Saturday, November 10, 2007

An Italian Master

Movie poster restoration artist Dario Casadei has an unusual background. Born in Sweden by Italian parents, he moved to Vancouver, Canada with his family and was set to continue his father's restaurant business. But a chance discovery of some movie posters his father had brought over from Sweden prompted a change of careers. He set out to learn all about movie posters and the process of linenbacking, where a poster is washed in a bath and mounted on linen fabric. Linenbacking makes a poster much more sturdy and visually appealing, stops deterioration from acid and other substances common in poster paper, and is usually combined with minor or major restoration. Dario now runs a successful linenbacking business, Vintage Movie Art. I have used his services several times and been very pleased with the results - here are some examples!

One of the first posters I ever bought was also one of the first I linenbacked: The Swedish one-sheet for the revenge-of-nature thriller Frogs. It is not a valuable poster, but has a lot of sentimental value for me. Over the years it has spent time tacked to the walls of my many flats, been roughly folded through many moves and stored away in various cupboards, but somehow it always turned up again. When Dario was through with it it looked like a new poster - all the wrinkles, folds and small tears were gone!

Another poster that had a rough time was the superb psychedelic Spanish poster for Sergio Martino's thriller All the Colors of the Dark. This poster was wrinkled and dirty from many years of mishandling, but Dario made the crazy colors pop out like it was printed yesterday!

Another poster that had a rough time was one of my favorite Swedish posters of all times, Hans Arnolds amazing image for Hammer's Horror of Dracula. I bought this poster in a lot with a dozen others which must have spent the last three decades on a floor in a barn somewhere. Fortunately, Dracula was one of the best preserved, and with a little restoration magic it looks fantastic!

But linenbacking is not only a way to restore mishandled posters to their former glory. For some, even posters that have been stored folded since they were printed never been used, it can also be the only way to preserve them for posterity. Some countries, like Mexico, have printed posters on paper that is so low quality it literally crumbles in the hand. Check back tomorrow for a few mind-blowing Mexican horror and wrestling posters on linen...

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