November 10, 2010

The Posters of Frankenstein :
Le Fils de Frankenstein

The Monster appears twice on this 1947 Belgian poster in French and Flemish, celebrating the WWII-delayed release of 1939’s Son of Frankenstein.

The lithograph is typical of painterly Belgian movie posters. Unfortunately, the artists are never identified, forbidden to sign their work by orders from on high. In this article (in French), legendary poster artist Ernest Godst reveals that film distributors would hire freelance illustrators, providing them with black and white stills and specifics as to which actors would be featured and the size of title and credit lettering. Artists produced two or three rough layouts for approval before executing the final painted artwork. Printing was usually turned over to movie poster specialists J. Lichtert & Fils, a company that dominated the field throughout the Twentieth century. Print runs hovered around 5000 copies, for display not only in hundreds of theaters — Belgium boasted one of the highest number of movie houses in the world — but also in neighborhood bars and boutiques.

The Cinemax theater — originally called the Cineum — and its prestigious next-door neighbor, the Plaza Hotel, both opened on rue de Malines in 1930. According to Cinema Treasures, the storied venue operated as the Cinemax until 1957 when it switched name and vocation, briefly, playing German features as the Rubens. In 1959, as the Apollo, it specialized in horror films, hosting Hammer Films releases at the height of the studio’s popularity. After a series of further name changes and restorations in the Seventies, the old theater became the first-run Acropole Center in 1980 before closing in ’85, the building finally absorbed into the Plaza Hotel complex.

1 comment:

Michel Parry said...

Great to see a mention of the Apollo cinema! I went there often in my teens to see horror movies, German 'krimis and Italian Hercules-type fantasies. I still have a bunch of clippings of adverts for the Apollo from a Brussels newspaper.