Learn About Movie Posters
Heritage Auction House
French Movie Poster

Ewbanks Auction Movie Poster Page

Film Art

Dominique Besson Silver Screen Collectibles
Hollywood Poster Frames
Posters Database

Advanced Search

Remember Me:
Movie Art of Austin
L'Imagerie Gallery
Movie Poster Archives
Movie Art GmbH
Spotlight Displays Poster Frames
Cinema Retro Magazine


A poster is considered "duotone" if it is printed using only two colors (usually black with another color on a white background).


Duotone materials, particularly one sheets, were initially introduced by major movie studios for the purpose of providing promotional materials that were less costly to film exhibitors than the full color posters. They were also great for cutting advertising costs on low-budget films produced by both major and minor motion picture studios. The studio-issued duotone materials were used extensively on military bases.

These duotone materials usually feature the same artwork as the full color counterparts, only in two colors. They will normally include the same credit and print information, but will not have the NSS number or NSS tag line.


Several independent printers introduced a line of primarily duotone window cards as an inexpensive alternative to the National Screen Service materials. These duotone materials were particularly attractive to small city and rural theaters. Window cards were made for mass distribution to be placed in retail and office windows, posted on utility poles, nailed to fences, etc.. As such, many theatres and movie exhibitors found these duotone window cards to be extremely cost effective. The three most prominent of these secondary printers were: (1) Benton Card Company; (2) Hatch Card Company; and (3) Globe Card Company.

The duotone window cards released by the independent printers may contain the same artwork as the NSS window cards, but they usually have their own unique artwork. The name of the printer is normally printed somewhere in the bottom border of the window card.


The value assessed to duotone materials by most movie collectors depends upon which category the materials belong. If a movie studio released duotone materials along with color versions of the same paper, then the duotone versions will not command the same dollar value as their color counterparts. Most collectors prefer the full color over duotone, if both such versions exist. If, however, the duotone posters are the only ones released with the particular film in question, then the value of these materials would be based on standard "supply and demand" theories.

Original duotone materials released by independent or secondary printers are generally considered collectible. However, most collectors do not consider them as desirable as the color versions released either through NSS or the movie studios. Even when the artwork and colors are identical, there can be major differences in the prices for materials produced by independent printers and those issued through NSS or the movie studios.


This section is for reference use. Images found on this site are property of L.A.M.P. and are for reference purposes only with NO rights implied or given. See LAMP Disclaimer
A little BIGGER and a little BETTER each day - Saving the Past... For the Future