THE ENFORCER HALF-SHEET POSTER
The bootleg of THE ENFORCER Half-Sheet is one of the better known examples of a “Minty White” fake – posters that are relatively easy to spot for their newer-than-new appearance, all or most of them printed around the same time and probably by the same people. The better-known Minty Whites tend to be in Insert (14″x36″) format, but the same heavy, white stock appears to have been used for THE ENFORCER Half-Sheet.
Of course, it’s possible for a poster from the middle ’70s to survive in terrific shape, even without showing signs of its age. As a poster dealer, I’ve handled a lot of movie paper from the ’70s that still looks hot off the press, and that has merely been stored in filing cabinets or desk drawers (as opposed to some hermetically sealed museum or archival setting). Luckily enough, however, with this Half-Sheet as with many other bootlegs, there are clear differences between the original and the fake – you don’t just have to assume that, if it looks too good, it’s a bootleg.
First, here’s a reference photo of the bootleg poster (click on thumbnail for full-size image):
The key area to examine for authentication purposes is the dashboard underneath the hole through which Dirty Harry is pointing his gun. On the Minty White the area is clean:
Missing from the image are any fragments of glass – which you might, when you think about it, have considered a nice naturalistic touch.
The creators of the original poster apparently did think about it. In fact, they actually did depict numerous such fragments:
The above image comes from the pressbook’s thumbnail representation of the poster: Even in the scan of this tiny, low quality original image, the glass fragments are obvious as whitish speckles. They can also be seen, though are less obvious, in a scan of the full pressbook image (which is only a couple of inches wide):
Why exactly the bootleggers might have removed the fragments has occasioned some speculation among collectors. There are several possible explanations – such as misidentification of the fragments as flaws in a photographic image used in the re-printing process. Indeed, the pressbook image suggests to me that many of the details can in fact be lost when you “zoom out.” It’s not hard for me to believe that the remnants were mistaken for flaws or mere “noise,” and removed by a bootlegger who wrongly believed that he or she was improving the copy.
I should say that some collectors have suggested, by way of inverse logic, that the absence of fragments suggests that the Minty White must be authentic, since a bootlegger wouldn’t be so stupid. I personally don’t find this believable, since it also would suggest that there would have had to have been a separate authentic printing of the poster that diverged from the one depicted in the pressbook, and that perfect authentic examples of this unusual poster just happened to survive on the collectibles market in a seemingly inexhaustible supply.
If anyone possesses a good image of an authentic original, I’d be happy to add it to this post.
(Colin can be found as kymarfye on the NSFGE poster forum.)