I STUMBLED AROUND the Internet looking for the name of the artist who did the poster for the 1968 movie The Green Berets. I found the Dangerous Minds website which not only identified the artist as Frank McCarthy, but had an entire page devoted to his art: “The Kick-Ass Poster Art Of Frank McCarthy” by Paul Gallagher includes four dozen pieces of art by McCarthy!
And I realized that I knew McCarthy’s work from other places. Readers who grew up going to the movies in the 1960s or ’70s are probably familiar with McCarthy’s work, as he did the poster art for several of the most popular James Bond movies with fellow artist Robert McGinnis:
1965 You Only Live Twice
1969 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
There are many articles on the Internet devoted to McCarthy’s art, and I can’t look through them all. One article that gives detailed information on the Bond posters is “The Movie Art of Frank McCarthy” by Stephen Rebello.
Frank McCarthy did the poster art for several of the most popular movies of the ’60s, including James Bond.
As an introduction to McCarthy’s art, I chose six examples from the Dangerous Minds site and made this page. My intention here is to drive you over to the Dangerous Minds article so that you can feast your eyes on the other art!
The pieces I selected emphasized white space. McCarthy was a master with that aspect of art, an aspect that escapes many artists. The work that I selected for the featured image requires no white space.
Finally, I left a comment on the Dangerous Minds site and opined that if McCarthy had been a comic book artist in the ’60s, the publishers would have had him doing lots of covers as his art on a cover would sell a title regardless of the quality of the art on the interior pages. Marvel and DC utilized Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, and Neal Adams in this manner.
The Great Escape (1963) was directed by John Sturges from a screenplay by James Clavell and W.R. Burnet. It featured Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence, James Coburn, and Hannes Messemer.
Fight From Ashiya (1964) was directed by Frank Cordell and featured Yul Brynner, Richard Widmark, George Chakiris, Suzy Parker, Shirley Knight, and Daniele Gauber.
The Defector (1966) was directed by Raoul Lévy and featured Montgomery Clift, Roddy McDowall, and Macha Meril.
The Dirty Dozen (1967) was directed by Robert Aldrich and featured Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, Richard Jaeckel, George Kennedy, Trini Lopez, Ralph Meeker, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Clint Walker, and Robert Webber.
Attack On The Iron Coast (1968) was directed by Paul Wendkos and featured Lloyd Bridges, Andrew Keir, Sue Lloyd, and Maurice Denham.
This is the poster for The Green Berets that had me searching the Internet for the artist and eventually finding Frank McCarthy. This is the French poster, which I chose over the American version because it so neatly incorporates the image of John Wayne with McCarthy’s art.
Day Of Anger (1969) was directed by Tonino Valerii and featured Lee Van Cleef, Giuliano Gemma, Walter Rilla, and Christa Linder.
The Lord of the Beret trilogy
This is the second of three articles purportedly relating to Barry Sadler and his 1966 hit single The Ballad Of The Green Berets. The three make the most sense if read in this order:
1. SSgt Barry Sadler And The Ballad Of The Green Berets
2. John Wayne And The Green Berets
3. Frank McCarthy And The Art Of The Movie Poster
FEATURED IMAGE: The artwork at the top of this page is, of course, by Frank McCarthy for the 1970 movie The Valley Of The Gwangi. It was directed by Jim O’Connolly and featured James Franciscus, Gila Golan, Richard Carlson, Laurence Naismith, Freda Jackson, and Gustavo Rojo. It’s a rather tame take on The Lost World but with cowboys instead of scientists finding a lost-land-where-time-stood-still.
What is memorable about this movie is that its special effects were the work of stop-motion animation master Ray Harryhausen. This was his last dinosaur-themed film—after this, he only lent his skills to fantasy movies, and unfortunately, those skills were noticeably declining by the ’70s.