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MOVIE POSTERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: 24×36

When I heard that a new documentary on the subject of movie posters was called 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters I’ll admit I was confused. All collectors know that traditional one-sheets measure 27×41. Now that I’ve seen the picture I understand the title. Kevin Burke’s entertaining film is primarily about the renaissance of posters and its artists who don’t restrict themselves to standard sizes. They are as individual as the images they design.

Fortunately, Burke doesn’t ignore the past, and his film opens with a brief overview of movie poster history—what one might call the 27×41 era—and some of its leading lights. Following that primer, he explores the new era of poster art ushered in by the folks at Mondo of Austin, Texas, who not only create images for new movies but reinvent the “key art” of classics. (If you’re unfamiliar with Mondo’s work, you owe yourself the experience of seeing their work—even though their limited editions sell out almost as soon as they’re announced. Check out their archive HERE)

Mondo’s success inspired others to get in on the act and 24×36 introduces us to a number of other artists and entrepreneurs. Some of them follow the practice of licensing properties from studios and filmmakers, while others are freer in their interpretation of an artist’s rights. And while some people believe in high-priced limited editions, others want to sell as many posters as they possibly can. Every artist follows his or her own path.

24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters is enjoyable and informative, especially if you have a yen for the subject as I do. Following its debut at this past year’s Fantastic Fest, the film is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, iTunes, and other online sources; you can also rent it from Amazon. For more information click HERE

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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