American movie posters can be creatively lazy in the way they are required to shows the stars and bits of story. In other countries, particularly Poland, they are particularly free to disregard the above.
Get rid of the cast and free associate on the events in the film and an artist can do some striking things. On the poster collectibles market Polish posters, because they strive to be works of art, usually sell for several times more than the price of the American originals.
Here are some of the finest examples of Polish poster art for American films each referenced by their American original.
The Polish poster is wittier and slightly nastier. The artist really got away with some lewd humor. Note the penis shape of the airplane, the tongue sticking out to the rear (ass) of the plane implying a naughty sexual act. The color of the airplane is fecal brown implying whole other levels of carpophagia.
The Polish poster is face-hugging creepy in the way it both shows and spoils an important plot twist and shocking moment.
The American poster created by Bob Peak is a classic of plot innuendo. The Polish is just as effective in depicting "the horror, the horror!" The swirls suggestive of a bullet trace are a little distracting.
The American gives you just flowers. The Polish uses the psychedelic art style of the flower people generation.
The American expresses the sophistication of Audrey Hepburn. The Polish's use of silhouette not only shows Hepburn's sophistication but strives to become the great statement on the eternal feminine itself.
The Polish poster's use of color is extraordinary. Love the radioactive pink sky and the yellow isotope spray that becomes a cloud. The use of brown gives it an other worldly feel, a sense of both human abandonment and the apocalyptic as the reactor blindly chugs away unaware of the extinction level event it has created.
Polish poster is clever in the way that it references Jaws and an unsettling suggestion of vagina dentata attack about to happen.
The Polish is minimal and yet is creepy in the way it tries to be both casually scary and funny.
The Polish Dundee ditches Dundee and just keeps the crocodile. Love the NY City silhouette in the crocodile's mouth. A scary at first view but funny on the second masterpiece.
As much as I admire the Polish version's attempt to get away from the American's paint over patina stills, this is still pretty creepy. I think it is an attempt to portray the dying of the American dream. Either that, or the Polish have a very different idea of what heaven is like.
The Polish has a very adult 50 Shades of Gray vibe going on. Apparently, they dance a little dirtier in Poland.
The Polish is a melting cotton candy nightmare.
The Polish is light on the romance and heavy on the Yoda and At-Ats. The stripes on Yoda's shoulder subliminally suggest he is the general of the Rebel army. The lower half of Yoda has a Darth Vader vibe. The artist is perhaps sneaking some political commentary about the current regime around the ever present communist censors.
Another great example of how Polish poster artists make latent political commentary. Bruce Lee is is swashed in the colors of the communist revolution, subdued by it and yet angry and trying to break free from it.
In the Polish, one of the biggest scenes of Eyes Wide Shut gets a startling interpretation about the masks we adopt in life.
Love how the Polish notes that the original Fatal Attraction goes back to the Garden of Eden.
Apparently Flipper means "two dolphins" in Polish.
In the Polish, a pissed off human fly barfing is way creepier than the fly chamber American poster.
Gandhi Polish poster
In Poland, Gandhi is a superhero whose many powers included levitating.
The creepy eye exposed in the Polish suggests that no one gets away with anything when Big Brother is watching your every move.
I love how the Polish poster attempts to destroy Christmas by letting the gremlin out of its box.
A Study in contrasts. American is lovely, lonely, haunting and poignant. The Polish is full of echoes of Where the Wild Things Are and a sardonic sense of peace, love and happiness.
American is full of Jack Nicholson attitude, perhaps the best Nicholson portrait ever featured on a poster. Polish has the beauty of life constrained by the prison bars literally going through his neck and shoulders. Obviously more latent political commentary.
The American gives you sex and craziness in the parody of the peace sign. The Polish tries to show how insanity is a sane response to the insanity of war.
The Polish is brutally effective in the way it shows the skeleton, shadow and the case numbers of the actual missing.
The Polish is so far out that I was wondering what kind of acid did the artist drop?
In the Polish, Old Yeller is the loyal companion and inspiration for every avaunt grade artist of the 20th Century.
There are a few movie references in the Polish poster. The most obvious is the George Mellie's Trip to the Moon homage with the Statue of Liberty filling in for the rocket ship. There is also a touch of King Kong in there.
In the Polish, Rocky's body is stolen from a long list of communist proletarian art posters. The headless look is no accident. He is the anonymous worker fighting against the evil factory and political lords.
The two Raider of the Lost Ark Polish posters are just so cool. The first uses color to demonstrate the timelessness of a hero whose time has come. The second gives an eternal quest vibe by having Indy's whip doing double duty as a serpent.
The Polish hints at the level of game playing and masks assumed in the actual movie.
American is classic. The Polish is borderline great in the way its attempt to create a Satanic reference equal to the Godly one Michelangelo painted on the Sistine Chapel.
The Polish is so zonked out. I think the artist let his 6 year old child draw the dog in and then he gave the kid a gold medal for the effort.
The Polish is the lunacy that occurs when an artist is asked to do a Burt Reynolds poster after seeing The Beatles Yellow Submarine too many times in a row.
In Poland they must love their 'droids. I think this is the coolest version of CP30 I have seen.
The Polish shows how being close is never admitting to your significant other that he/she looks like a telephone. :)
The Polish only proves the fact that Ryan Gosling needs to star in the inevitable Tootsie remake.
Saul Bass' original can never be out done even by the greatest Polish poster artist.
The American is all light, fun and games. The Polish has a very terrifying nuclear reality.
The Polish poster is just weird and screwy, the ultimate in surrealistic nonsense.
The Polish has a wonderful fantasy fairy tale element to it. It is grounded in the screwy reality of the forest creatures.