A Man Called Dagger / B2 / Japan

28.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
A Man Called Dagger
AKA
--
Year of Film
1967
Director
Richard Rush
Starring
Paul Mantee, Terry Moore, Jan Murray, Sue Ane Langdon, Eileen O'Neill, Maureen Arthur, Leonard Stone, Richard Kiel
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Thriller
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1968
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A relatively obscure spy thriller from 1967, A Man Called Dagger saw limited release around the globe and, as far as I can tell, this Japanese poster is one of the few examples of a theatrical release (I don’t believe the UK was treated to a cinema outing). Originally filmed in 1966, it fell victim to a collapse of relations between its original production company, Lew Horwitz’s Global Screen Associates (GSA), and distributors Cinema Distributors of America. It languished for almost a year before being picked up by MGM. The film is essentially a low-grade James Bond homage (the original title was ‘Why Spy?’) and it’s clear that the original producers wanted to cash in on the global popularity of Ian Fleming’s famous creation.

Richard Rush (most known for 1980′s The Stunt Man) was at the helm and Paul Mantee (a cult figure from his performance in Robinson Crusoe on Mars, 1964) plays the unfortunately monikered Dick Dagger (isn’t that a weapon from David Fincher’s Seven?), a crime-fighting spy who teams up with female agent Harper Davis (Terry Moore) in a bid to track down wheelchair bound Nazi war criminal Rudolph Koffman (Jan Murray). Koffman is holed up in a meat-packing plant and is using less than legal supplies in its production. With several damsels in distress, including Harper, Dagger must his ingenuity and gadgets, including a dodgy laser watch to save the day.

This B2 poster is a combination of the original US one sheet artwork (artist unknown) and a few photographic stills. If you have any idea who is responsible for the artwork please get in touch.

Check out the original trailer on YouTube.

The Toxic Avenger / quad / UK

25.07.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
The Toxic Avenger
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman
Starring
Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen, Jennifer Prichard, Cindy Manion, Robert Prichard, Gary Schneider, Pat Ryan, Mark Torgl, Dick Martinsen
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror | Comedy
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
He was 98 lbs. of solid nerd until he became... | A new kind of super hero

Released by the infamous American production and distribution company Troma, The Toxic Avenger was something of a box-office failure on its first release, but subsequent long-running shows on the midnight movie circuit at the Bleecker Street Cinemas in New York City helped to cement its current reputation as a cult classic. The film would go on to become Troma Studios’ most successful film, spawning numerous sequels, spinoffs and even a stage musical. The Toxic Avenger himself even features as their official mascot and this original entry is seen as the film that ‘built the house of Troma’.

Melvin Junko (Mark Torgl) is a social misfit working at the Tromaville Health Club as a down-trodden mop boy who is often at the receiving end of the cruel pranks of a pair of bullies called Bozo (Gary Schneider) and Slug (Robert Prichard) and their girlfriends. One day whilst being chased through the club Melvin jumps out of a second story window and lands in a vat of toxic waste, which burns his skin and completely disfigures him. After running home and jumping in a bath to try and wash the waste off he finds himself mutating into a creature of superhuman strength. The rest of the film sees Melvin fighting crime in Tromaville as the Toxic Avenger, menacing the corrupt mayor Peter Belgoody (Pat Ryan).

The artwork on this British quad is, as far as I’m aware, unique to the poster. I’ve been unable to discover who the artist responsible is so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

The superb original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

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.