Lost Highway / one sheet / UK

10.04.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Lost Highway
AKA
--
Year of Film
1997
Director
David Lynch
Starring
Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Robert Blake, Jack Nance
Origin of Film
France | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mystery | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the scarce UK one sheet for the release of David Lynch‘s mystery thriller Lost Highway. Co-written with American author Barry Gifford, whose novel Lynch adapted for his 1990 film Wild at Heart, the film is a classic Lynchian mind-bender that resolutely defies explanation. The story begins with Bill Pullman as Fred Madison, a Jazz saxophonist who is living with his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) in Los Angeles. One day the intercom to his flat buzzes and when he answers it an unknown man says “Dick Laurent is dead.” The man is nowhere to be seen when Fred looks out of his window, but a few days later a mysterious tape appears on the Madison’s doorstep. The video features shaky footage outside their flat and over the next few days more tapes appear that eventually move inside and show the pair sleeping, much to their horror.

At a party Fred meets a mysterious man (played by Robert Blake in his final film role) who, in a memorably creepy sequence, tells Fred that he’s at his flat at that moment and proves it by getting him to call his home phone, which the stranger then answers. The next morning another tape appears and Fred is horrified to see it’s footage of him covered in blood with a dismembered Renee next to him. He is arrested, charged with murder and sentenced to death. Whilst on death row Fred sees strange visions and starts to suffer from painful headaches before he inexplicably morphs into another person, a car mechanic called Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) much to the confusion of the prison staff. Because Pete has committed no crime, he is released into the care of his parents and, after a period of adjustment, he gets back to his job. The rest of the film sees Pete dealing with the menacing gangster Mr Eddy (a memorable performance by Robert Loggia) and a mysterious blonde called Alice Wakefield (Arquette) who takes him down a dark path which has the mystery man waiting at the end of it.

Lynch and Gifford have always refused to fully explain the story but that hasn’t stopped fans of the film from trying to decode its many mysteries. Check out this IMDb page for some of the theories but the film definitely encourages you to draw your own conclusions after the credits roll. Lost Highway features a number of notable performances, particularly from Pullman and Arquette, as well as multiple cameos from the likes of Richard Pryor, Jack Nance and Marilyn Manson. Filled with memorable Lynchian imagery, including one of the most shocking accidental deaths in cinema history (Michael Massee‘s head meets glass table), it also has a brilliant soundtrack complemented by some of Lynch’s very best sound design.

This poster is very similar to the international one sheet but has the yellow blocky type that can be seen on the UK quad. I’m not sure who is responsible for the design of this one sheet or the quad so please get in touch if you have any ideas.

Moonraker / Thailand

07.04.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Moonraker
AKA
Agente 007, Moonraker: Operazione Spazio (Italy)
Year of Film
1979
Director
Lewis Gilbert
Starring
Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell, Toshirô Suga, Blanche Ravalec
Origin of Film
UK | France
Genre(s) of Film
Action | James Bond
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Kwow (partially based on Dan Goozee original)
Size (inches)
21.5" x 30 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Although considered by most Bond fans to be one of the weakest of the series, I know I’m not the only one to have a soft spot for MoonrakerRoger Moore‘s fifth outing as James Bond. Thanks to endless TV showings during the 1980s and early 1990s I’ve probably seen this more than any other in the series and, like Live and Let Die, it had a huge impression on my young mind.

Looking at it through the cynical fog of adulthood it’s easy to sneer at the camp script, supremely daft action sequences (motorised Gondola anyone?) and painfully obvious attempt to cash in on the success of Star Wars (a very common theme amongst films released in its wake). The film is probably the quintessential outing for Moore as Bond and only he could have pulled it off as well as he did, particularly when it comes to the hokey script and madcap action.

The film features several memorable sequences, including a cable car fight over Rio de Janeiro, and a decent bad guy in Richard Kiel‘s inimitable ‘Jaws’ who used to scare me senseless as a kid. Also notable is John Barry‘s soundtrack, which marked a departure from his previous Bond work by mainly using strings instead of the typical brass. The film also features one of the most (literally) eyebrow-raising character names in the form of Dr Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) and one of the best/worst sign-offs of the entire series:

Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defence:  My God, what’s Bond doing?
Q: I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir.

This is the poster printed for the release of the film in Thailand, with a painting by the artist known as Kwow that was clearly based on two of American artist Dan Goozee‘s paintings for the film. The main figures and some of the background is a repaint of the art on the the final Moonraker US one sheet with some of the elements from the international style B one sheet. I’ve been unable to find out anything about Kwow beyond other posters he worked on so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

The other Moonraker posters I’ve collected can be seen here.

Creepers / video / UK

02.04.15

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Creepers
AKA
Phenomena
Year of Film
1985
Director
Dario Argento
Starring
Jennifer Connelly, Daria Nicolodi, Fiore Argento, Federica Mastroianni, Fiorenza Tessari, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Patrick Bauchau, Donald Pleasence, Alberto Cracco, Kaspar Capparoni, Mario Donatone
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Horror | Mystery
Type of Poster
Video
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
Graham Humphreys
Size (inches)
19 2/16" x 26 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A special girl... with special powers... and very special friends!

This is the UK video poster for the release of Italian horror maestro Dario Argento‘s Creepers, which was a heavily cut version (over 30 minutes missing!) of his 1985 film that was released as Phenomena in Italy and elsewhere. The film stars a young Jennifer Connelly as Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of a famous actor, who is sent to study at a Swiss boarding school in an area where a series of grizzly murders have taken place. Jennifer suffers from sleepwalking and also discovers she has the ability to telepathically communicate with insects. Eventually she puts this skill to use for an investigation into the murders, aided by local forensic entomologist John McGregor (Donald Pleasence). The film also stars Argento’s long-time partner Daria Nicolodi as Jennifer’s chaperone Frau Brückner and mother of a boy who has connections to the spate of deaths.

This poster was painted by the renowned British artist Graham Humphreys and we discussed the poster when I interviewed him about his career in 2011. The excerpt is below:

—————

You ended up doing a lot of work for Palace, obviously they were Palace Video at the time and they had a huge catalogue that they were distributing. There’s a great bit of artwork you did for Dario Argento’s Creepers – the psychotic chimp.
Yep, the cheeky chimp. They told me that they had this Dario Argento film and at that time I was quite naive and didn’t know who Argento was, having not seen Suspiria or any of those great films. I had the full uncut VHS copy of Creepers, or Phenomena, and it just blew me away. I thought it was fantastic and thoroughly distasteful, plus Donald Pleasance’s awful accent made it quite funny as well. They said ‘do something, whatever you want’ and I showed them the sketch – I had one idea – and they said ‘yep, this is it. Go for it.’

The blade-wielding chimp was an image that had stuck in your mind from the film?
Yes. They used it for a poster as well, for a limited cinema release of the film. If you were releasing a film on VHS you’d give it more kudos if you could say that it had been released theatrically. It would be a big selling point on the sales sheet if it said ‘released in cinemas’ and all you had to do was show it one screen for a couple of days and that was enough.

Ah, so it might have been that this was actually the first release of Creepers in the UK, direct onto VHS with a quick cinema release?
The VHS was released and for one week only it appeared in one or two cinemas, only in London. Actually, it might have just been the Prince Charles Cinema. The chimp design would have been fly-posted as well.

—————-

Check out the other posters I’ve collected that were designed and illustrated by Graham by clicking here. You can read the Film on Paper exclusive interview with Graham by clicking here.

Graham’s official website can be seen here.

The Princess Bride / quad / UK

31.03.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Princess Bride
AKA
Princess Bride Story (Japan - English title) | La storia fantastica [The fantastic story] Italy
Year of Film
1987
Director
Rob Reiner
Starring
Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, André the Giant, Christopher Guest, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Fantasy | Adventure
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Hat Art Ltd.
Artist
Steve Crisp
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Heroes. Giants. Villains. Wizards. True Love. Not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum fairy tale.

This is the UK quad for the 1987 fantasy-adventure film The Princess Bride, featuring artwork unique to the British advertising campaign. Helmed by actor-director Rob Reiner, who was also behind the 80s classics This is Spinal Tap and Stand By Me, the film is based on the 1973 book by legendary author, playwright and screenwriter William Goldman (who also adapted the screenplay). The main story is framed by present day scenes in which an old grandfather (Peter Falk) reads a book to his Nintendo-playing grandson, who is suspicious of being read an old dusty book at first but soon gets into the story. 

Ostensibly a classic fairy tale adventure, the film is based in the Renaissance-era fictional country of Florin in which a beautiful princess named Buttercup (Robin Wright) is set to marry the odious Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). One day she is kidnapped by a oddly-matched trio of petty criminals, including diminutive gang boss Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), Spanish master fencer Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) and the giant Fezzik (legendary wrestler André the Giant) who have been hired to start a war between two nations by killing Buttercup and leaving her body on the shore of rival country Guilder.

The trio haven’t counted on the actions of the mysterious Dread Pirate Roberts (Cary Elwes) who pursues them across the sea, eventually freeing Buttercup from the gang. Buttercup discovers that the pirate is in fact her long lost love Westley who disappeared five years earlier whilst on a voyage. Before long, Humperdinck and his nefarious, six-fingered sidekick Count Rugen (Christopher Guest) catches up with the lovers and promises Buttercup that he’ll let Westley go if she’ll return to Florin and marry him. She reluctantly agrees but the prince doesn’t stick to his word and Rugen traps Westley in the underground ‘Pit of Despair’. It’s up to Inigo Montoya, who has a grudge to settle with Rugen, and Fezzik to free Westley and break into the prince’s castle before it’s too late.

The film has a genuinely funny script that is elevated further by some classic performances from Elwes, Patinkin and Guest, with a brilliant cameo from Billy Crystal. It has a pitch-perfect mix of non-cheesy romance, with exciting action and adventure, including an epic swordfight atop a cliff. The Princess Bride has been embraced by generations of film fans and continues to be loved by audiences of all ages, with several of the most quoted lines entering the cultural lexicon.

The design of the poster is credited (in the bottom right) to a company called Hat Art Ltd about whom I’ve been able to discover next to nothing, so if anyone has any information about them please get in touch. The artwork bears a signature of ‘Crisp’, which is short for the British artist Steve Crisp. According to the artist’s profile on the Loncon3 site Crisp was born in Kent in 1955 and started painting as early as 5 years old. He studied at the noted St Martins School of Art in London in the 70s and for the past 30 years has worked on book covers for the likes of Stephen King (11 in total), Ray Bradbury and James Herbert, as well as film posters like this one and home video covers for films like Mad Max.

The artist’s official site can be seen here and features several galleries of his work, including advertising, portraits and photography. Prints of the original art of the Princess Bride quad can be bought from Chartfords Gallery.

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor / A1 / Germany

27.03.15

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor
AKA
Kampf um Endor (Germany)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat
Starring
Wilford Brimley, Warwick Davis, Aubree Miller, Siân Phillips, Carel Struycken, Niki Botelho, Paul Gleason, Eric Walker, Marianne Horine, Daniel Frishman, Tony Cox
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Family | Fantasy | Sci-Fi | Star Wars
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Renato Casaro
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the German poster for the release of the second of two ill-advised TV movies featuring the Ewoks, the furry, love ’em or hate ’em characters from Return of the Jedi. The Battle for Endor is set some time after the first TV movie The Ewok Adventure (AKA The Caravan of Courage) and occurs between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The plot is summarised thus:

The army of the Marauders, led by by King Terak and the witch Charal attack the Ewoks village. The parents and the brother of Cindel all die in this attack. Cindel and the Ewok Wicket escape and in a forrest they meet Teek a naughty and very fast animal. Teek takes them to a house in which a old man, Noa, lives. Like Cindel he also crashed with his Starcruiser on Endor. Together they fight Terak and Charal.

The film was first shown on TV in the US in 1985 and was given a theatrical run in UK cinemas but quickly disappeared from screens when audiences discovered the poor quality of the film. Despite not being embraced by most fans, the Ewok films nevertheless had elements that continued into the expanded Star Wars universe, including an animated series called Star Wars: Ewoks broadcast between 1985 and 1987 and the Star Tours rides at Disney theme parks.

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, 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. In it he mentions working on this poster and he showed me the original art for the version of the poster where it’s just Connery alone (the advance poster).

The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

We Need to Talk About Kevin / one sheet / USA

25.03.15

PosterPosterPoster
Title
We Need to Talk About Kevin
AKA
--
Year of Film
2011
Director
Lynne Ramsay
Starring
Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Jasper Newell, Rock Duer, Ashley Gerasimovich, Siobhan Fallon, Alex Manette
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
P+A / Mojo
Artist
Akiko Stehrenberger
Size (inches)
27" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking design features on this US one sheet for the release of the 2011 adaptation of Lionel Shriver‘s best-selling 2003 novel We Need to Talk About Kevin. The film rights were acquired by BBC Films in 2005 so it took producers several years to bring the story to screen. Scottish director Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar) was attached to the project early on and went through several script revisions before filming began, with one of the latter ones apparently used to help bring down the production budget.

With the story unfolding anachronically using flashbacks, the film stars Tilda Swinton as Eva Khatchadourian, the mother of Kevin (Ezra Miller who has committed a high-school massacre and is in prison. Eva, who was once a successful travel writer, is shown to be working at travel agents in a mall and living in a modest house near the prison allowing her to visit Kevin. The flashback sequences show how Eva struggled to adapt to being a mother and the effect this had on her son as he grows up, including some heart-rending scenes showing how Kevin cried incessantly as a baby.

The relationship between Eva and her husband Franklin (John C. Reilly) and daughter Celia (Ashley Gerasimovich) are also shown to be strained, and as he ages Kevin’s behaviour becomes more worrying. Eva begins to fear that her son is taking pleasure in hurting others and the film culminates in the massacre, which is not shown in detail but is nevertheless very chilling. The film received mostly positive reviews and was chosen by film critic Mark Kermode as his best film of 2011. Swinton was rightfully nominated for several awards for her performance

The poster design is credited to P+A and Mojo. P+A stands for Percival + Associates and their official site is currently under construction, but their extensive portfolio of film and TV poster work can be seen on IMPAwards. It appears that the company has been designing posters since 2005 and I have the set of Brick posters that they produced in 2006 in the Film on Paper collection. It appears that they collaborated with Mojo on multiple posters up until 2012, as can be seen on Mojo’s IMPAwards page. No further posters have been credited to Mojo since that year and their website URL now redirects to Eyestorm Productions, which is described as a full-service creative agency, apparently focused on video work. I can only assume they no longer work on film posters as such and that P+A handle all print work now.