Lucky Lady / one sheet / USA

27.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Lucky Lady
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Stanley Donen
Starring
Gene Hackman, Liza Minnelli, Burt Reynolds, Geoffrey Lewis, John Hillerman, Robby Benson, Michael Hordern, Anthony Holland, John McLiam, Val Avery, Louis Guss, William Bassett
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Amsel
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/219
Tagline
--

Artwork by the late, great Richard Amsel features on this one sheet for the 1975 comedy-drama Lucky Lady. The film was helmed by Stanley Donen, an American director who’s best known for Singing in the Rain (1952) and Charade (1963). Gene Hackman appears alongside Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli, and the former apparently took some persuading to star. He eventually relented when producers offered him the then significant sum of $1.5m. The film is set in the American prohibition era during which the sale and production of alcohol was banned across the whole country. The plot is described like so:

During the Prohibition era, a young widow, Claire (Minelli), gets involved in liquor smuggling and romance with two men, Walker (Reynolds) and Kibby (Hackman), off the San Diego coast. Organized crime controls bootlegging back east and wants to do the same here, so a hit man named McTeague (John Hillerman) is sent to deal with these amateur crooks, as is the Coast Guard, leading to various battles at sea.

Richard Amsel was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and studied at the city’s College of Art. Whilst there he entered and won a nationwide artist competition to paint the poster for the film ‘Hello Dolly!’. Amsel was just 22 at the time and this win helped him quickly establish a career in New York where he worked on album covers (including one for Barry Manilow) as well as magazine covers and editorial art. In addition, he worked on posters some of the most important films of the 1970s, including Chinatown, Nashville and The Sting. During the 1970s he also worked on a series of covers for the American magazine TV Guide, which are still celebrated to this day.

In the 1980s Amsel worked on what is my favourite Indiana Jones poster, the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 re-release one sheet. He had also painted the original release version, featuring a much more serious looking Indy. The artist’s final film poster was the one sheet for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Amsel sadly died of AIDS-related complications that same year. He leaves behind a great legacy of unforgettable artwork, some of which I already have in the Film on Paper collection and which can be seen here.

Robocop 2 / Thailand

22.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Robocop 2
AKA
--
Year of Film
1990
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Belinda Bauer, John Glover, Mario Machado, Leeza Gibbons, John Ingle, Tom Noonan, Roger Aaron Brown
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
23 15/16" x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Excellent artwork by Tongdee Panumas features on this Thai poster for the release of the 1990 sequel, Robocop 2. The film is definitely not a patch on the classic original, although it does have a few redeeming qualities. Paul Verhoeven decided to pass on directing the sequel as he wasn’t happy with the direction the studio wanted to take the story. He was then offered the job on Total Recall which ended up being released the same year as Robocop 2. The original screenwriters also failed to return and the script was penned by Frank Miller (best known for Sin City and his work as a comic book writer) and Walon Green (The Wild Bunch). Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) signed on as director and it would turn out to be the final film he would helm.

The film is notably dark and possibly even more violent than the original. Peter Weller returns as the eponymous cyborg who continues to police the streets of an increasingly out of control Detroit. The city is dealing with an epidemic surrounding a new drug called Nuke, pushed by the psychotic Cain (Tom Noonan) and his gang of miscreants. The nefarious corporation OCP is also moving ahead with secret plans to bankrupt the city and turn it into their own Delta City, independent of the US government.

As part of the plan they have been increasing the amount of crime in the city by causing police strikes. They also intend to expand the Robocop program by using dead criminals, and not police officers, as the basis for their next cyborgs. When Cain is mortally wounded during a confrontation with Robocop, the unscrupulous scientist Faxx (Belinda Bauer) seizes the opportunity to implant his brain in her new robotic creation. Unfortunately for her and OCP Cain’s addiction to Nuke, which they initially think they can use to control him, turns out to be their undoing. Only Robocop can stop the new cyborg’s rampage and end the Delta City dream once and for all.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that the line across the centre of the poster is where the original artboards onto which Tongdee paints were joined. Thai artists apparently often struggled to find large enough canvases to paint on. There are also some other marks where the original canvases were damaged before printing – see the close up of the female figure on the right as an example. The main figure on this poster is repainted from the photographic international one sheet which can be seen here.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master / quad / UK

20.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Renny Harlin
Starring
Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Danny Hassel, Andras Jones, Tuesday Knight, Ken Sagoes, Brooke Bundy, Nicholas Mele, Toy Newkirk, Brooke Theiss, Rodney Eastman
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
Graham Humphreys
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
"The biggest Nightmare of all"

This is the UK quad for the release of the fourth entry in the ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchise (subtitled The Dream Master). The film marked a big break for Finnish director Renny Harlin who admitted to heavily petitioning the film’s producer, and founder of New Line Cinema, Robert (Bob) Shaye for the job. Harlin had previously helmed a couple of low-budget flicks (Born American and Prison) but the box-office success of this film led to him being given the job of directing the Die Hard sequel in 1990. Sadly, his career stalled towards the end of that decade following a series of box-office bombs that included Cliffhanger and Cutthroat Island.

The fourth film followed on from one of the best entries in the franchise, 1987’s Dream Warriors, which was a marked improvement over the first sequel. This was thanks in part to the involvement of the first film’s Wes Craven, who had been absent from Part 2.

The Dream Master picks up a few months after the events of the third film and features characters that had last been seen in a mental hospital, but are now living at home and seemingly back to normal. Kirsten, previously played by Patricia Arquette and here by Tuesday Knight, has the ability to bring others into her dreams. When she senses Freddy is trying to return after being banished to hell at the end of Part 3, she contacts Kincaid (Ken Sagoes) and Joey (Rodney Eastman) to warn them not to dream about Freddy in case it causes his return.

Unfortunately, Kincaid fails to heed Kirsten’s warning and he falls asleep, dreaming of the car junkyard where Freddy’s bones were previously consecrated with holy water. His dog urinates on Freddy’s bones and this, for some bizarre reason, causes his resurrection whereupon he swiftly kills Kincaid. Freddy begins to terrorize Kirsten and her group of school friends and she realises she needs to pass on her powers to Alice before she too is killed. Freddy’s plan was to use Kirsten to move onto a new set of kids after he’s killed the original group (all children of the parents who murdered him before the events of the first film) and together this new gang must try to put an end to his nefarious plans once and for all.

———-

Palace Pictures had been handling the British distribution of the horror franchise since the first film and had worked with the same artist, Graham Humphreys, to produce unique poster designs for the UK market. When it came to promoting The Dream Master, Graham produced this quad and a larger 4-sheet (with alternate artwork) for use in cinema lobbies and on billboards. The quad features the stained glass window seen in a sequence involving a dilapidated church near the end of the film, as well as the Crave Inn diner where Alice works (its name is a not very subtle nod to the franchise’s creator).

When I interviewed Graham in 2011 for this site he talked the Elm Street posters and here’s an excerpt:

—————-

In 1987 it was back to an illustration for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4. It’s a great image with the ‘Crave Inn Diner’ and the stained glass featuring Freddy in silhouette. Can you remember why they went back to illustration for this?
I think by that time they just felt that they were flogging a dead horse with the Nightmare on Elm Street films. They said ‘take a look at the film and do what you want’. My idea was to do a postcard idea, ‘Greetings from hell’, and unfortunately without a computer it’s very hard to understand how stuff’s going to look when it’s actually printed. So for example with the Evil Dead you’ll notice that the copy line at the top is very hard to read because, tonally, the orange disappears against the purple. Given a computer there are all sorts of things I could have done, like a drop shadow or a glow behind it.

So it was often the case that you wouldn’t know what it was going to look like until you printed it?
No, everything was an experiment. This poster could have been so much different as well though. The stained glass from the final scene in the church was good for me because it was a lovely device that meant I could use the large silhouette [of Freddy]. I also thought it was interesting because at that point the face was so familiar so we could take it dark again; we know who he is. We also did the cheeky James Bond spoof poster.

Ah, you were involved with that?
I was, it was my idea.

 

———————

Graham also had the idea of creating a small run of double crowns that spoofed the iconic James Bond gun barrel opening sequence created by Maurice Binder and first seen in Dr No (1962). This was because The Dream Master was being released up against The Living Daylights, the latest entry in the long-running spy franchise. The resulting poster can be seen here.

To see the other posters I’ve collected by Graham click here and read the exclusive interview with the artist here.

Harry in Your Pocket / B2 / Japan

17.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Harry in Your Pocket
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Bruce Geller
Starring
James Coburn, Michael Sarrazin, Trish Van Devere, Walter Pidgeon, Michael C. Gwynne, Tony Giorgio, Michael Stearns, Susan Mullen
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of the 1973 crime caper Harry in Your Pocket, which marked the directorial debut of Bruce Geller. A man of many talents, Geller was at various points a screenwriter, producer, lyricist and director. He started out writing scripts for various TV shows during the 1950s and later worked as a co-producer on the successful cowboy series Rawhide. During this period he conceived of a series based around the world of espionage and developed it into what would become Mission Impossible, a TV series that Geller executive-produced (and even appeared in) to great success. The show lasted for seven seasons (though not all had Geller’s involvement) and was shown around the world from 1966 to 1973.

Harry in Your Pocket was Geller’s first feature film as director and The Savage Bees (1976) was his last, although technically that started life as a TV movie. Sadly he died aged 47 when his light aircraft crashed in fog near Santa Barbara, California.

The late James Coburn stars as the eponymous character, a professional pickpocket who works with an older man Casey (Walter Pidgeon) who has started to make mistakes due to excessive drug use. A younger man named Ray (Michael Sarrazin) yearns to be as good as Harry and when his girlfriend Sandy (Trish Van Devere) falls victim to the professional pair, Ray decides to track them down and persuade them to take him under their wing. Harry and Casey eventually agree to let the pair work with them as the ‘stalls’, which means their task is create as much of a distraction as possible so that Harry and Casey can get close to their marks and make ‘the dip’. However, when it becomes clear that Harry has an interest in Sandy, and Ray tires of being only a minor member of the team, the group’s allegiances are tested, putting them all in danger from the law.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad / one sheet / teaser / USA

15.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Gordon Hessler
Starring
John Phillip Law, Caroline Munro, Tom Baker, Douglas Wilmer, Martin Shaw, Grégoire Aslan, Kurt Christian, Takis Emmanuel, David Garfield, Aldo Sambrell
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

A very unusual teaser one sheet for the release of the 1973 fantasy film The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. The poster is dominated by a Zodiac chart and the best I can figure is that this was due to the films links to Greek myths and legends (with the Zodiac having origins in Greek astronomy). The film is notable for being the second of three Sinbad films that feature work from the stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen. The first was released in 1958 and was called The 7th Voyage of Sinbad whilst the third film was released in 1977 and named Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. The ‘Dynarama’ mentioned on this poster was a marketing term that was coined by Harryhausen’s producer and partner and simply refers to the full-colour animation style (it started out as ‘Dynamation’).

Directed by the late Gordon Hessler, the film features the late American actor John Phillip Law as Sinbad and the lovely Caroline Munro as a slave girl who joins the adventure. Former Doctor Who Tom Baker appears as the evil prince Koura. The plot is described thusly:

Sinbad and his crew intercept a homunculus carrying a golden tablet. Koura, the creator of the homunculus and practitioner of evil magic, wants the tablet back and pursues Sinbad. Meanwhile Sinbad meets the Vizier who has another part of the interlocking golden map, and they mount a quest across the seas to solve the riddle of the map, accompanied by a slave girl with a mysterious tattoo of an eye on her palm. They encounter strange beasts, tempests, and the dark interference of Koura along the way.

The film was critically well-received at the time of release and made good at the box-office, which no doubt contributed to the short gap between this film and the sequel.

The standard one sheet features most of the images seen around the edges of this poster and can be seen here.

Blue Velvet / A1 / Germany

13.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Blue Velvet
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
David Lynch
Starring
Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson, Priscilla Pointer, Frances Bay, Jack Harvey, Ken Stovitz, Brad Dourif, Jack Nance
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mystery | Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Benjamin Baltimore
Artist
--
Size (inches)
23 10/16" x 33 5/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A unique design features on this German poster for the release of David Lynch’s cult mystery, Blue Velvet (1986). The film was long in gestation and Lynch has since said the story began to crystallise into a series of ideas as early as 1973. The critical and commercial failure of Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune (1984) had left the director bruised and deflated, so he was keen to return to an original story in the vein of his 1977 debut Eraserhead. Dino De Laurentiis, the producer behind Dune, agreed to finance and produce Blue Velvet for a relatively low-budget of $6m.

Lynch assembled an eclectic cast ready for production, including Isabella Rossellini, who was known for her modelling and TV adverts, Dennis Hopper and Kyle MacLachlan who had also appeared in Dune and would later gain worldwide fame as FBI Agent Cooper in Lynch’s TV series, Twin Peaks.

MacLachlan plays mild-mannered Jeffrey Beaumont who returns to his small hometown in North Carolina to visit his father who has suffered a stroke. Soon after arriving he takes a shortcut through a vacant lot and discovers a severed human ear on the ground. After taking the ear to the local police detective he becomes reaquainted with detective’s daughter Sandy (Lynch regular Laura Dern) and the pair decide to carry out their own investigation into the mystery.

They soon realise that the enigmatic nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens (Rossellini) has something to do with the missing ear and Jeffrey decides to start following her but makes the mistake of getting caught in her apartment. Vallens threatens him with a knife but soon afterwards the sociopathic Frank Booth (an incredible performance from Hopper) arrives and Jeffrey hides in the closet from where he is forced to watch Booth’s bizarre sexual proclivities. Jeffrey soon discovers that Booth has kidnapped Vallens’ son and he agrees to help her as he descends further into the sinister underworld hidden beneath a seemingly pleasant town. The film received mixed critical notices at the time but has since gone onto achieve cult status and is often cited as one of the best American films of all time. It’s also one of the director’s more accessible films, certainly in comparison to the likes of Inland Empire.

This German poster was created by a French designer who goes by the name Benjamin Baltimore (I’m assuming that’s not his actual name). I’m not quite sure why the German distributor used a French designer and the majority of the work in Baltimore’s portfolio is for French posters – Blue Velvet’s French poster is completely different in style. Blue Velvet is the rare film that has a unique poster for practically every country it was released in and emovieposter.com’s archive is a good way of viewing them all – see here. According to this article he’s responsible for over 600 film posters and has worked for a number of legendary directors during his career.