Nijinsky / one sheet / USA

27.02.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Nijinsky
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Herbert Ross
Starring
Alan Bates, George De La Pena, Leslie Browne, Alan Badel, Carla Fracci, Colin Blakely, Ronald Pickup, Ronald Lacey, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jeremy Irons
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Biography | Drama | Music | Romance
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Hamsel
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
800034
Tagline
Genius. Madman. Animal. God. Nijinsky. | A True Story.

Richard Amsel artwork features on this one sheet for the release of the biographical drama Nijinsky. The film tells the story of the celebrated Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky who was born in 1889 in what is now Kiev, Ukraine and died in 1950 in London, England. Often cited as the greatest dancer of the 20th Century he was celebrated for his virtuosity, his ability to dance en pointe and his gravity defying leaps. The film was based on the dancer’s personal diaries and the 1934 biography that was written by his wife Romola de Pulszky. It was directed by the late Herbert Ross, a sometime actor, choreographer, producer and director who is perhaps best known for Footloose (1984).

The plot is described thusly on IMDb:
Set in the early 1910s at a time of passionate artistic experimentalism, and based on biographical fact, this is the story of Vaslav Nijinsky, the young and brilliant but headstrong premier danseur and aspiring choreographer of the Ballets Russes. The company is managed by the famous Sergei Diaghilev, himself a controlling and fiercely possessive impresario. The increasing tension between these powerful egos, exacerbated by homosexual desire and jealousy, becomes triangular when the young ballerina Romola de Pulsky determinedly attempts to draw the increasingly mentally unstable Nijinsky away from Diaghilev.

Richard Amsel was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and studied at the city’s College of Art. Whilst there he entered and won a nationwide artist competition to paint the poster for the film ‘Hello Dolly!’. Amsel was just 22 at the time and this win helped him quickly establish a career in New York where he worked on album covers (including one for Barry Manilow) as well as magazine covers and editorial art. In addition, he worked on posters some of the most important films of the 1970s, including Chinatown, Nashville and The Sting. During the 1970s he also worked on a series of covers for the American magazine TV Guide, which are still celebrated to this day.

In the 1980s Amsel worked on what is my favourite Indiana Jones poster, the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 re-release one sheet. He had also painted the original release version, featuring a much more serious looking Indy. The artist’s final film poster was the one sheet for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Amsel sadly died of AIDS-related complications that same year. He leaves behind a great legacy of unforgettable artwork, some of which I already have in the Film on Paper collection and which can be seen here.

Nightbreed / quad / UK

22.02.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Nightbreed
AKA
Cabal (France, Italy)
Year of Film
1990
Director
Clive Barker
Starring
Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley, Catherine Chevalier, Malcolm Smith, Bob Sessions, Oliver Parker
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Fantasy | Horror
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The masters of the macabre join forces... with the Nightbreed

This is the UK quad for the original release of ace British writer/director Clive Barker‘s 1990 film Nightbreed. Based on Barker’s own 1988 novel Cabal, which was the sixth and final entry in his celebrated series ‘Books of Blood‘, the film was notoriously a flop upon its original release. The director has been candid in the years following its release and maintains that studio interference and a lack of understanding of how to market the film ultimately hampered its release. Having scored a hit with Hellraiser (1986) on a budget of just under $1m, 20th Century Fox gave Barker over 10 times that for Nightbreed, but with it they took away the freedom he had on the previous film. Ultimately the studio made extensive cuts to the film just before release without Barker’s input and marketed it as a slasher film, which was far from accurate.

The story focuses on a man named Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) who has been having vivid dreams about a city called Midian where monsters are accepted and live peacefully with each other. We learn that his girlfriend Lori (Anne Bobby) has encouraged him to see a psychologist named Dr. Phillip Decker (the cult Canadian director David Cronenberg). Decker tells Boone that he’s been suffering from a type of psychosis, is responsible for multiple murders and that he should turn himself into the police. In reality, it’s Decker who is a serial killer and he’s attempting to use Boone as a shill to cover his crimes. After being hit by a truck on his way home, Boone wakes in hospital where he meets a man named Narcisse who talks about accessing Midian before mutilating himself with a pair of blades. 

Boone follows Narcisse’s instructions and makes his way to an old cemetery in the middle of nowhere (the film is set in Canada). Once there he is confronted by a pair of monsters, Peloquin (Oliver Parker) and Kinski (Nicholas Vince), who block his request to enter Midian. Peloquin attempts to eat Boone, biting his shoulder before the latter breaks free and escapes the cemetery. Outside he is confronted by Decker and a squad of police officers and when Decker falsely shouts that Boone has a gun, he is gunned down by the squad. After Lori visits the morgue to identify Boone’s body, the bite given by Peloquin causes him to reanimate. He returns to Midian where he meets a whole host of monsters who call the city home. This time he is accepted into the city after being touched by the blood of their deity Baphomet. Meanwhile, Lori wants to understand why Boone traveled to Midian. She is eventually allowed into the city and discovers that it is a refuge for monsters after centuries of them being hunted to near extinction by humans. Unfortunately Decker has tracked her down and he plans to destroy the city and the monsters within.

One of the things that the studio struggled with is that the monsters are ultimately depicted as being the ‘good guys’ and this was obviously something of a departure from standard horror film tropes. The film has incredible production design and make-up effects, particularly the look of the various monsters in Midian. Despite critical and commercial failure in 1990, Nightbreed quickly garnered a cult following and for many years fans had been calling for the release of the longer cut that Barker had promised existed. An unofficial ‘Cabal cut’ was compiled using VHS-quality material a few years ago but in 2015 the original film elements were found and a special director’s cut released by the American video label Scream Factory, much to the delight of horror fans around the world.

This British quad differs greatly from the disappointing American one sheet and includes several photographs of the Nightbreed and is dominated by an image of David Cronenberg. The minor spoiler (for those that were yet to view the film) that he is the masked killer obviously didn’t bother the distributors! The tagline also makes a deal of the fact that Cronenberg and Barker were working together, perhaps understandably.

Patton / B2 / Japan

20.02.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Patton
AKA
Patton - Rebell in Uniform (West Germany)
Year of Film
1970
Director
Franklin J. Schaffner
Starring
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong, Carey Loftin, Albert Dumortier, Frank Latimore, Morgan Paull, Karl Michael Vogler
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Biography | Drama | War
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1970
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Japanese poster for the award-winning biography of General George S. Patton, the celebrated US Army officer who led successful campaigns during World War II. The film, simply titled Patton, was in development for several years and was something of a passion project for producer Frank McCarthy who had worked at the United States Department of War during WWII. The film was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (arguably best known for Planet of the Apes, 1968) and starred the late actor George C. Scott in one of his most celebrated roles as the eponymous general. Karl Malden also appears as fellow senior officer, General Omar N. Bradley. The screenplay was written by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, with the pair (who never worked together in person) basing their screenplay on two biographies of Patton. 

The film opens with a famous monologue where Patton addresses unseen troops in front of a giant American flag. The rest of the film, which clocks in at over three hours and features an intermission, deals with incidents from Patton’s career during World War II, including his successful campaigns in North Africa and Sicily. This includes controversial incidents that had a severe effect on his standing with the military top brass, including Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower (later US President). One involved him berating and slapping a shell-shocked soldier, which saw him reprimanded and forced to apologise to the entire division. Patton is depicted as something of a glory chaser, wanting to be at the front of any campaign and pushing the soldiers under him to their limits, with punishing schedules and lack of rest and relaxation. The final third of the film depicts his legendary sweep through Europe and into Germany before the eventual surrender of the German forces.

The film’s production design is incredible and, although largely filmed in Spain, the locations feel very authentic and the numerous battle scenes are suitably epic with plenty of actual military hardware in use (as opposed to the CGI that would be employed today). The film would justly win the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. It was also the Best Picture and Best Director winner at the 1971 ceremony, winning seven awards in total. Infamously, Scott won for Best Actor but declined the award, saying the politics around the ceremony was “demeaning” and that the show amounted to nothing more than “a two-hour meat parade”. The film remains one of the best War films made to this day. Note the Dimension 150 logo on this Japanese B2 poster which refers to an ultra-widescreen format, similar to Cinerama, that was only employed by two productions (The Bible being the other).

Tyler Stout on the making of his Reservoir Dogs screen print

14.02.17

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Quentin Tarantino’s incredible debut feature, Reservoir Dogs. Often cited as one of the greatest independent films ever made, the depiction of the events leading up to, and the aftermath of, a botched diamond heist remains as powerful today as it was a quarter of a century ago. Back in 2012, Tarantino celebrated the 20th anniversary of the film by screening a 35mm print of the film at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, which he owns.

Held in late October, the screening was apparently attended by a ‘raucous and electrified crowd’. As the credits rolled, folks from the incomparable limited-edition geek culture outfit Mondo were there to unveil a special screen print created especially for the event. The print was designed and illustrated by Tyler Stout, the celebrated artist who had worked on the Mondo-released print for Tarantino’s event screening of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair (also at the New Beverley).

The regular style of Tyler Stout's screen print for Reservoir Dogs, created in 2012

The regular style of Tyler Stout’s screen print for Reservoir Dogs, created in 2012

As is typical for Tyler’s work, the print came in both regular and variant versions and when Mondo put the remaining posters onto their online store they both sold out within seconds.

Whilst adding the regular version to the Film on Paper collection I wanted to interview the man himself about the creation of the print as I’ve done previously with his designs for AvengersAkira, Kill Bill and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The interview can be read in full below:

———————

Tyler, thanks for agreeing to talk about this excellent print. Am I right in thinking that Tarantino himself made a request for you to work on it?
I believe his people did. Its been a while so my memory is pretty spotty on the specifics, but it came after Kill Bill so we had a good relationship with his people.

Did you ever deal with him directly?
Nope, alas.

An early version of the design for Tyler's Reservoir Dogs in a portrait format.

An early version of the design for Tyler’s Reservoir Dogs in a portrait format.


Is Reservoir Dogs one of your favourites of the director’s films?
For some reason early Tarantino films just have a special place in my heart. From Reservoir Dogs through to Jackie Brown, all captured an era of my life that I remember fondly; working at a video store, hanging with my high school friends.

How long were you given to work on the design before the screening date?
I recall it was no more than a month.

Were you given any specific directions before starting?
Nope, none at all. Make it fun, basically.

An later version of the portrait format featuring a sunset sky that Tyler tried before settling on another colour scheme.

An later version of the portrait format featuring a sunset sky that Tyler tried before settling on another colour scheme.


Can you talk about your initial design ideas for the print? Was the composition and landscape format something you arrived at quickly?
Interestingly enough, the poster started out as portrait instead of landscape, but it just wasn’t working, so I switched it to landscape to see if it would work better and luckily it did. As with a lot of my prints, I just start drawing elements I know I’ll want to include on the print, and sometimes leave the layout to kinda come together later. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Continue reading

Reservoir Dogs / screen print / regular / Tyler Stout / USA

14.02.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Reservoir Dogs
AKA
Le Iene (Italy)
Year of Film
1992
Director
Quentin Tarantino
Starring
Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Michael Madsen, Lawrence Tierney, Quentin Tarantino
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Regular
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Tyler Stout
Artist
Tyler Stout
Size (inches)
24" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

It seems hard to believe but Reservoir Dogs, the debut film by Quentin Tarantino, was released 25 years ago this October. Often cited as one of the greatest independent films ever made, the depiction of the events leading up to, and the aftermath of, a botched diamond heist remains as powerful today as it was a quarter of a century ago.

Famously written whilst Tarantino was working at a video rental shop in Manhattan Beach, California, the script eventually found its way into the hands of the actor Harvey Keitel. He helped the budget grow to $1.5m and the production team got to work gathering the great cast together, including the likes of Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi and Michael Madsen. Whilst not a financial success in the US, despite strong reviews, the film was accepted more readily in the UK where it earned almost three times the American take at the box-office. When Pulp Fiction was released two years later the film garnered a lot more attention.

Back in 2012, Tarantino celebrated the 20th anniversary of the film by screening a 35mm print of the film at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, which he owns. Held in late October, the screening was apparently attended by a ‘raucous and electrified crowd’. As the credits rolled, folks from the incomparable limited-edition geek culture outfit Mondo were there to unveil a special screen print created especially for the event.

The print was designed and illustrated by Tyler Stout, the celebrated artist who had worked on the Mondo-released print for Tarantino’s event screening of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair (also at the New Beverley). As is typical for Tyler’s work, the print came in both regular and variant versions and when Mondo put the remaining posters onto their online store they both sold out within seconds.

Whilst adding this regular version to the Film on Paper collection I wanted to interview the man himself about the creation of the print as I’ve done previously with his designs for AvengersAkira, Kill Bill and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The interview can be read in full here.

Convoy / B1 / Poland

08.02.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Convoy
AKA
--
Year of Film
1978
Director
Sam Peckinpah
Starring
Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnine, Burt Young, Madge Sinclair, Franklyn Ajaye, Brian Davies, Seymour Cassel, Cassie Yates, Walter Kelley
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Drama | Western
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Andrzej Pagowski
Artist
Andrzej Pagowski
Size (inches)
26 3/16" x 37 3/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Convoy was legendary American director Sam Peckinpah‘s penultimate film and his most commercially successful, despite it being critically mauled. It was made at the height of the craze for CB Radio/trucking films, which included the likes of Smokey and the Bandit and the TV series Movin’ On. The film’s title comes from the hit country and western novelty song of the same name by C.W. McCall and Chip Davis that was released in 1975. The song appears during the opening and intermittently during the film, with the latter version being reworked especially for the production.

It’s fair to say that the film is light on plot but Kris Kristofferson stars as long-distance trucker Martin ‘Rubber Duck’ Penwald who ends up leading the titular line of trucks across several states. Following an diner-based altercation with three police officers, including Duck’s long-term nemesis Sheriff “Dirty Lyle” Wallace (a great performance by Ernest Borgnine), a group of truckers head for the Arizona state line to escape prosecution. Lyle ups the stakes and pursues them into New Mexico whilst the convoy continues to grow. The authorities are determined to stop the truckers and Lyle uses the life of a fellow trucker to lure Duck into a trap from which it seems there’ll be no escape.

As had become standard for Peckinpah productions, the film finished over schedule and massively over budget, causing the director to be taken off post-production of the film. Studio staff worked with an editor to trim down a first cut that was over three hours long. It doesn’t particularly feel like a Peckinpah film (compared to the likes of The Wild Bunch, say) but there are certainly some well done scenes and the choices of location are excellent. Some of the editing choices aren’t great, however, with the slow-motion diner brawl being particularly excruciating to watch today. By this point in his career the director’s addiction to alcohol and drugs had become so profound that it would be another five years before he would work again.

This Polish poster was designed and illustrated by Andrzej Pagowski, a prolific film poster artist who was born in Warsaw in 1953 and studied at the celebrated University of Fine Arts in Poznań, graduating in 1978 under the tutorship of the noted artist Waldemar Świerzy. In 1990 he started his own graphic design studio called Studio P, which he developed into an advertising agency by 1993. According to the biography on his official site, Pagowski has illustrated over 1000 posters during his career and has also done work for books, magazines and music covers. In addition, he is also a TV and theatre stage designer and a screenwriter. Undoubtedly a man of many talents!

Pagowski’s official site features galleries of his work, including several of the posters. Polishposter.com also features five pages worth of his movie posters and this culture.pl article is well worth a read too.

To see the other Pagowski-designed posters I’ve collected click here.