Song of the Loon

date 1970
by Andrew Herbert, director
medium Poster

This poster for the classic gay independent film Song of the Loon depends mostly on its title and its connection to Richard Amory’s popular novel to communicate its homosexual themes. The poster, which is dominated by a bucolic landscape, seems designed to sell the film as a period piece, and not as a rare gay-themed motion picture. In this version of the poster, in fact, the pair of men are dominated by their natural surroundings. Similarly, the film uses the classic marketing tactic of pointing out its connection to a piece of literature with the copy, "Based on the Famous Best Seller, Over Two Million Copies in Print!" Such marketing probably was intended to allow the film to travel under the radar of those who would not have approved of the film’s subject matter while providing it with the prestige of a best seller. The prominence of the book in gay culture guaranteed that the title would not be missed by the gay community of 1970. This particular poster, however, is more overt in its sexuality. After referencing that it is a love story between men, it asks the simple question: "Curious?" In addition, subtleties in the artwork, such as the half-naked Native American man and the suggestive, phallus-like placement of his flute at the groin of the other man give hints to the film’s erotic subject. The subtlety of the artwork also suggests the tasteful, un-sensationalized way that the film portrays its homoerotic content.