22 February 2010

The Longest Day

1962 - United States
Director - Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton (Darryl F. Zanuck)

Back when I first moved to Seattle from the backwoods of New Mexico I had no money and no job, but I still had to feed the movie beast. My solution was to get a library card in the first couple of weeks and check out loads of documentaries, classics and foreign films. I was also really interested in military history and so  quite a few of those ended up being old war films. The Longest Day is one of the better World War Two movies to come out after the war, partially because it made a point to tell "both sides" of the story. Nevertheless, it is still definitely a part of the heroic myth-making tradition of American popular history. From a technical standpoint though the film is still pretty good and stands well above the other low caliber war-movie garbage that the US was producing just prior to Vietnam.

This poster is striking to me because of its exceptional use of negative space. It's a great example of less-is-more and conveying a message more effectively with what is not explicitly stated. While the film is about D-Day, to me the image itself actually brings to mind a battlefield in the Pacific Campaign, specifically Tarawa, but that doesn't change the fact that I love the design of this poster.

This half sheet from The Poster Palace demonstrates how adding one element can profoundly alter the aesthetic of the design, and consequently change the message.

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