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

E-Team
Film Review: E-Team

Four international human rights investigators descend on political atrocities to determine accountability. More »

Laggies
Film Review: Laggies

Disappointing comedic entry about a late-20s slacker who won’t grow up is writer/filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s first outing directing someone else’s material. Points here for strong cast and an occasional chuckle, but otherwise there’s just no point. More »

Rudderless
Film Review: Rudderless

Well-done indie drama about a lost-soul house painter reborn through rock ’n’ roll is a nice actor’s showcase for star Billy Crudup and an impressive directorial debut for actor William H. Macy. But in spite of some good work onscreen, both hero and story lack the edge and originality to carry this drama beyond respectability. More »

Camp X-Ray
Film Review: Camp X-Ray

Army guard and Guantanamo detainee form a grudging relationship in a thoughtful but far-fetched drama. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. 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