Soviet westerns are a bit of an obsession of mine, from the technicolour antics of Lemonade Joe (1964) to the all-singing extravaganza of A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (1987). Apart from it being a truly fascinating area of cinema, when you see the amazing artwork, how can you blame me? In many Soviet countries, extremely talented local artists and designers were often hired to produce individual movie posters, resulting in a dizzying array of styles. Here are ten of my favourite western posters from ex-socialist countries, ranging from the 1960s to the 1980s. No, I haven’t reviewed all of them. Yes, I probably will at some point for *watches tumbleweed roll past* all of my interested fans out there.
For many of these I have to thank the excellent Jozef Square who has a VAST repository of Czech movie posters and artwork, some of them for sale. Swoon. Prepare to lose a lot of time.
Special thanks also to Post-Soc: Film Posters from Behind the Iron Curtain who also have an incredible online gallery and shop. Go check out their science fiction collection and prepare to be dazzled.
Artwork by Alexej Jaroš, 1969 (Czech).
Cipolla Colt (Cry, Onion!)
Artwork by Zdeněk Ziegler, 1977 (Czech)
Cry, Onion! otherwise known as Onion Colt or The Smell of Onion is a 1975 Italian spaghetti western comedy that I am DETERMINED to see.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Artwork by Stanislav Vajce, 1968. (Czech)
An interesting take on a classic. God, I’d love this one to hang on the wall.
Lemonade Joe (1964)
East German poster for Czech cult classic Lemonade Joe (1964) Artist unknown.
Frontier Hellcat (1975)
Artwork by Jaroslav Fišer, 1975. A Czech poster for the West German, French, Italian and Yugoslavian Frontier Hellcat aka Among Vultures. A great poster for what is sadly, by all accounts, a terrible film.
Buck and the Preacher (1972)
Artwork by Balogh Katalin (Hungary).
Buck and the Preacher is a 1972 western directed by and starring Sidney Poitier with Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee. Looking forward to watching and reviewing this one.
Pale Rider (1985)
A very cool Czech poster for the 1985 Eastwood western. Artwork by Zdenek Ziegler.
Silver Saddle (1978)
Hungarian poster for the 1978 Italian spaghetti western Silver Saddle, aka They Died With their Boots On. Artwork by Miklós Károly.
The Prophet, the Gold & the Transylvanians (1978)
Polish poster for 1978 Romanian comedy-western. Artwork by Mieczyslaw Wasilewski. The first in a trilogy of “red westerns” that includes The Artiste, the Dollars and the Transylvanians and The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians. You can bet I want to watch these.
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Seems fitting to finish on a magnificent Hungarian poster for The Magnificent Seven. Artwork by Kovács Vilmos.
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