Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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Graphist
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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#876 Post by Graphist » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:56 pm

Morbii wrote:I think that’s basically my only complaint about the Rublev cover too.
Yes, “an Andrei” sounds somewhat strange. They could have just added “Andrei Tarkovsky.” I am sure most everyone knows whose film it is.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#877 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:47 pm

The My Man Godfrey cover strikes me as pretty stylish -- in an art deco sort of way. So, no problem...

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#878 Post by Gerald Christie » Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:46 pm

Hate the new Godfrey cover and I'm honestly getting tired of them doing these cartoon covers for these type of films. Honestly what was wrong with the old cover? It was simple, yet terrific.

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Morbii
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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#879 Post by Morbii » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:26 am

Gerald Christie wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:46 pm
Hate the new Godfrey cover and I'm honestly getting tired of them doing these cartoon covers for these type of films. Honestly what was wrong with the old cover? It was simple, yet terrific.
Definitely with you on that, and I’ve been semi-vocal about it in the past. I legitimately can’t fathom how a cartoon cover could be considered good for the vast majority of live action films, or why a blind buyer looking for said films could be swayed by them.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#880 Post by black&huge » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:51 am

Morbii wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:26 am

Definitely with you on that, and I’ve been semi-vocal about it in the past. I legitimately can’t fathom how a cartoon cover could be considered good for the vast majority of live action films, or why a blind buyer looking for said films could be swayed by them.
Thirded on this. Criterion has a pattern of doing these kind of covers specifically for precodes or other 20's and 30's US films for the most part. All that I and seemingly the rest of the forum get from it is that they have no clue how to represent these older films let alone market them.

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Gregory
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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#881 Post by Gregory » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:12 am

I'd be surprised if anyone had ever claimed that a "cartoon cover" would be right for "the vast majority of live action films" or that such covers would somehow convince someone on their own merit to watch a film they'd otherwise not be interested in. Those criteria are setting the bar absurdly high for an cartoonist or illustrator to be able to design a cover for a Criterion release without it being met with the kind of disdain often hurled here at Criterion's newly commissioned cover illustration work.
It seems worth pointing out that so-called "cartoon" illustrations have routinely been part of marketing comedies like this one from the 1930s–50s from the beginning (see this for example). The studios almost always employed straight illustrators for posters and other promotional art, but on the occasion when a popular illustrator could be hired for designs for comedies or musicals, it was generally seen as a huge plus, so the "why is this a cartoon?" reaction many covers here are met with has routinely puzzled me. Seth (the My Man Godfrey illustrator/designer) is an extremely popular—there's a reason Criterion has hired him for 1930s stuff again and again. Granted there were initial complaints about his Chaplin likeness, which Criterion addressed with a revised cover, but on the whole his illustration work like this cover has objectively been broadly been popular. Surely it's not to everyone's taste but all the "honestly!" and "I'm going to puke all over it!" comments seem just a little bit over the top, considering that this kind of style has always been part of depicting and promoting Hollywood comedies from this long era.

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Morbii
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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#882 Post by Morbii » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:24 am

If the criteria for a good cover that represents the film and resonates with most blind buyers and existing fans is so high for an illustrator or cartoonist, then why go that route?

Note that I'm not sure anyone is complaining about the abilities of the artist themselves in a lot of cases, just about the choice to use such an artist for a live action film. That's how I feel, anyway.

The link you've provided is fair, though, and provides insight to a reason for doing this, even if I don't personally like it.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#883 Post by Finch » Sat Jun 16, 2018 5:00 am

While I don't mind the new Godfrey cover all that much, the original was perfect. They might as well have saved themselves some work.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#884 Post by NWRdr4 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:47 am

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:00 pm
Andrei Rublev is my favorite post-rock album
That Andrei Rublev cover is something I’d expect to see perusing Pitchfork’s review section on an album that only got a 5.7 rating.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#885 Post by KJones77 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:33 am

To be the counter-point in this thread, I would 100% blind buy any film with one of these cartoon covers. I love every single one of them. I don't know why, but it makes it all the more appealing. I love this one especially, as well as Make Way for Tomorrow, which has a terrific cartoon cover. They both -and really all - have a great style to them that I find very visually appealing. Adds some flair to them and makes them stand out a bit. I love the color scheme for My Man Godfrey as well, will look great on my shelf.

In fact, if one has a cartoon cover, it makes me somewhat more willing to check it out of if I haven't already. However, if a film has a shot from the film (like the recent Mingiu releases), there's almost no chance I'll blind buy it.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#886 Post by black&huge » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:17 pm

I think out of all the cartoon covers the one that I can barely look at is for Palm Beach Story.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#887 Post by Saturnome » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:38 pm

I'm not a big fan of Seth (his Make Way for Tomorrow cover was good, though!), but I guess it's easy to think of him when in need of illustrations for 1930s hollywood movies, the guy lives in the 1930s, he always wear clothes from the period and I believe his house is mostly pre-WWII stuff. I love cartoon covers (no surprise I guess, as I make my living as a cartoonist), I wish they'd ask Roman Muradov for another cover, his Day for Night is a favorite of mine, and ask more cartoonists. I really hope that they'll keep Kate Beaton's Janus poster for the Chaplin Revue whenever they release this.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#888 Post by Feego » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:00 pm

I don't object to cartoon covers in general. I'm a fan of Seth's Make Way for Tomorrow, as well as the "cartoon" covers for The Awful Truth and Woman of the Year. But I do happen to think this particular My Man Godfrey cover is hideous. Look, I'm well aware that one person's beautiful is another's ugly, as the pink Viridiana cover thread clearly demonstrates (for the record, I like the pink one). To me, the drawing style is more evocative of clip art than 1930s art deco, and the greenish color scheme is oddly sickly for a screwball comedy. If others like it, great. Ironically, the link Gregory posted above to prove that cartoons are nothing new for classic film advertisements only proves just how much more appropriate the old cover was to begin with:

Image

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#889 Post by HitchcockLang » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:08 pm

The My Man Godfrey cover reminds me more of the City Lights cover than any of the other "cartoon" covers.

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Feego
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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#890 Post by Feego » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:16 pm

That's because they (along with Make Way for Tomorrow) were designed by the same artist, Seth.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#891 Post by movielocke » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:44 pm

I've never liked the original cover, it's blocky, literally blocks and hard lines where gradients just end, very ugly to be cut off like that. There's "something" going on in the bottom right, but it's unclear what, just a cut out of a wide/establishing shot I'm guessing. Hmm, maybe it is apparently a musical as they're in front of some sweeping stairs that Astaire and Rogers and Vivien Leigh (or the faceless liliputians pictured at the foot of the stairs) probably tap dance on.

Then the central element is floating heads, but floating heads that are colorized black and white, which I don't think looks all that great.

The neon fonts (probably from the opening title cards maybe?) are the only part I like.

the new one is good, not great, but I like it a lot more.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#892 Post by zedz » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:01 pm

That original cover would be a lot better if they just zoomed in on actors, title and director credit and lost the stuff at the bottom and the negative space on either side. There's even a ready-made spot for the wacky C.

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Charles
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Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#893 Post by Charles » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:47 pm

Normally I’d expect to declare I don’t much like cartoon cover art. But in reading through this, I’m recalling my first attraction (while browsing in a B&N) to Criterion’s original DVD of M. Hulot’s Holiday — back when I knew NOTHING of Tati — and how it was the style of that cover illustration that made me pick it up, look at it, and respond positively to the description on the back by buying it blind and having my movie loving life forever elevated.

Likewise, I Married a Witch and no doubt others. So, whether screwball comedy or otherwise, whether an original design or something derived from original poster art, and acknowledging that a few of them have been letdowns ..... I’m for it.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#894 Post by Morbii » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:10 pm

You know, M. Hulot's Holiday is an example of one that I think works, personally!

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#895 Post by Luke M » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:53 pm

My first attraction to a Criterion cover, back at Borders, was 8 1/2. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

Re: cartoons debate, I think a nuanced approach is better in this case. Some of them are absolutely wonderful and fit the movie. And then there’s others where a different cover may have been more appropriate. I think making blanket statements about illustrated covers good or bad should be avoided. But that’s all imo.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#896 Post by Boosmahn » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:56 am

If we're on the topic of our first Criterion covers, I'll add that mine were Eyes Without a Face and House. Both I picked up during a Halloween sale in 2015: one artful horror film and a ridiculous one, which gave me the biases I have for Criterion horror titles today.

The covers I'm drawn to are still images with filters placed over them (see also: Hong Sang-soo) or custom illustrations, mainly. Why? I don't know. :-?

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#897 Post by Graphist » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:03 pm

I think the issue with My Man Godfrey is not the cartoonish drawing (it is after all a screwball comedy and as it was stated earlier many comedies from that era would utilize that sort of rendering). I think the problem is the typeface used for the title. I feel in order to ground the whole thing they should have gone with some beautifully cut Art Deco typeface from the era, maybe something similar to the font used for the director’s name.… Also, maybe incorporate some complimentary accent color to add some depth to the illustration.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#898 Post by Cremildo » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:09 pm

My problem with the new My Man Godfrey cover is that the DVD art is much more attractive. It isn't bad simply because it's cartoonish.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#899 Post by starmanof51 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:53 pm

I seem to be one of the few that prefers the new My Man Godfrey art. It’s ok. The DVD has always looked kind of Public Domainish to me.

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Re: Criterion & Eclipse Cover Art & Packaging Babble-on Vol. 7

#900 Post by 371229 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:06 pm

I much prefer the new MMG cover to the old DVD one. I have never been a fan of the "heads-floating-in-the-sky" covers.

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