The poster art of Frank McCarthy


The Venetian Affair (1967).

“Murder! Spies! Women!” If you added “guns” and “explosions” to that list you’d have the ingredients of the wild poster art of Frank McCarthy (1924–2002). I used to love posters like this when I was a boy, especially those from the everything-happening-at-once school which, by the look of these examples, was McCarthy’s specialty. Where action films are concerned the posters are often more exciting than the scenes they depict, in part because artists such as McCarthy were often working from their own imaginations as much as from any stills they’d been given.


The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967).

McCarthy had a career painting Western scenes which explains why his horses are so good. Some of his posters are for very well-known films, including a couple of Bond pictures, but I prefer those where he evidently had more of a free reign. The painting for The Caper of the Golden Bulls is a great composition with a use of colour you wouldn’t see today. Below there’s an example of the colossal title lettering that Terry Gilliam used to enjoy parodying. I still wonder which film did this first. Was it Ben-Hur? See more of Frank McCarthy’s poster art here.


Genghis Khan (1965).


Around the World Under the Sea (1966).

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