Get Carter (1971) Classic Posters – Michael Caine + Ian Hendry + Britt Ekland + John Osborne + George Sewell
There is something very special about old film posters – where artwork was often a key element of their design.
They were designed to create excitement, intrigue and were a major part of the marketing effort for a new release – long before social-media and other avenues of promotion opened up.
Here we take a look at some of the posters produced for the classic film – Get Carter (1971).
For those interested in finding out more about the history of the British film poster I can recommend reading the article of the interview with Sim Branagan on the excellent Film On Paper website – which is creating a great online archive/ resource for film posters.
Sim has written the book, British Film Posters: An Illustrated History – an essential reference for posters from the UK.
Get Carter suffered in its promotion, firstly from MGM’s problems and secondly due to the declining British film industry of the period, which relied increasingly on US investment. Initial UK critical reaction to the film was mixed, with British reviewers grudgingly appreciative of the film’s technical excellence, but dismayed by the complex plotting, the excessive violence and amorality, in particular Carter’s apparent lack of remorse at his actions. Despite this the film did good business in the UK and produced a respectable profit.
Conversely, US critics were generally more enthusiastic and praised the film, but it was poorly promoted in the States by United Artists and languished on the drive in circuit while MGM focused it’s resources on producing a blaxploitation remake, Hit Man. On its release the film received no awards and did not seem likely to be well remembered.
However, despite its lack of availability on home media until 1993 it always maintained a cult following. Endorsements from a new generation of directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie led to a critical reappraisal which saw it recognised as one of the best British movies of all time. In 1999, Get Carter was ranked 16th on the BFI Top 100 British Films Of The 20th Century; five years later, a survey of British film critics in Total Film magazine chose it as the greatest British film of all time.
Source: Get Carter (1971).
Picture: Get Carter Poster – British Quad Version
Picture: Get Carter Poster – British quad poster with artwork by Arnaldo Putzu from a design by Eddie Paul.
Putzu illustrated Michael Caine in a pink tie and floral jacket – never worn of course in the film.
Born in Rome, the son of an Italian navy officer, Putzu studied art at the Rome Academy. While doing illustration work in Milan, he met the poster artist Enrico de Seta in 1948. De Seta took him to Rome to work in the Italian film industry.
After four years with De Seta, Putzu set up his own studio. He worked for several artists including Augusto Favalli, who then controlled many artists employed by the Cinecittà Film Studios.
An executive of the Rank Organisation based in Rome was impressed by the poster artwork coming out of Studio Favalli and spotted an opportunity for Rank to have high quality posters for the low wages paid to Italian artists in the postwar era. In collaboration with Eric Pulford, then creative head of Rank’s Downton Advertising (who also handled United Artists).
Rank began employing Italian artists to work on their film publicity. At first Pulford brought the artwork to the artists in Rome by personally flying between the two cities, but by the late 1950s the artists themselves, such as Renato Fratini, best known for designing the British poster for From Russia With Love were being brought over to live and work in Great Britain.
Putzu began to work for Pulford in the late 1950s. His first British poster was for The Secret Place (1957). He arrived in Britain in 1967 with his first poster in England being for Morecambe and Wise’s film The Magnificent Two; he had designed their previous That Riviera Touch in Rome.
He worked on posters in a variety of film genres, such as the Carry On series and Hammer Films including Creatures the World Forgot and The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires.
From 1973 through to 1981 Putzu illustrated the covers of a children’s TV magazine called Look-In. Putzu enjoyed the regular work with the magazine that was not too far away from his offices though eventually the magazine covers were replaced by photos.
By the end of the decade, film posters began to be illustrated with cheaper retouched photographs rather than painting. Putzu returned to Rome in 1985.
Picture: Get Carter Poster – British Version
Picture: Get Carter Poster – British Version For BFI Re-Release In 1999
Picture: Get Carter Poster US Version. Inspiration from Roy Lichtenstein’s pop-art is clearly seen in this vintage poster.
Picture: Get Carter Poster – US Version
Picture: Get Carter Poster – Italian Version
Picture: Get Carter Poster – French Version
Picture: Get Carter Poster – Spanish Version
Editor, Official Website of Ian Hendry
A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography: