The Posters of Cinema 5

Posters by agency Diener/Hauser/Greenthal

An excerpt from The New American Cinema on Donald Rugoff, founder of the movie-theater chain/distribution company Cinema 5, and his partnership with advertising agency Diener/Hauser/Greenthal:

“Following a graphically simple, visually distinctive approach to visual marketing often associated with Saul Bass’s film credits and advertising designs, Rugoff believed in simple, recognizable logos to distinguish each project. Even for those films playing at Cinema 5 theaters from other distributors, Rugoff reserved the right to reject the ad campaigns, and he reportedly discarded 90 percent of them in favor of his own designs. Rugoff worked closely with the Diener, Hauser, Greenthal advertising agency in designing the Cinema 5 logos. Among the most memorable were a trio of silhouetted surfers on the beach for The Endless Summer (1964), an embracing couple for Elvira Madigan (1967), and, most provocatively, a hand with a scantily clad girl replacing the raised middle finger for Robert Downey’s satire of the advertising industry, Putney Swope (1969). For the DuĊĦan Makavejev film WR: Mysteries of the Organism (1971), Rugoff fashioned an ad featuring a photograph of a young woman eating a banana. Once an image was shaped for the campaign, Rugoff ‘wild-posted’ the ad across major cities playing the film, so that a visual reminder of the picture would appear in both ordinary and extraordinary settings.”

The online presskit for Searching For Mr. Rugoff contains a list of all the titles distributed by Cinema 5, and is a decent way of tracking down images of the posters they released over the years. Diener/Hauser/Greenthal seems to have handled most of the campaigns, with various designers and illustrators (either commissioned or under their direct employ) being responsible for the art itself (Notably, Saul Bass and Art Goodman for The Two of Us and The Fireman’s Ball, Joe Caroff for The Fireman’s Ball, Bob Peak with Cesar and Rosalie). Whether or not Lee Reedy of Dot Graphics was hired by D/H/G or Rugoff himself to handle Cinema 5’s Entertainment, Classroom and Library Catalog’s remains a mystery.

Cinema 5 Entertainment Catalog 1978 by Lee Reedy/Dot Graphics