The Art of the Sell: “Fargo” movie poster

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art. 


By the middle of the nineteen-nineties, I was becoming dismayed with the state of movie posters. I have no empirical evidence to offer to prove my theory, but it truly seemed as if attempts at creativity and artfulness were dwindling. There was little evident willingness on the part of studios to bring memorable images to their promotional efforts. Instead, they wanted great big pictures of the movie stars with as little other information as possible. If they were paying twenty million dollars for Jim Carrey, they wanted to be damn sure everybody knew Jim Carrey was in the movie. All other information was incidental.

There were exceptions, of course. Even though much of the promotional campaign around Fargo, the amazing 1996 film from Joel and Ethan Coen, a fairly straightforward image of Marge Gunderson examining a crime scene, there was an official movie poster that got at the film’s uniquely homey brand of lightly blackened comedy. It’s only right that a movie like Fargo has a poster that evidences the same level of cleverness.

Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Art of the Sell” tag.

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