Star Wars / one sheet / style D / studio version / USA

23.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sci-Fi | Adventure
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style D
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Charles White III | Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

This is the excellent ‘style D’ poster for the original sci-fi classic Star Wars, which was printed for the 1978 re-release of the film in the US. The artwork, which only appears on this US one sheet, was a collaboration between two talents; Charles White III who was at the time an established and well regarded artist well known for his skills with an airbrush, and Drew Struzan who was early in his film poster painting career and yet to paint the iconic images for which he is famous for today. This is Struzan’s first poster for the Star Wars franchise and he would later go on to be one of Lucasfilm’s most trusted artists, painting several other posters and related images for the Star Wars universe over the following 35 years.

In an interview with Airbrush Magazine in August 1999, Struzan said:

‘I will never fail to give credit to Charlie White for what he did for me. It may have been a small thing to him, but a life changer for me. He is an extraordinary artist famed for his airbrush work. He had the desirable assignment to do the one-sheet poster for the re-release of Star Wars in 1978. He is marvellous at painting objects, but was hesitant to paint portraits for the poster. Somehow, he asked me to paint the portraits while he would paint the droids and the like…Only an extraordinary individual does anything so generous and unselfish. It is the individual who deserves the honor. I have no doubt that there was a desire on Charlie’s part to do the best job possible on the Star Wars project…It was to his advantage to use the best talent he could find. He also gave the lettering to a great letterer. It made for an outstanding poster. All of us who worked on it have been proud ever since to have had the opportunity. It remains a perennial favorite, even among Hollywood executives.’

The style D page on TheForce.net notes that this is said to be George Lucas’ favourite Star Wars poster and the original artwork apparently hangs on the wall in his house. It is often described as being a ‘circus’ style poster as the main image has been illustrated to appear that it’s sitting on a wooden board with other older, torn paper surrounding it.

In another interview with Struzan carried out by Cinefantastique in 1997, the artist recalls how the design came about:

‘The novel idea of making the poster appear as if it were pasted on a wall came about almost by accident. “We had already done the lettering of the title, painting it in as part of the poster,” recalled Struzan. “Then, when we got the billing, we discovered there wasn’t enough room for all the credits, so we had to figure out a way to make more space. We thought, ‘Why don’t we take what we already have and paint it to look like it’s wild posted on top of other posters?’ That gave us the extra room we needed for the billing at the bottom. It was a case of Necessity being the Mother of Invention.” …”We had to do other art to fill it out, so we had a chance to include more characters. We added Han Solo in a little vignetted circle, and Alec Guinness was an afterthought. It kind of grew to include everybody.”‘

Note that this is the ‘studio’ version of the one sheet and there is also the National Screen Service (NSS) version which has all of the associated markings on the bottom edge of the poster. The studio style was printed by the studio itself, whilst the NSS version would have been produced at one of their own printing offices. There were also two official reprints done around the time of the film’s 15th anniversary but they are pretty easy to spot since they are undersized and feature several new lines of text (copyright and so on). Movieposterauthenticating.com features an excellent article on the poster and shows photographic detail of the differences. Moviepostercollectors.com also features a page on the poster that’s well worth a read.

Charles White III has his own website which features galleries of his work and a short biography which is worth checking out. Drew Struzan barely needs an introduction to film fans worldwide but he also has an official website featuring galleries of his work. To see the other posters I’ve collected by Struzan click here.

Octopussy / B2 / final style / Japan

21.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Octopussy
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
John Glen
Starring
Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi, Steven Berkoff, David Meyer, Tony Meyer, Desmond Llewelyn, Robert Brown, Lois Maxwell, Michaela Clavell, Walter Gotell, Vijay Amritraj, Albert Moses
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | James Bond
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Final
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 for Roger Moore‘s sixth outing as the legendary spy, 1983′s Octopussy. Considered by many to be one of the weaker entries in the long-running series, the film nevertheless continued the more ‘realistic’ and down to earth approach that was taken for the previous entry, For Your Eyes Only (1981), following the over-the-top lunacy of Moonraker (1979). The story sees Bond sent to investigate the death of his fellow agent ’009′ who perishes in front of the British embassy in East Berlin clutching a copy of a priceless Fabergé egg. When the trail leads to an auction house in London where the real egg is to be sold, Bond enters a bidding war with the mysterious Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan), forcing him to spend several times its listing price.

After following Khan back to his palace in Rajasthan, India, the spy eventually ends up in the clutches of Khan’s bodyguard Gobinda (an imposing Kabir Bedi) and, after escaping, discovers that the prince is working with a power-hungry Soviet general named Orlov (Steven Berkoff) who plans to detonate a nuclear bomb in a US Air Force base in Germany in order to destabilise Europe and expand Soviet borders. Bond heads to a palace on an Indian lake on the trail of Octopussy (Maud Adams), the enigmatic leader of an all-female cult and head of a travelling circus troupe that Khan and Orlov plan to use to smuggle the weapon into the base. Bond must convince Octopussy that Khan is only using her for his nefarious plot and sets out to prevent the bomb from detonating before Europe is plunged into chaos.

This B2 was fully illustrated by Renato Casaro, an Italian artist with a prolific output, who actually re-painted the central two figures that American artist Dan Goozee had originally illustrated for the US one sheet. Whilst on the UK quad Casaro had painted a montage that was used to surround Goozee’s figures, here he was asked to repaint the whole thing to fit a portrait format.

I interviewed the artist in March 2014 and he mentioned this poster:

—–

[...]Every poster painted by you was from your original design?
Almost every single one I worked on. Very occasionally I would adapt some posters for American films from the artwork that had been used over there. For example, for the British poster for Octopussy I painted an action montage around the central figures that had already been painted by the American artist Dan Goozee. When they wanted the same montage for the Japanese poster it was in a portrait format so I was able to repaint the figures myself and then adapt my original action montage around them. That was a very unusual case though and if it were an Italian production I would always retain complete creative control.

————-

 

Renato Casaro began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome, which was part of the legendary Cinecittà studios and handled film publicity for many Italian productions. Casaro soon decided to become a freelance artist and went on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on many German posters as well as others from countries including Japan, UK, North America as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. The other posters I’ve collected by Casaro can be seen by clicking here.

Octopussy / B2 / Yamakatsu style A / Japan

21.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Octopussy
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
John Glen
Starring
Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Kabir Bedi, Steven Berkoff, David Meyer, Tony Meyer, Desmond Llewelyn, Robert Brown, Lois Maxwell, Michaela Clavell, Walter Gotell, Vijay Amritraj, Albert Moses
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | James Bond
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Yamakatsu - style A
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the scarce Yamakatsu (style A) Japanese B2 poster for Roger Moore‘s sixth outing as the legendary spy, 1983′s Octopussy. Considered by many to be one of the weaker entries in the long-running series, the film nevertheless continued the more ‘realistic’ and down to earth approach that was taken for the previous entry, For Your Eyes Only (1981), following the over-the-top lunacy of Moonraker (1979). The story sees Bond sent to investigate the death of his fellow agent ’009′ who perishes in front of the British embassy in East Berlin clutching a copy of a priceless Fabergé egg. When the trail leads to an auction house in London where the real egg is to be sold, Bond enters a bidding war with the mysterious Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan), forcing him to spend several times its listing price.

After following Khan back to his palace in Rajasthan, India, the spy eventually ends up in the clutches of Khan’s bodyguard Gobinda (an imposing Kabir Bedi) and, after escaping, discovers that the prince is working with a power-hungry Soviet general named Orlov (Steven Berkoff) who plans to detonate a nuclear bomb in a US Air Force base in Germany in order to destabilise Europe and expand Soviet borders. Bond heads to a palace on an Indian lake on the trail of Octopussy (Maud Adams), the enigmatic leader of an all-female cult and head of a travelling circus troupe that Khan and Orlov plan to use to smuggle the weapon into the base. Bond must convince Octopussy that Khan is only using her for his nefarious plot and sets out to prevent the bomb from detonating before Europe is plunged into chaos.

The photos around the central artwork are a mixtures of stills from the film and behind the scenes and marketing images. The artwork was fully illustrated by Renato Casaro, an Italian artist with a prolific output, who actually re-painted the central two figures that American artist Dan Goozee had originally illustrated for the US one sheet. Whilst on the UK quad Casaro had painted a montage that was used to surround Goozee’s figures, here he was asked to repaint the whole thing to fit a portrait format.

I interviewed the artist in March 2014 and he mentioned this poster:

—–

[...]Every poster painted by you was from your original design?
Almost every single one I worked on. Very occasionally I would adapt some posters for American films from the artwork that had been used over there. For example, for the British poster for Octopussy I painted an action montage around the central figures that had already been painted by the American artist Dan Goozee. When they wanted the same montage for the Japanese poster it was in a portrait format so I was able to repaint the figures myself and then adapt my original action montage around them. That was a very unusual case though and if it were an Italian production I would always retain complete creative control.

————-

Renato Casaro began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome, which was part of the legendary Cinecittà studios and handled film publicity for many Italian productions. Casaro soon decided to become a freelance artist and went on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on many German posters as well as others from countries including Japan, UK, North America as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. The other posters I’ve collected by Casaro can be seen by clicking here.

Misery / A1 / Germany

17.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Misery
Year of Film
1990
Director
Rob Reiner
Starring
James Caan, Kathy Bates, Richard Farnsworth, Frances Sternhagen, Lauren Bacall, Graham Jarvis
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Thriller
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Renato Casaro
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
23 7/16" x 33 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The prolific American author Stephen King has had over 60 of his short stories and novels made into films (with several more on the way) and it’s safe to say that not all of them have successfully made the transition. As well as classic horrors like Carrie, The Shining and The Mist, there are clunkers like Lawnmower Man and The Mangler to even things out. Over the years, the author has understandably become very wary about who he allows to adapt his work and there have been some collaborations that have been very successful indeed. Rob Reiner’s film Stand By Me, based on King’s novella of the same name, is a truly great coming-of-age story and was so successful that it convinced King to allow the director to adapt one of his most celebrated novels, the psychological thriller Misery.

Released in 1990, the film focuses on Paul Sheldon (James Caan) a celebrated author of a best-selling series of Victorian-era romance stories featuring the character of Misery Chastain. Having completed the manuscript for his latest novel at the same Colorado hotel he always stays in to write, Sheldon decides to drive back to his home in New York. During a freak blizzard, Paul crashes his car into a snowdrift and loses consciousness. When he wakes he discovers that he’s been rescued by a nurse called Annie Wilkes (a career-best performance by Kathy Bates) who has taken him to her remote cabin and is tending to his injuries. Annie reveals that she’s a superfan of the author and asks to read the manuscript but is angered with the level of profanity.

A few days later she buys a copy of his just-published Misery Chastain novel and is horrified to discover that Paul has decided to kill off the character. The author soon discovers that not only is Annie preventing him from leaving the cabin, she’s also failed to inform anyone that he’s with her. Realising his life is in grave danger, Paul must try to outwit Annie as the tension mounts. The film has a notorious scene involving a sledgehammer that still induces winces even after repeated viewings. Bates would go on to win the Best Actress prize at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.

 

The excellent artwork on this German A1 was painted by the celebrated Italian artist Renato Casaro who worked on a significant number of German posters during the 1980s and 1990s. In March 2014 I published a lengthy interview I carried out with Renato and that can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by the artists can be seen by clicking here.

Heavy Metal / quad / UK

14.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Heavy Metal
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Gerald Potterton
Starring
Harvey Atkin, Jackie Burroughs, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Marilyn Lightstone, Harold Ramis, Richard Romanus
Origin of Film
Canada
Genre(s) of Film
Animation | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Chris Achilleos
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A Step Beyond Science Fiction

A great piece of artwork by Chris Achilleos on this UK quad for the release of Heavy Metal, an animated film based on stories from the magazine of the same name, which was known for its blend of science fiction, fantasy and erotica. Developed over a period of three years, the film is an anthology of tales connected by a framing story, with each one being based on a segment from the magazine or created specifically for the film. Like its source material it contains plenty of graphic violence and sexual imagery, although the film is somewhat softer in comparison to the tales seen in print. Several different animation houses worked on the segments, which is how it was able to be completed in a relatively short period of time. The voice cast included John CandyEugene Levy and Harold Ramis.

Chris Achilleos is one of the foremost British sci-fi and fantasy artists and has been working for over 40 years, creating some of the most celebrated artwork in the genre. Born in Cyprus, Achilleos and his family emigrated to London in 1959 and he went on to study illustration at Hornsey Art College where he learned the skills of technical illustration and became proficient with the airbrush in his final year. The artist would go on to create illustrations and painted work for album covers, book covers, magazines and would publish a series of books showcasing his skills. In addition, Achilleos also worked on concept designs for films including Willow (1988), King Arthur (2004) and the Last Legion (2007). This portrait of the heroine Taarna and her faithful steed was influential on the creation of the segment in the film, although the level of detail in the animation doesn’t quite match up to his skills!

Sim Branaghan, author of the brilliant British Film Posters, interviewed the artist for his book and notes that Achilleos’ film work often ended in frustration and disappointment. His first contact with the film industry came with a call from Julian Senior, a marketing executive at Warners at the time, who invited Achilleos to produce some concepts for Greystoke (1984). These were swept aside for an urgent job to produce three big illustrations for posters for Supergirl (1984) that ended up being scrapped when the distribution of the film changed and the work went to the FEREF agency.

Achilleos was also asked to work on posters for Blade Runner that ended up being rejected by the clients who decided to go with the photo montage of the UK quad. There were other frustrating no-gos with designs for Clash of the Titans, Twilight Zone (1983) and an illustration for Batman (1989) that was caught up in a knotty legal wrangle. Some posters designs did make it through, including Riding High (1979), this artwork for Heavy Metal that was used on the UK quad as well as the US one sheet and Japanese B2, plus a quad for Jackie Chan vehicle The Protector (1986).

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / B1 / Japan

11.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey
Origin of Film
UK | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Comedy
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40.5
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the scarce Japanese B1 for the release of the 1988 fantasy comedy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which was co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam. Based on the tall tales that the real-life 18th century German Baron Münchhausen allegedly told about his wartime dealings with the Ottoman Empire, the film is a riotous exploration of the power of storytelling and imagination. Gilliam plucked the veteran actor John Neville, in his early sixties at the time, from near obscurity to play the titular Baron who teams up with a young girl and a whole host of bizarre characters to save an unnamed European city from defeat by a besieging Turkish army. 

Actress (and recently director) Sarah Polley appears in her first screen role as Sally Salt, a member of a theatre troupe that has been touring the country showing farcical reconstructions of Munchausen’s supposed adventures before the real Baron appears at one of their shows just as a Turkish army appears outside the city walls and begins to attack it. What follows is a madcap mix of improbable, recollected tales and daring adventures as the Baron takes Sally on a journey to gather together his old gang of associates, including the fastest runner in the world (Eric Idle), a giant strongman and a dwarf able to expel powerful gusts of wind that can knock tens of people over. Their journey takes them to the moon where they encounter the eccentric King of the Moon (a memorable cameo from Robin Williams), into the crater of an active volcano where they meet the Roman God Vulcan (Oliver Reed) and his wife Venus (one of Uma Thurman‘s earliest film roles) and inside the belly of a giant sea monster, before they head back to the besieged city to rescue it from certain defeat.

Featuring a number of notable actors, often in dual roles that reflect the film’s clever play on the idea of fantasy and reality, the film is never anything less than entertaining and the action on screen completely belies the ridiculous behind the scenes travails that Gilliam went through to bring his vision to life. The film suffered a number of setbacks during its production, including a budget that more than doubled and a change of management at the studio that almost saw the film cancelled entirely (production was shut down for several weeks). The film was eventually practically dumped into cinemas in the States with a limited release that saw a corresponding lack of box office takings, and this was despite strong critical reception. It faired better in Europe but was unable to recoup its reported budget of over $45 million.

This psychedelic design is unique to this Japanese B1 and is markedly different to the equally trippy B2 poster.