Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.
You've seen those Posters. They often tell a story. They seem so full of sheer action the images threaten to pop out three dimensionally. There is poetry in action. There is usually so much happening, your eyes are overwhelmed. The men are immaculately dressed. The women are gorgeous and oh so feminine.
Coming from the numerous paperback covers that helped those pulp thrillers sell millions of copies, Robert McGinnis was brilliantly suited to design the films of that era, full of verve, immensely cool and always sexy.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
It started with the stunning rendition of elegant Audrey Hepburn clutching a cigarette holder, in her little black dress, immaculately coiffed, and looking at you from the poster of Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Compared to garish film posters of that time, this had a minimalistic charm with all that white space neat fonts, and small romantic scene unfolding in the background as Audrey Hepburn charms the foreground. A classic composition.
He revisited Audrey Hepburn's style for 'How to Steal a Million'
McGinnis, the 'Poster boy' of 60s and 70s
This iconic poster brought Robert McGinnis, the ace cover artist for countless paperbacks, into the world of film. and we are all the more lucky for it. For the career in poster art that started in Breakfast at Tiffany's moved soon to what was part of a phenomena in the 60s and 70s.
Bond, James Bond.
Robert McGinnis' artwork has become synonymous with the heyday of Bond.
McGinnis' ability to render beautiful women, gadgets and action went hand in hand with the Bond epitome of cool.
Could anyone beat the Look up, Look down, Look out! poster below.
McGinnis continued to supply the poster art for Bond well into the Roger Moore era. These are now considered some of the most collectible poster art in film history.
A new Style is born
Hollywood couldn't get enough of this style. Over the next couple of decades they kept commissioning Robert McGinnis artwork in a variety of films much to the film goers delight.
He did more bond posters, stole the hearts of cult film goers with his Barbarella poster that immortalised Jane Fonda in that outfit.
Beyond the obvious appeal of the feminine charms, he often rendered a sequence or key 'money shots' into the poster almost like a static trailer montage.
Two Decades of Poster Art
Robert's heyday of poster art was in the sixties and seventies where he did Bond, several comedies, Blaxplotation films and even some saucy posters for some soft core titillation. He has been attributed to over 50 odd posters and there are sure to be more. It is hard to get a true number as there is no clear catalogues of his work.
It has only been with the renewed interest in his paperback art and paintings that the posters are becoming collectible and enthusiasts are starting to catalogue his efforts.
I've researched many on-line stores and sources to come up with fifty of his poster attributions spanning the sixties and seventies. I've put them on the table below ..They are a real mix of immensely popular to obscure, but always beautifully rendered and a pleasure to look at.
The Poster Art of Robert McGinnis
Breakfast at Tiffany's
How to steal a Million
Run for your Wife
Jack of Diamonds (with Frank McCarthy)
You only Live Twice (with Frank McCarthy)
The Biggest Bundle of Them all
Half a Sixpence
The Odd Couple
Stay Away Joe
Where were you when the lights went out?
The Assassination Bureau
On Her Majesty's Secret Service ( with Frank McCarthy)
Cotton Comes to Harlem
How do I love Thee?
You Can't win 'Em all
Diamonds are Forever
A Fistful of Dynamite
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes
Come Back Charleston Blue
The Inncoent Bystanders
The Day of the dolphin
Live and Let Die
The Man With the Golden Gun
Let's Make a Dirty Movie
The Sunshine Boys
Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings
The Girl's who'll do anything
Bread and Chocolate
Comes a Horseman
The Teasers go to Paris
Themes across Genres
Robert McGinnis originally worked in Walt Disney Studios before the outbreak of war and learnt animation drawing Mickey and Donald and honed his craft at Ohio Art University. When the outbreak of war put of stop to animation studios temporarily he left and after the war joined an ad agency called Fredman-Chaite Studios illustrating many ad campaigns.
He did cover art for Dell publishers and went on to become the most popular and successful paperback cover artist ever.
His paintings of the feminine form are stunning to look at, beautifully drawn and his posters seem to follow this theme.However his way of rendering key scenes in the movies and anchor the poster in plenty of action is a style that is unique and instantly recognisable.
This style has served well for diverse range of films. Whether it was an action adventure like Bond or a comedy caper like Woody Allen's Sleeper. along the way he has done posters for Billy Wilder films ( Odd couple, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes) , some Burt Reynolds fare, Musicals ( Annie, Sweet charity) and some Blaxplotation films ( Cotton goes to Harlem) , McGinnis was there to provide the art.
Each one exquisite and full of little delights.
BOND & BEYOND
The BOND Years
McGinnis was contacted by United Artists to deliver the concept art from thunderball along with artist Frank McCarthy.
The now classic Bond 'pose' is attributed to McGinnis as it appeared first in the Thunderball poster art. The artwork dominated billboards and hoardings and was displayed several storeys high at times Square.His Bond posters are iconic 60s and 70s masterpieces and fomr part of the graphic art renaissance of that era.
The exceptional artistry displayed in there composition, the dynamic pose and action, the attention to detail all make them worthy of admiration.
McGinnis' last bond poster was for The Man with the Golden Gun ( I think) .. the subsequent artists however were largely influenced by his styling and composition. As you can see from Daniel Goozee's poster for Octopussy.
Billy Wilder, Lemmon and Matthau
McGinnis also did quite a few poster artwork for Billy Wilder films, and also Neil Simon films featuring the famous duo Walter Mattthau and Jack Lemmon in comedic farces.
In Dean Martin's comedic re imagining of the rough and tough Matt Helm series, McGinnis provided the artwork for the posters.
These ' anti-bond' capers were played for laughs and spoofed the spy genre unlike the serious thrills of the novel series.
The 70s blaxplotation films got an extra dose of colour with Robert McGinnis' artwork.
The 'hip' and 'cool' got hipper and cooler!
I wonder how big McGinnis sets his canvas for these painting as the facial detail and the colour are astounding.
McGinnis provided the posters for the popular musicals 'Annie' and ' Sweet Charity' and 'Half a Six-Pence' and also gave an Elvis movie some glam.