Freaky Friday / quad / UK

15.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Freaky Friday
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Gary Nelson
Starring
Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin, Patsy Kelly, Dick Van Patten, Vicki Schreck, Sorrell Booke, Alan Oppenheimer, Ruth Buzzi, Kaye Ballard, Marc McClure, Marie Windsor
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Annabel and her mother are not quite themselves today - in fact, they're each other!

Unique artwork features on this UK quad for the release of the 1976 version of the Disney comedy Freaky Friday. Based on the novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers (who also wrote the screenplay), the film focuses on the Andrews family in which the mother and daughter (played memorably by Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster) are constantly at odds with each other and struggle to understand why they behave the way they do to each other. On Friday the 13th they both happen to say “I wish I could switch places with her for just one day” at the same time and their wishes come true as their minds swap places. The pair then must cope with being in each other’s bodies as they realise the pressures and expectations they both have on them.

Mr Andrews (John Astin) is a real-estate developer preparing for an important launch in which mother and daughter are meant to be playing their different parts and hilarity ensues as the pair attempt to cope with the situation. The film is classic Disney family entertainment and definitely harkens back to a more innocent time. Both Harris and Foster bring a great energy to their parts and it’s easy to see why the latter would go on to catch the eye of many a Hollywood casting director.

This quad was created by the British designer and artist Brian Bysouth who I interviewed for this site in 2012. He is one of my favourite artists and worked on multiple classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

Orca / B2 / style B / Japan

13.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Orca
AKA
Orca: Killer Whale (alt. title) | The Killer Whale (alt. title)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Michael Anderson
Starring
Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson, Bo Derek, Keenan Wynn, Robert Carradine, Scott Walker, Peter Hooten, Wayne Heffley
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Drama | Horror | Thriller
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 7/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A man versus giant killer fish film that was released two years after the original summer blockbuster Jaws, Orca was always going to be compared to Spielberg’s classic even if its lead actor, the late Richard Harris, was apparently angered by the links; ‘I get really offended when people make the comparison’, he is quoted as saying at the time of release. The late Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis was determined to one-up the spectacle of Jaws and tasked the screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni to “find a fish tougher and more terrible than the great white”, which led them to the killer whale and production on ‘Orca’ began.

Harris plays Nolan, the Irish captain of a fishing boat operating in the waters off the coast of northern Canada who hears of a lucrative contract being offered for the live capture of a killer whale and hopes the bounty will pay off the mortgage on his boat. After Nolan and his crew accidentally spear a pregnant female killer whale they drag it onto the ship where it miscarries, and almost dies, before the male (Orca) attacks the ship, killing one of the crew before the female is cut loose and falls into the water. The next morning the body of the female whale washes up on shore and before long it becomes clear that Orca is out for revenge, as he attacks the fishing village and destroys vital fuel lines. The villagers insist Nolan is responsible and task him with killing Orca so he sets off with the remainder of his crew, plus marine biologist Rachel Bedford (Charlotte Rampling) and a native American killer whale expert (Will Sampson). The whale leads the boat away from the village into frozen, iceberg covered waters and the stage is set for a final confrontation.

Unfortunately for De Laurentiis and all involved the film was critically derided and sank quickly at the box office, particularly since the juggernaut that was Star Wars was already smashing box office records around the world. The idea of a vengeful fish obviously didn’t go down too well with audiences, although the people behind 1987’s awful Jaws: The Revenge must have forgotten this by the time it was decided to make a third Jaws sequel. The practice of hunting and capturing killer whales to feed the demand from aquariums in the 1960s and 70s was sadly all too prevalent, as documented in the recent heartbreaking documentary Blackfish, which also points out that there are no documented cases of humans being killed by the whales in the wild.

The artwork on the American one sheet was painted by John Berkey who also worked on the poster for the De Laurentiis produced remake of King Kong a year earlier, and the Orca art was also used for the British quad. The Japanese marketing campaign, however, featured at least three B2-sized posters, including this one, that featured artwork apparently unique to the posters and only the B1 format used the Berkey painting. I’ve called this B2 style B and there’s also the style A. I’ve been unable to find out who is responsible for this artwork so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Check out the bonkers original trailer on YouTube.

They Live / Thailand

10.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
They Live
AKA
Invasion Los Angeles (France)
Year of Film
1988
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, Raymond St. Jacques, Peter Jason, Sy Richardson, George 'Buck' Flower
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
1988
Designer
Tongdee Panumart
Artist
Tongdee Panumart
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 30 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork by Tongdee on this Thai poster for John Carpenter‘s excellent sci-fi film They Live, in which a drifter (played by former wrestler Roddy Piper) finds a set of special sunglasses which reveal that aliens have taken over the earth and are subduing the general population through subliminal messages and signals. The film is famous for being the inspiration behind graphic designer Shephard Fairey‘s famous OBEY street art and clothing label, which is based on the hidden alien slogans only visible when the sunglasses are worn.

The film also features the infamous line “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”, which can be viewed here. There’s also the legendary fight between Nada (Piper) and Armitage (Keith David) that lasts over five minutes and was apparently proposed and choreographed by the two actors themselves.

Here’s the great original trailer.

Tongdee Panumart (he signs his posters with just his first name) 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!

To see the other John Carpenter posters I have collected click here.

The Empire Strikes Back / B1 / Poland

08.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sci-Fi | Adventure
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Jakub Erol
Artist
Jakub Erol
Size (inches)
26 4/16" x 38 3/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the B1 poster for the original Polish release of The Empire Strikes Back, which was one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of cinema following on from the unexpected international success of George Lucas’ original Star Wars (1977). The first film wasn’t released in Poland until 1979 and Empire Strikes Back appeared in 1983, the same year that the original trilogy came to an end in most other markets with Return of the Jedi (released a year later in Poland).

This highly-stylised image, the centre of which resembles Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the outfit he wears during the opening scenes on the ice planet of Hoth, was created by the designer and artist Jakub Erol who was born in Zamość in 1941 and graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1968. He worked as a prolific poster artist for over 25 years and designed several iconic images for both Polish and American films. Some of his other poster highlights include the bizarre image he conjured up for Ridley Scott’s Alien, a striking design for James Cameron’s The Terminator and the poster for Robocop. One of his best, in my opinion, is the skull-style poster he created for the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Polishposter.com website features many of his designs, several which are for sale, and the Polish cinemaposter.com website also features three pages of his work. This list of his designs on the same website gives you an idea of how prolific an artist he was.

Note that the name of director Irvin Kershner has been misspelled at the bottom of the poster (Wershner).

Violent Streets / one sheet / international

06.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
Violent Streets
AKA
Thief (USA)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Michael Mann
Starring
James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Willie Nelson, James Belushi, Robert Prosky, Tom Signorelli, Dennis Farina, Nick Nickeas
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Cheat him, and he'll BLOW YOU AWAY!

Ace director Michael Mann‘s debut film was released as Violent Streets in the UK and in several other countries (it was originally filmed with that title) but is now better known as Thief. Starring James Caan, in arguably his best role outside of The Godfather, it’s a neo-noir crime caper featuring the ‘one last job’ plot device. Frank (Caan) is an expert safecracker, jewel thief and hardened ex-con who works with a small, close-knit team of thieves on high-end robberies that are planned to an exacting degree.

After a run in with the Chicago mob Frank agrees to do one last big heist that will allow him to follow his dream of getting out of the game to spend time with his new wife Jessie (Tuesday Weld). It quickly becomes clear that getting out isn’t as easy as Frank hoped and, as the caper escalates, his usual wariness and mistrust is set aside, which puts his very life at risk.

This one sheet was printed in the USA for use in international English-speaking countries and features a unique design not seen on any other poster for the film. The rain-soaked street scene is very evocative of the film itself and I believe the figure of James Caan is actually a photograph that has been touched-up with paint (check out the close-ups). The American one sheet is markedly different and features stylised artwork of Caan and the UK quad can be seen here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

The Hills Have Eyes / quad / UK

03.10.14

Poster Poster Poster Poster
Title
The Hills Have Eyes
AKA
--
Year of Film
1977
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
Susan Lanier, Robert Houston, Martin Speer, Dee Wallace-Stone, Russ Grieve, Virginia Vincent, John Steadman, James Whitworth, Lance Gordon, Michael Berryman, Pete Locke
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
29.5" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The lucky ones died first!

Striking artwork on this UK quad for the release of The Hills Have Eyes, which was director Wes Craven‘s third film, following his notorious breakout horror The Last House on the Left (1972) and the little seen adult drama The Fireworks Woman (1975). Written by Craven himself, the film is an exploitation horror that follows events when a family heading to California with a caravan crash in a remote part of the Nevada desert. Unluckily for them, the area used to be a nuclear testing site and there are a pack of feral, deformed cannibal freaks living in the nearby hills who subject the Carter family to a sustained series of brutal attacks.

The film was reasonably well received at the time of original release but went on to gain a cult following and is today regarded as one of the director’s best films. I watched it again recently and it retains its power to shock, with some of the attacks being particularly brutal. A remake was released in 2006 which was at least stylistically interesting, if nothing else.

This UK quad is unusual in that it has no credits block or distributor information and features only the signature of the artist, Tom Chantrell. The only other British poster for the film that I’ve seen is a double-bill quad and I don’t think this one could be considered a teaser or advance (despite featuring little detail).

Tom Chantrell’s dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a handful of other designs by him on this site.