Surprising Early, Alternate Versions of Iconic Movie Posters

Movie posters, as we’ve discussed before, are a tricky business, and a great movie poster must serve many functions: it must capture the essence of a movie, it must be aesthetically pleasing or interesting in itself, and it must sell the product in question. Unsurprisingly, the quest for that balance can result in reworking, re-imagining, and revisions galore, which is why the new Daybees online exhibit The Iconic Movie Posters That Never Were is so fascinating. In it, the designers behind some of Hollywood’s most memorable posters share their early drafts and alternate versions of classic posters; check them out after the jump, alongside the final drafts that became part of movie history, and visit Daybees to learn more about their creators.

A Clockwork Orange

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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold

Several of the posters in the gallery are the work of Bill Gold, the prolific designer whose career started with the immortal poster for Casablanca and continued with more than 2000 posters over the course of more than 60 years. Here are his disturbing early ideas for Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange.

Pulp Fiction

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Artist Credit: James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur
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Artist Credit: James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur
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Artist Credit: James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur

First, James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur went with Uma Thurman reading. Then they went with the book cover. When they combined the two, they came up with one of the most iconic and omnipresent posters of the ’90s.

The Exorcist

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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold

Some compelling concepts in these early versions of the poster for William Friedkin’s horror classic. But what’s going on with that wacky title font?

Batman

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Artist Credit: Brian D. Fox
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Artist Credit: Brian D. Fox

The logo/branding concept of Brian D. Fox’s final Batman poster was simplicity itself, but there’s something sort of wonderful about the throwback, Art Deco-inspired first concept.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

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Artist Credit: James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur
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Artist Credit: James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur
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Artist Credit: James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur

Every one of them better than that DVD cover.

Unforgiven

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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold

The third, final version is certainly more functional. But aesthetics lost out on this one–those first two are evocative and gorgeous.

Dog Day Afternoon

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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold

Cool Hand Luke

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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold

Mystic River

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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold
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Artist Credit: Bill Gold

[Daybees via The Guardian]