I Am Curious (Yellow) / B2 / black title style / Japan

21.01.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
I Am Curious (Yellow)
AKA
Jag är nyfiken - en film i gult (Sweden - original title)
Year of Film
1967
Director
Vilgot Sjöman
Starring
Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren, Chris Wahlström, Marie Göranzon, Magnus Nilsson, Ulla Lyttkens
Origin of Film
Sweden
Genre(s) of Film
Drama
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Black title style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 3/16" x 28 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters printed for the release (in 1971) of the landmark Swedish drama I Am Curious (Yellow) from the controversial director Vilgot Sjöman. Yellow is a companion film to I Am Curious (Blue) and the pair were originally meant to have been released as one 3.5 hour film. The colours in the titles refer to the Swedish flag. They were part of a series of left wing films that were made after the founding of the Swedish Film Institute in the early 1960s and the attempt, by prominent Swedish cultural figure Harry Schein, to start Sweden’s own flavour of New Wave cinema. 

Filmed in a pseudo-documentary, cinéma vérité style, the film sees Sjöman playing a version of himself, a director who decides to make a film starring his 22-year-old lover Lena Nyman (also playing herself) who is a theatre student interested in social issues. The film within the film is called ‘Lena on the Road’ and sees her leaving the flat she shares with her father and, when not getting involved in socio-political activism with a group of friends, she is shown traveling around Stockholm interviewing people she meets about issues including social classes and gender equality.

Later she meets another man called Börje who she begins a love-affair with but this becomes fraught when she discovers he has hidden the fact that he has another lover and a daughter. After traveling to a country retreat Lena begins meditating, practicing yoga and studying about non-violence, but her lover catches up with her and the pair continue their stormy relationship. Soon after the film within a film begins to break down as the ‘actors’ form a ‘real’ relationship that causes the ‘director’ to get jealous and wrap up shooting.

The film is most notable for its then ground-breaking use of full-frontal shots and scenes of (simulated) sexual intercourse that until then had been confined to sex films and not used in a dramatic context. The film was released in a cut form both in the US, UK and elsewhere but it was in the US that it attracted the most controversy with some states even going so far as banning the film outright on grounds of obscenity (Massachusetts in 1969, later overturned). As is the case with any censorship case brought against a film featuring sex and nudity, the box-office takings were helped greatly as punters flocked to see what the fuss was about. The film was the highest-grossing foreign film in the US for many years afterwards. This article on Vulture.com goes into more detail about the original release.

The other style of Japanese poster features a similarly colourful image but has white text down the side instead of black.

Wsciekly / B1 / Poland

18.01.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Wsciekly
AKA
Mad Dog (International English title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Roman Zaluski
Starring
Bronislaw Cieslak, Barbara Brylska, Liliana Komorowska, Halina Gryglaszewska, Ewa Kania, Halina Rasiakówna, Sabina Wisniewska, Wanda Weslaw-Idzinska, Maria Zbyszewska, Tadeusz Borowski, Zbigniew Buczkowski
Origin of Film
Poland
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Thriller
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
White style
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Andrzej Pagowski
Artist
Andrzej Pagowski
Size (inches)
26 10/16" x 38"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Striking artwork on this B1 poster for the 1980 Polish crime thriller Wsciekly, apparently released internationally as Mad Dog. Helmed by Roman Zaluski the film is described on IMDb as a:

‘Detective thriller about a killer loose in the crowds. The film follows a sniper on his rounds looking for victims, while a police inspector, with few clues in his hand, has to figure out the motive for killings as well as who the psychopath is and where he might strike next. He uncovers that the mentally deranged sniper can’t stand seeing people happy together in public places.’

I can’t find any evidence of the film having been released in the US or UK but I can only assume it made it to some English-language territories because of the title translation. The film is available to watch in full on YouTube (albeit in terrible quality).

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!

Pagowski’s 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.

Note that there is an alternative style poster for Wsciekly, also by Pagowski, that features more dog-like art and can be seen here.

The Fly / A1 / Hungary

13.01.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Fly
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
David Cronenberg
Starring
Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Hungary
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
22 2/16" x 32 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork features on this poster for the Hungarian release of David Cronenberg‘s sci-fi classic, The Fly. Loosely based on a 1957 short story of the same name by George Langelaan, which was first adapted for the big screen in 1958, the screenplay was written by Cronenberg himself and based on an initial draft by Charles Edward Pogue. The director rewrote most of the characters and dialogue and added themes of identity, sexuality and body horror with which he’d become synonymous.

Cronenberg cast Jeff Goldblum as the gifted but eccentric scientist Seth Brundle who has secretly been working on teleportation of objects from one place to another instantly. He works for Bartok Science Industries but has been working on a pair of ‘telepods’ at his home laboratory. When he’s introduced to the journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a ‘meet the press’ event he decides to risk taking her to see his work, which he demonstrates by teleporting inanimate objects. Impressed, Veronica agrees to keep quiet in return for exclusive rights to the story.

Soon afterwards the pair start a romantic relationship as Brundle continues to work on the pods. He decides that he wants to have the pods teleport living tissue and eventually manages to do so successfully with a baboon he’s borrowed from his company. Flushed with success Brundle begins drinking and starts to get paranoid that Veronica has rekindled her relationship with her editor and former lover Stathis Borans John Getz. He decides to try teleporting himself but unbeknownst to him a housefly gets inside the pod with him.

He emerges in the other pod seemingly fine and initially feels he’s come out of the pod an ‘improved’ human with higher strength and stamina. However over the following weeks Brundle’s mood becomes highly erratic and he begins a bodily transformation that starts out with unwanted hairs and fingernails falling out but begins to progress into something much more destructive as he realises his pod had been contaminated. The transformation into ‘Brundlefly’ sees the scientist scrambling for a cure before it’s too late, desperately imploring a pregnant Veronica to help him.

Goldblum’s performance was rightly celebrated and it remains one of his most memorable roles to date. The special effects depicting Brundle’s deterioration were executed by Chris Walas‘ company and ended up rightfully winning an Academy Award. The film is as impressive as it was 30 years ago and is definitely one of Cronenberg’s best.

The artwork on this poster depicting a malevolent creature with fly eyes was painted by an unknown artist and also features the telepod that appeared on the US one sheet (though minus the fly’s leg). If anyone has any ideas who was responsible for it please send me an email.

Here’s the film’s original trailer.

An American Werewolf in London / Thailand

11.01.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
An American Werewolf in London
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Landis
Starring
David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Brian Glover, David Schofield
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Kwow
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
From the director of Animal House - a different kind of animal | A masterpiece of terror

Director John Landis’ horror classic An American Werewolf in London was, unusually for the time, released simultaneously in North American and British cinemas. The film was shot in the UK with a largely local cast and crew thanks to the Eady Levy, which provided funding for British productions based on taxed box-office receipts. The levy attracted a number of foreign producers and directors including Stanley KubrickSidney Lumet and John Huston. The levy lasted for almost thirty years before being wound-up in 1985.

It was this incentive that saw Landis and his producing partners (including frequent collaborator George Folsey Jr.) move over here for the duration of filming, and although the two lead actors (David Naughton and Griffin Dunne) are American, the majority of the rest of the cast are British, including the gorgeous Jenny Agutter. The film makes excellent use of several London locations, with a memorable sequence on the Underground, plus the climactic scenes shot in and around Piccadilly Circus. There is an excellent article on the Guardian website that was written by Landis in 2009 in which he recalls his memories of shooting the film.

This Thai poster features colourful, unique artwork that was painted by the Thai artist who signs his art ‘Kwow’. I’ve struggled to find out much about him so if anyone has any more details please get in touch. Kwow decided to depict the infamous transformation scene as the main image along with a montage of gore from various points in the film, including the freakish dream that David has whilst in hospital that features evil creatures dressed in SS uniforms. Note that the numbers below Kwow’s signature are his phone number at the time. It was common practice for Thai artists to add their numbers to artwork in the hope of attracting further business.

Fans of the film would be wise to pick up the 2009 blu-ray release as it features a must-watch documentary on the film called Beware the Moon: Remembering ‘An American Werewolf in London’ that was conceived and filmed by life-long AWIL devotee Paul Davis. It features the majority of the surviving cast and crew and has clearly been put together by someone who cares about the film deeply.

The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge / B2 / Japan

06.01.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Streetfighter's Last Revenge
AKA
Gyakushû! Satsujin ken (Japan - original title) | Revenge! The Killing Fist (literal English title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Shigehiro Ozawa
Starring
Shin'ichi Chiba (as Sonny Chiba), Reiko Ike, Kôji Wada, Tatsuo Endô, Akira Shioji, Tsuyoshi Ôtsuka, Frankie Black, Shingo Yamashiro, Masafumi Suzuki, Etsuko Shihomi
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A rare mix of photography and artwork features on this Japanese B2 for the release of (what would later be re-titled) The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge. The final entry in a trilogy of films starring legendary Japanese martial artist Shin’ichi ‘Sonny’ Chiba, the film followed the original The Streetfighter and Return of the Street Fighter which were all produced in one year (1974). The original film was Chiba’s breakout international hit and was released in the USA and elsewhere in 1974, but this sequel would have to wait 5 years before it was given a cinema release in the States. When it did finally arrive it was significantly altered and had large amounts of violence removed.

The reason for the delayed release is likely to do with the drop in quality over the first two entries as this review (and several others) on IMDb testifies:

‘If you love THE STREET FIGHTER (and you probably do if you looked up this entry) don’t even bother with this final entry in the series. This one sucks out loud, and has only one decent fight scene which lasts for about a minute. Our hero now has taken on a more “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE”-type persona since he now is a master of disguise (???). Skip this.’

This film and the others in the trilogy are now in the public domain (so can be streamed from multiple sources online). Director Quentin Tarantino is a big Chiba fan and these are the films that the character of Clarence (Christian Slater) is watching in a cinema triple-bill when he first meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) in Tony Scott’s True Romance (Tarantino wrote the script).

I’ve struggled to find out who is responsible for the artwork on this poster so if anyone has an idea please get in touch. The US poster uses the same art and photograph, which was almost never the case, but I suspect that the distributor (New Line) was trying to save money by reusing as much as possible.

The Wicker Man / screen print / regular / Richard Wells / UK

04.01.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Wicker Man
AKA
Kult (Poland) | El culto siniestro (Venezuela)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Robin Hardy
Starring
Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Waters, Aubrey Morris, Irene Sunter, Walter Carr, Ian Campbell, Roy Boyd, Peter Brewis, Gerry Cowper, John Hallam
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Mystery | Horror
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Regular
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2014
Designer
Richard Wells
Artist
Richard Wells
Size (inches)
18 2/16" x 24"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The Wicker Man is a true British classic and even though it started life as a low-budget b-feature the film has lost none of its power since its release forty years ago this year. Based on a script by celebrated screenwriter Anthony Shaffer, who had previously seen great success with the play Sleuth (1970), The Wicker Man was helmed by first time director Robin Hardy and was filmed on location around Scotland, with several coastal settings chosen to stand-in for the fictional island of Summerisle. It’s unfair to call the film a horror as it’s a mix of murder-mystery with occult undertones and features an unforgettable finale that lingers in the mind for a long time after the credits roll.

Edward Woodward stars as Sergeant Howie, a strait-laced policeman sent from the Scottish mainland to to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a local girl. After encountering indifference and hostility from the inhabitants, Howie decides to investigate the islands’ de facto leader Lord Summerisle (A memorable Christopher Lee) and soon discovers that this charismatic figure’s influence and beliefs hold sway over the population. The policeman realises too late that he has been brought to the island for reasons more sinister than the supposed disappearance of a local girl, and things are about to get very heated indeed for the unlucky Sergeant Howie.

This screen print was created by the British designer and illustrator Richard Wells (AKA Slippery Jack) in a traditional woodcut style that perfectly suits the film. Wells first debuted the artwork digitally in 2013 to mark the film’s 40th anniversary and then the following year he collaborated with Under the Floorboards to release a screen print of it in both regular and variant editions (the variant is on a different, brighter type of paper). There are so many great details to the print and I spot new ones each time I look at it. In 2013 Wells worked on a similar style print for Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England that was originally only given to cast and crew members but was later made available to the public in early 2015.

Check out Richard Wells’ portfolio site here and his DeviantArt gallery here.