Adrian Curry has written a great post on the story behind the poster campaign for Robert Altman’s 1973 crime drama The Long Goodbye, starring Elliott Gould. The original poster was illustrated by Richard Amsel (who has designed some much-loved movie posters, like the ones for Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Sting):
The film wasn’t well received on its premiere and United Artists decided this was due to the misleading ad campaign, which made it look like a straightforward detective story. According to Curry, the studio spent $40,000 on a new campaign and brought in artist Jack Davis, who designed a wacky cartoon illustration for the poster:
When the film was finally released, it was a success, even appearing on the New York Times’ Ten Best list. Was this all down to the movie poster? In those days you couldn’t watch trailers or read all about the latest films on the internet, so a poster would have been more important as a way of delivering information about the film to the audience.