Movie Poster REDUX: Classic Posters by the Legendary Jack Davis

This week, we're taking a look at the instantly recognizable movie posters by American illustrator Jack Davis. Davis was one of the founding cartoonists for Mad magazine in 1952 and is known for his advertising art, magazine covers, film posters, record album art and numerous comic book stories. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2003 and also received the National Cartoonists Society's Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.

In his 2010 blog post titled "Jack Davis At the Movies, Part One", illustrator and writer Scott Brothers describes Davis' work rather brilliantly: "Besides his signature style and caricature work, Davis designed posters that were overflowing with life, an anarchistic bent that made it impossible to take in all at once. Scenes and characters from the films filled the composition, pushing into the white boarders. The wackier the movie, the better reference for Davis. His poster for Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) might be his most famous: dozens of characters from the movie spilling forth from the cracked Earth globe, wrapping their way madly above the type face. It’s staggering to look at because, well, there is simply so much to look at. But it all works. The image may seem out of control, but the layout and composition isn’t. Another great example is Woody Allen’s Bananas (1971). Besides the dead-on caricature of Allen, Davis is able to sum up the entire film in a single illustration. Forget a trailer, I would rather have Jack Davis’ poster. Even when the film is utterly forgettable, Jack Davis’ art is not. It’s so fun and full of chaos, that sometimes the poster gives the film more credit than it deserves."


The Bad News Bears

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Kelly's Heroes

Viva Max

One More Time

Woddy Alen's Bananas

Bank Shot

Waterhole #3

Blake Edwards

Some Kind of a Nut

The Long Goodbye

Inspector Clouseau

The Russians are Coming

Dan Perez Films

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