Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels / one sheet / USA

22.09.17

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels
AKA
Lock & Stock (Spain)
Year of Film
1998
Director
Guy Ritchie
Starring
Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones, Sting
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Thriller
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1999
Designer
New Wave Creative
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A disgrace to criminals everywhere

This is the US one sheet for the release of the feature debut of British director Guy Ritchie, 1998’s crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. In addition to it being Ritchie’s first, it also introduced audiences to Jason Statham, best known for the Transporter films and recently the Fast and Furious franchise. It also marked the first appearance of British ex-footballer Vinnie Jones. Ritchie had come to attention with his short film The Hard Case which was seen by Trudie Styler and her husband Sting, leading to Styler executive producing Lock, Stock and Sting appearing in the film. Matthew Vaughan, a friend of Ritchie and now a successful director in his own right produced the film.

The film focuses on four lifelong friends who are small-time criminals, Eddy (Nick Moran), Tom (Jason Flemyng), Soap (Dexter Fletcher) and Bacon (Statham). At the start of the film Eddy has entered a high-stakes underground card game after the four put together the £100,000 entry fee. The game has been organised by local gangster Hatchet Harry (P.H. Moriarty) and the quartet soon discover that the odds are rigged in Harry’s favour. Before they know it they are half a million pounds in debt and under pressure from one of Harry’s enforcers, Big Chris (Jones).

A desperate Eddy overhears his next door neighbours, a gang of robbers, discussing plans to hold-up a local cannabis farm which also has cash and valuables. Eddy relays the information to his friends and they decide to rob the gang once the heist has taken place. So begins a madcap caper that continues to spiral into violence and an increasing body count. The two barrels in the title refers to a pair of antique shotguns that also feature in the story.

The film was given only a limited release in the US in March of 1999 and this one sheet was designed by the Hollywood marketing agency New Wave Creative. The company has been working on campaigns for major studios for over 25 years and, as well as posters, they also work on trailers and other aspects of film and TV campaigns. Their page on IMPAwards indicates how prolific they were at creating posters and it appears their first one was for a 1998 re-release of Gone with the Wind. It also looks like they stopped working on posters around a decade later and presumably now only focus on other aspects of marketing campaigns. The other posters I have collected by New Wave can be seen here.

$ / one sheet / style A / USA

15.09.17

PosterPosterPoster
Title
$
AKA
Dollars (Alt. USA title) | The Heist (UK)
Year of Film
1971
Director
Richard Brooks
Starring
Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, Gert Fröbe, Robert Webber, Scott Brady, Arthur Brauss, Robert Stiles, Wolfgang Kieling, Bob Herron, Christiane Maybach
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
71/355
Tagline
This is a moving picture!

A simple design features on this one sheet for the US release of the 1971 crime-caper $ (AKA Dollars AKA The Heist). The film was written and directed by the late American director Richard Brooks who is best known for Blackboard Jungle (1955), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) and In Cold Blood (1967). It stars Warren Beatty who was arguably at the height of his career following his appearance in Bonnie and Clyde a few years earlier. He had just finished work on Robert Altman’s McCabe and Mrs Miller which was released the same year as $. The film also marked the third screen appearance of Goldie Hawn and features Goldfinger himself Gert Fröbe. $ is notable for being filmed on location, including in Hamburg, Germany (where it is largely set) as well as in Sweden and San Diego, California.

The film’s plot is described on IMDb:

[$ is a] caper film about crooks robbing crooks, set in Germany where American bank security expert Joe Collins (Beatty) plots with call-girl Dawn Divine (Hawn) to rob three safety deposit boxes from three criminals; a local drug dealer known as the Candy Man, a Las Vegas mobster, and a crooked U.S. Army sergeant. The heist goes off with few complications. But when Candy Man and the Sarge find their money gone and figure out that Dawn (whom they all have gotten to know) is behind it, they team up to try to get their money back.

Despite receiving solid critical notices $ failed to set the box-office alight and was considered something of a flop on release.

This is one of several one sheets printed for the release of the film and some of the others can be seen by checking out this page on emovieposter.com. I’m unsure who was responsible for the design of this particular poster (known as ‘style A’) so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Being There / B1 / Japan

11.09.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Being There
AKA
--
Year of Film
1979
Director
Hal Ashby
Starring
Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart, Richard Basehart, Ruth Attaway, David Clennon
Origin of Film
USA | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40 9/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
a story of chance

This is the Japanese B1 poster for the release of Hal Ashby‘s 1979 comedy-drama Being There. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jerzy Kosiński, who was also involved in the initial effort to craft the screenplay, with an uncredited Robert C. Jones. Being There was the penultimate film for the legendary British comedy actor Peter Sellers who would pass away only a year after its release at the untimely age of 54.

Sellers plays Chance, a simple-minded gardener who has lived and worked in the same Washington DC house since he was a young boy. He has never left the house, is unable to read or write and everything he has learnt has come from the TV set in his bedroom. When the owner of the house passes away, Chance is forced to wander the streets wearing the tailored suit of his old employer, unsure what to do next. An accidental encounter with the Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), the wife of the elderly billionaire business mogul Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas), sees him transported in a limousine to the sprawling residence of the Rands. There he meets Ben who mistakenly assumes him to be Chauncey Gardener, a cultured and wise gentleman, who endears himself to the mogul. Rand mistakes his simple proclamations about gardening to be deep metaphors about the state of the economy. Chance even meets the President (Jack Warden), a friend of Rand’s, and influences a major speech he makes. Eventually people around Rand and the President begin to investigate Chauncey Gardener’s background, whilst Ben Rand’s health begins to fail and Eve becomes smitten with Chance.

The film was a critical success and was award-winning, with Sellers being given the Golden Globe for Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) and Melvyn Douglas snagging the Best Supporting Actor at the 1980 Academy Awards. The Rand’s home was the incredible Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.

The artwork on this Japanese B1 also featured on an international one sheet and the the German poster. I’m unsure who is responsible for the art so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

The Wicked Lady / one sheet / USA

29.08.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Wicked Lady
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Faye Dunaway, Alan Bates, John Gielgud, Denholm Elliott, Prunella Scales, Oliver Tobias, Glynis Barber, Joan Hickson, Helena McCarthy
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
830033
Tagline
She's wild. She's wicked. And she really knows how to whip up a good time.

The Wicked Lady is a period drama that was directed by the late Michael Winner and was based on the 1945 film of the same name. Faye Dunaway stars as Barbara whose sister Caroline (Glynis Barber) is due to marry wealthy landowner, Sir Ralph Skelton (Denholm Elliott). Seemingly devoid of any scruples, Barbara seduces Ralph and takes her sister’s place at the wedding. She soon grows bored of just being the wife of a wealthy man and decides to take up highway robbery, depriving wealthy coach travelers of their jewels and other trinkets. Eventually she meets and falls in with a real highway robber, Jerry Jackson (the late Alan Bates), and the pair step up their game by robbing gold bullion-filled stage coaches. Eventually their sloppiness catches up with them and people around Barbara begin to suspect she has some involvement in the robberies. 

The film was a critical and commercial failure and was compared unfavourably with the original film. Dunaway’s character is totally unlikeable and her performance is nothing short of bizarre. Perhaps the worst aspect of the film is the pointless nudity, including one really cringeworthy sex scene by a fire, with a stockings removal setup that’s tortuously long. You can practically hear the sleazy Winner rubbing his knees at the back of the set. Despite a strong cast on paper this is a squandered opportunity.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the art on this American one sheet so if you have an idea please get in touch. It’s not to be confused with the artwork that was used elsewhere around the globe, including the British quad, that was painted by Brian Bysouth.

Weekend / 1967 / one sheet / 2011 re-release / USA

21.08.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Weekend
AKA
Week End (France - alt. original title)
Year of Film
1967
Director
Jean-Luc Godard
Starring
Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
Steve Chow
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This one sheet was printed by Janus films for their 2011 re-release of Jean-Luc Godard‘s celebrated 1967 film Weekend (or Le Week End). One of the most anarchic and surreal films ever committed to celluloid, Weekend is a satire which takes aim at, amongst other things, the bourgeois status and money-obsessed French middle-class. The story, such as there is one, focuses on a self-obsessed couple played by Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne who have plotted to murder her parents and collect their inheritance. They set off from their home in the city and travel into the French countryside where they come across all manner of scenes, including fatal car crashes and a (justifiably famous) sequence of a traffic jam which the audience watches them traverse with horns blaring the entire time. Society appears to be crumbling around them as they make their way to the small village where her parents live. Eventually, things take a turn for the deadly when they end up in the clutches of a band of hippie, cannibalistic revolutionaries.

This one sheet was created by the Vancouver-based designer Steve Chow who is a regular collaborator with Janus and its sister company The Criterion Collection (the film was released on disc soon after its cinema outing in 2011). Chow has worked on hundreds of posters, magazines, advertising elements and covers for home video releases of various films. Check out his official website to see a gallery of his work and a short biography about his career so far.

In 2011, the Criterion website featured a short interview with Chow on the creation of this poster and I’ve copied the detail here (in case that page disappears one day):

What was your inspiration for the new poster for Weekend?
That particular image really only works with all the elements intact—cropping was not doing us any favors—so we figured, Why not use it whole? It’s just that in order to do that, we had to turn it sideways. It was a natural choice—and it seemed to fit the film’s unpredictable, violent, and humorous tenor. It’s like, “WTF just happened? Is that a plane? A body? How did that car end up like that?” It’s kind of like the visual punch line to a joke that starts with “two materialistic bourgeois jerks go on a road trip . . .”

Where does your interest in Godard films come from?
Godard’s influence is everywhere—in contemporary advertising, commercials, music videos. You could be watching something that is “Godard” and not even realize it. (Just the other night, I saw a new Mexican film that riffed on Anna Karina’s back-of-the-head introduction in Vivre sa vie.) His 1960s works, in particular, still resonate with so much life and excitement. So daring, and so very, very cool, even decades later.

Do you have a particular approach to designing for them?
With all of these Godard posters, I pretty much tried to just get out of the way and let the image speak for itself, and in the end, the most intuitive options were successful. With Pierrot le fou and Vivre sa vie, the resonance of those particular images is strong; title treatments that are too heavy or that get too much attention wouldn’t help tell their stories. Similarly, for Weekend, we’d have a hard time creating an image or a collage that captured the crazy, chaotic energy and direction of the film as well as the one we ended up using. So, with regards to these three posters, if I never hear “Wow, that’s a killer title treatment!” I’ll consider that a success.

Chow also designed the Janus re-release one sheets for Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou and Vivre Sa Vie and both can be seen in this Mubi.com ‘Movie Poster of the Week’ article.

The Fly / video / UK

14.08.17

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
Video
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Mahon (pod artwork)
Size (inches)
23 7/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A unique design features on this UK poster for the video 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 close-up image of a fly’s eyes is, I believe, unique to this poster but note that it also features the illustrated telepod that appeared on the US one sheet, which was painted by Richard Mahon. The logo is also the same one seen on the American poster and British quad.

Here’s the film’s original trailer.