The Movie Poster Art Of Dark Victory

Dark Passage is a 1939 movie drama starring Bette Davis. Let me state how much I love this movie.  Many fans, myself included, would be in agreement that Dark Victory contains one of her best acting performances.  The movie is extremely well written and has an excellent cast.  Some of Bette Davis’ co-stars include the incredibly likable George Brent, a young Ronald Reagan and Humphrey Bogart in one of his more interesting supporting roles.

Instead of focusing on the movie itself I instead want to look at the film’s movie poster art. Like many movies Dark Victory inspired quite a diverse collection of movie posters.  Some of them accurately captured the mood of the film.  I have chosen to highlight just a few.

I belive this is the poster that is  most associated with the movie.  It is a very colorful illustration that nicely features those wonderful Bette Davis eyes.  It really does not say much about the film.  Based on this image, as wonderful as it may be, it is unclear as to what the film is about.


I love this absolutely beautiful watercolor illustration taken from the Italian movie poster for the film.  This is my favorite image from the group. The poster features an incredible image of Bette Davis, however it may be just a bit too sad. There is a sadness to the film, but that is not the whole story. Tramonto translates to sunset or nightfall, both words could be fitting titles for the film.


I really like the artwork in this Spanish movie poster.  The sentiment is very tender and loving.  However, the likeness of the two lead actors, especially Bette Davis, is not great.  Despite this it is still a fantastic poster that more accurately conveys the feel of the movie. Amarga Victoria translates to Bitter Victory.

This one is very different, and features another great image of the film’s star.  Perhaps this one is a bit melodramatic, but then again it is a melodramatic movie.  Overall this poster  does not relate enough to the movie.


Here’s another poster with a great image of Bette Davis.  But this image is a bit too melodramatic and melancholy.  Despite the sadness present in the film there is still quite a bit of laughter and light throughout.


This French movie poster is quite different.  The likeness of George Brent is nicely done. But the depiction of Bette Davis is not very accurate or flattering. Overall it is a very artsy poster. Victoire sur la Nuit translates to Victory On The Night or Victory Over The Night.


This last one is different, but it is the least interesting of the batch. Although it does display various emotional states of the main character, it does not convey much about the true essence of the movie.


It is amazing how many drastically different posters can be produced for a single movie. I consider Dark Victory to be a work of art.  Revisiting some of the movie posters  and seeing how various artists depicted the film has been fascinating.  I do not think any of the posters featured here accurately depict the overall tone of the movie.  I do understand, it is an emotionally complex movie. Creating a single image to convey the mood and essence of the film would have been a tall order.  Some of the posters work better than others and that is fine.  They may be works of art, but their ultimate purpose was the promotion of the film.  This collection of movie posters, along with many others, were created to inform the world of a new Bette Davis film, Dark Victory.

Troy T.

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