Saturday, 22 March 2008

Rare Putzu No.1

I'm delighted to have laid my hands this past week on not only my first quad movie poster, but moreover a possibly scarce example of the virtuoso illustration skills of Arnaldo Putzu. Putzu arrived in Britain in the late 1960's as the last of the esteemed 'Italian Connection' of film poster artists, and picked up a stylistic baton laid down by the great Renato Fratini (quite literally in the case of the 'Carry On' series, seamlessly continuing Fratini's superbly riotous caricature ensemble pieces after he left the UK industry in 1970). Mainly known for his hundreds of weekly illustrations for 'Look-in' throughout the '70's and into the early '80's, Putzu also majored in Hammer horror artwork, legendary posters for 'Cromwell' & 'Get Carter' and countless bawdy Brit comedies and pulp thrillers. 'Inside Out' is an excellent example of the latter.

The poster itself isn’t in great condition, but it does feature some superb portraits of the stars involved – Savalas, Mason & Culp - and was designed by Vic Fair (using the same triangular device featured in his own illustration for 'The Man Who Fell To Earth'). The sketchy, fast flowing brush strokes are trademark Putzu - look at the brilliantly rendered red hair on the Culp portrait - as are the bold outlines and shirt collars which he was so fond of using for his 'Look-in' paintings of the time, but the skin work is interesting. Putzu usually layered tonal hatching patterns in progressively finer strokes, yet here he's used a rougher, drier form of highlighting – almost like a sponge print technique.

It's a shame that with so many of these great illustrations, there's more dynamism to be found in the paintwork on the poster than in the movies themselves, and for that reason it seems that great swathes of them have vanished altogether or are at least very hard to find. But of course, this is the very root of motivation (and captivation) for the collector, and as this post title implies, I'm hoping 'Inside Out' will be the first of many.