But try telling any of that to Polish designer Bronislaw Zelek (b. 1935), whose poster for Schlesinger’s Hardy adaptation, above, is startlingly bold and contemporary. Dispensing with the stars’ faces (and such attractive faces they were) it could stand for Darling as easily as for Madding Crowd, though the plane of red clearly represents the startlingly red tunic of Terence Stamp’s swashbuckling Sergeant Troy. (If nothing else, Madding Crowd is worth seeing again for Nic Roeg’s dazzling cinematography. In a letter to his producer Schlesinger writes “I must say, I am looking forward to getting back to HPS* and normal wide screen though I have an inventive cameraman who does not seem frightened of being bold with colour and Panavision.”)
The Czech poster, by Břetislav Šebek (1925-1998), below, is equally remarkable with its monochrome cut out of Julie Christie in flight against a red-on-red background with some kind of a feather motif. It looks like a medieval manuscript re-imagined for the French New Wave.
The US one sheet, more conventionally illustrated by Howard Terpning, tries to give the film a contemporary feel (Christie’s hair looks much more 1960s than 1860s) and saddles it with an overwrought and banal romance novel tagline.
But when the film played in 35mm “at popular prices” it got a new poster that played up Christie and Alan Bates and yet ended up looking even more Harlequin Romantic than the first one.
The UK quad, again playing up Christie, uses the US art (though Peter Finch has been notably redrawn).
And the French poster recreates the same artwork while giving Christie’s Bathsheba Everdene a more Bardot-esque devil-may-care élan.
And then there is this most unusual, bright yellow, 8 foot by 10 foot French poster by Georges Kerfeyser that dispenses with everything but the girl.
And the Romanian poster does much the same, though less colorfully.
One final piece of Madding ephemera I came across was this promotional caricature of the cast by the great Al Hirschfeld (1903-2003).
The film was re-released in the UK earlier this year with this rather lovely quad poster (again the red tunic).
And I do quite like at least one of the new posters for Vinterberg’s film which, as with Zelek’s poster, dispenses with stars’ faces in favor of a romantic clinch and that splash of red.