A Brief History Of Open Legs Movie Posters

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There are many movie poster clichés out there, and we like to think we know a thing or two about them after writing features like THIS. But one of the most egregious gimmicks anyone can use on a movie poster is using a pair of pins to frame the rest of the cast looking up from underneath, or off in the distance. In its heyday, it was everywhere (including Honey I Blew Up The Kid back in 1992) but recently, it had all but disappeared – until The Sitter came along (below). So to celebrate / humiliate those who have used this technique to sell their film, here is our brief history of legsy movie posters, kicking off with (no pun intended) For Your Eyes Only…

Released:** 2012
Director: David Gordon Green Starring:* Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Max Records

Strange as it is to say, we really hope Jonah Hill’s character takes these kids to a strip club in the actual movie – because if he doesn’t, then this poster is just a really, really creepy way to sell a film. Also, is Jonah Hill really that tall?

Released:** 1981
Director:* John Glen
Starring:* **Roger Moore, Julian Glover, Carole Bouquet

By our reckoning, this poster is the one that popularized the gimmick – for mainstream movies, anyway. The 12th Bond film and the fifth starring Roger Moore, you’d think they’d know better… but no, they didn’t. Still, it’s arguable that the open legs theme is at least in keeping with the Bond aesthetic, we suppose.

Released:** 1981
Director:* James Cameron
Starring:* Tricia O'Neil, Steve Marachuk, Lance Henriksen, Ricky G. Paull

Released in the same year as For Your Eyes Only, but aiming for a rather different audience, we cannot blame the film’s director, James Cameron, for this poster design. After all, he was under the cosh of executive producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, and still officially maintains that his first feature film was Terminator three years later. It’s worth noting that the gimmick was re-hashed for Piranha 3D, but we’re assuming that was a deliberate homage.

Released: 1989
Director:** Arthur Hiller
Starring:* **Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder

The first in our foreign-posters-for-US-films inclusions here, we felt we ought to stick this one in because it’s, well, See No Evil, Hear No Evil all sexed up. Seemingly aware that they had a pretty terrible film on their hands, the Italian marketing team behind “Non Guardarmi: Non Ti Sento” decided to stick some shapely legs in there. It didn’t particularly help, but may have misled a few trusting customers.

Released: 1991
Director: Chris Columbus
Starring: John Candy, Maureen O'Hara, Anthony Quinn, James Belushi

Now this one we like. Partly because it’s playing with the cliché, partly because there’s something truly visually arresting about a pair of sturdy, chunky lady legs in stockings – blame our misspent youth watching Tom & Jerry cartoons and the towering Mammy Two Shoes. That said, in Germany, Spain and Italy, the poster’s been changed to a pair of sexier, younger legs. We can’t help thinking that our European brethren are missing the point here...

Released: 1993
Director: Mike Leigh
Starring: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge

Let’s just go ahead and assume that this wasn’t Mike Leigh’s call – and that if it was, he meant it as a piss-take.

Released:** 1996
Director: The Farrelly Brothers Starring:* **Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, Vanessa Angel, Bill Murray

The Farrelly Brothers’ movies are at just the right maturity level for the giant legs poster gimmick to work. And there’s something naturally leggy about bowling – as seen in Big Lebowski’s dream sequences – so there is at least a link there. Shame about the horrible, horrible photoshop, mind… Can anyone bend their head down like that? Really?

Released:** 1998
Director: Joe Dante Starring: *Gregory Smith, Kirsten Dunst, Frank Langella, Tommy Lee Jones

A little bit of variation here, because it’s a pair of child’s legs! In baggy-ish ‘90s jeans! This one has an excuse for its leg-centricity, because it ‘s trying to establish the fact that the warring live toys at the heart of the plot, the Gorgonites and Commando Elite are rather small – hence the title.

Released: 2002
Director: Jay Roach
Starring:** ** Mike Myers, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael Caine

Stop us if we’re barking up the wrong ankles here, but do we actually see a pair of golden legs at any point in the movie? A pair of golden lady legs, that is? Well exactly.

Released:** 2005
Director: Julian Jarrold Starring:* **Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah-Jane Potts, Nick Frost

This movie is about legs / kinky boots / men who have one and wear the other, so really, it’s at least a logical basis for this particular design. If they hadn’t done a movie poster along these lines, it would have looked weird – and poster-glancers might have missed the chance to admire Chiwetel Ejiofor’s gams.

Released:** 2005
Director: Louis Leterrier Starring:* **Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Matthew Modine

This poster – seen in cinemas over on the continent – does have its origins in an actual scene in the movie, specifically the kiddie hospital fight scene between Kate Nauta’s Lola and Jason Statham’s Frank. That said, at no point in that scene does he have a gun: instead he fires a propane tank at her from a shopping trolley. True story.

Released: 2006
Director: David Frankel
Starring: Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt

This poster is from Japan. These legs are not Meryl Streep’s. We’ll leave it at that.

Released:** 2007
Director: James Mangold Starring:* Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Logan Lerman, Peter Fonda, Ben Foster

It’s not all lady-legs around here: this nouveau Western boasts male legs (in chaps, no less) with a train coming through the middle. Frankly, it’s a little heavy on the innuendo, now we come to examine it. Still, it’s more atmospheric than the alternate, which is heavy on Crowe and Bale’s faces.

Released:** 2007
Director: Tom Brady Starring:* David Koechner, Carl Weathers, Melora Hardin, Andy Dick

This is not a well-known movie, which just goes to show that sometimes quality does play a role. But it’s worth noting in this list because of its horrifically blatant arse-in-your-face advertising. Whereas most of these leg posters cut things off demurely around upper-thigh level, this one sticks its booty all up in your business – and not in a good way.

Released:** 2007
Director:* The Farrelly Brothers
Starring:* Ben Stiller, Malin Åkerman, Michelle Monaghan, Jerry Stiller

The second Farrelly brothers appearance on this list, this is a foreign version of another fairly crappy poster – you know, that one where they’re the car and she’s pretending to blow a trumpet? – except this time around they’ve nabbed Stiller’s head, put it on a man posing as an owl, and stuck in a model’s right leg. Another one for the Badly Photoshopped Movie Posters hall of fame then…

Released: 2008
Director: Kent Alterman
Starring:** **Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin

They do things differently over in the east – like stick ladies’ legs onto posters, for example. But here’s a question: these guys are all meant to be big tall basketball players, right? So how freakin’ tall is she?

Released:** 2010
Director:* Alexandre Aja
Starring:* **Elisabeth Shue, Steven R. McQueen, Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Jessica Szohr, Christopher Lloyd, Richard Dreyfuss

This one, we endorse. Wearing its sleazy heart on its sleazy sleeve, we’d be disappointed if we didn’t see a semi-naked woman and some piranhas. But mostly a semi-naked woman. It’s what you’re expecting from a movie called Piranha 3D, really. Can’t wait for what they’ve got lined up for Piranha 3DD…

National Lampoon's Van Wilder: Freshman Year, National Lampoon's Pucked, National Lampoon's Class Reunion, National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze, National Lampoon Presents Cattle Call… this style of postering has become a really bad tradition.