Book Review: THE ART OF JOHN ALVIN Is A Classy Affair


The great movie poster is a dying art-form (literally). There was once a time when a movie poster could be admired for being a classy piece of pop art, something that not only advertised a movie, but also stood proudly as its own thing. These posters looked and felt like they were created by artists who were visited by a muse, unlike today where posters look like they’ve been created by a marketing department informed merely by market research. The late John Alvin was one of the greats. Not only did he make some of the most iconic movie posters, but he helped make movie memories for an entire generation of fans. The Art Of John Alvin celebrates his work and delivers a book that will thrill those who have admired his work over the years.

Alvin kick-started his career with the poster for Mel Brook’s Blazing Saddles and he never looked back, designing iconic posters for films such as Blade Runner, E.T the Extra Terrestrial, Gremlins, Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King. Alvin’s artwork was a stylish affair, perfectly matching the films which they accompanied. You can’t help but look through The Art Of John Alvin and feel admiration knowing that these creations were designed by the passion of one man (which makes them feel like genuine works of art) but also a twinge of sadness, as  it’s a million miles away from the homogenised Photoshop works which are currently pushed out for film, after film.

The Art Of John Alvin has an emotional story running through it. The book is accompanied by text by Alvin’s wife, Andrea (he sadly died from a heart-attack in 2008), giving a personal touch to the posters that have adorned walls, billboards and bus shelters throughout the globe. However, we don’t just get to see the finished pieces; we get to see works in progress and some design concepts which were never released. This is a treasure trove for movie fans who love classic movie marketing materials.

The Art Of John Alvin is a book that is every bit as sophisticated as the artwork it contains. This comes highly recommended.