Thursday, July 8, 2010

Poster of the Week (Or "The Most Successful Living American Artist You've Never Heard Of")

One of our regular features here at How We Do Run On will be our Poster of the Week series, which just as its name suggests will feature a different Gone with the Wind movie poster each week (see- truth in advertising).  For most weeks, our posts will be short and sweet (a picture of the featured poster along with its vital info, such as publication year, dimensions, etc.). But our inaugural post calls for something a little more substantial. And what better poster to feature first than that most famous of all Gone with the Wind posters? 

Ah yes, of course I mean that poster that's hanging out over there to the left. We've all seen it a million times- so much so that it's practically embedded into our corneas. Many windies love it, some aren't fans, but to all of us, it's intrinsically linked to Gone with the Wind. Since its original introduction as part of the 1967 re-release of the film, this poster has achieved iconic status, having graced countless items of GWTW paraphernalia and become a visual shorthand for both the movie and book. In fact, I bet you could go grab a random person off the street and there'd be a good chance your victim innocent passerby would recognize the poster, even if they didn't know anything else about GWTW.

This enduring image was the work of two men, art director and designer Tom Jung and illustrator Howard Terpning. A prolific film graphic artist, illustrator and designer, Tom Jung  developed poster designs for Dr. Zhivago, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull and
Lord of the Rings. Although he's perhaps best known for his work on the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back posters,  to us he’s obviously most famous for developing the design for the legendary GWTW poster, which he did during his tenure as a freelance art director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The artwork for the poster was created by artist Howard Terpning, who had previously illustrated the Dr. Zhivago and The Sound of Music movie posters, among many, many others. While creating a small army of famous movie posters might be a nice life’s accomplishment for some people, that was merely Howard Terpning’s warm-up act. Today he is “the most successful living American artist you’ve never heard of” per the New York Times, an acclaimed master of Western art who specializes in Native American paintings. The following video provides a nice overview of Howard Terpning’s work, including both his Hollywood years and his long career as a Western painter. 

For more artwork from Tom Jung and Howard Terpning, check out the following links: 

Tom Jung:

Howard Terpning:
Movie poster gallery – here and here


  1. The funny thing is, I always thought that the Roger Kastel 'Empire Strikes Back' poster was totally biting off of the iconic GWTW poster.

  2. I knew you'd like the SW connection :P I obviously know next to nothing about SW posters, but I love GWTW references in popular culture. I googled for the poster and yeah, it does look GWTW-ish, which apparently was their intention.

    Here's a link if anyone is interested:

  3. Victim--hehehe, so true.

    Interesting story behind the poster. I didn't realize when it had been created. My poor, tattered 1992 copy of the book has this poster on the cover.

  4. I love the GWTW connections to Star Wars - and actually wrote a paper for English class on it! But I knew that the intention was to draw similiarites between the characters in both.

  5. actually i have a gone with the wind poster...i got it for my birthday one year from my uncle, who had had it for years, i think. i dont know how old it is, or if its worth anything, but i love it, and it features the picture in the poster you showed here, but my poster is much wider- its a different poster.


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