We don’t hear much about provocative movie posters much any more and how they can also come up for scrutiny from the MPAA. In reality, though, some studios put out racy movie posters now and again just to see how far they can take things. But most of the public never sees them because the MPAA has them banned. In some cases, they’re still used overseas where they end up on the Internet for those searching out such things. When one hits the media, however, it becomes a seemingly rare event for the public.
The one getting the most attention in the media recently is a poster for a sequel to “Sin City” called “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” When a poster was released showing actress Eva Green dressed in a see-through dress while holding a gun, the MPAA spoke up and said that it wasn’t appropriate to be used in public places. It’s a story that received a lot more attention than perhaps other banned posters in just the last few years that were by far much worse.
In fact, much of this started 67 years ago as the result of one man who was known as the most eccentric billionaire who ever lived.
“The Outlaw” as Banned Poster Instigator
Out of all the innovations that Howard Hughes brought to the aviation industry, he also brought plenty of new ideas to movies. You likely remember the Martin Scorsese movie “The Aviator” with Leonardo DiCaprio playing Hughes. In the film, you may also remember the re-enactment of Hughes trying to convince the Hays Code office that showing more of Jane Russell’s cleavage in his 1947 film “The Outlaw” was acceptable to the public.
The presentation Hughes supposedly gave is one of an insidious salesman, and it’s a battle he ultimately won. This also led to a similarly provocative movie poster showing a considerable amount of Jane Russell’s cleavage. While he managed to have Russell show more cleavage in the movie, the movie poster was ultimately banned in most places. Nevertheless, it’s always been available, and it probably goes for a pretty penny on the collector’s market.
This poster is also a drop in the bucket compared to the posters already banned in just the last 20 years showing things you never thought could be done.
Unbelievable Poster Ideas That Never Saw Light of Day
You have to wonder what’s going through the minds of a studio when they go to the trouble of creating a movie poster showing graphic detail that will clearly be banned. Most of the posters banned within just the last few years are sexually graphic to a point where even Europe wouldn’t have them hanging in public arenas. Movies such as “Shame” and some of Seth Rogan’s comedies had posters that were banned for extremely or mildly explicit content. In many ways, these posters have become the new porn magazines of 50 years ago that were banned from public consumption and only available in hidden rooms or the black market.
Many of them can be found online now, even if they don’t get talked about very often. The reason is because far too many people see much of the same imagery elsewhere, and seeing it in a movie poster probably doesn’t shock even the most conservative person. This might change if the MPAA ends up allowing things they didn’t use to and you see these posters hanging on theater walls.
That isn’t about to happen soon, though. The MPAA still upholds movie posters staying relatively conservative in order to attract the biggest audiences. And movie posters may be one art form that should stay this way in order to appreciate the artwork that still goes into some of them. Even if the great movie poster artists of the past have been shoved aside for more digital designs, movie posters are still a form of art expression that can convey something provocative without necessarily having to be graphic to send its message.