Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Drew: The Man Behind the Poster

This star-studded documentary about poster artist Drew Struzan would never play as fiction: His rags-to-riches journey from poverty to Hollywood acclaim is straight out a ’30s movie.

Aug 14, 2013

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1383248-Drew_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

"My parents didn't love me," Drew Struzan says of his childhood in Oregon City, Oregon. "They didn't like me…for some screwy reason." But he loved drawing, and moved to California right after high school "to go learn something. When I left home…I didn't pack my bags; I didn't have anything. I just went."

Cut to: Struzan enrolled at the Art Center College of Design, majoring in illustration rather than fine arts because illustrators got paid for their work. Struzan managed his tuition by skipping meals and sneaked into classes when he ran short. He got married and became a father within a year, graduated and took a job at a studio that specialized in album covers.

Cut to the big breakthrough: Struzan was hired to do a movie by an adman impressed by his cover for Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare. The movie was The Black Bird (1975), a disastrous comedy sequel to 1941's The Maltese Falcon.

Cut to: The work came rolling in, including a little science-fiction movie called Star Wars. Struzan was one of two artists, the job was a rush, they forgot to leave space for the credit block and had to improvise a fix, but George Lucas loved it. Struzan went on to work extensively with Lucas and Steven Spielberg (the Indiana Jones series; E.T.) He did Rambo, John Carpenter's The Thing (overnight), the Back to the Future trilogy, the Police Academy series, Big Trouble in Little China, the reissue of Blade Runner and the Muppet movies—Jim Henson loved that he brought the puppets to life, while photos made it clear that they were just things.

The primary takeaway is that Struzen is very talented, a great collaborator and a really nice guy who managed to not only survive but thrive in the shark tank of Hollywood. The surprising one is that Thomas Jane (who played a Struzen-inspired painter in Frank Darabont's The Mist) and Michael J. Fox are genuinely perceptive and articulate on the subject of what makes a movie poster great. And the sad one is that the art of painted posters has been supplanted by design by committee—"Two big heads," says Darabont—and computer-manipulated images.


Film Review: Drew: The Man Behind the Poster

This star-studded documentary about poster artist Drew Struzan would never play as fiction: His rags-to-riches journey from poverty to Hollywood acclaim is straight out a ’30s movie.

Aug 14, 2013

-By Maitland McDonagh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1383248-Drew_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

"My parents didn't love me," Drew Struzan says of his childhood in Oregon City, Oregon. "They didn't like me…for some screwy reason." But he loved drawing, and moved to California right after high school "to go learn something. When I left home…I didn't pack my bags; I didn't have anything. I just went."

Cut to: Struzan enrolled at the Art Center College of Design, majoring in illustration rather than fine arts because illustrators got paid for their work. Struzan managed his tuition by skipping meals and sneaked into classes when he ran short. He got married and became a father within a year, graduated and took a job at a studio that specialized in album covers.

Cut to the big breakthrough: Struzan was hired to do a movie by an adman impressed by his cover for Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare. The movie was The Black Bird (1975), a disastrous comedy sequel to 1941's The Maltese Falcon.

Cut to: The work came rolling in, including a little science-fiction movie called Star Wars. Struzan was one of two artists, the job was a rush, they forgot to leave space for the credit block and had to improvise a fix, but George Lucas loved it. Struzan went on to work extensively with Lucas and Steven Spielberg (the Indiana Jones series; E.T.) He did Rambo, John Carpenter's The Thing (overnight), the Back to the Future trilogy, the Police Academy series, Big Trouble in Little China, the reissue of Blade Runner and the Muppet movies—Jim Henson loved that he brought the puppets to life, while photos made it clear that they were just things.

The primary takeaway is that Struzen is very talented, a great collaborator and a really nice guy who managed to not only survive but thrive in the shark tank of Hollywood. The surprising one is that Thomas Jane (who played a Struzen-inspired painter in Frank Darabont's The Mist) and Michael J. Fox are genuinely perceptive and articulate on the subject of what makes a movie poster great. And the sad one is that the art of painted posters has been supplanted by design by committee—"Two big heads," says Darabont—and computer-manipulated images.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Drive Hard
Film Review: Drive Hard

A car-chase-heavy clunker whose vehicular set-pieces are almost as lame as the recurring sight of star John Cusack attempting to look cool while firing pistols. More »

Harmontown
Film Review: Harmontown

Open-nerve documentary about “Community” creator Dan Harmon’s chaotic live podcast tour after being fired from his own TV show is sometimes raggedly funny, but truly a fans-only artifact. More »

The Liberator
Film Review: The Liberator

Impressively mounted but overly truncated take on a great historical figure about whom much more needs to be known. More »

The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin
Film Review: The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin

Wide-ranging primer is involving but leaves some details hazy. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Gone Girl
Film Review: Gone Girl

Unlikeable people are up to no good in David Fincher’s entertaining adaptation of a cynical Gillian Flynn novel. More »

The Equalizer Review
Film Review: The Equalizer

Former agent is drawn out of hiding to fight a Russian gang in a reboot of the 1980s television series. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here