My Bloody Valentine / B2 / Japan

19.12.14

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
My Bloody Valentine
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
George Mihalka
Starring
Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Alf Humphreys, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Thomas Kovacs, Terry Waterland ... Harriet Carl Marotte Carl Marotte
Origin of Film
Canada
Genre(s) of Film
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 for the release of the Canadian film My Bloody Valentine, which was one of several slasher films released in the wake of the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978). The film is set in the fictional mining town of Valentine Bluffs that is preparing to hold its first Valentine’s Day town dance in 20 years. It’s revealed that two decades earlier there was an accident down the mine that saw four miners die from gas poisoning and a fifth, named Harry Warden, survive by resorting to cannibalism until he was rescued. Two supervisors were blamed for what happened to the men as they deserted their posts to attend the town dance and a year later Harry returned to take his revenge, murdering the pair and cutting out their hearts, before warning that the town should never hold another dance.

Since Harry was eventually caught and locked up in an insane asylum the warning had become a distant memory and the people of the town decide to hold a new dance, which excites the younger generation of inhabitants. Shortly before the day of the dance the mayor of the town and the chief of police receive an anonymous gift in the form of a box of chocolates. When they open it they discover a bloody human heart. Soon after, a woman called Mabel is brutally murdered by a man dressed in mining gear and the town decides they have no choice but to cancel the dance. The frustrated younger townspeople decide to hold their own party at the mines the next night but they’re not prepared for the wrath of the mysterious killer and one by one they fall victim to his sharpened pickaxe.

Whilst far from the best in the slasher genre the film is certainly entertaining and features some pretty memorable kills. Notoriously the MPAA (the American ratings board) forced the filmmakers to make 9 minutes of cuts to remove most of the gory sequences. The cuts are now thought to have been a reaction by Paramount to the backlash they suffered over the gore in Friday the 13th (1980) and the director George Mihalka also suggests that horror films released in the wake of John Lennon’s murder suffered similar fates. The film was released with much of the footage reinstated in a 2009 DVD release.

The Man With The Golden Gun / one sheet / USA

17.12.14

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Man With The Golden Gun
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Guy Hamilton
Starring
Roger Moore, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Maud Adams, Hervé Villechaize, Clifton James, Richard Loo, Soon-Tek Oh, Marc Lawrence, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell, Marne Maitland, Desmond Llewelyn
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Crime | Thriller | James Bond
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert McGinnis
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original US one sheet for the release of The Man With the Golden Gun, the ninth James Bond film and the second to star Roger Moore as the legendary secret agent. It’s definitely one of the weaker films in the long-running series and certainly not Moore’s finest hour, but it has several elements that make it worth watching, including a host of interesting far-eastern locales, strong production design and a very memorable bad guy in the shape of Christopher Lee‘s Scaramanga. Guy Hamilton returned as director for the fourth and last time in the series and the script, written by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz, takes place amidst the climate of energy worries that followed the 1973 oil crisis. It also reflected the then craze for martial arts movies that followed the release of films like Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon with several kung-fu sequences and exotic locations.

The story starts as MI6 receive a golden bullet with 007 etched into it, leading them to believe that Bond’s life is at threat from the notorious international assassin Scaramanga so they decide to remove him from active duty. The agent was on the trail of a scientist who it is thought could help with the energy crisis and he is frustrated to have been stopped in his pursuit so he sets off to find Scaramanga without official approval. Bond follows a trail of assassinations which lead him from Macau to Bangkok and eventually to Scaramanga’s private island hideout where he discovers that the master assassin has an interest in solar power. Soon Bond is challenged to a duel to the death and he must use his wits to survive the traps set around Scaramanga’s hideout. Dwarf actor Hervé Villechaize has a memorable role as the assassin’s servant Nick Nack, and Clifton James returns as the (perhaps ill-advised) comic relief figure of Sheriff J.W. Pepper, as featured in Live and Let Die.

The artwork on this poster also features on the US one sheet and was painted by Robert McGinnis who is responsible for some of the best James Bond posters, including Thunderball, Live and Let Die and Diamonds are Forever as well as multiple other classic posters from the 60s, 70s and 80s. He was born in Cincinatti, Ohio in 1926 and was given an apprenticeship at Walt Disney studios before studying fine art at Ohio State University. After serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, he started work in the advertising industry and later moved into painting book jackets for several notable authors, as well as editorial artwork for the likes of Good Housekeeping, TIME and The Saturday Evening Post. McGinnis’ first film poster was the now iconic one sheet for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, painted in 1962, and he went on to paint over 40 others during his career, including one for The Incredibles in 2004.

One interesting thing about this particular poster is that it missing the ‘East/West Hemi’ text that appears on most copies of this poster and on a few other Bond posters of the era, including the Live and Let Die one sheet that’s in the Film on Paper collection. This page on Learn About Movie Posters explains what the significance of that text is. An excerpt:

[Albert] Broccoli met with [Harry] Saltzman and tried to acquire the rights but Saltzman refused to sell. They instead decided to co-produce them. [….] After some success they decided to divide the production credits and entered into a contractual agreement for top billing and so was created the Hemi’s. [….] They divided the world into hemispheres. Harry took the East Hemisphere and Albert took the West Hemisphere. So Saltzman would get the European countries and Broccoli would get the Americas.

I’m not sure why it’s missing on this copy but I’ve heard of other examples like this turning up and I’m confident it’s an original. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were painted by McGinnis click here and to see the other James Bond posters in the Film on Paper collection click here.

Dead Ringers / one sheet / USA

15.12.14

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Dead Ringers
AKA
Inseparables (Spain)
Year of Film
1988
Director
David Cronenberg
Starring
Jeremy Irons, Geneviève Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon, Shirley Douglas, Stephen Lack, Nick Nichols, Lynne Cormack, Damir Andrei, Miriam Newhouse
Origin of Film
Canada | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
880119
Tagline
From the director of "The Fly" comes a new kind of thriller. | Two bodies. Two minds. One soul.

Upon its release in 1988, Dead Ringers was arguably Canadian director David Cronenberg‘s most mainstream release to date (as close as he’d come at least) and it was his first psychological thriller following a slew of horrors, including Scanners (1981) and The Fly (1986). Based on the novel ‘Twins’ by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland, the film was also influenced by the real life case of Stewart and Cyril Marcus and focuses on twin gynaecologists Beverly and Elliot Mantle (both played by Jeremy Irons) who practice in a Toronto clinic dealing with fertility problems. For years they have operated a system where the more confident Elliot seduces women who visit the clinic and then passes them onto the shy Beverly when he’s bored of them, with the women usually not noticing the deception.

One day troubled actress Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold) visits the clinic and Elliot does his usual seduction trick. Beverly then becomes infatuated with her, leading to a destabilising of the relationship between the brothers and, after Beverly begins taking the prescription drugs that Claire is addicted to, things take a turn for the worse. Soon paranoid delusions of ‘mutant women’ lead Beverly to purchasing a series of bizarre tools from a metallurgical artist. When he later attacks a patient at the clinic the twins are suspended from practice and set in motion a chain of events with a deadly conclusion.

Although more drama focused, the film still gave Cronenberg plenty of scope for his usual body horror tricks and although it’s not as bloody as previous efforts the film is no less disturbing. Irons impresses with his performance and the actor would win a few awards during the year of release.

I’m unsure who designed this poster so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

House of Whipcord / quad / UK

12.12.14

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
House of Whipcord
AKA
Stag Model Slaughter (USA - reissue)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Pete Walker
Starring
Barbara Markham, Patrick Barr, Ray Brooks, Ann Michelle, Sheila Keith, Dorothy Gordon, Robert Tayman, Ivor Salter, Karan David, Celia Quicke
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
... and no one escaped...

This is the original UK quad for the release of House of Whipcord from the British director, producer and writer Pete Walker, who specialised in exploitation pictures during the 1960s and 1970s. Walker started out making shoestring budget sexploitation pictures, including School for Sex that were often relative hits in the UK, which worked out well for him since his films were almost always self-financed and thus most of the profits were his to keep and plough into the next feature. In the early 1970s, Walker grew tired of feeding the ‘dirty mack brigade’ and turned his hand to horror.

Whipcord is certainly one of the directors most memorable films and had a plot that was all but guaranteed to rile certain sections of the British press at the time of release. The film begins in London and focuses on young French model Ann-Marie Di Verney (Penny Irving) who has moved to the capital and has started to pose in nude photoshoots. One evening she is seduced by a mysterious character named, rather ominously Mark E. Desade (played by Robert Tayman) and a relationship develops between the pair. Sometime later Mark invites Ann-Marie to ‘visit his parents’ who live out in the country and only when she arrives does she realise that it was all a ruse to get Ann-Marie into a secret illegal prison which is being ruled over by his unhinged mother Mrs Wakehurst (Barbara Markham) and three ‘guards’, including the sadistic Walker (a memorable performance from regular collaborator Sheila Keith – note the character name!)

Mrs Wakehurst is a former school mistress whose corrupt regime led one of her charges to commit suicide but, believing she did nothing wrong and that lax morals led to the corruption in the school, she seduced the judge who was trying her, Justice Bailey (Patrick Barr), and managed to escape sentence. She then persuaded him to set up what he believed would be a private correctional institute in which ‘girls with loose morals’ would be ‘reeducated’ properly and then let back into the world. As Ann Marie and other inmates discover, the truth is far more horrifying.

The film was critically mauled over here but did solid business in cinemas and was later released in US cinemas through AIP. I’m unsure who is responsible for the design and artwork on this poster so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

The original trailer can be viewed here.

Conan the Barbarian / A1 / Germany

11.12.14

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Conan The Barbarian
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
John Milius
Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Sandahl Bergman, Mako, Gerry Lopez, Max von Sydow
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Fantasy | Adventure
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
Final
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Renato Casaro
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Ein Film wie ein Erdbeben - ein Mann wie ein Vulkan!

This is the final style German A1 poster (printed after the teaser) for the release of John Milius‘ swords and sorcery classic Conan the Barbarian. It was an important film in the career of actorArnold Schwarzenegger since it effectively launched his Hollywood career. The producers had seen Arnie in his documentary Pumping Iron and both felt he had the right quality for the role of the eponymous warrior. Based on the pulp novels of the 1930s by Robert E. Howard, the film sees the young barbarian Conan seek revenge for the death of his parents at the hands of Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones), the leader of a snake cult. 

This film was also an important assignment for the Italian artist Renato Casaro who painted the artwork that was used around the world, including on the US one sheet and also adapted that artwork for this German poster at the request of a local distributor. The pose of Arnie on this poster has more in common with the US teaser poster that was painted by Frank Frazetta, although the face of the barbarian on the latter is definitely more like the original artwork for the covers of the various novels. I interviewed the artist in 2013 and the poster was mentioned several times during our meeting:

—————-

One of your big breaks was working for the Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis?
Yes, that was with a poster I did for the film he was producing called The Bible (1966). He liked what I did for him and that was the start of a good working relationship, and friendship, with him. I remember that The Bible artwork was also used in America for a huge billboard that was displayed on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles for several months. After that I worked on many films with De Laurentiis, including Waterloo, Flash Gordon, Dune and Conan the Barbarian, which was possibly the most important for me in many ways as it was used across the world and really helped to get my name out there as an artist.

You visited many different countries at this time?
Yes, one week I might be in the UK, the next in France or Germany or Spain, and then I might be over to the States for one week before returning home. I would visit the set of the film or perhaps the production office to meet the various people involved with it.

One of the most memorable trips I had was over here to Almeria, Spain to visit the set of Conan the Barbarian, which was a Dino De Laurentiis production. I remember the set was stupendous. It was like a piece of old America had been reconstructed in Spain. The village set was here and it was brilliantly done with lots of detail. I recall that the light and ambience over here really fascinated me and I promised myself then that I would return. Years later, I hadn’t forgotten about it and decided that it was time to return here and that’s when I built this house and decided to live most of the year in Spain.

——————

Did you meet Arnold Schwarzenegger when you worked on posters for his films?
Ah, yes, sure. We first met on the set of Conan in Almeria and it was strange because back then no one on the set knew who he was, just that he had this powerful body and a handsome face. Nobody working on the film had any idea how famous he would eventually become! He was a nice guy and I enjoyed working on the poster for the film. I took lots of photographs on the set whilst they were filming and John Milius, the director, was very helpful. I spent some time with him to understand the vision of the film.

——————

Is there one poster that you’re most proud of?
Not really, I’m pleased with how different many of my posters are, both in terms of the style with which I painted them and for the layouts and concepts I used. There are posters like the one I did for Conan that really bring back good memories when I look at them or that were a really important milestone in my career, but there are many other posters I’m also proud to have worked on.

——————

Also worth reading is the brief interview with Renato on the Conan Completist website, which specifically mentions the German poster:

——————

Usually, when a film goes to other countries, the poster changes. Were you involved too in some of the foreign posters?
Yes. The German version, for example, was specifically done on request of the German distributor as to produce a huge display to be put in the cinema entrances. The painting, therefore, was done by me. Sometimes other elements were added into the key art, like in the Thai version, but I’m not concerned with that.

—————–

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

Flash Gordon / portrait / Thailand

08.12.14

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Flash Gordon
AKA
Blixt Gordon (Sweden)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Mike Hodges
Starring
Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Chaim Topol, Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow, Ornella Muti, Brian Blessed
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Sci-Fi | Action
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
Portrait
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Tongdee Panumart
Artist
Tongdee Panumart
Size (inches)
21 6/16" x 30 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

There are few films quite like Flash Gordon and having re-watched it on blu-ray recently I was reminded how much of an impression it had on me when I first saw it as a child. I also listened to the excellent audio commentary with director Mike Hodges, who admits to being an unlikely choice to direct and confirms in no uncertain terms that they were making things up as they went along. It sounds like a typically chaotic Dino De Laurentiis production with scenes being written the night before filming and huge amounts of the budget going on the costume and set designs (though these are very impressive, even today).

There are several reasons the film remains one of my favourites of the 1980s:

Acting
Topol is insanely over the top as Dr Hans Zarkov with an accent that changes from scene to scene. It’s not hard to see why Sam J. Jones never hit the big time, although you can’t say he doesn’t give the role his all. Max Von Sydow is clearly having fun playing Ming and Brian Blessed is spectacular as Vultan the Hawksman; no one else could deliver the simple line ‘pass me the remote control’ with such unbridled gusto. A pre-Bond Timothy Dalton is also rather memorable, sporting a spectacular moustache.

The woodbeast
This infamous scene (featuring Peter Duncan) terrified me as a child, and not just ‘wow, that’s a bit weird’, I’m talking more like ‘I’m never going near a tree stump ever again’. Scarred. For. Life. There’s also an odd ‘black whoopee-cushion with tendrils’ creature that attacks Flash and is seared into my memory, even if it looks like a painted balloon when you watch it again today.

The costumes and set designs
As mentioned, a serious amount of budget was spent on costumes and sets by Danilo Donati and it shows. You only have to watch this brief clip to get an idea of the amount of work that went into them – very impressive stuff.

Ornella Muti
Just like Jane Seymour in Live and Let Die, Ornella (playingPrincess Aura) was responsible for putting more than a few hairs on my chest. Her costumes are the very definition of figure-hugging. The infamous interrogation scene has to be seen to be believed.

The music
An awesome soundtrack by Brit rockers Queen that still sounds superb today. I almost tried to persuade my wife to walk down the aisle to the sound of Ming’s wedding march; it’s that good. The 2011 remaster is available on Spotify.

This Thai poster was painted by the artist Tongdee Panumart (he signs his posters with just his first name) whowas an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s but I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947. If anyone has any more information please get in touch. A knowledgeable collector of Thai posters told me that the artists would rarely if ever see the film they were creating the poster for and would instead paint images based on still photos or posters from other countries. This led to some wild designs and even some artwork with characters and elements that didn’t even appear in the actual film!

I believe elements of this poster were copied from the same stills that were used to make some of the other worldwide posters for Flash Gordon, so it’s likely that the film was actually released some time after 1980. If anyone knows the date please get in touch.