The Boat / Thailand

09.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Boat
AKA
Das Boot (Germany - original title) | U-Bôto (Japan) | U-Boot 96 (Italy)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Wolfgang Petersen
Starring
Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge, Bernd Tauber, Erwin Leder, Martin May, Heinz Hoenig, Uwe Ochsenknecht
Origin of Film
West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
War | Drama | Action
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
Unknown
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
25 1/16" x 37"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The is the Thai poster for the release of the classic German war film The Boat (AKA Das Boot) which was painted by Tongdee Panumas. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who also wrote the screenplay, the film is adapted from the 1973 novel of the same name by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. It tells the fictional story of life aboard U-96, a German U-boat, during World War II and depicts both the excitement of battle but also the tedium and claustrophobia of being trapped in a metal tube deep below the surface of the Atlantic ocean. Jürgen Prochnow gives a memorable performance as the grizzled boat’s captain who looks after a crew made up of seasoned veterans and wide-eyed new recruits, as well as a war correspondent who has been assigned to U-96.

The film is notable for being released in multiple versions over the years, with the original cinema release clocking in at 150 minutes. This is the version that was released in the US, Germany, the UK and elsewhere in 1981 and would go on to garner great critical acclaim, as well as several Academy Award nominations. A few years later a longer version was assembled and shown as a mini-series on UK and German TV. In 1997 Petersen oversaw the production of a director’s cut, which combed through six hours of footage to create a version that runs for 3 and a half hours. This is what is now commonly available on home video for fans of the film.

The excellent artwork on this Thai poster is by 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. 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.

The illustration of the U-boat is almost certain to have been based on the artwork from the international one sheet (painted by Gary Meyer) which can be seen here.

The Passage / quad / UK

06.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Passage
AKA
--
Year of Film
1979
Director
J. Lee Thompson
Starring
Anthony Quinn, James Mason, Malcolm McDowell, Patricia Neal, Kay Lenz, Christopher Lee, Paul Clemens, Robert Rhys, Marcel Bozzuffi, Michael Lonsdale, Peter Arne, Neville Jason, Robert Brown, Rose Alba
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Drama | War
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Eddie Paul
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A howling white hell, Nazi hunters -- and a Basque guide who became a giant among men.

Colourful and typically dynamic artwork by Brian Bysouth features on this UK quad for the largely forgotten British war film The Passage (1979). Based on the novel Perilous Passage by Bruce Nicolaysen (who also wrote the screenplay), the film was directed by the British director J. Lee Thompson who was responsible for the classic war film The Guns of Navarone, as well as multiple films headlined by Charles Bronson.

Set during World War II, the story sees a Basque farmer (played by Anthony Quinn) escort a scientist (James Mason) and his family over the treacherous Pyrenees mountains to escape the sadistic clutches of a Nazi SS officer, Captain Von Berkow (Malcolm McDowell giving an impressively over the top performance). Christopher Lee appears as a character called The Gypsy who is sympathetic to the group’s plight. Apparently the film bombed spectacularly at the US box office and was critically drubbed on release.

This British quad was created at the London-based Downtons Advertising agency by one of the principal designers, Eddie Paul, and painted by Brian Bysouth who was working as a freelancer at the time. Both men are featured in Sim Branaghan’s must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History and are each responsible for several iconic British posters. The designer Eddie Paul was born in Hackney in 1920 and attended Southend School of Art, later beginning his career at Temple Art Studios before moving on to Star Illustrations on Shoe Lane, where he gained a good reputation as a scrapboard artist.

After serving in the RAF during the war, Eddie joined Pulford Publicity in 1946 and started designing film posters using crayons and coloured pencils. He worked on several successful poster campaigns during the 1960s, including El Cid (1961), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and the famous quad for From Russia with Love (painted by Renato Fratini). He later joined four ex-Downton colleagues and formed the successful agency FEREF in 1968. As Sim notes in his book, ‘He was well liked and respected within the business as a gentleman’. Eddie Paul passed away from a heart attack whilst on his way to work in 1984, just shy of his retirement from FEREF.

The artwork was painted by Brian Bysouth who is one of my favourite poster artists and was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights (1987). In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo / B2 / Japan

03.06.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo
AKA
La isla misteriosa (original title) | Jules Verne's Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo (alt. title) | The Mysterious Island (USA)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Juan Antonio Bardem, Henri Colpi
Starring
Omar Sharif, Ambroise Bia, Jess Hahn, Philippe Nicaud, Gérard Tichy, Gabriele Tinti, Rafael Bardem Jr., Mariano Vidal Molina, Rik Battaglia
Origin of Film
Spain | France | Italy | Cameroon
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of the 1973 adaptation of the French novelist Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island (1874). A co-production between Spanish, French, Italian and Cameroonian companies, the film started out as a TV miniseries (300 minutes long) and was later adapted into a 96 minute feature that was released into cinemas in USA, Japan and other countries. Omar Sharif plays Captain Nemo, the enigmatic scientist that first appeared in Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which was adapted numerous times over the past century (Mysterious Island has also seen numerous versions released).

Like the novel, this version is set during the time of the American Civil War and follows five prisoners of war who escape captivity by riding a hot air balloon. They are blown wildly off course and end up on a remote Pacific island where they must use their wits to survive. Eventually they meet Nemo who piloted the Nautilus submarine there following the events in the previous story.

The longer version appears to be almost impossible to find today, whilst the shorter version is also poorly served by home video releases.

Silver Streak / one sheet / style A / USA

31.05.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Silver Streak
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Arthur Hiller
Starring
Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan, Ned Beatty, Clifton James, Ray Walston, Stefan Gierasch, Len Birman, Valerie Curtin, Lucille Benson, Scatman Crothers, Richard Kiel, Fred Willard
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Comedy | Crime | Romance | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
George Gross
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/200
Tagline
By plane, by train, by the edge of your seat, it's the most hilarious suspense ride of your life!

Silver Streak, a 1976 comedy thriller, marked the first time that the celebrated comic actors Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor would appear together in a film and there would be a further three pairings following this one. Directed by Arthur Hiller, who would helm See No Evil, Hear No Evil starring Wilder and Pryor 13 years later, the film is mostly set onboard the eponymous long distance train. Wilder plays George Caldwell a book editor who is traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago for his sister’s wedding. Whilst onboard he meets Hilly (Jill Clayburgh) and the pair strike up a romance, but soon George is battling to stay alive after he witnesses the murder of an art historian and attracts the attention of the killers.

The gang plan to impersonate the dead historian in order to pass of a pair of forged Rembrandt paintings as original. George is forcefully removed from the train several times and it’s during one of these escapades that he meets the criminal Grover T. Muldoon (Pryor) who he enlists in helping him reach the train to climb back onboard and bring the conspiracy to light. As this poster artwork suggests, the film ends in a spectacular train crash.

The artwork is by George Gross, an American who is best known as an artist of pulp book covers but, as this short biography details, he also worked on magazine illustrations and covers for popular novels. The artist was born in 1909 in Brooklyn and he followed his father into the area of commercial illustration, with both of his siblings eventually making it a proper family affair. This site has a gallery of his pulp covers. I’ve been unable to determine if he painted any other film posters so please get in touch if you know of any others.

It’s worth noting that the central figures have been rather crudely cut out and placed over the background scenes, which have also been cut up in places (see if you can spot the replicated policeman).

Mississippi Burning / B1 / Poland

26.05.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Mississippi Burning
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Alan Parker
Starring
Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R. Lee Ermey, Gailard Sartain, Stephen Tobolowsky, Michael Rooker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Badja Djola, Kevin Dunn, Frankie Faison
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama | History | Mystery | Thriller
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Wieslaw Walkuski
Artist
Wieslaw Walkuski
Size (inches)
26 4/16" x 37.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking illustration by Wieslaw Walkuski on this B1 poster for the first release in Poland (in 1990) for Alan Parker‘s 1988 crime thriller Mississippi Burning. The film was loosely based on the real life case of the murders of three civil rights workers in the titular American state in 1964. Screenwriter Chris Gerolmo based his script on an article and several books on the FBI investigation of the case that had been written in the intervening years. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe play two FBI agents sent to the fictional town of Jessup County in order to investigate the disappearance of the three workers. Their investigation is met with suspicion and hostility by local residents, as well as the local police and the KKK. As attacks on African-American families intensify, the pair must use unorthodox methods to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Wieslaw Walkuski was born in 1956 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 1981 Walkuski has worked as a graphic designer and artist for publishing houses and theaters, as well as for the Polish film organisations Polfilm and Film Polski. He’s worked freelance since 1987 and has painted over 200 film posters. He continues to live and work in Warsaw. Walkuski’s official website features galleries of many of his designs and images of his other work.

He’s responsible for some incredible designs and two of my favourites include those he painted for Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and the Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie.

Cotton Club / A1 / Germany

23.05.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Cotton Club
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Francis Ford Coppola
Starring
Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama | Music
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Renato Casaro
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the poster for the German release of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 crime-drama/musical The Cotton Club. Legendary producer Robert Evans had originally planned to direct the film and the initial story and screenplay had been written by Mario ‘The Godfather’ Puzo, but Evans had a last-minute change of heart and asked Coppola to step in. Puzo’s script was apparently re-written by the author William Kennedy who ended up writing multiple drafts and ended up with a shared screenplay credit along with Coppola. Production was apparently beset with problems, including a spiralling budget that was provided by various parties including Las Vegas casino owners, an Arab arms dealer and a vaudeville performer. In typical fashion, Evans was determined to make the film as extravagant as possible and constructed ‘no expense spared’ sets, hiring some of the best technicians in the business at eye-watering figures.

Another likely reason that filming costs ballooned is the impressive ensemble cast that Evans and the studio were able to hire, which included the likes of Richard GereDiane LaneBob Hoskins and Gregory Hines. Loosely based on the real club of the same name that was located in New York’s Harlem neighbourhood, the story follows the machinations of various characters involved with the club in the 1930s, including Gere’s musician Dixie Dwyer whose dealings with the mobster owner of the club Owney Madden (Hoskins) sees him advance his career as an actor whilst having an affair with the girlfriend of the local kingpin, Dutch Schultz (James Remar). The film also follows Sandman Williams (Hines) a local dancer who falls for the club’s star performer Lila Rose Dwyer (Lonette McKee). Nicolas Cage appears as Dixie’s violent, racist brother Vincent who joins Schultz’s gang.

The film features several musical sequences and is soundtracked by several of the most popular jazz tunes of the era. Sadly, Coppola and Evans clashed regularly during the production and at a certain point the director apparently barred the producer from visiting the set. The Cotton Club was declared a flop when it opened in fourth place at the box-office and would eventually go on to recoup less than half of its reported budget of just under $60 million. Despite tepid critical reception the film was nevertheless nominated for several awards (only winning for Best Costumes at the BAFTAs). The film has something of a cult following today, with many fans speaking highly of the film’s production values and well-staged musical numbers. Rumours of a director’s cut release were ignited last year when Coppola declared that a restoration was in the works, reinstating several musical sequences that were apparently cut for its initial release.

This German poster was illustrated by 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. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.