International film posters

Australian films promoted overseas
 Belinda Hunt

The NFSA has been collecting local and international posters of Australian feature films for many years. When making posters to appeal to specific markets, film producers and distributors vary their selection of key images, colour, text and graphics. You can see from the examples below how countries may choose to focus on different themes and ideas to uniquely represent a film to their audience.

Sons of Matthew

Director: Charles Chauvel (1949)

Re-titled as The Rugged O’Riordans in the United States, it is clear that US marketers were keen to play up the adventurous elements of the film, even stating that it was 'actually filmed in Australia’s jungle wilderness!’. Sons of Matthew was shot near Beaudesert, Queensland, during the wettest season for 80 years. The Australian and Italian posters instead highlight the film’s romantic sub-plot.

On The Beach

Director: Stanley Kramer (1959)

The common theme in On The Beach’s promotion is the stark depiction of nuclear war and its aftermath. The US Department of Defense did not cooperate in the making of the film, refusing to give the production access to nuclear-powered submarines. They argued that there were not then enough weapons in existence to make extinction from nuclear war a realistic scenario.

Wake in Fright

Director: Ted Kotcheff (1971)

The European posters for Wake In Fright play up the horror elements of the film. In Belgium it was titled The Terrible Awakening and Czechoslovakia translated Outback (the US title) to Backwater. The Polish poster is particularly striking: 'Polish movie posters are distinguished by their artistry and unique design elements … they are usually impressionistic and painterly’ (Michael Organ, Australian Film Posters: Polish Posters). You can see other examples of Polish film art elsewhere on this page.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Director: Stephan Elliott (1994)

Posters for The Adventures of Priscilla all depict the flamboyant quirkiness of the film with Poland again being the least traditional. Tom O’Regan quotes director Stephan Elliott on the film carrying different meanings for different nationalities and subcultural groups: gay, lesbian and transgender Americans saw Priscilla as 'the big one that will bring gay lifestyles into the mainstream’, while Australians tended to 'embrace it as just another successful Australian film’.