Ewoks: The Battle for Endor / A1 / Germany

27.03.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
AKA
Kampf um Endor (Germany)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Starring
Wilford Brimley, Warwick Davis, Aubree Miller, Siân Phillips, Carel Struycken, Niki Botelho, Paul Gleason, Eric Walker, Marianne Horine, Daniel Frishman, Tony Cox
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Family | Fantasy | Sci-Fi | Star Wars
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Renato Casaro
Artist
Renato Casaro
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the German poster for the release of the second of two ill-advised TV movies featuring the Ewoks, the furry, love ‘em or hate ‘em characters from Return of the Jedi. The Battle for Endor is set some time after the first TV movie The Ewok Adventure (AKA The Caravan of Courage) and occurs between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The plot is summarised thus:

The army of the Marauders, led by by King Terak and the witch Charal attack the Ewoks village. The parents and the brother of Cindel all die in this attack. Cindel and the Ewok Wicket escape and in a forrest they meet Teek a naughty and very fast animal. Teek takes them to a house in which a old man, Noa, lives. Like Cindel he also crashed with his Starcruiser on Endor. Together they fight Terak and Charal.

The film was first shown on TV in the US in 1985 and was given a theatrical run in UK cinemas but quickly disappeared from screens when audiences discovered the poor quality of the film. Despite not being embraced by most fans, the Ewok films nevertheless had elements that continued into the expanded Star Wars universe, including an animated series called Star Wars: Ewoks broadcast between 1985 and 1987 and the Star Tours rides at Disney theme parks.

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go 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 posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA 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. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. In it he mentions working on this poster and he showed me the original art for the version of the poster where it’s just Connery alone (the advance poster).

The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

We Need to Talk About Kevin / one sheet / USA

25.03.15

PosterPosterPoster
Title
We Need to Talk About Kevin
AKA
--
Year of Film
2011
Director
Lynne Ramsay
Starring
Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich, Siobhan Fallon, Alex Manette
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
P+A / Mojo
Artist
Akiko Stehrenberger
Size (inches)
27" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking design features on this US one sheet for the release of the 2011 adaptation of Lionel Shriver‘s best-selling 2003 novel We Need to Talk About Kevin. The film rights were acquired by BBC Films in 2005 so it took producers several years to bring the story to screen. Scottish director Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar) was attached to the project early on and went through several script revisions before filming began, with one of the latter ones apparently used to help bring down the production budget.

With the story unfolding anachronically using flashbacks, the film stars Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian, the mother of Kevin (Ezra Miller who has committed a high-school massacre and is in prison. Eva, who was once a successful travel writer, is shown to be working at travel agents in a mall and living in a modest house near the prison allowing her to visit Kevin. The flashback sequences show how Eva struggled to adapt to being a mother and the effect this had on her son as he grows up, including some heart-rending scenes showing how Kevin cried incessantly as a baby.

The relationship between Eva and her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) and daughter Celia (Ashley Gerasimovich) are also shown to be strained, and as he ages Kevin’s behaviour becomes more worrying. Eva begins to fear that her son is taking pleasure in hurting others and the film culminates in the massacre, which is not shown in detail but is nevertheless very chilling. The film received mostly positive reviews and was chosen by film critic Mark Kermode as his best film of 2011. Swinton was rightfully nominated for several awards for her performance

The poster design is credited to P+A and Mojo. P+A stands for Percival + Associates and their official site is currently under construction, but their extensive portfolio of film and TV poster work can be seen on IMPAwards. It appears that the company has been designing posters since 2005 and I have the set of Brick posters that they produced in 2006 in the Film on Paper collection. It appears that they collaborated with Mojo on multiple posters up until 2012, as can be seen on Mojo’s IMPAwards page. No further posters have been credited to Mojo since that year and their website URL now redirects to Eyestorm Productions, which is described as a full-service creative agency, apparently focused on video work. I can only assume they no longer work on film posters as such and that P+A handle all print work now.

Diva / quad / UK

23.03.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Diva
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Jean-Jacques Beineix
Starring
Frédéric Andréi, Wiggins Fernandez, Roland Bertin, Richard Bohringer, Gérard Darmon, Chantal Deruaz, Jacques Fabbri, Patrick Floersheim, Thuy An Luu, Dominique Pinon, Dominique Besnehard
Origin of Film
France
Genre(s) of Film
Thriller
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Pens
Artist
Pens
Size (inches)
28 11/16" x 38 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Comedy, Romance, Opera Comedy, Romance and Murder

This is the UK quad for the release of Diva, which was the first full-length feature from Jean-Jacques Beineix, the French director whose most internationally famous film is Betty Blue (1986). Beineix is seen as the originator of the French film movement that became known as ‘cinéma du look‘, which was described as prioritising style over substance and spectacle over narrative. Luc Besson (Subway, Nikita) and Leos Carax (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf) were the other key directors and their films often featured doomed love affairs, scenes in the Paris Metro and plenty of contemporary pop-culture references.

Based on the novel of the same by Swiss author Daniel Odier the film is set in Paris and tells the story of a young mild-mannered postman called Jules (Frédéric Andréi) who has an obsession with a celebrated opera singer called Cynthia Hawkins. The singer has never had one of her performances officially recorded, believing that music like hers should only exist in the moment for the audience watching. Jules attends a performance and illicitly makes a perfect recording before meeting her backstage and stealing the dress she performed in. A few days later Jules inadvertently gets drawn into a criminal conspiracy after a desperate woman on the run from hitmen, including Dominique Pinon‘s Le curé (as seen on this poster), drops a cassette into his postbag. The tape implicates the local police chief in an international smuggling ring and soon Jules has not only the hitmen after him but also a shady pair of Taiwanese men who want the recording of the opera singer. Luckily, Jules has help in the form of a mysterious bohemian called Gorodish (Richard Bohringer) and his Vietnamese-French muse Alba (Thuy An Luu).

As progenitor of the ‘cinéma du look‘ movement the film is visually stunning throughout and features excellent use of several Paris locations, including a memorable chase sequence on the Metro and a great scene inside a giant abandoned factory. The story may come second to the visuals but it’s still an excellent watch and rightfully garnered plenty of critical plaudits on its release in France and then later in the US and the UK.

This UK quad was printed for the legendary British distribution (and later production) company Palace Pictures and, like their quad for Evil Dead, features a flash indicating that the film was available on video. I believe the first time this film was released in the UK was in 1982 and it’s likely that Palace gave the film a limited cinema release as well as making it available on VHS. Friend of the site John Costello confirmed that the film received a release on VHS on September 25th 1982.

The design and illustration of the poster, which is actually of a shot in the film where Jules’ bike helmet is seen on a mannequin, is credited on the poster to ‘Pens’, about whom I’ve been unable to find any details. If anyone knows more about the designer I’d appreciate the info.

The Challenge / one sheet / USA

20.03.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Challenge
AKA
Sword of the Ninja (US alt. title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
John Frankenheimer
Starring
Scott Glenn, Toshirô Mifune, Donna Kei Benz, Atsuo Nakamura, Calvin Jung, Clyde Kusatsu, Sab Shimono, Kiyoaki Nagai
Origin of Film
USA | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
C.W. Taylor
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
820127
Tagline
He has trained every thought, every muscle, every nerve, for this moment of truth. | One American against all odds.

Directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Seconds) The Challenge is a 1982 action film that was an American/Japanese co-production and is largely set in the latter country. Scott Glenn stars as Rick Murphy, a down-and-out boxer who is hired to transport an ancient sword (one of a pair called ‘The Equals’) that had been stolen during WWII back into Japan and into the hands of a Hideo (Atsuo Nakamura), a member of the Yoshida family. On arrival in Japan, Murphy discovers that the sword is a fake and he’s inadvertently landed himself in the middle of a feud between the ruthless businessman Hideo and his more traditional Samurai brother Toru (Toshirô Mifune).

At first Murphy sides with Hideo and attempts to steal the real sword from Toru, but he soon realises which man is more honorable and eventually asks Toru to train him in swordsmanship and the ways of the samurai. Eventually he strikes up a relationship with Toru’s daughter Akiko but Hideo still wants the sword and will stop at nothing to steal it. Murphy must team up with Toru and his daughter and put his training to the test.

The film’s martial arts choreography was organised by non other than Steven Seagal six years before his own career in front of the camera began. The film was later released in the US in a cut-down form as Sword of the Ninja. Despite being something of a box-office and critical success The Challenge has never been released on DVD and is frustratinly hard to see at the moment. Fingers crossed for a HD release sometime in the future.

The artwork on this one sheet is by an American artist called C. Winston Taylor, about whom very little can be found online. The Lost Video Archive blog has a post on the artist that features images of some of his other posters and video covers. In the 1990s the artist was hired to paint the covers for a Quantum Leap comic book series and a gallery of those images can be viewed on this site, which also features three images of the artist himself. Comicbookdb.com features a small profile of Taylor with the following mini-biography:

C. Winston Taylor always knew from a young age that he would communicate through his drawings. Fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Stars, helped solidify this vision. After graduating with honors from the Art Center College of Design, in Los Angeles, he quickly became a well-respected illustrator. His work has received numerous awards and he served as the president of The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. 

The other posters I’ve collected with artwork by C.W. Taylor can be seen by clicking here.

The Klansman / B2 / style B / Japan

18.03.15

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 B - artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
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, and 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 Japanese poster features artwork unique to the Japanese campaign. Seito is one of my favourite Japanese artists who was responsible for several fantastic illustrated posters during the 1970s and 1980s. Little is known about the man himself, even in his native country.

To see the other posters I’ve collected by Seito click here.

Space Runaway Ideon: Be Invoked / B1 / Japan

16.03.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Space Runaway Ideon: Be Invoked
AKA
Densetsu kyojin ideon: Hatsudou-hen (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Yoshiyuki Tomino
Starring
Yôko Asagami, Yô Inoue, Yoku Shioya, Kaneto Shiozawa, Fuyumi Shiraishi, Hideyuki Tanaka, Nobuo Tanaka, Keiko Toda, Rumiko Ukai
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Animation | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
28 11/16" x 40 6/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B1 for the release of the second film based on the anime TV series Space Runaway Ideon that was created and directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino, who had previously  worked on the legendary anime Mobile Suit Gundam. Never given an official Western release (to the best of my knowledge) the series plot is summarised on its IMDb page:

It is the year 2300 and on the distant colony world of Solo, a team of archaeologists discover three alien vessels that, when formed together, become a giant fighting robot – The Ideon. However, they come into contact with an alien race known as the Buff Clan, who claim the Ideon’s energy source of Ide as their right. A simple case of fear and mistrust triggers an intergalactic war, with the Ide and the fate of the universe at stake.

According to the series’ Wikipedia page ‘the series originally met with rather low ratings and was cancelled after only 39 of its scheduled 43 episodes aired. As a result, the producers were forced to insert a short segment at the end of the final episode that ended the series in the middle of the action. Demand for a release of the final unaired episodes followed the show’s cancellation, and two movies were produced to end the series.

The two movies, A Contact and Be Invoked, were produced by both Sanrio and Sunrise and released as a double bill by Shochiku in 1982. A Contact featured clips from the first 32 episodes of the TV series interspersed with newly animated footage. In addition a few new scenes, the movie also created new death scenes for character such as Damido, Mayaya and Daram. Be Invoked featured a modified version of the final episode of the TV series (removing the ending sequence), in addition to those episodes that never aired, finishing off the Ideon saga once and for all.’

There is a signature on this art but I can’t read it so if anyone has any idea who should received credit for this please get in touch.