Rosemary’s Baby / B1 / hands style / Poland

03.09.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Rosemary's Baby
AKA
--
Year of Film
1968
Director
Roman Polanski
Starring
Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Victoria Vetri, Patsy Kelly, Elisha Cook Jr., Emmaline Henry, Charles Grodin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Horror | Mystery
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Hands style
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Andrzej Pagowski
Artist
Andrzej Pagowski
Size (inches)
26 6/16" x 37.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two posters that were printed for the release in Poland of Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby, which didn’t take place until 1984. The film, based on a 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin, stars Mia Farrow as the titular young housewife who moves into Bramford, an opulent but fading apartment block, with her actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes). At first all seems well, despite Guy struggling to find work, but when another young resident dies in strange circumstances the pair meet elderly neighbours Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) and are invited for dinner.

Soon afterwards Rosemary begins to have strange dreams and hears weird noises from inside the building, whilst Guy begins to spend more time with the Castevets. When Rosemary falls pregnant she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems and a friend of hers called Hutch (Maurice Evans) confirms that the building has a shady history and is concerned for her health. Soon after warning her of the possibility that a satanic group are active in the building Hutch falls into a coma and later dies. When the baby is due to arrive, Rosemary comes to learn the truth and sees that Guy had betrayed her to the satanic group for the sake of his acting career. The ending, which is one of the most infamous in horror film history, is still as disturbing today as it was in 1968. 

The film was a huge critical and commercial success, earning over $30 million in the US alone, which wasn’t significant considering it had a budget of around $2.3 million. Polanski had already been lauded for Repulsion (1966) but it was this film, his first Hollywood production, that really shot him to international stardom. Sadly, a year after its release his wife Sharon Tate and four others were murdered by the psychotic Charles Manson and his gang and it would be three years before his next film was made.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Andrzej Pagowski, a prolific film poster artist who was born in Warsaw in 1953 and studied at the celebrated University of Fine Arts in Poznań, graduating in 1978 under the tutorship of the noted artist Waldemar Świerzy. In 1990 he started his own graphic design studio called Studio P, which he developed into an advertising agency by 1993. According to the biography on his official site, Pagowski has illustrated over 1000 posters during his career and has also done work for books, magazines and music covers. In addition, he is also a TV and theatre stage designer and a screen writer. Undoubtedly a man of many talents! His official site features galleries of his work, including several of the posters. Polishposter.com also features five pages worth of his movie posters and this culture.pl article is well worth a read too.

The Kid / A1 / 1960s re-release / Germany

01.09.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Kid
AKA
--
Year of Film
1921
Director
Charlie Chaplin
Starring
Charles Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance, Carl Miller
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama | Family
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1960s (exact year unknown)
Designer
G. Kratzsch
Artist
--
Size (inches)
23 4/16" x 33 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a German poster for a 1960s re-release of the great Charlie Chaplin‘s first full-length film as a director, The Kid. Written, produced, directed and starring the man himself, it was made during a period of difficulty for Chaplin who had apparently been suffering creative block for a number of months and was also going through a divorce from his first wife Mildred Harris, who had been a 16-year-old when Chaplin had met her. The pair were married a short while afterwards because Mildred apparently fell pregnant and Chaplin wanted to avoid any more scandal. The pregnancy then turned out to be a false alarm. Eventually Mildred did become pregnant and carried the child to full term, but sadly it was born malformed and died three days later. The marriage had been a rocky one throughout with Chaplin supposedly feeling that she ‘stunted his creativity’ and the child’s death was the final straw.

The whole situation clearly had an effect on Chaplin and influenced the writing of The Kid as a result. The film sees Chaplin’s character The Tramp find and adopt a baby after it is abandoned by its unwed mother (Edna Purviance) and winds up in alley near The Tramp’s bedsit. Cut to five years later and the child (played by Jackie Coogan, later best known as Uncle Fester in the Addams Family TV show) is in partnership with The Tramp in a venture in which the kid smashes house windows, runs away and then The Tramp conveniently appears with a pane of glass to carry out the repair. Eventually the authorities discover that the kid is not The Tramp’s own and try to take him away, which triggers a series of events that will change both of their lives forever. The Kid is one of Chaplin’s funniest and most heartfelt films and hasn’t lost any of its charms almost a century later. Chaplin edited the film in length in 1971, removing some scenes with the mother and also added a brilliant new score. This is the only version that’s readily available on home video today.

I’ve struggled to determine what year this poster is from and the only date on here is for the original 1921 copyright (in roman numerals). If anyone has any ideas please get in touch. I believe the design can be credited to a design studio in Berlin called G. Kratzsch, which may be the name of an individual. Again, if anyone knows any more details please get in touch.

The Klansman / B2 / style A / Japan

28.08.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Klansman
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Terence Young
Starring
Lee Marvin, Richard Burton, Cameron Mitchell, O.J. Simpson, Lola Falana, David Huddleston, Luciana Paluzzi, Linda Evans, Ed Call, John Alderson, John Pearce, David Ladd
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama | Thriller
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters for the release of the 1974 drama The Klansman that marks a low point in the careers of the main participants involved and, in my opinion, deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of film history. British director Terence Young (best known for his work on the first two James Bond films and Thunderball) helms this tale of racial tension in a small Southern town that has a large Ku Klux Klan contingent. Lee Marvin plays the lone Sheriff of the town who has to deal with the fallout when a white woman is raped, apparently by a black man. Tensions are escalated when a lone gunman (played by O.J. Simpson) decides to stir things up with the Klan by shooting white townsfolk with a sniper rifle. Richard Burton plays a local landowner who has long opposed the views of the Klan and harboured black people on his land but he gets drawn into the conflict with deadly consequences.

There are many issues with the film, including a confusing script that was clearly trying to imbue the film with something of a social justice message but bungles it badly. All scenes involving the Klan are cringeworthy and obviously massively politically incorrect. The performances from the two leads are also pretty terrible with Lee Marvin mumbling and drawling through all of his scenes looking like a man who wishes he was elsewhere. Richard Burton also phones his performance in, with an accent that attempts Southern American but ends up sounding altogether wrong, and he also affects a limp in some scenes that disappears in others. Legend has it that the two men were both drunk during the entire shoot and that might explain things. It also doesn’t help that the only version of the film available on home video has been badly cut to remove a lot of the violence and a pivotal rape scene.

This is the style A Japanese B2 poster but I also have the style B that features artwork unique to the Japanese campaign by Seito.

Jaws / one sheet / Turkey

26.08.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Jaws
AKA
Les dents de la mer [The teeth of the sea] (France)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Turkey
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Lou Feck (original shark)
Size (inches)
26 11/16" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Lurid artwork features on this Turkish one sheet for Steven Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece Jaws. Apparently the film wasn’t actually released in Turkey until 1981 which explains why the enterprising designer of this poster has used American artist Lou Feck’s illustration of a shark from the poster for Jaws 2 (1978) and inserted a bikini-clad victim into its mouth (as well as blood dripping from the shark’s teeth). Feck’s illustration was used around the world to promote the sequel after originally appearing on the front of the Jaws 2 novel and I have the Japanese B2 in the Film on Paper collection. This article on Berserker Books features plenty of Feck’s book cover illustrations, including the two Jaws 2 covers he produced (one with water skier and one without).

The US one sheet’s instantly recognisable image was painted by the American artist Roger Kastel and was originally commissioned for the paperback cover of Peter Benchley’s novel, but when Universal saw the artwork they bought the rights to use it for the poster and following the worldwide success of the film it would go onto become one of the most imitated and parodied images of all time, as well as a merchandising product in its own right.

I’m not sure who to credit as the artist of the bikini-clad woman or who is the designer of the poster so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Ghoulies / quad / UK

24.08.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Ghoulies
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Luca Bercovici
Starring
Peter Liapis, Lisa Pelikan, Michael Des Barres, Jack Nance, Peter Risch, Tamara De Treaux, Scott Thomson, Ralph Seymour, Mariska Hargitay, Keith Joe Dick
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
They'll get you in the end!

This photographic image advertising the 1984 schlock-horror Ghoulies is absolutely seared into my memory from visits to video rental stores as a youngster where I would see the then forbidden fruits of the horror section. Illustrated covers by artist Graham Humphreys for titles like Evil Dead and Kindred sat alongside photographic designs that hinted at the horrors contained within. This photo of a small green creature bursting out of a toilet, coupled with a title that in UK slang is another word for testicles, sparked plenty of imagined atrocities committed against unsuspecting male victims who’ve just gone for a nice sit down on the porcelain throne.

The reality is that this image was a complete fabrication that was created for the marketing campaign and used around the globe to market the film. The green Ghoulie does pop up from a toilet during the film but it’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment, it’s also not wearing any clothes (as is depicted here), and there’s certainly no obvious harm done to any genitals during the film. According to the Wikipedia article on the film, producer Charles Band had some involvement in creating the image, although it’s a bit confusing:

According to stories Charles Band tells on his Full Moon Horror Road Show, he was tasked to come up with a great campaign to promote the film. During a brainstorming session he came up with the idea to have the Ghoulie popping up from the toilet. The idea was a huge success and the scene was then shot for the film after the fact. According to Band’s 2012 audio commentary for 88Films Blu-ray of Puppetmaster 2, someone else came up with the idea of the Ghoulie popping out of the toilet. Band actually thought it was a bad idea at first.

The film itself is hardly a classic of the genre but it has aged better than some of the other ‘malevolent creature’ films released around the same time. With that said, most of the effects haven’t held up well, particularly the creatures themselves which are poorly put together and unconvincing, especially in comparison to the creatures seen in Joe Dante’s Gremlins that was released the same year. The film is chiefly set in an old mansion that is inherited by student Jonathan Graves (Peter Liapis) after the death of his father Malcolm (Michael Des Barres giving it all he’s got). Unbeknownst to Jonathan, his mother was actually killed during a satanic ritual carried out by his father in which he was meant to be sacrificed as a baby. When a protective amulet prevented the murder being carried out, Malcolm decided to sacrifice his wife instead. Wolfgang (Jack Nance), a member of the cult, takes Jonathan away and raises him so he’s unaware of the situation with his parents.

The film opens with the ritual in which we see the group of small evil creatures (they’re never exactly referred to as Ghoulies in the film) reacting with glee, the film then jumps to a few years later when Jonathan has just moved into the mansion. He soon finds the occult paraphernalia that his father left behind and, for reasons that aren’t clearly explained, decides he wants to continue his father’s satanic practices. His friends and girlfriend Rebecca (Lisa Pelikan) get caught up in the new rituals and before long the Ghoulies have returned and his father has been resurrected from the grave. All does not go exactly to plan for Jonathan, but Wolfgang is still around and his vow to protect the boy holds strong.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design of this quad so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Księżniczka / B1 / Poland

21.08.15

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Księżniczka
AKA
Adj Király Katonát [Give the King Troops] (Hungary - original title) | The Princess (English translation of Polish title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Pál Erdöss
Starring
Erika Ozsda, Andrea Szendrei, Denes Diczhazi, Árpád Tóth, Júlia Nyakó, Lajos Soltis
Origin of Film
Hungary
Genre(s) of Film
Drama
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Maciej Woltman
Artist
Maciej Woltman
Size (inches)
26.5" x 38.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking image features on this Polish poster for the release of the obscure Hungarian drama Adj Király Katonát (literally ‘Give the King Troops’), which was titled as Księżniczka (Princess) for its Polish release. I’ve struggled to find out much about the film other than it was the directorial debut of Budapest-born Pál Erdöss who worked on 17 films right up to his death in 2007. The film is available to view in full on YouTube should you so wish.

The poster was designed by Maciej Woltman, a Polish artist who was born in 1952 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań under the professor (and artist in his own right) Waldemar Świerzy for posters and illustration and under John Świtki for painting. After graduating in 1982 he began to work with the film poster outfit Polfilm and worked on plenty of film posters as well as other illustrations for editorial content and commercial projects. The Polish encyclopaedia site Pomeranica lists a large number of exhibitions that he has held over the years. He also practices as a fine artist and some of his paintings can be seen on this page on Galeria Kapitanska and on this site.

Other film posters Woltman has worked on include those for Gandhi and Star 80.