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Movie Poster of the Week: Posters from Hungary

A treasure-trove of Eastern Bloc design for films from all over the world.
Adrian Curry
Above: 1976 Hungarian poster for The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, USA, 1939). Art by Olga Tövisváry.
In the world of East European poster design, Hungary has always been somewhat of a poor relation to Poland and Czechoslovakia, whose artists have been justly celebrated for years. In that indispensable bible of international postwar movie poster design, Art of the Modern Movie Poster, 66 pages are devoted to Polish posters and 40 to the Czechs, but not only is Hungary lumped into a section with Russia, Romania, and Yugoslavia but there are only two Hungarian posters featured.
But that dearth of attention is all due to access rather than to the quality of Hungarian design. I recently came across a treasure-trove of Hungarian movie posters on a number of websites that could go a long way to redressing the balance. The posters that I am featuring here were all found on the auction site Bedo and they come in a wild variety of graphic styles from a wide variety of illustrators and designers (almost all of whom are credited on their posters). Most distinctive, and most distinct from the work of Hungary's neighbors, is a colorful pop art stylization seen in the posters for Popeye and Fahrenheit 451 and the ’70s re-release poster, above, for The Wizard of Oz. But many other styles abound, from the woodblock charm of Bresson’s A Man Escaped to the surreal kitsch of The Gods Must Be Crazy and Michael Mann’s Manhunter, making it hard to pin down any kind of national style.
I’ve selected 25 posters ranging from the late ’50s to the late ’80s as a small introduction to Hungarian movie poster design. I’ve chosen posters for films that are fairly well-known outside Hungary and it is safe to say that most offer a distinctly different look at the films they are publicizing from the posters that we are already familiar with.
Above: Hungarian poster for All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, USA, 1979). Art by Lajos Görög.
Above: Hungarian poster for The Dirty Dozen (Robert Aldrich, USA, 1967). Art by István Balogh.
Above: Hungarian poster for Dodes'ka-den (Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1970). Art by György Kemény.
Above: Hungarian poster for The Elephant Man (David Lynch, USA, 1980). Art by Krzystof Duczki.
Above: Hungarian poster for Fahrenheit 451 (François Truffaut, France, 1966). Art by György Kemény.
Above: Hungarian poster for The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, USA, 1974). Art by Simon Koppány.
Above: 1984 Hungarian poster for The Gods Must Be Crazy (Jamie Uys, South Africa, 1980). Art by Nelli Németh.
Above: Hungarian poster for Irma La Douce (Billy Wilder, USA, 1963). Art by László Bánki.
Above: Hungarian poster for Ivan's Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky, USSR, 1962). Art by Nándor Szilvásy.
Above: Hungarian poster for Look Back in Anger (Tony Richardson, UK, 1959). Art by Lajos Görög.
Above: Hungarian poster for Mamma Roma (Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy, 1962). Art by Sándor Ernyei.
Above: Hungarian poster for A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, France, 1956). Art by Imre Somorjai.
Above: Hungarian poster for Manhunter (Michael Mann, USA, 1986). Art by Péter Merczel.
Above: Hungarian poster for Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan, UK, 1986). Artist uncredited.
Above: Hungarian poster for Paris Texas (Wim Wenders, USA, 1984). Art by Berta Gábor.
Above: Hungarian poster for Popeye (Robert Altman, USA, 1980). Art by József Árendás.
Above: Hungarian poster for Prince of the City (Sidney Lumet, USA, 1981). Art by Katalin Rényi.
Above: Hungarian poster for Roman Holiday (Billy Wilder, USA, 1953). Art by Vilmos Kovács.
Above: 1964 Hungarian poster for Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen, USA, 1952). Art by István Balogh.
Above: Hungarian poster for They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (Sidney Pollack, USA, 1969). Art by Árpád Darvas. [See other international posters for They Shoot Horses Don’t They?here.]
Above: Hungarian poster for To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch, USA, 1942). Art by László Bánki.
Above: Hungarian poster for Un Flic (Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1972). Art by Éva Kakassy.
Above: Hungarian poster for Vincent, François, Paul and the Others (Claude Sautet, France, 1974). Art by Gyula Mayer.
Above: Hungarian poster for West Side Story (Robert Wise, USA, 1961). Art by Antal Révész & Judit Wigner.

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