Movie Poster Collecting

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Soviet Export Film Posters

The former Soviet Union produced thousands of films in a long run
of more than 60 years. Exporting these films was a major national
industry, and the posters were made for distribution in multiple nations in multiple languages. The posters for Soviet export films are bound to constitute an overwhelmingly massive category in the world cinema poster catalogue, but I have not seen any reference material on the subject.

My small collection is a chance accumulation, mostly from Egypt:

Adventures of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1980) starring Dharmendra, directed by Latif Faiziyev.
This film was made in India and the Soviet Union at Uzbekfilm (USSR) and Eagle Film Studios (India). The poster measures 31x47 inches; my guess is it was made for distribution in India, but the copy I have turned up in Egypt.


Tsirk (1936) starring Lyubov Orlova, directed by Grigori Aleksandrov. This poster is an undated rerelease. Judging from the aging of the paper I would put the date of the rerelease somewhere in the 1960s or 1970s. The poster has all the hallmarks of Egyptian poster production, printed by al-Nasr printers with art by Abdel Rahman, a well-known Egyptian poster artist. The English title on the poster "Circus Actors" was probably chosen for the Egyptian market, along with the Arabic title al-sirk al-azim "The Big Circus."


Direction of the Main Blow (1971) directed by Yuri Ozerov. The original Russian title is Osvobozhdenie: Napravleniye glavnogo udara; this is a history film about the Kursk tank battle of World War II. I acquired this 31x44 inch Spanish poster at a show from a Columbian dealer who used to make the rounds regularly at US poster shows.


This is an Egyptian poster for the 1971 film mentioned above, The Direction of the Main Blow. Liberation is an alternate English title for that film.


The Fall of Berlin (1949) starring Mikheil Gelovani as Marshal Josef Stalin, directed by Mikheil Chiaureli. This is an undated Egyptian rerelease, and again judging from the age of the paper I would put the rerelease in the 1960s or 1970s. The original Russian title is Padeniye Berlina. The title in English on the poster is The Battle for Berlin. The Arabic title ma'reket berlin could also be translated as The Battle for Berlin or simply The Berlin Battle.


Four Devils (ND). The poster states in Arabic that the film is a Soviet export film, but I have not yet found any information about it. The poster design is a collaboration between the artists Sayed Aram and Moaty, printed by al-Nasr printers.


Modern Weapons Power (ND). I have not found any information about the film beyond what it says on the poster. The Arabic in blue at the top translates as "the most powerful documentary film since the film The Second World War; then comes the Arabic title in red letters The Secrets of Modern Weapons. The Arabic phrase in black at top right identifies it as a poster for a Soviet Export film.


Risk II (ND). This is another poster for a film about which I have no information beyond the writing on the poster, which says it is a documentary film about World War II, and that the film is a Soviet Export film.


Romeo and Juliet (1955) starring Galina Ulanova as Juliet, directed by Lev Amshtam and Leonid Lavrovsky, based on the play by William Shakespeare with music by Sergei Prokofiev. This poster measures 28" x 42" and turned up in Iran. It was probably intended for distribution in multiple countries.


Father of a Soldier (1964) starring Sergo Zagariadze, directed by Rezo Chkheidze. The poster is Egyptian in a non-standard Egyptian size 26.75x39.5 inches, again with art by Abdel Rahman and printed by al-Nasr printers. The Arabic title is al-ab The Father.


Zhavoronok (1964) starring Gennadi Yukhtin, directed by Nikita Kurikhin and Leonid Menaker. This Soviet war movie is about an incident instead of a battle, where some Russian prisoners are used as target practice in a T-34 tank by the Germans in World War II. The Arabic title is al-modmeret al-qatela "The Murderous Destroyer" with the English title "T-34" at the top of the poster.



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