British Synopsis Sheets

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 179

Molly Louvain

Movie posters come in many shapes and sizes and they can vary from country to country. Over in Britain, they had something called a synopsis sheet which is similar to the American herald but is slightly larger, running around 8 1/2 X 11″.


When I was in London back in September 2002, I was able to visit a few movie memorabilia shops, all of which I believe are now closed. One of the shops called Flashbacks had a few British synopsis sheets from Ann’s 1930s Warner Bros. films. I bought every one they had and I think they were only 5 or 10 pounds a piece.

Love is a Racket

One of the interesting things about British synopsis sheets is that they bear no resemblance to the American artwork, so I am not sure who was actually designing these.

Friends of Mr. Sweeney

Another point of note is that British releases sometimes altered the titles of American films. In Ann’s case, Side Streets became A Woman in Her Thirties and Bright Lights was released as Funny Face.

Side Streets

Bright Lights

For some reason, my favorite of the bunch is the sheet from Massacre. I guess the red really jumps out, and I have used this on numerous occasions for various posts about the film.


The Murder in the Clouds is a close runner-up for cool imagery.

Murder in the Clouds

These are items that I have had for so long, that I have come to take them a bit for granted. Now that we’re revisiting them, I have to admit they are cool pieces of cinema and Ann Dvorak history.


  1. Scott June 28, 2013

    Extremely interesting.

    Was there any type of recognized criteria or rationale as to why the Brits would change the titles of different Hollywood releases during that time?

    Or why, if they chose to do so, they would have thought it more intriguing or provocative to alter a title to … “A Woman in Her Thirties”???

  2. admin June 28, 2013

    I don’t know much about the British film industry and why they would choose to alter only some of the film titles. Changing “Bright Lights” to “Funny Face” makes some sense because that is Ann’s pet name for Joe E. Brown in the film. “A Woman in Her Thirties,” seems to be playing on the spinster aspect of Aline’s character in the film. Not sure if the stereotype of the spinster catwoman existed in 1934, but if so, they were really driving it home with this ad!

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