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Hitchcock Poster Art

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HITCHCOCK POSTER ART Tony Nourmand and Mark H. Wolff, editors (Overlook Press, $35) Showmanship counts more than artistic merit in the carny-barker world of movie marketing, and nobody was better at hustling than director Alfred Hitchcock. This nicely printed smorgasbord rounds up U.S. and foreign ad-campaign art for most of Hitch’s 50-plus movies, charted from the mid-’20s through the mid-’70s. The varied emphases in these multicultural come-ons are fascinating, from the preponderance of starkly drawn human skulls in Polish posters for Stage Fright, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds to an Italian ad for Marnie that pictures Sean Connery’s character raping the kleptomaniac blond played by ”Tippi” Hedren (those are the poster’s patronizing quotation marks, not ours). The minimal text barely registers, but the images speak volumes about Hitchcock’s talent for arousing audiences’ prurient interests. B+