Whisky Galore to star in exhibition of rare film posters in Glasgow

Iain Maclean, producer of the forthcoming re-make of Whisky Galore, with a poster released for the original movie. It is part of an exhibition at Compass Gallery in Glasgow displaying rare film posters. Picture: Stuart Wallace
Iain Maclean, producer of the forthcoming re-make of Whisky Galore, with a poster released for the original movie. It is part of an exhibition at Compass Gallery in Glasgow displaying rare film posters. Picture: Stuart Wallace
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A RARE collection of vintage film posters – including one advertising the iconic Scottish movie Whisky Galore – has gone on show.

And Iain Maclean, producer of the new Whisky Galore film, helped staff at Glasgow’s Compass Gallery hang a 1949 poster of the original movie, the final one to be added to the new exhibition.

It will hang alongside extremely rare and original posters from films such as King Kong (1933), the iconic 1950s Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Dr No (1962), Marilyn Monroe’s Bus Stop (1956), Humphrey Bogart’s African Queen (1951) and many others.

Mr Maclean, who is originally from Lewis, said: “It is quite interesting to see how poster design has evolved over the years, from simple painted ones to more graphic posters using digital media.”

READ MORE: Rare whisky salvaged from SS Politician goes on show

He revealed the poster for the new film was currently in the process of being produced, adding: “I hope it, and the film, do the original justice.

“We recently finished production and will be meeting soon to decide on a release date.”

Compass Gallery has carefully selected over 200 rare, vintage, collectible film posters from a London collection to form its Golden Era: 90 Years of International Cinema exhibition.

The gallery, more accustomed to hanging paintings on its walls, has brought the international collection of film posters to Glasgow they hope will captivate their regular audiences and satisfy aficionados of the golden age of film and cinema.

Planned to coincide with the Edinburgh Film Festival 2016, this exhibition will include many rare, collectible and international original film posters from 1915 to the present day.

Other famous films being depicted are Midnight Cowboy (1969), Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and Casablanca (1942).

Jill Gerber, director of Compass Gallery, said: “Film historians and other academics have documented the importance of the role of films in the twentieth century.

READ MORE: Whisky Galore harbour saved from development

“Bringing images to the big screen has influenced the changes in fashion, beauty, art and design.

This collection represents nine decades of our ever-changing society.

“In the early days of cinema the main source of advertising was through poster art. This was the public’s first exposure to what they could see at the cinema, and the posters therefore had to entice the viewer.

“Film posters were born in an era rich in poster tradition throughout the western world.

“An era generally considered to be the golden age of the poster, the public were used to seeing Toulouse-Lautrec posters for the Moulin Rouge, Alphonse Mucha and Pierre Bonnard posters with their brilliant colours and few words, pasted on advertising boards.

“The early film posters, with their beautiful full colour art, were in complete contrast to the black and white films, which they represented. Many were done by famous artists of the day.”

She added that when the films had finished their run in the cinema, the poster for the following feature would usually be pasted over the previous one.

“The posters and lobby cards loaned to the cinemas were meant to be returned to the poster exchanges,” she said.

“In many cases they were returned and kept stored in the warehouses until the Second World War, when owing to paper shortages many of the posters were recycled.

“A number of cinemas did not return their posters or lobby cards, and these were stored on their premises and then discovered many years later.

“Like many great novels and works of music that are now cherished, their commercial origins kept them from being taken seriously when they were first produced.

“In contrast, comics and baseball cards were collected in the 1930s and 1940s and are now an extremely established market.”

In the 1990s a Boris Karloff poster for The Mummy 1932 sold for $452,000 in Sotheby’s New York.

This sale really was instrumental in not only bringing film poster art to a wider audience, but also elevating it to a serious art form.

Many major institutions, including MOMA, The Library of Congress and The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, have all formed their own collections of film posters.

The posters on show are from Bruce Marchant’s Reel Posters Gallery in London. Bruce is a third-generation art dealer who is an expert in film posters and has some of the rarest posters in the world in his collection.

The exhibition runs until 2 July.

The remake of the Compton Mackenzie classic Whisky Galore, starring comedian Eddie Izzard, tells the story of the SS Politician which was headed for Jamaica with 28,000 cases of whisky when it ran aground on the northern side of Eriskay in bad weather.

Islanders recovered hundreds of cases of whisky from the wreck and some of the bottles were buried to keep them hidden from customs officers.

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