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FILM POSTER TERMINOLOGY, SIZES and FORGERIES


This is by no means exhaustive, but covers some of the most commonly encountered terms:

U.S. POSTERS

1-SHEET: 27"x41" - paper stock, almost always issued folded prior to c.1985. From then on rolled. Also from that time 1-sheets printed for international (i.e. non U.S. domestic) distribution are sized 27"x40".

3-SHEET: 41"x81" - paper stock, issued folded, almost always in two (occasionally three) seperate pieces. Primarily for foyer display, they were printed in small quantities and are never common.

HALF-SHEET: 22"x28" - printed on card stock. Issued rolled and folded. Avoid folded half-sheets after the 60s.

INSERT: 14"x36" - printed on card stock. Issued both folded and rolled. See above, but lacking a vertical fold, collectors can be more tolerant of later inserts with light folds, although for 70's films onwards, rolled is still the standard.

30x40 - printed on card stock primarily for outside display, issued rolled. Before the 1960s (when they are extremely rare) they took the form of silk screens with very different artwork to other formats;
from the 60s they show the 1-sheet artwork and are still scarce. A superb format, rarely found in good condition.

40x60 - ditto the above, often used on the drive-in circuit. Magnificent posters.

LOBBY CARDS: 11"x14" - printed in sets of eight on card stock. The main U.S. front-of-house display containing seven 'scene cards' with studio portraits of the stars or on-set shots, and a 'title card' featuring the main credits and poster 'key art'. Paramount dispensed with title cards, so their sets contain eight scene cards. Lobby cards still survive to some degree, but largely for international distribution.

WINDOW CARD: 14"x22" - an advance-of-showing poster, printed on card stock, with a blank portion at the top for play dates and details to be written or printed on. Used at cinemas, but also distributed
(as the name would suggest) around smaller towns where a shop owner could receive a couple of free tickets in exchange for displaying the poster.

SUBWAY: 46"x64" - paper stock, issued folded and rolled. A very rare size in most cases - survival on titles is incredibly sporadic and unpredictable. The earliest made seem to be for 'Thunderball'.

(After 1983 all America's variant posters sizes were discontinued, leaving just the 1-sheet, subway and bus shelter posters).

STYLES: Distributors frequently issued two, or very occasionally more, different styles of 1-sheet,
half-sheet (2 max) and (rarely) 3-sheet. These would be designated either styles A B, C, D or E.

TEASER: poster with maximum artwork and minimum (if any) credits heralding a forthcoming release. Few printed so always scarcer than the full release poster.

ADVANCE: largely as above, with the release date.

RERELEASE/REISSUE: Not to be confused with 'reprint' or 'reproduction'.
Refers to a genuine cinema rerelease, with accompanying poster material, of an earlier film.

NATIONAL SCREEN SERVICE or NSS NUMBERS: National Screen distributed most U.S. domestic releases for several decades. Their cataloguing system for film posters has proved an inadvertent boon for collectors. The first two digits at bottom right show the release date of that actual poster, not the film, as is the case often in Italy, for example, with the remaining numbers National Screen's reference number for that film. An 'R' in front of the date indicates that it is from a later rerelease of that film, with the date in question.
Be aware that a 1-sheet without regular or even any NSS details as above is not necessarily a repro. Posters printed for overseas were not distributed by National Screen and hence would go without their domestic coding.

U.K. POSTERS

QUAD: 30"x40" The standard British domestic poster. Similar change-over from folded to rolled as with U.S. 1-sheet. Much rarer than the U.S. 1-sheet, especially from before the 1960s.

DOUBLE CROWN (or 'DC') : 20"x30" - Much less common format, similar to a theatre or concert bill. Sometimes displayed on London buses. Artwork is not always full colour.

British 1-SHEETS, HALF-SHEETS, 3-SHEETS and LOBBY CARDS were all produced as well to accompany
UK films distributed overseas, and all are scarce.

ITALIAN POSTERS

QUATRO (4) FOGLIO: 55"x79" - paper stock, issued folded.

DUO (2) FOGLIO: 39"x55" - paper stock, issued folded.

Prior to the 70's often featuring spectacular artwork by the Italian master poster artists. Artwork and interest value takes a steep dive after then.

PHOTOBUSTA: 19"x27" - paper stock, issued unfolded in sets usually of 10, sometimes 12. Italy's equivalent of the lobby card, although very different in appearance. From the 1940s-mid 50s, often sized, not always in colour, the larger size emerges around 1950. Far less common generally than lobbies, they often feature superb shots and scenes not found anywhere else. Occasionally one or two DOUBLE PHOTOBUSTAS (36"x26") were printed.

LOCANDINA: 13"x28" - paper stock, issued rolled and folded. An advance-of-showing poster, with a small (becoming much larger later on) blank area at top for the play dates and details. Often photographic.

FRENCH POSTERS

15"x21" - issued rolled and folded.

24"x33" - issued folded.

47"x63" - issued folded.

There are exceptions, but often the smaller French posters feature a two-colour photomontage design, the large affiche full colour artwork.

AUSTRALIAN POSTERS

DAYBILL: 13"x30" - with size variations, paper stock, issued rolled. Much lithographic daybill artwork post mid-50s is very poor, though there are exceptions.

Australian also produced domestic 1 and 3-sheets, but these are very uncommon.

ARGENTINIAN POSTERS

1-SHEET: 29"x43"

2 PANEL: 43"x58"- issued folded. Generally lithographic and like Australian posters sometimes not attractive, though there are spectacular exceptions.

BELGIAN AFFICHE

Pre-War: 23"x34" - paper stock, issued rolled. Very rare.

Immediate Post-War: 12"x17", often printed on the reverse of maps due to paper scarcity.

C.1948 - Present: 14"x22" - paper stock, issued rolled, landscape and portrait formats.
Begian poster artists produced both brilliantly colourful re-workings of original U.S. artwork and original designs.

POLISH POSTERS

Up to mid 70's: 23"x33" - paper stock, issued rolled.

Mid 70s to present: 27"x38" - paper stock, issued rolled.

Uniquely intense and creative school of poster design.

FORGERIES AND REPROS

Less of a problem than is sometimes assumed, but it does exist, almost entirely in the area of 'modern' i.e. mid-70's onwards U.S. titles. This is due to the similarity of modern paper stock to that of the last 30 years or so. Older vintage paper is hard to reproduce and scarcely cost-effective for a forger. The main areas to be wary of (there are more) are:

INSERTS (14"x36") for certain very popular titles such as 'JAWS', 'TAXI DRIVER', 'RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK', 'BLADE RUNNER', 'RAGING BULL', 'EMPIRE STRIKES BACK' and 'STAR WARS'
LOBBY SETS on 'JAWS', 'GODFATHER I and II', 'TAXI DRIVER', 'BLADE RUNNER'; and 1-SHEETS on the retitled 'REVENGE OF THE JEDI', 'BLADE RUNNER', and 'STAR WARS' (especially the Tom Jung 'A' style and the Tom Chantrell 'C' style). The 'C' style is a notoriously problematic poster - the genuine original is extremely scarce and would-be buyers should ask searching questions before buying out one.

A forgery that has recently emerged is for the very rare German poster for 'APOCALYPSE NOW' with the alternate Bob Peak art.

'BLADE RUNNER' is (ironically for a film about 'Replicants') probably the worst title of all for forgeries. There are at least two bogus different 1-sheets doing the rounds, and both the insert and lobby cards have been copied.

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