Saturday, March 15, 2014

Great Dvd Covers : Roma A Mano Armata

Sometimes it feels as though film fans only want to bitch and moan. If it isn't the latest reboot of a favourite franchise, it's a new costume, occasionally it's both together as with the recent Robocop remake. A favourite topic for fans to rant about is the design of dvd/blu ray covers. Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty too, see here. It's hard not to complain when dvd companies use a lazy, horribly photoshopped collage, instead of either using the original poster art or alternatively a little imagination.

This is especially prevalent for Asian cinema, take this infamous Infernal Affairs cover for instance.

Another infamous example is the Dragon Dynasty cover for Johnnie To's P.T.U, with it's helicopter and exploding building that don't appear in the actual film.

Not that it's required, but here is a third example, the UK cover for Painted Skin. What a turd!

So in the interests of balance, it's only fair when an art department does get it right, we need to celebrate them. Therefore it's congratulations to France's Neo Publishing for their dvd release of Umberto Lenzi's amazing Roma A Mano Armata or Rome Armed To The Teeth as it's known in English.

The dvd comes in the slipcase pictured above, which when removed unveils this glorious cover. The dvd itself is excellent too, sadly not English friendly, but I wasn't going to let that put me off. As far as I know the only currently available version that is English friendly is the German limited edition hardbox release under the title Die Viper.


Dr Lamb said...

My favorite poster atrocity is still this one for Internal Affairs

A. said...

There are some really bad covers on there. But selling foreign films to a general audience is tough.

The main goal of these covers is to sell the stuff to people who aren't really familiar with them. There's a reason why SPL is changed to "Kill Zone" in the US. Most people don't know what an SPL is, but if you can read, KillZone definitely gives you an idea.

I think it helps that people are going to get the idea that "this is an action film" across, and you might as well photoshop in some ka-booms and smashes too. Not all labels can be Criterion and have a cover that illustrates themes or what not of the film. It's easier to post someone with two guns in their hand or Jackie Chan smiling and kicking in front of him to sell something.

This stuff used to bother me. But then I sort of thought that 90% of the time with covers I'm only looking at the sidecover half the time when these are on the shelf. As long as it's not complete gaudy there, I'm good to go.

I'm more surprised of things like this:

How did they think they'd get away with that?

A hero never dies said...

That really is a shocker, Dr.Lamb.

A. Yes you get used to it I suppose, my question would be how well does it work? With more specialised labels either going under and fewer Asian movies being released, at least over here anyway, I would say not. It's not really a huge deal of course, I just no I'd be much more likely to go for a cover like the one highlighted than one of the lazy ones, regardless of if I knew what I was going for!

A. said...

Not sure how well it works. But from my readings, I recall DVD designers saying they are very limited. As most people find DVD's (or they used to anyways) by flipping through the racks you have to have the title of your film at the top of the cover. I remember reading that for Jason Reitman's film Up in the Air that he said he could've sold a lot more tickets if just put a big picture of George Clooney on the poster. (poster here:

It received a much more conservative cover on DVD:

I don't mind the Dragon Dynasty covers too much as I'm used to really horrible Hong Kong DVDs that at one point have had always had the worst color schemes in the world.

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