A Brief History Of Split-Face Movie Posters

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Gorgeous George Clooney’s latest directorial effort, The Ides Of March, is out in cinemas this week, and seeing as you enjoyed A Brief History Of Open Legs Movie Posters we thought we’d bring you the Split Face version – what with The Ides Of March’s one-sheet boasting Clooney and Ryan Gosling combined in one doubly handsome and charming mugshot. So for split personalities, multiple roles and one half of Nic Cage’s head on fire, click on…

Released:** 1931
Director:* Rouben Mamoulian
Starring:* Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, Rose Hobart

The original split-personality monster man, you might think that Robert Louis Stevenson created Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde specifically to one day inspire a split face movie poster (hey, he was a science fiction writer of sorts! He might have predicted movies!). Wild conjecture aside, it’s interesting to note the subtlety here: Oscar winner Fredric March’s two faces aren’t mashed together, but placed side-by-side with some green light creeping onto the doctor’s left cheek.

Released:** 1959
Director: Robert Hamer Starring:* **Alec Guinness, Nicole Maurey, Bette Davis

Based on the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name, The Scapegoat sees Alec Guinness enjoying some vacances in France when he meets a French nobleman who looks just like him. The English Alec ends up taking over the French Alec’s life, and then… well, you’ll have to watch the movie. But the point is, this is one of a relatively small number of split face movie posters that sees one actor playing two characters.

Released:** 1984
Director:* James Cameron
Starring:* Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton

When you think of the original Terminator’s poster, chances are you think of this one. But as this effort on the left proves, it also came in a rather more striking split face version, really making clear that Arnold is a robot killing machine from the future rather than just a nasty biker type. There’s also this painted quad number, which mysteriously swaps over the metallic side of Arnie’s face. We’re assuming it’s the result of some sort of botched plastic surgery, but honestly, who the hell knows?

Released:** 1985
Director:* Jonathan Sanger
Starring:* Ed Harris, Max von Sydow, Eric Stoltz, Patrick Stewart

The “torn poster” effect is a nice touch, though it’s odd that the Allied and Nazi sides of Ed Harris’s face don’t actually line up properly. Perhaps it’s some sort of metaphor.

Released: 1997
Director:** James Wong
Starring:* Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith, Tony Todd

Is it a coincidence that both Final Destination’s poster and Code Name: Emerald’s have the stamp motif at the same spot? Well, yes it probably is. This split face is notable for the skull effect they’re doing – also seen in Ghost Rider’s one-sheet – though we feel bad for the guy on the right: how come his face is almost entirely skull? That’s not a good sign.

Released:** 1997
Director: John Woo Starring:* John Travolta, Nicolas Cage

Proof that Travolta and Cage don’t look anything like each other – but their hairlines do. Or they did in 1997, anyway.

Released: 2000
Director: The Farrelly Brothers
Starring: Jim Carrey, Renée Zellweger

The Farrelly Brothers are the only people to boast an inclusion on this list as well as the open legs feature – which we’re sure says something about their taste in posters. Like Code Name: Emerald, there’s another torn edge, but this one gets bonus marks for actually matching up. Nice work Mr. and Mr. Farrelly!

Released:** 2002
Director:* Sam Raimi
Starring:* Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina

This poster seems designed to prove that there’s no way Tobey Maguire’s face could fit inside that costume, since it’s clearly far too wide. It also proves that shadowing on a split face movie poster looks crappy. Thank goodness the film was significantly better than this effort, eh?

Released:** 2003
Director: Jonathan Mostow Starring:* Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken

No! Bad Hollywood! No more shadowing!

Released: 2007
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott

It turns out that Nicolas Cage’s skull is MASSIVE. If you look carefully at this poster, you’ll see that it’s significantly wider than his head. Hmm. Maybe he’s a human TARDIS like in that Neil Gaiman episode of Doctor Who, and bigger on the inside?

Released:** 2009
Director: Oliver Parker Starring:* Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall

Annoyingly, Ben Barnes still looks handsome even when half his face resembles a scout hut toilet wall.

Released: 2011
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Starring: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, Nick Nolte

This is a French poster, admittedly, but the English examples of Warrior performing the split face trick are in landscape, and we’d rather have portrait here. Still, what’s noticeable about this one is how the combination of two extremely handsome and muscly men very nearly makes you think you’re looking at a third, unfamiliar, equally handsome, muscly man.

Released:** 2011
Director: George Clooney Starring:* Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti

The question is: why would Ryan Gosling’s character be holding a folded copy of Time magazine up to his face? Is he a hipster? Is it for some sort of Tumblr? Is it for his Facebook profile? But he’s supposed to be a powerful political operative! And why would Time put such a weirdly creepy picture of George Clooney on the cover? Is it another of Clooney’s famous pranks? Tell us Baby Goose, tell us now!