award Winner” titles above the star names. The revised posters removes the Oscars credits.