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from a 1944 Universal Pictures movie poster (Can’t Help Singing)

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I'm trying to evoke the style of a 1940s Hollywood movie poster. I would like to identify the fonts used for 1944's Can't Help Singing, specifically the two fonts used for star Deanna Durbin's name.

I've attached a section of the poster below, but also here's a link to the full thing on IMDb.com. The second font ("Durbin"), or a variant thereof, appears to be used throughout the poster.

This is for a personal design project, so I'm interested in both a practical (inexpensive) modern digital equivalent and also, for sake of curiosity, what precisely would have been used in 1944.

Many thanks for looking at this.


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I'm with Ralph on his conclusion that this is hand painted, but for "Durbin" you could do far worse than Bodoni Poster Std Compressed. There are quite possibly other didone compressed fonts out there that fit the bill even better. Bodoni would pair nicely with Snell Roundhand Std Bold, albeit it's not as compact as your sample. For that 40's look you're after, I think it's just as crucial getting the textures and colours right as finding the exact right fonts. Bodoni and Snell will perform just fine for that. 

CleanShot 2024-04-09 at 09.21.51@2x.png

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Agree with the gentlemen above—hand lettered, not typeset.

Good suggestions from Bjørn, but I'll add a few of my own:

For Deanna, Coronet (released about seven years before the movie) has a very similar vibe, as does Clyburn (a modern interpretation of the style). Great Vibes or Tangerine would be decent Google web font substitutes.

For DURBIN, try Mort Modern. If you artificially condense the Google web font Old Standard TT, that could work as well.


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