Friday One Sheet: SWAN SONG
There are so many great elements to the key art from Todd Stephens' Swan Song, which features legendary character actor Udo Kier front and centre. Kier, whose career spans a staggering seven decades, has always had a photogenic, if off-kilter, presence that just makes him a cult favourite. Let us go through what makes his presence here and his surroundings in this one-sheet so compelling.
So many movie posters feature characters with guns, it is almost verboten to feature a character with a cigarette. This in spite of the classic fag being one of the great acting props of all time. What I also love here is how dense, and precisely decorated, the image is -- and yet, Kier is also seen holding a 99 cent Bic lighter in his smoking hand. Of course, Kier is smoking here with class.
Secondly, the wardrobe: the mint-green vest and pants, the purple fedora, the peach ascot, the perfectly pressed white puffy blouse. Note that the sunglasses match the vest, and the ascot match the wall paper (more on that in a minute). I also love the detail of the bejeweled poodle broach. This poster makes you look deeper into its details.
I have talked at length in this column about how effective classic wallpaper works in movie posters from the now classic Korean Horror film A Tale of Two Sisters, to more recently, Charlie Kaufman's I'm Thinking of Ending Things, and Viggo Mortensen's Falling. The vertical floral pattern here, complements the vase at the middle right, and provides space for the retro title card, ultra miniature credit block (nice!), as well as the obligatory critics pull quotes. Equally excellent is the chunky classic couch that occupies the lower half of the design, and frames Kier's arch posture.
This is just great way to highlight the star of the film and the style of the film, enough of a value proposition that there is not even any need to put 'hair-dressing paraphernalia' (Kier plays gay stylist Pat Pitsenbarger) to signal the 'plot' of the film. You either feel this image and want to see the film immediately, or you were probably never going to in the first place. This is a poster that is going to instantly grab its audience's attention.