May 21, 2014

50 Extraordinary Noir and Crime Posters from Republic Pictures!

Herbert Yates’s Republic Pictures sprung to life after the merger of several Poverty Row studios (Monogram, Majestic, Mascot, Liberty, Chesterfield, and Invincible) under Yates’s leadership. The studio began cranking out B pictures, and more or less thrived throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Known primarily for their B westerns featuring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and even John Wayne, the studio nevertheless had a few prestige hits — either as production company or U.S. distributor — including Wayne’s The Quiet Man and Best Picture winner Hamlet

I’m a longtime admirer of Republic’s noir, crime, and mystery films. Be on the lookout for more and more essays in the coming year about some of the films featured in this post. But more than anything else, Republic had the most recognizable poster style of any studio in Hollywood, and perhaps the most striking — I certainly think so. The studio favored the use of inkwash-style illustrations instead of photography, and bold red typography almost always situated on a diagonal that violates the center of the composition. Pay special attention to the color pallette, and how the artists created depth by using cool colors and monochromatic illustrations in the backgrounds, against warmer, more detailed imagery in the foreground. It's masterful stuff! For a designer like me, the artists’ ability to control viewer eye movement and convey dramatic emotion via illustration is exhilarating! Enjoy!



1938
1940
1941
1941

1942

1944
1944.
Vera Ralston was married to Republic mogul Herbert Yates.
John Wayne reportedly departed Republic because he couldn't stand her!

1945
1945
1945


1945, re-release poster
1946


1946
1946



1946

1946
Does it get any better than this?
1946

1947

1947,  click here for my essay

1947

1948

1948



1948

1949



1949, Three Sheet
1950



1950, Three-Sheet

1950, click here for my essay.

1950
1950


1950
1950, Three Sheet
1950, Three Sheet
1950, Three Sheet
1951

1951

1951

1952

1952

1952

1953 

1954


1954

1955

1954


1955
1955
1955
1956
1957

22 comments:

  1. Brilliant! Gonna share this post. Delightful poster art.

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  2. No problem. I could just look at them over and over to be honest. As for the films themselves, I thought i'd seen a fair bit of film noir. But I think I have seen roughly none of those 50, give or take :)

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    1. Most of Republic's stuff is way off the beaten path, and a lot of it only lurks on the fringes of noir, but there's plenty of first-rate noir as well: Blackmail, The Pretender, House by the River, Moonrise, City that Never Sleeps, to name a few.

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  3. Hey, just noticed that you were nominated for the 2011 Total Film Blog Awards (best fan blog)- me too! (came second). On the subject of Republic, I think I may have a few of their serials knocking around here. I' ve yet to work through them yet though as work gets in the way of watching more than two or three films a week. I think I will make it a mission now to track down some of the titles in the posters above though. I am a sucker for film art and, to be honest, have watched some complete rubbish over the years because I got seduced by cool art or clever taglines.

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    1. I wish TF had kept up with that. I really enjoyed that process way back when!

      I agree with you about the bas movies. Most of these posters represent poor films — I love them anyway!

      Thanks for the FB add!

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  4. It's funny how much the accuracy of the drawings vary. The Lloyd Bridges pic. is perfect, but the couple in the Moonrise poster look nothing like Dane Clark and Gail Russell. Love these!

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  5. Thanks KC - I think it looks a lot like Gail! Dane Clark, not so much!

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  6. I had to come back because I realized who the guy who was supposed to be Dane Clark resembled: Alan Mowbray! I can see why you would think the pic. of Gail is a better resemblance, but I don't think they got the eyes or that mournful expression right. It might not be possible to capture that in an illustration.

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    1. There certainly seem to be actresses that can't be properly captured via illustration — I think Gene Tierney is at the top of the list, but Ella Raines is another and I think Gail qualifies as well. On the other hand there are those — I'm thinking Liz Scott, particularly on the Martha Ivers and Dead Reckoning posters — whose faces lend themselves to illustration in a spectacular way. Thanks for coming back, KC, your visits are always welcomed!

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  7. These are fantastic! So many tantalizing films here I'd love to see. Thank you for sharing these!

    Best wishes,
    Laura

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  8. What an awesome collection of one sheets. The saying "They don't make them like they used to fits right in here. " On top of that they are rare films as well which only make me want to learn more about them and track them down for the shelf here at home.

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    1. Thanks, Mike - you and me both!

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  9. Just been directed to this most interesting blog by Laura.
    What a wonderful gallery of little-known films.It's certainly put my "wants list" into free fall!
    I have only seen a few of these films and would certainly like to track down more.
    Never knew that Warren Douglas had lead roles in several B Noirs.Always considered Douglas a great writer (JACK SLADE,CRY VENGEANCE,LOOPHOLE and many others.)
    I DO wish Warner Archive owned all this Republic stuff,they would make great additions to their excellent Noir series.
    There is an outfit in Germany called Filmjuwelen that has the rights to lots of Republic titles but sadly many of their
    releases have German only soundtracks. I would love to see some of those later Republic B Noirs releases that were made in widescreen Naturama.
    Thanks to Laura for directing me here and I intend to visit often and spend time delving into the "back pages"
    Many thanks for a wonderful blog,just sorry I never came on board earlier.

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    1. Thanks for the comments John, I'm glad you found us! Make yourself at home!

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  10. I'm another who has discovered this site via Laura. What a treasure trove! These posters are wonderful and the films largely in the "never heard of this" realm! I have seen maybe a half dozen of them - tops. Thanks for putting this up. Like John earlier, I shall be visiting often and delving into past posts.

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  11. Great List! Have to track down some of these.

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  12. Since viewing all this great artwork I have been on to my "supplier"- got any Republic B Noir?
    As always he has supplied a few gems to satisfy my "fix" and some of them in pretty decent
    quality too with more to follow.Out of the batch viewed so far I really enjoyed BLACKMAIL it was
    fun to see the great Western director Lesley Selander do a "hard boiled" detective flick.

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  13. John - Excellent! Blackmail is one of my favorites as well, though it was awfully difficult to find. You've got a good supplier!

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  14. Jealousy (1945) is one Republic noir I'm curious about. There's also two of John H. Auer's noirs that have not been released on DVD or blu ray: I, Jane Doe and The Flame.

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