Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pretty as a Cupcake, Tough as a 75-cent Steak

In the process of participating in the afore mentioned DVD move, I've had many an opportunity to glance at movie covers. One thing that stood out to me was the intricate art of the tagline, something I learned to appreciate while setting up movie displays when I worked at a movie theater.  I've referred to them before on this blog, but they deserve more attention than a brief mention.

Film taglines run the spectrum from awesome to awful, passing through the mid-line of bromidic and unimaginative along the way. They can either use wit to generate excitement for its movie or be the shoddy result of some marketing exec's uncaring effort to pay the bills. In this age of easy internet access and mass media marketing where movie trailers are almost like little movie experiences on their own, the tagline really has become a vestigial part of the movie-making machine. Many of the taglines that struck my eye lately were from the decades between 1940 and 1970, when a movie poster was all the information someone would get of an upcoming film, short of the coming attractions segment of their theater-going experience. Here are some of my favorites of those:
"This story was filmed on location .... inside a woman's soul!"
"Life is in their hands - Death is on their minds!"

"She's the Private Lady of a Public Enemy!"
"They're here."
(The tagline of the title also refers to "The Damned Don't Cry!") 

Now, this is not all to say that there have not been recent classics. The following taglines have a concrete hold in pop culture, where their true value has been not in advertising the film but in serving as an eternal memento of the modern classic:
"In space no one can hear you scream."

What taglines do you enjoy?
"Life is like a box of chocolates ..." 


Anonymous said...
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Linda K. said...

In honor of the late Roger Ebert I picked up his book "I Hated, Hated, HATED, This Movie" and discovered that "Volcano" was one of the movies he hated, hated, HATED! He has this to say about the tagline: The ads say "The Coast is Toast" but maybe they should say "The Volcano is Drano." Apparently Roger objects to the lava coming up from the tar pits and threatening Wilshire Blvd in what he calls a cheesy disaster film. (He did like Tommy Lee Jones though.)

Roberta said...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away . . .

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