Sometimes a wonderful thing happens once a film is in the can. The marketing department takes over and creates printed materials that, if you’re lucky, accurately reflect the style and content of the picture you’re about to see. And if you’re really lucky, the posters and one sheets of a particular movie transcend mere communication and stand on their own as works of art. Here are twenty-five movie posters from the silent era where message and mode combine to make something extraordinary.
Entries in the merry widow (3)
Maurice Chevalier dies of cardiac arrest after kidney surgery in Paris, 1972. The French entertainer came to Hollywood in the late 1920s and began his first of four films with Jeanette MacDonald, 1929’s The Love Parade. “I later heard her referred to as The Iron Butterfly,” Chevalier said of his frequent costar, “although I was surprised to hear that she found that amusing. I never thought she had much of a sense of humor. When we worked together, she always objected to anyone telling a risqué story.” MacDonald once referred to Chevalier as “the quickest derriere pincher in Hollywood.” They would go on to make Love Me Tonight (1932), One Hour with You (1932) and The Merry Widow (1934). These last two movies were filmed twice—in English and in French. Chevalier had no problem with either tongue, of course, and MacDonald could successfully speak and sing in the language. Much of the American supporting casts, however, had to be replaced with French-speaking actors.
Fernando Lamas dies of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles, 1982. Every inch the Latin lover, the Argentine-born Lamas was married four times and carried on affairs with many of his leading ladies. Signed by MGM in 1951, the actor—dubbed "First of the Red Hot Lamas"—appeared opposite Lana Turner in The Merry Widow (1951) and Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet (1953). On loan to Paramount, he appeared opposite Arlene Dahl in Sangaree (1953) and The Diamond Queen (1953). Williams and Dahl he would later marry; with Turner, one may assume he simply had a very nice time.