The Devil’s Wife and her Eldest (1924) by Harry Clarke.

Happy new year. 02024? Read this.


L’Inhumaine poster (1924) by Georges Djo-Bourgeois.


Counter-Composition V (1924) by Theo van Doesburg.


The Thief of Bagdad poster (1924) by Anton Grot.


Linea Capricciosa (1924) by Wassily Kandinsky.

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The Thief of Bagdad


It’s the poster for the 1924 film version we’re concerning ourselves with here, not the more popular 1940 adaptation directed by Michael Powell. Both films are great but I have a special affection for Raoul Walsh’s silent version and this poster design has long been a favourite for the way it manages to condense the film’s blend of storybook graphics and Art Deco exotica. I’d wondered for years who was responsible for this design; according to various poster sites it’s the work of the film’s art director Anton Grot (1884–1974). This is one of several variations (there another here and one here) and there’s also a less interesting design which is far more typical of the period.

I often recommend the 1924 Thief of Bagdad as an introduction to silent cinema, especially if you can find a decent print. Fairbanks’ production had William Cameron Menzies as production designer and his sets are enormous Arabian Nights confections replete with minarets, onion domes and filigree screens like something from an Edmund Dulac illustration. Fairbanks gives a tremendously athletic performance and the marvellous Anna May Wong plays a Mongolian slave girl. There’s a lengthy description of the film’s production here while you can find a copy of the entire film at the Internet Archive although it really ought to be seen in a version which isn’t blighted by a company logo throughout.

Previously on { feuilleton }
More Arabian Nights
Edward William Lane’s Arabian Nights Entertainments
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé
Metropolis posters