Schleichendes Gift (Creeping Poison) by Gustav Mezey, Social hygiene film poster, 1946


Gustav Mezey’s lithographic film poster for Hermann Wallbrück’s “social hygiene” film Schleichendes Gift (translated as Creeping Poison) shows a distressed woman encircled in the grip of a predatory snake. The film’s aim was to educate the Austrian public about venereal disease and seek medical evaluation, especially following the sexual violence which took place during the Soviet occupation.

“Because [Mezey’s] posters shaped the cityscape not only in Vienna, his characteristic brushstrokes could also be seen in Budapest, Belgrade, Berlin, Leipzig and Munich. And he was so well known even in Hollywood that MGM film producer Samuel Mayer invited him to work there in the mid-1960s. Mezey declined, however, already feeling too old to do so.”

“Whether Zarah Leander, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Marlene Dietrich, Catherine Deneuve, Marika Rökk, Nadja Tiller, Romy Schneider, Hans Moser, Paul Hörbiger or Theo Lingen, almost all well-known national and international film stars of the post-war period were “at home” in Mezey's studio. The clients were, on the one hand, the Viennese cinemas themselves, including such important premiere cinemas as "Apollo" or "Gartenbau". On the other hand, the then Austrian, German, French, English and of course US-American film companies such as Sascha, UFA, Bavaria, Terra, Rank, Warner Bros. or MGM. The latter in particular relied almost exclusively on the star system in their film advertising, a trend that met Mezey's portraiture in full.”

-Quotes from Bernhard Denscher’s Gustav Mezey - revisited

Poster measures 23 x 32 1/16 inches. Extremely minimal surface abrasion and very minor, small points of restoration. Image is very clean overall, inks are dense and bold. Displays beautifully. This work is presented de-acidified and archivally mounted onto linen and arrives accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.