They Act Their Age In Germany
As this writer gets older, he appreciates more and more those who are willing to act their age. He appreciates even more those poster artists willing to depict actors as they really are, or in this case, were. These images aren’t designed to flatter their subjects. There’s an honesty about them that’s refreshing. We never had posters in the U.S. so revealing of their subjects as these. I think they’re great. You really get the character of these veterans as they headed into the twilight of their careers. Apparently, German audiences were better prepared to appreciate these actors in realistic terms, while the rest of us made do with heavily retouched, misleading portrayals. That’s a wonderful image of Spencer Tracy, for instance. It’s from The Mountain, and sure enough, that’s how Spence looked by 1956 --- like a monument. This artist salutes those long, hard years that brought Tracy here. To my mind, he never looked so majestic. Same for Bogart. The artist doesn’t shrink from the dissipation that shows in the man’s expression. In fact, he celebrates it. As far as I’m concerned, none of Bogart’s American posters convey his stature so effectively. Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas were not so old, of course, but already the artist explores the mature image that is making it’s presence felt in their screen images, and celebrates it. Cary Grant may not have appreciated the rather severe depiction we have here, but isn’t it refreshing to have a glimpse of the actor at a point when age was becoming a serious issue, and Grant was himself considering retirement at times because of it. There’s such drama in these German posters. They seem to have understood these icons far better than we ever did.