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Near East Collections: Arabic Movie Posters and Lobby Cards Collection at Princeton University Library: THE EXHIBIT 2013 - 2014

EGYPTIAN FILM POSTER DESIGNERS AND THE PRINT SHOPS of HASSAN MAZHAR GASSOUR & SAYED 'ALI IBRAHIM AL-NASR

Historical studies of the “golden age” of the Egyptian film industry, from the 1940s to the mid-1960s, have paid little attention to the colorful posters that advertised those films and the people who designed them. “Egyptian Film Poster Designers and the Print Shops of Hassan Mazhar Gassour & Sayed ‘Ali Ibrahim al-Nasr” presents a selection from two of the most prolific film poster publishers as a window into the formation and evolution of this popular art form. The exhibition highlights artistic styles and variation in the artwork, while touching on the evolution of printing processes during the period. The dozens of items on display, produced from the 1940s through the 1990s, are drawn from Princeton’s extensive Arabic Movie Posters and Lobby Cards Collection, acquired in Lebanon in 2008. Of the 1,748 movie posters in the collection, 1,474 are Egyptian, reflecting the preeminence of Egypt in the production of Arabic feature films. The posters in the exhibition are of “one-sheet” size, ranging from 24 x 35 inches to 27 x 39 inches. However, many posters in the collection are on non-standard sheets,and some are composed of up to twenty-four separate sheets for multistory display on the sides of buildings. To this day in Cairo, the kiosks and walls in public squares and other spaces are covered with multiple copies of posters for recently released feature films. The lobby cards for coming attractions are composed of multiple film stills taken on movie sets and affixed to standard–sized cardboard. The 768 cards in the collection represent 172 films, 145 of which were produced in Egypt from 1964 to 2007.


This exhibition uses a modified form of the American Library Association–Library of Congress transliteration scheme for Arabic film titles and names, with some personal names given in their commonly used or preferred forms. Literal translations of film titles are given if no commonly used English translations exist.


The entirety of the collection has been digitized and soon will be made accessible to scholars and students through the Princeton University Digital Library. The study of Middle Eastern popular visual culture is still in its formative stage; it is hoped that Princeton University Library’s Arabic Movie Poster Collection and its availability online will contribute to the efflorescence of this burgeoning field.

EXHIBIT SELECTIONS

FOUNDATION and SOPHISTICATION, 1935–1959

al-Wardah al-Bayda’  [The White Rose] (Egypt, 1933–34)

Cairo: al-Nasr Printing

Unsigned; undated

Director: Muhammad Karim (1896–1972)

Actors listed: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahab and Samia Khouloussi

In all likelihood, this poster was created for a later re-release of the film in Damascus, Syria. The central figure is the famous singer and songwriter Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahab, who was already known throughout the Arab world by the time of the film’s original release. The unknown designer includes accents of a white rose in the lower right and the vague outlines of a woman in the upper left, presumably the character played by Samia Khouloussi.


Yahya al-Hubb [Long Live Love] (Egypt, 1938)

Cairo: credits lost, but probably al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Muhammad Karim (1896-1972)

Actors listed: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahab and Layla Murad

Like the poster for al-Wardah al-Bayda’, this one was prepared for a later re-release. The information is limited to the title of the film and the names of the production company, the director, the two main actors, the distribution company, and the print shop (partially cut off along the lower right side). One additional line is the signature of the designer, Gassour, just above Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahab’s right shoulder. The singer-actor gazes on his co-star, Layla Murad, whom he discovered and recommended for the role. Behind the actors, Gassour created a whimsical swirl of musical notes and stars, placed within a cascading staff. Similar devices in later posters, such as that for Salamah (1945), indicate the musical nature of the film. 


‘Ali Baba wa-al-Arba‘in Harami [Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves] (Egypt, 1942)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

Unsigned; undated

Director: Togo Mizrahi (1905–1986)

Actors listed: ‘Ali al-Kassar and Layla Fawzi


al-Tariq al-Mustaqim [The Straight Path] (Egypt, 1943)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H. Gassour Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Togo Mizrahi (1905–1986)

Actors listed: Yusuf Wahbi, Fatimah Rushdi, Aminah Rizq, and Bisharah Wakim

In Egypt, as in America, the noirish melodrama was a popular film genre during the 1940s. Here, Gassour powerfully suggests the relationship between the singer and seductress Thuriya (played by Fatimah Rushdi), and the passive, ruined Yusuf (played by Yusuf Wahbi).


Salamah [Sallama] (Egypt, 1945)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H. Gassour Printing

Unsigned; undated

Director: Togo Mizrahi (1905–1986)

Actors listed: Umm Kulthum, Yahia Shahin, Zuzu Nabil, Fu’ad Shafik, Fakhr Mahmud Fakhr, and ‘Abd al-Warith ‘Asr

There is no doubt about the star of this film: Umm Kulthum, widely regarded as the greatest Arabic female singer of her generation. The name of her co-star, Yahia Shahin, appears in green in the lower left corner, followed by a more comprehensive list of supporting actors. The director is not mentioned at all.


Rawiyah [Storyteller] (Egypt, 1946)

Cairo: al-Nasr Printing

Unsigned; undated

Director: Niazi Mustafa (1910–1986)

Actors listed: Koka (Niazi Mustafa’s wife), Yahia Shahin, Zuzu Hamdi al-Hakim, Rafi‘ah al-Shal, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Ahmad, and ‘Ali Rushdi


Bilal Mu’adhdhin al-Rasul [Bilal, the Prophet’s Muezzin] (Egypt, 1953)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H.H. Gassour Printing

Magdi (tanfidh [copy artist]); undated

Director: Ahmad al-Tukhi (dates unknown)

Actors listed: Yahia Shahin, Magda, Husain Riad, and Mahmud al-Maligi

This poster advertises one of only twelve religiously themed films produced between 1951 and 1972. Although many films in this genre were thought to be of poor cinematic quality, the composition of the poster art is not. The designer(s) pay particular attention to the portrait of Bilal’s wife, in the upper right, played by the actress Magda. The signature of the designer Magdi, seen in the lower register of the left border, includes the earliest mention of the technical term tanfidh on Gassour and al-Nasr printed one-sheet posters in Princeton’s Arabic Film Poster Collection. He would have been responsible for copying the original artwork, possibly by Gassour himself, onto the various plates used to print the posters.  As the munafidh, Magdi also may have been the printing technician for the completed work.



NATIONALIZATION, 1960–1970s

al-Murahiq al-Kabir [The Big Adolescent] (Egypt, 1961)

Cairo: Gassour Printing

 “Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992] and Dimitri; undated

Director: Mahmud Zul-Fiqar (1914–1970)

Actors listed: Hind Rustum, ‘Imad Hamdi, Zizi al-Badrawi, Aida Hilal, Yusuf Fakhr al-Din, Kamal Husain; introducing Madiha Salim and Shahira Kamal


Nar fi Sadri [Fire in My Chest] (Egypt, 1963)

Cairo: al-Nasr Printing

‘Abd al-‘Aziz; undated

Director: Hassan Rida (1921-1981)

Actors listed: Maryam Fakhr al-Din, Ahmad Mazhar, Mahmud al-Maligi, Mukhtar Amin, Fathiyah Shahin, ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Bakhri, Thuraya Fakhri, the dancer Nahid Saburi, and the child actress Bussi


Karim Ibn al-Shaykh [Karim, Son of the Sheikh] (Egypt, 1964)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Mario Costa (1910–1995)

Actors listed: Farid Shawqi, Maryam Fakhr al-Din, Gordon Scott, Lula Sidqi, Muhammad Sultan, Nazim Sha‘arawi, and Ahmad Lukasur


al-Mukharibun [The Saboteurs] (Egypt, 1967)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H. Gassour Printing

Khalil (artist) and “Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992] (tanfidh [copy artist]); undated

Director: Kamal al-Shaykh (1919–2004)

Actors listed: Lubna ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, Ahmad Mazhar, Layla Fawzi, and Omar al-Hariri


Raw‘at al-Hubb [The Beauty of Love] (Egypt, 1968)

Cairo: al-Nasr Printing

‘Abd al-‘Aziz (artist) and Wahib Fahmi (tanfidh [copy artist]); undated

Director: Mahmud Zul-Fiqar (1914–1970)

Actors listed: Rushdi Abaza, Nagla’ Fathi, ‘Abd al-Moneim Ibrahim, Madiha Hamdi, Karimah al-Sharif, ‘Aliah ‘Abd al-Moneim, with ‘Imad Hamdi, Mahmud al-Maligi, Nadia Seif al-Nasr, and Yahia Shahin 


Shahr Asal Bidun Iz‘aj [Undisturbed Honeymoon] (Egypt, 1968)

Cairo: al-Nasr Printing

‘Abd al- ‘Alim Zaki; undated

Director: ‘Abd al-Moneim Shukri (dates unknown)

Actors listed: Hasan Yusuf, Muhammad ‘Awad, Amin al-Hunaydi, Nahid Sharif, and Hasan Hamid

The use of caricatures in poster art to advertise comedic films became a common trend in Egypt by the 1960s. In this poster the designer has created a composite containing a cropped still of actors Nahid Sharif and Hasan Yusuf and caricatures of the characters played by Muhammad ‘Awad, Amin al-Hunaydi, and Hasan Hamid. The three caricatures, along with others, are also present in the animated opening credits of the film. The credits list ‘Abd al-‘Alim Zaki as the designer and as one of the two animators (with Faridah ‘Aways, not mentioned on the poster) for the film.  


al-Wadi al-Asfar [The Yellow Valley] (Egypt, 1970)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

Wilad; undated

Director: Mamduh Shukri (1939–1973); assistant director: Nadia Lutfi (1937– )

Actors listed: Maryam Fakhr al-Din, Shukri Sarhan, Yusuf Sha‘ban, Mahmud al-Maligi, and Nura

This beautiful poster advertises what is undoubtedly a Bedouin film—a genre known to have fallen out of popular favor in the 1950s. However, Wilad evokes a sense of realism that is lacking in the artwork used to advertise earlier Bedouin films and cinematic adaptations of Arab legends, including those on display for ‘Ali Baba wa-al-Arba‘in Harami [Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves] (Egypt, 1942) and Karim Ibn al-Shaykh [Karim, Son of the Sheikh] (Egypt, 1964). Following the Free Officers’ Revolution of 1952, “‘realist’ representation” mixed with popular genres, such as the Bedouin film, added depth to plot lines that were originally focused on themes closer to adventure and fantasy.


Qahir al-Zalam [Conqueror of the Darkness] (Egypt, 1978)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992] (artist) and Anis (tanfidh [copy artist]); undated

Director: ‘Atef Salem (1927–2002)

Actors listed: Mahmud Yasin, Yolande Folliot, Hamdi Ahmad, Zuzu Hamdi al-Hakim, Yahya al-Fakhrani, ‘Abd al-‘Alim Khuttab

Qahir al-Zalam is a dramatic adaptation of the 1973 biography by Kamal Mallakh of the famous Egyptian writer Taha Hussein (1889–1973). Hussein overcame blindness to become a revered literary figure, dean of Cairo University, and minister of education. 



THE END OF AN ERA, 1970s–2000

Bayadah [Bayyada] (Egypt, 1981)

Cairo: al-Nasr/Sayed ‘Ali Ibrahim Printing

Wahib Fahmi; undated

Director: Ahmad Tharwat (1936–1995)

Actors listed: Rushdi Abazah, Yusra, Muhammad Rida, Wahid Sayf, Faruq Yusuf, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Mahmud, ‘Izz al-Din Islam, Layla Mukhtar, Gamil ‘Izz al-Din, Umaymah Salim, Amal Sharif, Ibrahim Qadri

The artist responsible for this colorful poster places the title character, played by the glamorous Yusra, in the foreground. Yusra [Civene Muhammad Hafiz Nasim (1955– )] was discovered by ‘Abdel Halim Nasr (1913–1989) and became a favorite of director Youssef Chahine. She is one of the great modern Egyptian actresses and since the 1980s has been known for her diverse roles in some of the more important films in Egyptian cinema.


al-Arajuz [The Puppeteer] (Egypt, 1989)

Cairo: Misr al-‘Arabiyah Printing

Nagi Shakir; undated

Director: Hani Lashin (1951– )

Actors listed: Omar Sharif, Mirfat Amin, Hisham Salim

Although this poster is entirely photographic, the artist has managed to give it much of the power of earlier hand-drawn artwork. Al-Arajuz depicts a moral struggle between good and evil, with Omar Sharif starring as an aging puppeteer in a rural setting who campaigns against social injustice. 


Shawish Nuss al-Layl [Sergeant Midnight] (Egypt, 1991)

Cairo: al-Nasr Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Husayn ‘Imarah (1949– )

Actors listed: Farid Shawqi, Anshar al-Hakim, Najwi Fu’ad, ‘Imad Rashad, Khalid Mahmud, Aminah Rizq, Hisham ‘Abd Allah, Sha‘ban Husayn, Muhammad Abu al-Hasan, Jalilah Mahmud, Husni ‘Abd al-Jalil, Mahmud al-‘Iraqi, ‘Aliyah Hamid

The poster art for Shawish Nuss al-Layl leaves little to the imagination as to the plot. Farid Shawqi (1920–1998), the central figure holding a gun, acted in more than 293 films in which he typically played either villains or tough-guy heroes. Beloved by lower-class audiences as the “Screen Beast,” he was also, as in the case of this film, a screenwriter and producer. This poster from 1991 is the most recent one-sheet film poster printed by al-Nasr in Princeton’s collection.


Shabakat al-Mawt [The Network of Death] (Egypt, 1990)

Cairo: Misr al-‘Arabiyah, H. ‘. Gassour Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Nader Galal (1941– )

Actors listed: Nadia al-Gindi (al-Jundi), Faruq al-Fishawi, Nabil Halfawi, Yusuf Fawzi, ‘Uthman Muhammad ‘Ali, Ahmad ‘Abd al-Hadi

Nadia al-Gindi, known for playing the femme fatale, was considered a top star by producers during the 1990s—a sentiment not shared by critics. Her face, red hair, and seductive figure are seen in many examples of poster art held in Princeton’s collection. Gassour beautifully captured all of the elements for which she is best known.


al-Bulduzir [The Bulldozer] (Egypt, 1992)

Cairo: Misr al-‘Arabiyah, H. ‘. Gassour Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Hussam al-Din Mustafa (1926–2000)

Actors: Yusuf Mansur, Shirin Sayf al-Nasr, Gamil Ratib, Muhammad Tawfiq

In 1989 the actor Yusuf Mansur appeared in the first attempt to incorporate kung fu and karate into Egyptian film. As with al-Bulduzir, he has also been responsible for the story and design of some action-adventure films.


al-Irhabi [The Terrorist] (Egypt, 1994)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H. H. Gassour Printing

Anis and Murtada; undated

Director: Nader Galal (1941– )

Actors listed: ‘Adel Imam, Madihah Yusri, Salah Zul-Fiqar, Shirin, Ahmad Ratib, Hanan Shawki, Muhammad al-Dafrawi, Magda Zaki, Ibrahim Yasri, Muhammad Abu Dawud, Sa‘id Tarabak, Muhammad al-Tuhami, Mahmud Tubar, Mustafa Mitwali  

The poster art for al-Irhabi is reminiscent of the artwork created for Egyptian films of the 1950s and 1960s. Notably, the poster was printed by the late Hassan Gassour’s ‘Urabi Street shop, in contrast to other examples from the 1990s seen here, which were printed by Gassour’s Misr al-‘Arabiyah shop. al-Irhabi was one of the first Egyptian films to address religious conflict and intolerance. ‘Adel Imam, represented in the poster art, portrays an injured fundamentalist who is cared for by an upper-class family. Ironically, this controversial film was backed by the government at the time of its release but became an element in ‘Adel Imam’s conviction in 2012 on a charge of contempt for religion. 


Halu Amrika [Hello America] (Egypt, 2000)

Cairo: Misr al-‘Arabiyah Printing

“Gassour”; undated

Director: Nader Galal (1941– )

Actors listed: ‘Adel Imam and Shirin

In this comedy, Nader Galal subjects American culture and the aspirations of expatriate Egyptians to a steady stream of ridicule. His principal protagonist, Bakhit, dreams of founding a chain of fast food fava bean restaurants, only to be frustrated at every turn. Even when Bakhit becomes suddenly rich, he loses it all in a series of misadventures. This poster from 2000 is the most recent one-sheet film poster printed by a Gassour print shop in Princeton’s collection.



RE-RELEASES and VARIATIONS

Mamnu‘ al-Hubb [Love Is Forbidden] (Egypt, 1942)

Litughraf Printing

L’Art Nouveau; undated

Director: Muhammad Karim (1896–1972)

Actors listed: ‘Abd al-Wahab [Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahab] and Ragah’ [Ragah’ ‘Abdu]

Mamnu‘ al-Hubb [Love Is Forbidden] (Egypt, 1942)

Cairo: al-Nasr Printing

Unknown; undated

Director: Muhammad Karim (1896–1972)

Actors listed: Muhammad ‘Abd al-Wahab and Ragah’ ‘Abdu


‘Awdat al-Ibn al-Dall [Return of the Prodigal Son] (Egypt and Algeria, 1976)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H. H. Gassour Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Youssef Chahine (1926–2008)

Actors listed: Magdah al-Rumi, Sahir al-Murshidi, Shukri Sarhan, Raga’ Husayn, Huda Sultan, Mahmud al-Maligi, Ahmad Mahriz, Hisham Salah Salim, ‘Ali al-Sharif, al-Sid ‘Ali Kuirat 

 

‘Awdat al-Ibn al-Dall [Return of the Prodigal Son] (Egypt and Algeria, 1976)

Lito. Gassour Printing

R Soufi; undated

Director: Youssef Chahine (1926–2008)

Actors listed: none

Le Retour de l’Enfant Prodigue [Return of the Prodigal Son] (Egypt and Algeria, 1976)

Lito. Gassour Printing

R Soufi; undated

Director: Youssef Chahine (1926–2008)

Actors listed: none



POLITICAL CENSORSHIP

al-‘Usfur [The Sparrow] (Egypt and Algeria, 1971; not released until after the Arab-Israeli War of 1973)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H.H. Gassour Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992]; undated

Director: Youssef Chahine (1926–2008); assistant director: ‘Ali Badrakhan (1946– )

Actors listed: Sayf al-Din, Habibah, Salah Qabil, Mohsenah Tawfiq, ‘Ali al-Sharif, with Salah Mansur, Hamdi Ahmad, Maryam Fakhr al-Din, Raga’ Husayn, Mahmud Qabil, Hasan al-Barudi, Nazim Sha‘arawi, ‘Abd al-Warith ‘Asr, Muhammad Khalil, Sa’id Shahat, and Mahmud al-Maligi

Here Gassour captures one of Egyptian cinema’s most famous scenes. The woman bursting forth from the newsprint, followed by the masses, is the character Bahiya (played by Mohsenah Tawfiq), symbolizing Mother Egypt and the hope for salvation through the youth of the nation. Official censorship of both domestic and foreign films existed in Egypt from the early 1920s, but the most severe political censorship occurred during the presidency of Anwar al-Sadat (1970-1981), particularly before the Arab-Israeli War of 1973.  Any film that focused on Egypt’s defeat by Israel in 1967, the abuses of the state security service, or social uprising was a candidate for censorship. Because of the highly political nature of the film and its theme of social protest, it was censored by the government until after the Arab-Israeli War of 1973.


al-Zilal fi al-Janib al-Akhar [Shadows on the Other Side] (Egypt, 1971; not released until 1975, after the Arab-Israeli War of 1973)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H.H. Gassour Printing

“Gassour” [Hassan Mazhar Gassour, 1925–1992] (artist) and ‘Aziz (tanfidh [copy artist]); undated

Director: Ghaleb Chaath (1934– )

Actors listed: Nagla’ Fathi, Mahmud Yasin, and Madiha Kamal

Like Youssef Chahine’s al-‘Usfur, al-Zilal fi al-Janib al-Akhar was censored by the government of Anwar al-Sadat for its focus on social responsibility in Egyptian society. Gassour’s visual interpretations of the two films are strikingly different. Instead of the theme of social uprising depicted in the artwork for al-‘Usfur, the poster art for al-Zilal fi al-Janib al-Akhar focuses on the events within the personal life of one of the characters and does not touch on the underlying themes responsible for the film’s prohibition. al-Zilal fi al-Janib al-Akhar was Chaath’s only feature film and one of only two feature films produced by the New Cinema Society in Cairo, founded in 1969. The complex plot follows the story of Rose (depicted in the poster) through the eyes of five different characters, a narrative choice uncommon in Egyptian cinema during this period. 



POSTERS AND LOBBY CARDS CASES

al-Haram [The Sin; translated as The Sinners in 1984] (Egypt, 1965)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

Studio Marcel; undated

Director: Barakat [Henry Barakat] (1912–1984)

Actors listed: Faten Hamama, Zaki Rustum, and ‘Abd Allah Ghayth

Story: Yusuf Idris (1927–1991)

Screenplay and dialogue: Sa‘d al-Din Wahbah

Director of photography: Diya’ al-Mahdi

The woman represented in the poster is the character ‘Azizah, played by Faten Hamama, the “First Lady of Arab Cinema.” Known for her youthful face and delicate features, Hamama was an ideal match for vulnerable yet virtuous roles like that of ‘Azizah. The artist seems to emphasize ‘Azizah’s innocence and petite form with softened lines and muted color, contrasted with the hard edge inking of the menacing figure behind her. The severe realism of Barakat’s film was perhaps ahead of its time for the tastes of general Egyptian audiences. Although it was well-received at the Cannes Film Festival that same year, the film closed not long after its release. Today, al-Haram is seen as one of Barakat’s most notable films, and the character of ‘Azizah as one of Hamama’s most impressive roles. 

 

 

Set of four lobby cards for al-Haram [The Sin; translated as The Sinners in 1984] (Egypt, 1965)

Cairo: presumably al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

Line art presumably by Studio Marcel; undated

Director: Barakat [Henry Barakat] (1912–1984)

Actors listed: Faten Hamama, Zaki Rustum, and ‘Abd Allah Ghayth

Story: Yusuf Idris

Screenplay and dialogue: Sa‘d al-Din Wahba

Director of photography: Diya’ al-Mahdi

Lobby cards were created by affixing still shots from the film to standard-sized cardboard. If the contract for Ana.. la ‘Aqilah wa-la-Majnunah [I.. Am Neither Sane nor Insane] (Egypt, 1976) is any indication of a standard practice for film poster and lobby card production, it can be suggested that both the posters and the lobby cards for al-Haram were produced by the printing house al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah and that the background and line art of the character ‘Azizah was created by Studio Marcel. 


Ward wa-Shawk [Rose and Thorn] (Egypt, 1970)

Cairo: al-Nasr Sayed ‘Ali Ibrahim Printing

Abduh Muhammad and Wahib Fahmi; undated

Director: Kamal Salah al-Din (1937-1986)

Distribution: Kamal Salah al-Din Movies | 111 Ramses Street, Cairo

External distribution: Edwar Khayat | 80 Republic Street, Cairo

Actors listed: Nahid Sharif, Muhammad Rushdi, Nagwa Fu’ad, Nawal Abu al-Futuh, Amal Ramzi, Sa‘id Salah, Muhammad al-Dafrawi, Sayyid Zayan, Ibrahim Sa‘fan, Sa‘idah Gamal, and Farouq ‘Ali

 

Ward wa-Shawk [Rose and Thorn] (Egypt, 1970)

Cairo: al-Nasr Sayed ‘Ali Ibrahim Printing

Abduh Muhammad and Moati; undated

Director: Kamal Salah al-Din (1937-1986)

Distribution: Kamal Salah al-Din  Movies | 111 Ramses Street, Cairo

Actors listed: Muhammad Rushdi, Nahid Sharif, Nawal Abu al-Futuh, Amal Ramzi, Sa‘id Salah, Nagwa Fu’ad, ‘Abd al-Khaliq Salah, Muhammad al-Dafrawi, Hamid Marsa, Na‘imah al-Saghir, Malak al-Gamal, Ibrahim ‘Amarah, Sayyid Zayan, Aminah al-Shiri‘i, Sa‘idah Gamal, Zizi Mana‘, and Farouq ‘Ali

 

Set of four lobby cards for Ward wa-Shawk [Rose and Thorn] (Egypt, 1970)

Presumably Cairo: al-Nasr Sayed ‘Ali Ibrahim Printing

Unsigned: undated

Director: Kamal Salah al-Din (1937-1986)

Distribution: Kamal Salah al-Din Movies | 111 Ramses Street, Cairo

Actors listed: Muhammad Rushdi, Nahid Sharif, Nagwa Fu’ad, Nawal Abu al-Futuh, Amal Ramzi, Sa‘id Salah, Muhammad al-Dafrawi, ‘Abd al-Khaliq Salah, Sayyid Zayan, Ibrahim Sa‘fan, Na‘imah al-Saghir, Malak al-Gamal, Hamid Marsa, Ahmad Shawqi, Nabil al-Shazli, Aminah al-Shiri‘i, Zizi Mana‘, Sa‘idah Galal, and Farouq ‘Ali

  

The texts of the three advertisements shown here—a poster meant for domestic distribution (blue-green background), a poster intended for domestic and foreign distribution (pink background), and a set of lobby cards, presumably meant for domestic distribution—illustrate the absence of standardization. The main actors (Muhammad Rushdi, Nahid Sharif, Nagwa Fu’ad, Nawal Abu al-Futuh, Amal Ramzi, Sa‘id Salah) are listed most prominently in all three examples, but in different order. The subsequent listing of actors varies, with the lobby card set giving by far the most complete cast. It is possible that only those actors who were known internationally were highlighted in poster art intended for foreign audiences.


La Tatrukni Wahdi [Don’t Leave Me Alone] (Egypt, 1975)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

House Hanna Gassour; undated

Director: Hassan al-Imam (1919­–1988)

Distributed by the General Authority for Cinema, Theater, and Music; permit number 475/1973

Actors listed: Nahid Sharif, Marfat Amin, Mahmud Yasin, ‘Izzat al-‘Alayli, Maryam Fakhr al-Din, and ‘Imad Hamdi

This poster, produced via the photo offset printing process, displays artwork created by House Hanna Gassour. According to John Green, the initials “H.H.” accompanying “Gassour” before or after “al-Cinema al-Arabiyah Printing” on some of the posters in this exhibition are for Hassan Mazhar Gassour’s daughters Hala and Hanna. “H.H. Gassour” was used for Hassan Gassour’s ‘Urabi Street print shop in Cairo. Hala has maintained her father’s printing business since 1986 and continues to print Egyptian film posters, but she does not design them as her father did.

Set of four lobby cards for La Tatrukni Wahdi [Don’t Leave Me Alone] (Egypt, 1975)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah Printing

House Hanna Gassour (artwork); undated

Director: Hassan al-Imam (1919–1988)

Distribution of the Arab Republic of Egypt: General Authority for Cinema, Theater, and Music

Distribution of the Lebanese Republic: Andalusia Films and Nadim Shuwayri Films – Beirut

World distribution: Gayouni Agency | 42 ‘Abd al-Khalu Tharwat Street – Cairo

Permit number 475/1973

Actors listed: Nahid Sharif, Marfat Amin, Mahmud Yasin, ‘Izzat al-‘Alayli, Maryam Fakhr al-Din, and ‘Imad Hamdi

Although color film was introduced to Egyptian cinema in 1950, it did not predominate until the 1970s. The lobby card set shown here contains color stills affixed to standard-sized cardboard  displaying the same artwork used for the poster by House Hanna Gassour. Unlike the text of the lobby card set for Ward wa-Shawk, this set names the companies for domestic distribution, distribution in Lebanon, and world distribution, implying that the same cards were used for both domestic and international advertising.



FRONT CASE POSTER AND CONTRACT TRANSLATION

Ana..la ‘Aqilah wa-la-Majnunah [I.. Am Neither Sane nor Insane] (Egypt, 1976)

Cairo: al-Cinema al-‘Arabiyah, H.H. Gassour Printing

House Hanna Gassour; undated

Director: Hussam al-Din Mustafa (1926–2000)

Actors listed: Nadia Zul-Fiqar, Muhammad Yasin, Salah Zul-Fiqar, Ibrahim Khan, Maryam Fakhr al-Din, ‘Imad Hamdi, Nadia Kilani, and Zozo Madi

Hussam al-Din Mustafa studied film in the United States and worked in Hollywood; he was an uncredited second assistant director in Egypt for Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956). Over a career of almost forty years he created nearly one hundred feature films. 

Printing Contract

The original of this contract (not shown) between the production company Ibrahim Shusha Films and the printing house al-Cinema al-'Arabiyah for the creation of posters and lobby cards for the film Ana.. la ‘Aqilah wa-la-Majnunah [I ..Am Neither Sane nor Insane] belongs to John Green (www.musicman.com/mp/egy.html) and may be the only example of such an agreement in a private collection. The contract specifies the number of posters and lobby cards desired, the materials and processes required to produce them, and a date for delivery. These details provide insight into the mechanics of poster and lobby card production and allow some understanding of the volume of production and the associated costs. The total stated cost, 1,208 Egyptian pounds, equaled about $3,000 in 1970. The resulting poster is displayed here.