Godzilla 2000 / B1 / Japan

12.01.15

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Godzilla 2000
AKA
Gojira ni-sen mireniamu (Japan) | Godzilla 2000: Millennium (alt. longer title)
Year of Film
1999
Director
Takao Okawara
Starring
Takehiro Murata, Hiroshi Abe, Naomi Nishida, Mayu Suzuki, Shirô Sano
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1999
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
28 11/16" x 40.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B1 for the release of Godzilla 2000, the twenty-third film in the series featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the first release in the third generation of Godzilla films, which is known as the Millennium Series. Studio Toho decided the film would be a reboot meaning it had no continuity with earlier films in the series, except for the 1954 original.

Set in 1999, we learn that Japan has suffered other Godzilla attacks since the 1950s and the Godzilla Prediction Network (GPN) was formed in response by scientists who aim to predict his next landfall. In 1999 he appears at the same time as the Crisis Control Intelligence (CCI) find a mysterious rock-like object at the bottom of the Japan Trench which takes off during an operation to salvage it. Godzilla follows and is blasted by the object causing him to retreat, but not before his atomic breath causes the rock to break open revealing an unusual blue alien craft.

The craft flies to Tokyo and begins to download information from the city’s computer network as the aliens try to discover more about Godzilla’s regenerative properties, named by the GPN scientists as Regenerator G1. When Big G arrives and once again attacks the craft, the aliens steal some of his DNA during the battle and use it to attempt to reform themselves as a giant Millennian. Unfortunately Earth’s atmosphere is different to their own and the creature mutates into the hideous gigantic Orga and begins a final battle with Godzilla.

The film featured a new design of for the famous beast with a notably meaner looking face and large scales on his back, replacing the tired costume used for previous films in the series. Godzilla 2000’s relative success at the Japanese box-office saw Columbia Tristar decide to release the film in the US (the last Japanese Godzilla film to get a cinema release was Godzilla 1985). The distributor decided to edit the film for pacing reasons and removed about 8 minutes from its running time, whilst also completely re-editing the sound design and also injecting quite a bit of humour into the dubbed script. Unfortunately, poor box-office receipts meant that future entries in the Millennium series were released straight to DVD in the States.

The trailer for the US release can be viewed on YouTube.

 

Alien / A1 / Czechoslovakia

07.01.15

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Alien
AKA
Star Beast (USA - working title) | Alien - Den 8. passager (Denmark)
Year of Film
1979
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Sci-Fi | Horror
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Czechoslovakia
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Zdenek Ziegler
Artist
Zdenek Ziegler
Size (inches)
22" x 32 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi horror Alien may have turned 35 last year but its impact on cinema and pop culture is still being felt today. The film featured a breakout performance by Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, a member of a deep space mining crew who respond to a distress signal on an unexplored planet and end up fighting for their lives when a malevolent alien creature is brought back onto their ship The Nostromo. Despite countless imitators over the years no one has yet managed to better the original and Scott himself even tried (and fell short IMO) with 2012’s (“definitely not a”) prequel Prometheus.

An excellent but markedly different sequel would follow with 1986s Aliens and I have a hard time choosing between the two when it comes to my personal favourite. Two other significantly less well-received sequels followed in the next 11 years but they did nothing to dampen enthusiasm for the original. British games developers The Creative Assembly were given full access to the 20th Century Fox archives for the film whilst they were creating Alien Isolation, a critically acclaimed first-person survival horror set 15 years after events in the original film and released in 2014.

This poster for the 1982 release in Czechoslovakia features a design by the celebrated Czech artist Zdenek Ziegler. Born in Prague in 1932, Ziegler studied at the Czech Technical University and graduated in 1961. He went on to design over 200 film posters during a 26-year period from 1963 to 1989. The website Terry Posters has a page with a biography of Ziegler and a gallery of his work (with some of them being available to purchase). Since 1990 Ziegler has been a teacher at Academy of Arts in Prague.

Some of his most celebrated designs include a 1970 poster for Hitchock’s Psycho and a great design for Truffaut’s Jules et Jim. I also have his poster for the re-release of Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West in the collection.

Codename Wildgeese / quad / UK

05.01.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Codename Wildgeese
AKA
Geheimcode: Wildgänse (Germany - original title) | Arcobaleno selvaggio [Wild Rainbow] (Italy) | Code name: Wild Geese (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Antonio Margheriti
Starring
Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski, Manfred Lehmann, Mimsy Farmer
Origin of Film
Italy | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Action | War
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
George Morf
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Codename Wildgeese is a 1984 entry in the ‘Macaroni Combat‘ genre of Italian-made action/war films that was helmed by the prolific director Antonio Margheriti (most often credited as Anthony M. Dawson) and is usually associated with the 1978 British film The Wild Geese. Both films are ensemble-cast action films in which Western mercenaries are sent into ‘wild’, lawless, dictator-ruled countries to carry out a mission and escape alive. Both films feature aging cast members who probably should have known better and I don’t doubt that Margheriti and his enterprising distributors chose the Wildgeese element of the title to capitalise on the success of the earlier film.

The late Lewis Collins, known for his leading man roles in action-fare such as TVs The Profressionals and the 1982 British action film Who Dares Wins, appears as the leader of a mercenary group which is employed covertly by the DEA (in the shape of Ernest Borgnine) and sent into the opium-producing area in Asia known as the Golden Triangle to attempt to stem the supply of illegal opium to the west. His team, which includes pilot China (Lee Van Cleef), make their way into the Triangle and engage an enemy base in a quarry before pushing onto the factories and a fiery showdown.

The film is largely a damp squib with very little in the way of memorable action sequences or an engaging script. The effects and gunplay are largely poor and the editing and soundtrack are notably bad. It’s certainly not a patch on The Wild Geese, which in itself was no masterpiece.

I believe the art on this UK quad was painted by the German artist George Morf and originally featured on the German poster for the release of the film which can be viewed here. If anyone has any more information please get in touch.

Die Hard / Thai

22.12.14

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Die Hard
AKA
Jungla de cristal (Spain) | Die hard: Operasjon skyskraper (Norway)
Year of Film
1988
Director
John McTiernan
Starring
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Alexander Godunov, Paul Gleason
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Thriller
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Tongdee Panumas
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 30 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for what is regarded by many film fans as the best action movie of all time. Die Hard stars Bruce Willis in arguably his most iconic role (certainly the part that made him a megastar) as John McClane, the good cop having a very bad day when a terrorist group takes control of Nakatomi Plaza, the office building in which his wife works. John McTiernan was the right director to deliver excitement and unremittingly violent thrills since he’d proven his skill with the superb Predator (1987) and the action in Die Hard continues to escalate to a nail-biting crescendo, with several unforgettable set-pieces.

Alan Rickman delivers an iconic performance as the leader of the terrorists, Hans Gruber, who meets his demise in an oft-parodied, slow-motion manner. What makes the film work so well is the perfectly-balanced script that features a great mix of nerve-shredding action with just the right amount of humour and a series of well-realised characters. The other thing the script does well is to not make the character of John McClane an unstoppable, invincible superhero – he’s a flawed man with his own set of problems and he bleeds when cut just like the rest of us – think the glass on the floor!

This Thai poster was painted by the artist Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) who was 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!

The advance American one sheet features a sweaty Willis clutching a gun but I much prefer the darker image that features on the final American one sheet and the UK quad.

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.