Bill Gold: Make my day... with a poster

Bill Gold's posters have become almost as iconic as the movies they promote. As a book of the designer's work is released, Clint Eastwood pays tribute to a creative collaborator and a true Hollywood hero

Tuesday 16 November 2010 01:00 GMT

Bill Gold has created art for more than 60 years, and he's been creating great posters for my pictures for almost 40. It's hard to believe. From the early 1940s, when he was an apprentice at Warner Bros, to the early 2000s when he was still creating images for Malpaso Productions, Bill's talent and enthusiasm never wavered.

Bill has a firm belief in the power of great stories. Whether the story was about a cop trying to do what he believed was right, or a retired gunman struggling with his conscience, or three men trying to make sense of their damaged lives, Bill always matched the human emotions of these pictures with unforgettable images.

Harry Callahan was a determined man, and Bill emphasised that in his stark image for Dirty Harry in 1971. William Munny was a loner, and conflicted, and Bill's poster for Unforgiven captured that in all its silent beauty in 1992 – a poster that won most of the major awards that Bill's profession has to offer. The men played by Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins had murky, troubled pasts, which Bill illustrated by silhouetting their reflections in the icy blue waters of Mystic River.

With Bill, I knew he would bring in great ideas, and the poster he created would be one less thing we had to think about it. He respected the film, he respected the story and he always respected what we were trying to accomplish.

In all, Bill created thousands of movie posters, some of which are as classic as the movies themselves. Four of the films he worked on won Best Picture Oscars, including Unforgiven. The first image you have of many of your favourite films is probably a Bill Gold creation.

I am proud of the work that Bill has created for me over the years, and prouder still that it has been collected in a beautiful book.

Sixty years of Hollywood memories are richer because of Bill Gold.

'Bill Gold: PosterWorks', with an introduction by Clint Eastwood, is published by Reel Art Press.

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