The movie poster for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is done in a retro style and full of hidden Easter eggs for fans to discover.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s poignant love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood. And its entire two-and-three-quarter hour run time is so full of callbacks and references to the pop culture of its time that it would take a long time to dissect them all.
Even its primary poster, which paid homage to the 60s illustrated style of movie posters, has a lot of subtle Easter eggs to uncover. With that in mind, here is a look at the 10 hidden details in the Once Upon A Time In Hollywood poster that fans missed.
Quentin Tarantino loves paying homage to 60s Hollywood throughout his filmography. He highlights this with the green hilly background of the poster, complete with the famous Hollywood sign.
The Hollywood Hills poster reference also bears a hidden link to one of the real-life characters in the film, James Stacy (Timothy Olyphant). After Stacy left the set of Lancer on his bike, he picked up his girlfriend Claire Cox and drove to the Hollywood Hills, where a drunk driver struck them. Cox died and Stacy lost a leg.
There are two standout fonts used for the poster for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: one is the main logo font, aptly called “Hollywood Hills,” and the other is the Hobo font, used for the tagline “The 9th Film From Quentin Tarantino.”
The latter font was used on the poster for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Once Upon a Time is set during the first half of 1969, while Butch Cassidy was released in September 1969.
It is apparent from the trailer, along with the accompanying clips, that Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) once appeared on the musical variety show Hullabaloo, which ran from 1965 to 1966. And he looks anything but enthused as he sings and dances with the three background dancers.
This is subtly emphasized in the section that features Hullabaloo, where Dalton is not seen. Instead, the more magnified Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) overshadows the dancers. This shows that Dalton may be ashamed of his appearance.
To pay homage to the movie posters of its time, even the credits (minus the internet links) are stylized to the period. In early Hollywood, the top-billed actors and the other well-known supporting players are featured first, before the studio and crew. Once Upon a Time follows this template.
A good poster to compare this is, again, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Interestingly, its stars, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, are billed in the same manner as DiCaprio and Pitt, as well as Katharine Ross and Margot Robbie.
One of the few noticeable details from the poster is the insertion of the Vogue Theatre. This theater is an actual theater at 6675 Hollywood Blvd., which opened on July 16, 1935. It was initially closed down around 1995, but was renovated to make space for Supperclub, a live performance space. It was eventually used as an auction house for Hollywood memorabilia.
It was featured during Cliff Booth’s drive around Los Angeles and was showing The Night They Raided Minsky’s, a musical about a burlesque.
Among the theaters featured both in the finished film and on the poster is the famous Cinerama Dome, where famous movies got their first run. The Cinerama Dome scene shown here was showing the 1969 volcano disaster film, Krakatoa, East of Java.
One week before its release, Burt Reynolds’ film, Impasse, premiered, on May 7th of 1969. In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Reynolds was supposed to play George Spahn, but he unfortunately passed away and he was replaced by Bruce Dern. Whether this cinema scene is an accidental or intentional wink-and-nod to Reynolds , fans can’t be sure, but it could be an homage to one of the screen idols of the 70s.
The Number Of Lancer Characters
Notice the Lancer characters in the poster. There is Stacy during one of the film’s most striking scenes. And there are two extras that he presumably shot. While these two scenes may be minor, they could represent the number of Italian-import films that Rick Dalton starred in after his appearance in, ironically, The F.B.I.
These include the spaghetti Westerns Nebraska Jim, Kill Me Quick, Ringo Said the Gringo and the spy comedy, Operazione Dyn-O-Mite! Tarantino loves his films-within-the-film references – so much so that he even commissioned their own posters.
Trudi Fraser In A Different Getup
Julia Butters as guest child actor Trudi Fraser is one of the most surprising highlights of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Her exchanges with DiCaprio’s Dalton, along with her preppy professionalism, are truly golden, and it is nice that she is subtly featured in the main film poster.
Butters is the young girl in the poster who is wearing a T-shirt that says, “Sock It To Me”, holding a teddy bear and answering a telephone. “Sock It to Me” is a popular 60s phrase, and it appeared on the pin of Dalton’s costume designer’s dark leather jacket.
Brad Pitt Featured More Than Leo
Here is a fun game: count the number of times that the main leads appear on the poster. Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is featured twice (with her floating head and her dancing shot). Leonardo DiCaprio’s Dalton is included on the poster three times (his floating head, his F.B.I. profile shot and inside his car, with Cliff).
And surprisingly, Brad Pitt had the most appearances on the poster, with four: his floating head, his pose from the rooftop scene, his shot in the car with Dalton and the shot of his own car, with Pussycat exiting.
Tarantino Easter Egg
Quentin Tarantino loves his pop-culture Easter eggs so much that he even sneaked himself into the poster. Savvy fans will spot him as the director atop the camera crane, constructing the scene with his Steadicam operator.
While some argue that this could be Lancer director, Sam Wanamaker (Nicholas Hammond), notice his glasses, hairstyle, watch, modern-day shoes and his style of direction – all very Tarantino.