This week sees the 90th anniversary of one of the most important milestone events in cinema history. On 6th October 1927 the first talking movie, The Jazz Singer, was released.
Up until 1927 movies had progressed from minute-long films made in the 1880’s to swashbuckling adventures and romantic love stories. But all without sound. Then thanks to The Jazz Singer the talkies came along. And the movie business exploded into the multi-million $ industry which it still is today.
The film studios began to churn out wonderful new talking movies at full speed. For each new movie a poster was designed and printed for marketing purposes. The film reels would be sent to movie theatres in a case with a poster tucked in to the sleeve. The movie reel would be fitted on to the projector and the poster would be pinned up to tell the audiences what was showing. After three or four days the poster would be taken down, and put back in the sleeve of the film reel case. The film and poster would then be sent on to the next town. A poster would only be replaced when it was badly torn or damaged enough to warrant a new copy. And that is why movie posters from the before the 1940’s are extremely rare and valuable, particularly in good condition.
The earliest poster that we currently have for sale at Vintage Movie Art is from a 1936 film called Marihuana. The incorrect spelling of the word marijuana is curious in itself, as is the artwork of the poster which seems to suggest that this recreational drug is as evil as heroin, a message which is portrayed throughout the film. While it’s easy to recognise that the film is over 80 years old and from another era completely, the poster has timeless artwork which still looks fabulous today.