Black Joy / quad / UK

28.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Black Joy
AKA
--
Year of Film
1977
Director
Anthony Simmons
Starring
Norman Beaton, Trevor Thomas, Floella Benjamin, Dawn Hope, Oscar James, Paul J. Medford, Shango Baku
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Arnaldo Putzu
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Life is for living...

Excellent artwork by the Italian artist Arnaldo Putzu features on this quad poster for the release of the 1977 British film Black Joy. Based on a stage play called ‘Dark Days and Light Nights’ by Jamal Ali (who also wrote the screenplay) it was directed by the late Anthony Simmons. The film, something of a time capsule of a period in London’s history, is a culture-clash comedy about a Guyanese country boy called Ben Jones (Trevor Thomaswho arrives in the borough of Brixton. Ben had assumed life will be easier in the UK but after meeting several streetwise characters, including a wannabe hustler called Dave King (Norman Beaton), he soon learns that not everyone is out for his best interests.

The film notably stars Floella Benjamin a Trinidadian actress who is famous for her work as a presenter on children’s TV programmes in the 1970s and 80s, including Play School, and more recently for her extensive charity work and as the chancellor of the University of Exeter. In 2010 she was made a Baroness as a Liberal Democrat Life Peer and is a member of the House of Lords.

 

Arnaldo Putzu was born in Rome in 1927 and began painting from a very early age. In 1948 he began his relationship with the world of film publicity under the guidance of the famous artist Enrico De Seta. Eventually Putzu would gain enough confidence in his abilities to set up his own agency and it was this move that saw him getting involved in work for the British studio Rank. Eric Pulford was so impressed with his work that he brought him over to London to work at Downtons in 1967.

The artist worked on many quads whilst over here and also gained notoriety for lending his talents to the popular children’s magazine Look-in, for which he painted almost every cover during its publication lifetime. His best-known quad is undoubtedly the one he painted for the Michael Caine gangster classic Get Carter in 1971. My friend, and author of the must-own British Film Posters, Sim Branaghan met Putzu during the making of his book and describes it as a very memorable experience in the interview I published in 2012. Putzu sadly passed away the same year, aged 85, and Sim wrote an excellent obituary for The Guardian newspaper, which can be read here.

Weekend / one sheet / 2011 / USA

26.04.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Weekend
AKA
--
Year of Film
2011
Director
Andrew Haigh
Starring
Tom Cullen, Chris New, Jonathan Race, Laura Freeman, Loreto Murray, Jonathan Wright, Sarah Churm, Vauxhall Jermaine, Joe Doherty, Kieran Hardcastle
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Romance
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
Sam Ashby
Artist
Photography by Quinnford and Scout
Size (inches)
27" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is the US one sheet for the release of the 2011 British drama Weekend, written and directed by Andrew Haigh. The film was shot on location in and around Nottingham on a micro budget. It follows gay man Russell (Tom Cullen) who goes to a house party with his straight friends and then onto a gay club alone afterwards looking for a hookup. There he meets Glen (Chris New), an art gallery employee and aspiring artist, and the pair head back to Russell’s flat for what they both assume will just be a one night stand.

Things don’t work out that way and the pair spend the next 48 hours (the titular period) getting to know each other in bars, clubs and bedrooms. Glen eventually reveals he’s hours away from moving to America to attend a two year art course and by the end of the weekend the pair have affected each other more than they could possibly have imagined. The film is a memorable and sensitive depiction of a budding relationship and the performances are wonderfully natural throughout. Haigh’s script is heartfelt but unsentimental and has a genuine emotional truth about it. In my opinion it’s one of the best romantic dramas of the past few decades.

This one sheet was created by Sam Ashby, a London-based graphic designer who has worked on a number of film posters that can be seen on his studio website, including quads for films like Beauty. Several of the posters shown in his portfolio were concepts that weren’t chosen by the production, which is a shame as they’re almost always better than the quad that was chosen. According to this interview Sam used to work at the poster design firm AllCity as Head of Design before leaving to set up his own studio in 2010. His website hasn’t been updated in a number of months so I’m not sure if he’s still active as a film poster designer.

In addition to this one sheet, Ashby designed several other posters for the film, including the UK quad.

From the Life of the Marionettes / B1 / Poland

20.04.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
From the Life of the Marionettes
AKA
Aus dem Leben der Marionetten (West Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Ingmar Bergman
Starring
Robert Atzorn, Christine Buchegger, Martin Benrath, Rita Russek, Lola Müthel, Walter Schmidinger, Heinz Bennent, Ruth Olafs, Karl-Heinz Pelser, Gaby Dohm
Origin of Film
West Germany | Sweden
Genre(s) of Film
Drama
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Wieslaw Walkuski
Artist
Wieslaw Walkuski
Size (inches)
26 6/16" x 37 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Wieslaw Walkuski artwork features on this Polish poster for the release (in 1983) of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman‘s From the Life of the Marionettes. The film was developed and shot by Bergman whilst he was living as a tax exile in West Germany and had a screenplay and soundtrack in German. It was originally developed as a TV movie and was shown on a German public-service channel in November 1980, but was later released at several film festivals and granted wider cinema releases in the following years.

The film depicts the degeneration of the relationship between the arguing couple seen briefly in Bergman’s earlier film, Scenes From a Marriage, Katarina and Peter Egermann (played by Christine Buchegger and Robert Atzorn). The Wikipedia plot description makes it sound like a pretty grim watch:

‘As Katarina seeks other lovers, the emotionally repressed and despondent Peter descends into neuroses, eventually leading him to tearfully murder a prostitute (played by Rita Russek), with the same name as his wife, at a Munich peep show before sodomising her dead body. In the closing sequence he is incarcerated in a mental asylum’
Wieslaw Walkuski was born in 1956 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 1981 Walkuski has worked as a graphic designer and artist for publishing houses and theaters, as well as for the Polish film organisations Polfilm and Film Polski. He’s worked freelance since 1987 and has painted over 200 film posters. He continues to live and work in Warsaw. Walkuski’s official website features galleries of many of his designs and images of his other work.

He’s responsible for some incredible designs and two of my favourites include those he painted for Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and the Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie.

The Anderson Tapes / B2 / Japan

18.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Anderson Tapes
AKA
--
Year of Film
1971
Director
Sidney Lumet
Starring
Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Christopher Walken, Val Avery, Dick Anthony Williams, Garrett Morris
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese poster for the release of The Anderson Tapes, a 1971 crime film from director Sidney Lumet. It stars Sean Connery and was released the same year as Diamonds are Forever, the film that marked the final time he would officially play James Bond (for Eon Productions). It’s based on a novel of the same name by Lawrence Sanders and had a screenplay written by Frank Pierson who was a producer as well as a screenwriter. Lumet and Pierson would later collaborate on the classic Dog Day Afternoon in 1975.

Connery plays the role of John “Duke” Anderson, a serial burglar who has just been released from prison and reunites with his girlfriend Ingrid (Dyan Cannon) who lives in a high-class apartment block in Manhattan. Far from being reformed, Duke decides he will target all of the flats in the block in one big heist with the help of his mafia connections and a crew of assorted criminals. Things have changed since he was put away and Duke must contend with the electronic surveillance throughout the building as well as various forms of snooping that are covering his entire crew. The film was one of several released at the start of the 1970s that dealt with the issue of surveillance, including the brilliant The Conversation.

This Japanese poster features artwork originally found on the US one sheet, although it appears to have been colour-tinted somewhat, particularly the masked men at the top. If anyone has any ideas who the artist is please get in touch.

The Silence of the Lambs / Thailand

15.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Silence Of The Lambs
AKA
Il silenzio degli innocenti [The silence of the innocents] (Italy)
Year of Film
1991
Director
Jonathan Demme
Starring
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons, Frankie Faison, Diane Baker, Charles Napier
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Thriller | Horror | Crime
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1991
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
23 15/16 x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for the release of the unforgettable thriller The Silence of the Lambs, a film that would win multiple awards across the globe following its release in 1991. Based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris which was the second to feature the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a sociopathic serial killer who was the focus of several of his novels (in fact all but one) and featured in multiple films and a TV series since his first appearance in the novel Red Dragon (later released as the 1986 film Manhunter). The Silence of the Lambs was directed by Jonathan Demme and based on a screenplay by Ted Tally who would later adapt Harris again with another version of Red Dragon in 2002.

Jodie Foster gives a deservedly award-winning performance as the young FBI recruit Clarice Starling who excels during her training and is given the task of interviewing the incarcerated Lecter (a mesmerising, against-type performance by Anthony Hopkins). The Bureau wants to see if Lecter can help them in their hunt for another serial killer, dubbed Buffalo Bill, who is on the loose and has been skinning the corpses of his female victims. Lecter decides to toy with Clarice and she must work to gain his trust, whilst the audience are shown Bill picking up his next victim. The tension rises as Clarice closes in on the killer through clues given by Lecter and the stage is set for a nerve-shredding finale. The film won the ‘big five’ at the 1991 Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Actress for Hopkins and Foster, as well as Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for Tally. It would prove to be a huge hit across the globe and enter the cultural lexicon in a significant way. The character of Lecter continues to fascinate and a recent TV series (called simply Hannibal) was a cult success.

This Thai poster features excellent artwork by Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) who was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

The faces of Foster and Hopkins of course feature on the classic American posters, including the Style C one sheet which merges the two, although this is more like the UK quad. At first glance I thought that Tongdee had painted the montage at the bottom over a reproduction of the photographic originals but on closer inspection it’s clear that he repainted the whole lot, including the intricate details on the infamous Deaths Head moths (featuring the freaky ‘skull’ image). The montage below is unique to this poster and features four depictions of Lecter at various points in the film.

Mountaintop Motel Massacre / one sheet / video / USA

13.04.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Mountaintop Motel Massacre
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Jim McCullough Sr.
Starring
Bill Thurman, Anna Chappell, Will Mitchell, Virginia Loridans, Major Brock, James Bradford, Amy Hill, Marian Jones, Gregg Brazzel
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 4/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Please do not disturb Evelyn. She already is.

A no nonsense design graces this one sheet for the release of the 1986 horror film Mountaintop Motel Massacre. The film was co-produced and directed by the late Jim McCullough Sr., with his son Jim McCullough Jr. sharing producing duties as well as writing the script. It was apparently shot in 1983 in Shreveport, Louisiana but was not released across the States until 1986 after Roger Corman’s company New World Pictures picked up the distribution rights. I believe it was released straight to video in most countries, including the UK.

Evelyn (Anna Chappell) has spent three years living in an insane asylum and upon her release returns to the eponymous hotel but not before murdering her own daughter Lorri, who it’s revealed was into the occult and conducting seances. The murder unleashes dark forces and when Evelyn once again reopens the hotel to paying guests no one is safe. One night, during a violent thunderstorm, Evelyn commences a murder spree, making her way from room to room via a hidden underground tunnel.

This is actually the one sheet for the video release of the film (note the text at the bottom) but the poster that was used for its release into cinemas is practically identical as can be seen here (note the alternate logo). It also appears that Jim McCullough Sr. attempted to release the film off his own back prior to 1986, titled as just Mountaintop Motel and the poster for that can be seen here.