Stranger Than Paradise / B1 / Poland

18.01.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Stranger Than Paradise
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Jim Jarmusch
Starring
John Lurie, Eszter Balint, Richard Edson, Cecillia Stark, Danny Rosen, Rammellzee, Tom DiCillo
Origin of Film
USA | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1991
Designer
Andrzej Klimowski
Artist
Andrzej Klimowski
Size (inches)
26 10/16" x 38 6/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A unique design by the designer and illustrator Andrzej Klimowski features on this Polish B1 poster for Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise. Following the 1980 release of Permanent Vacation, the director’s debut feature, he began work on what would become Stranger Than Paradise. A shorter version of the film was created first and shown at film festivals before it was expanded to full length and released in 1984. It’s considered to be a landmark in the independent / arthouse film movement and inspired many filmmakers over the following years. The film stars jazz musician John Lurie and former Sonic Youth guitarist Richard Edson as two friends, Willie and Eddie, and deals with their interaction with the former’s Hungarian cousin, Eva (Eszter Balint).

Told over three separate acts, the plot is minimalist and begins with Eva arriving at Willie’s spartan New York flat to stay for ten days. Aunt Lotte, with whom Eva was meant to be staying, is in hospital and Willie begrudgingly takes Eva in. After a while he begins to warm to his guest and is sad when she leaves to go to Cleveland. A year later, Willie and Eddie travel to visit Eva but end up just as bored as they were in New York. In act three, the pair decide to travel to Florida on a whim and end up taking Eva with them. The story culminates with the trio getting mixed up at the airport as Eva plans to fly back to Hungary.

Made on a budget of around $100k, the film was a relative success and earned over $2.4m. It was also a hit with critics and won a host of awards, including at festivals like Cannes and Sundance, where it won the coveted Special Jury Prize.

 

Andrzej Klimowski is a celebrated designer and illustrator who was born in London to Polish émigré parents in 1949. After studying at Saint Martin’s School of Art he moved to Poland to train at Warsaw’s famous Academy of Fine Art. Beginning in the 1970s Klimowski has worked on book covers for celebrated authors including PG Wodehouse and Kazuo Ishiguro. In the mid-1970s he was given the opportunity to work on film posters and turned in work for titles including Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and Robert Altman’s Nashville. He also began to work on theatre posters around the same time and began teaching illustration during the 1980s. He has won multiple awards over the years, including ones for his film posters.

This article in Eye Magazine is an excellent read and details the development of his unique style that he came to whilst working on posters and book covers. Here’s an excerpt that’s pertinent to this poster:

‘I was interested in an image without surface,’ explains Klimowski, ‘an illusion, which is like the projected image in the movies, or a printed image, not fine print like lithography or etching, but offset litho for the masses.’ Photocollage allowed him to cut into reality, sometimes crudely so the cut-lines show, manipulate it, and reassemble it with a degree of verisimilitude – ‘a deposit of the real world’ – that the paintbrushes preferred by his fellow Polish poster artists could not achieve. Montages made from his own photographs and other elements were transferred to lith film, the film image was traced on to paper, colour (crayon, paint or pastel) and other textures were applied, then the two layers were taped together so the colour shone through from inside.

Klimowski continues to create illustrations and book covers today and is now Professor Emeritus at the Royal College of Art in London, having served as head of the illustration course for many years. His own website is here and features a short biography. The one on the RCA’s website is more extensive. Polishposter.com features a decent gallery of his film poster work, including the five that he worked on for Jim Jarmusch films.

Scorpio / B2 / Japan

16.01.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Scorpio
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Paul Scofield, John Colicos, Gayle Hunnicutt, J.D. Cannon
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Drama | Thriller
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Scorpio is a 1973 spy thriller directed by the late Michael Winner. It was one of the first films that Winner worked on for American producers and reunited him with Burt Lancaster. The actor had starred in Winner’s American directorial debut, Lawman, three years earlier. French-Swiss superstar Alain Delon also stars and the film was one of several attempts the actor made to break into Hollywood. Lancaster plays Cross, an aging CIA agent and assassin, who is tasked with training Delon’s younger Jean ‘Scorpio’ Laurier in order to be his replacement. The plot is described on IMDb:

Cross is an old hand at the CIA, in charge of assassinating high-ranking foreign personalities who are an obstacle to the policies of the USA. He often teams up with Frenchman Jean Laurier, alias “Scorpio”, a gifted free-lance operative. One day, the CIA orders Scorpio to eliminate Cross — and leaves him no choice but to obey. Scorpio is cold-blooded and very systematic; however, as a veteran agent, Cross knows many tricks. He can also rely upon a network of unusual personal contacts, some dating back to the troubled years preceding WWII. A lethal game of hide-and-seek is programmed, but what are the true motives of every single player?

By all accounts the film was only a moderate success at the box-office and is largely forgotten today.

This Japanese B2 features a unique design but note the stylised logo that also features on some of the items used for the American campaign.

Alien / ‘You are my lucky star’ / screen print / variant / Mark Englert / USA

12.01.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
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
Screen print
Style of Poster
Variant
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Mark Englert
Artist
Mark Englert
Size (inches)
12" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi horror Alien may be over 35 years old 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 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 screen print by the American artist Mark Englert was created for the 2012 San Diego Comic Con and was sold at the Gallery 1988 stall. Englert, whose official website is here, first appeared on collectors’ radars with his print for The Thing that was released earlier in 2012. Since then he has worked on a number of landscape format prints (typically 12″ x 36″) featuring scenes from cult films and TV shows. One of his most popular releases was one for The Walking Dead that was released around the same time as this Alien print. Each print is given a name that relates to the property in some way. In this case ‘You are my lucky star’ is the name of the song that Ellen Ripley (Weaver) sings as she’s climbing into the space suit at the end of Alien.

Check out this interview with Englert on Collider.com which was carried out at the same Comic Con and they also featured him in their first ever ‘Limited Paper’ column. Englert’s own site features the posters and other items he’s worked on so far, which includes vinyl sleeves and more. There’s a short biography on his website which mentions he was born in 1979. There’s an excellent interview with Mark on 411posters.com here.

He has a store here and you can follow him on Twitter here. Teh

The Lighthorsemen / one sheet / UK

09.01.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Lighthorsemen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Simon Wincer
Starring
Jon Blake, Peter Phelps, Tony Bonner, Bill Kerr, John Walton, Gary Sweet, Tim McKenzie, Sigrid Thornton, Anthony Andrews
Origin of Film
Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Drama | War
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
27" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
At last... the true and epic story... of triumph, love, courage and adventure.

Typically detailed and action-packed artwork by the British artist Brian Bysouth features on this UK one sheet for the release of The Lighthorsemen. The film is an Australian production helmed by Simon Wincer, a director best known for films such as Free Willy and D.A.R.Y.L.. It tells the true story of the heroism of an Australian light horse unit in the first World War. Featuring largely unknown actors, the story leads up to a famous incident at the Battle of Beersheeba in Palestine, 1917.

The plot focuses on a group of friends in the unit and in particular a soldier called Dave Mitchell (Peter Phelps) who proves himself in various skirmishes before being injured in a bi-plane attack. Whilst in hospital he meets and falls in love with an army nurse called Anne (Sigrid Thornton). The pair are featured in the top right of the artwork. The film also shows how the Australian and British army worked together to fool the Turks and Germans who were controlling towns in Palestine, including Gaza.

Using a secret scheme involving faked papers and personal letters, they managed to convince the opposition that an attack would take place on Gaza and not the strategically important settlement of Bersheeba. The film climaxes with an incredible charge by the Lighthorsemen as they run towards the Turkish cannons and guns. The mind boggles at the bravery of the real soldiers who faced down terrifying odds. The film was critically well-received and saw good returns at the box-office in Australia, in particular.

Brian Bysouth is one of my favourite poster artists and he 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. 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.

Note that there is a British quad for the film and it features the same artwork in the centre but is surrounded by photographs of the cast members.

Rambo: First Blood Part II / Thailand

05.01.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Rambo: First Blood Part II
AKA
Rambo II: la vendetta [the revenge] (Italy)
Year of Film
1985
Director
George P. Cosmatos
Starring
Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, Steven Berkoff, Julia Nickson, Julian Turner
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | War
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
24 1/16" x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
No man, no law, no war can stop him.

This is the Thai poster for the release of the follow up to the action classic First Blood (1982). Coming three years after the original, Rambo: First Blood Part II – note the addition of the character’s surname to the title – had a script that was co-written by James Cameron and Sylvester Stallone. George P. Cosmatos was chosen to direct the film and the legendary partnership of Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna, who were behind many of the best action films of the 1980s and 90s, were executive producers. 

The film picks up where the original left off, with ex-commando John Rambo (Stallone) serving time in prison for the events of the first film. His former commander Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) visits him whilst he’s cracking rocks in a quarry with other prisoners and asks him if he’d help with a mission to locate MIA / Prisoners of War (POWs) in Vietnam. The public believe there are still American soldiers out there in the country, despite denials by the US and Vietnamese government. This was a very topical issue in the early 1980s and First Blood Part II was one of the first films to tackle the issue directly. Promised a pardon for his previous actions, Rambo accepts and travels to Thailand from where we he will be covertly dropped into Vietnam. He’s given orders that it’s just a reconnaissance mission – photographs can be shot but nothing else.

During the parachute drop things go awry when his parachute is caught in the door of the plane and he’s forced to cut away his bag of equipment before managing to untangle himself. Landing with only a large knife and a fold-out bow, Rambo manages to meet up with his contact Co-Bao (the stunning Julia Nickson) who helps him locate the camp in which it’s believed the prisoners may be held. Sneaking in during the night, he locates the American prisoners and breaks one out of the camp, intending to rescue the others with more support. The trio head to the pre-arranged rendezvous point with the Vietnamese guards in hot pursuit. Desperately trying to climb onto the rescue helicopter, they discover that the government agent overseeing the mission, Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier), orders his men not to pick them up. The whole thing was intended as a kind of PR mission to appease the American public angry about the POW situation. Murdock incorrectly believed that no prisoners would be located.

Rambo and the prisoner are captured by the Vietnamese and returned to the camp whilst Co-Bao manages to escape. They soon discover that the Soviets are arming and training the local soldiers. They meet the local commander, Lt. Col. Podovsky (Steven Berkoff) and his henchman Sergeant Yushin who torture Rambo and force him to disavow the POWs over the radio. When they threaten the life of a prisoner and Co-Bao attacks the hut in which they’re in, Rambo seizes his chance, rampaging out of the camp with Co-Bao following. The Russian and Vietnamese soldiers soon realise they messed with the wrong man as he proceeds to kill them one by one in a famous sequence during which the body count rises into the 70s.

The film was critically mauled on release but was a huge box-office hit, being the first film released in America to open on over 2000 screens. It accrued several times its original budget with a worldwide take of north of $300m. First Blood Part II is one of the defining action films of the 1980s and has been much imitated and parodied (particularly by Charlie Sheen in Hot Shots! Part Deux) since. A far less successful sequel would follow three years later before the series took a long hiatus prior to being resurrected in 2008 with Rambo.

The artwork on this poster is by Tongdee Panumas who was an incredibly prolific 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 central image of Stallone holding a bazooka was redrawn from the photograph used for the American one sheet, which can be seen here.

Note that the dark line seen across the centre of the poster is actually where two painted canvases have been joined together by the artist – the art was then copied and the text and other details overlaid.

The Hudsucker Proxy / quad / UK

03.01.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Hudsucker Proxy
AKA
Mister Hula Hoop (Italy)
Year of Film
1994
Director
Joel Coen
Starring
Tim Robbins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Paul Newman, Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True-Frost, Bill Cobbs, Bruce Campbell, Harry Bugin, John Seitz, Joe Grifasi
Origin of Film
UK | Germany | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1994
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
The Future is Now

This is the UK quad for the release of the Coen Brothers’ 1994 film The Hudsucker Proxy. The script for the film was over a decade in gestation and Joel Coen began writing it with Sam Raimi during the editing of the latter’s Evil Dead (1981). The trio began sharing a house during the filming of Raimi’s Crimewave (1985) and the brothers’ Blood Simple so the script continued to evolve. It wasn’t until the completion of Barton Fink in 1991 that the brothers decided to fully focus on it.

They decided that they wanted to work on more of a more mainstream film and felt the script needed a decent budget behind it. Legendary Hollywood producer Joel Silver, who was a fan of the brothers’ previous films, agreed to help them and pitched it to Warner Bros. Further financial backing came from the now defunct PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, a British-American production company responsible for some of the biggest box-office hits of the 1980s and 1990s, including Batman (1989) and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Note their logo in a prominent position on the left side of the credit block.

The film marked the first time the Coens had worked with big name stars, with most of their previous casts made up of relative unknowns (many of whom would go on to find fame afterwards). Set in 1958 in the world of big business, the story sees idealistic business school graduate Norville Barnes (Tim Robbins) arrive in New York City looking for a job. Without the necessary experience he ends up working as a mailroom clerk in a manufacturing company called Hudsucker Industries. When the founder and president Waring Hudsucker commits suicide during a business meeting (a classic scene involving an open window) the nefarious chairman of the board, Sidney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman) realises that all of Hudsucker’s shares are to be sold to the public. 

Mussburger hatches a plan to buy the stock at what will be a knockdown price by installing what he sees as an incompetent in the top role, the titular proxy, hoping to depress the share price. Whilst delivering mail one day, Norville makes a pitch to Mussburger that involves a simple drawing of a ring (“Y’know for kids!”) and the latter thinks he has found the perfect person. Things don’t go exactly to plan when the board agree to produce Norville’s idea, which turns out to be the phenomenally successful hula hoop (invented for real in 1958). Meanwhile, an undercover reporter called Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) has joined the firm as Norville’s secretary hoping to write a juicy article on the man who replaced Hudsucker. She soon discovers the details of the plot but has a hard time convincing her superiors. Norville allows success to go to his head and begins acting like any other uncaring tycoon. However, Mussburger discovers Amy’s real identity and uses this against him. The finale takes place at the top of the firm’s tower, as depicted on this poster, and sees the Coens at their most surreal.

This UK quad features a design that has clearly borrowed from the US one sheet (see here) with an enterprising British designer reusing the image of Tim Robbins holding the hula hoop and replacing the hoop with wads of dollar bills. The same images of Paul Newman and Jennifer Jason Leigh are reused and the cogs seen on the one sheet are also present. If anyone has any ideas who designed it please get in touch.