Bevis Hillier

The Midas touch

Now that we can read on Kindle and some people fear that paper-and-ink books will become extinct, one’s first impulse might be to say hurrah for this mighty production.

Now that we can read on Kindle and some people fear that paper-and-ink books will become extinct, one’s first impulse might be to say hurrah for this mighty production.

Now that we can read on Kindle and some people fear that paper-and-ink books will become extinct, one’s first impulse might be to say hurrah for this mighty production. But then doubts creep in: isn’t it a bit OTT? It is by far the largest book I have ever reviewed, or indeed handled. A monster of a book, a juggernaut, a Leviathan.

And it has a whopping price to match: 400 smackers. I had the sneaking thought: do the publishers, Reel Art Press, really (or reely) expect to sell the limited edition of 1,500 for a total of £600,000? Or has the subject of the book, the poster artist Bill Gold, subsidised it as an act of mingled eccentricity and egocentricity? I imagine he could well afford to do so, as he has designed posters for many blockbuster Hollywood movies. Cue 1,000 puns on his surname: for once I’ll abstain.

From Gold’s foreword, you might get the impression that he takes himself a little over-seriously:

Who would have known that the first film I would work on would be Yankee Doodle Dandy, then the iconic Casablanca? That launched my remarkable career…

We English are schooled not to give ourselves such pats on the back. But I have learned that it’s OK, if not mandatory, to do so in America. So, all right, Mr Gold, we’ll agree your career was remarkable.

And he has a redeeming sense of humour at his own expense. In 1994, at a ceremony in the Directors’ Guild, he was honoured with a Hollywood Reporter Lifetime Achievement Award.

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