Mark Summers, Ray Milland, and LIZZIE THE NODDER

There are actually several unconnected reasons for this post, all of them centered on this ad from a 1949 Photoplay magazine. And so I begin.

Alias Nick Beal_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

The first thing I was drawn to when I looked at this ad was the beautiful scratchboard illustration, which got me thinking about illustrator Mark Summers. Now I have no idea who did the work for this ad, but Mark Summers work is something you're likely familiar with if at some point you've shopped at Barnes and Noble. Mr. Summers is without a doubt one of the finest illustrators working today and for years has been the literary identity for B & N. His illustrations have graced the shopping bags, bookplates, posters, etc. Beautiful and elegant black and white work. To actually read about him click on this link which will take you to his representative's site. There you'll see samples of his work along with a brief biography. Make sure you click on "Case Study" to see how a work progresses. Summers has recently done the illustration for a U.S. postage stamp, Lincoln Railsplitter, that has a 2009 issuance date.

The next obvious reason for my interest in this is the movie it advertises, Alias Nick Beal. I don't believe I've ever seen it. From what sleuthing I've done on the net it appears that it has never been released on tape or dvd. I don't even know if TCM has ever shown it. I love noir films and this one sounds fascinating according to this synopsis at IMDB:
Righteous district attorney Joseph Foster's main goal in life is to rid his city of the gangsters infesting it. In order to be even more efficient in his war against crime he plans to run for governor. One day he meets a strange, shadowy man, Nick Beal, who offers to help him to achieve his end. Beal convinces hesitating Foster by dint of easy money, easy sex with an alluring young woman and the promise of easy success. Joseph Foster soon becomes an influential politician but a corrupt one. A minister of God manages to show him that he has been the plaything of the so-called Nick Beal, who might be "Old Nick" , that is to say Satan himself. Foster then decides to resign and to become an honest man again. (Synopsis written by Guy Bellinger)
I've checked Amazon to see if the movie is available, but all they have are knock-offs of the original 4 color movie poster. If the poster is so popular, you'd think somewhere along the line Paramount would have allowed the film out of their vault.

And finally, there's Audrey Totter down in the lower right corner. I'm afraid I don't recognize the name though I see at IMDB a list of films and tv shows she's appeared in since the mid 40s. I'm sure she's a face I'd normally recognize, but in this case...ummmmmm...I'm thinking of Lizzie the Nodder at my vernacular photography site. Poor Audrey was certainly not done any justice in this ad. Now it's common for a studio to release a movie poster with a star's head on someone else's "perfect" body. Usually you don't notice. This time...not so much. What were they thinking? Did they really think nobody would notice that ummm...HER HEAD DOESN'T FIT! Hello?! Something wrong here! Did someone at the studio dislike the original photo so much that they were willing to have this head stuck on her body all out of proportion with reality? Okay, I know, they wanted to feature her and the original was probably just a simple nice photo that had no punch. But this? Her head looks like it's going to fall off!

I said when I started this post that the reasoning behind it was a complete disconnect. I think I proved my point. I've ended with a woman whose head is disconnected from her body. And she reminds me of the post I did about Lizzie the Nodder at my other site.

Ephemera, it can lead you nowhere and back again.

Update: I just discovered this clip from the movie on youtube. Now it's really got me curious. Now I really want to see it.

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