Plot: At one time, movie posters were one of the few resources potential viewers had to decide on which movies to see, so studios would bring in talented artists to craft posters to reel in audiences. This resulted in some iconic artwork that resonated not just at the movie houses, but for decades after the films left theaters. This would eventually fade out and lead into an era of floating heads and giant faces, as viewers worried more about who was in the movie, rather than what it was about. In 24X36, we’re given a brief glimpse into the history of movie posters, then shown the revival of illustrated posters through private artists and dealers.
Entertainment Value: I was drawn to 24X36 by my appreciation for classic movie posters and hoped the movie would offer some insightful interviews, stories, and artistic elements. As it turns out, the movie has little interest in the classic posters and after a very quick tour of the old school poster world, devotes most of the duration to the new artists selling illustrated posters. If you’re a genre film fan, you’ve likely seen some of these artists on commissioned cover artwork, designed to replace the very classic movie poster art the film claims to love. There’s not much depth to the discussion of the modern illustrated poster realm, aside from artists that complain about rights issues or the trend of very limited runs to encourage a culture of “must buy or I’ll miss out” in the poster collecting world.
In truth, most of the movie feels like an advertisement for Mondo and despite the involvement of several artists from the modern crop of poster creators, there’s just not much insight here. I wanted to hear about a passion for cinema or the classic posters, but instead it was mostly artists humble brags, to let us know their work has immense value on the secondary market. If you like the artists involved, you might appreciate seeing a good deal of artwork that is showcased, but there are no personal stories or passion shown here, just a drive for cold, hard cash. I did enjoy the movie when it focused on old school posters and the legacy of that artwork, but once it shifts into a commercial for Mondo, the movie grinds to a crawl. I can’t recommend this to those interested in cinema or classic movie posters, but you’re a fan of Mondo or the illustrated posters that adorn Scream Factory covers, you might appreciate it more than I did.