Prime Cut / one sheet / style A / USA

27.06.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Prime Cut
AKA
Carnage (France)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Michael Ritchie
Starring
Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Tom Jung
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/57
Tagline
Together They're Murder In...

A painting by the American artist Tom Jung, who is best known for his work on the style A poster for the release of the first Star Wars film, features on this one sheet for the 1972 crime-drama, Prime Cut. The film was directed by the late Michael Ritchie (Fletch, Downhill Racer) and stars two heavyweight actors of the time in Lee Marvin and Gene Hackman. The former had a string of box-office hits playing tough guys in films such as Point Blank and The Dirty Dozen, and the latter had just starred in the unforgettable The French Connection and was to appear in The Poseidon Adventure in the same year as Prime Cut. It also marked the acting debut of Sissy Spacek who would appear in her most famous role four years later in Brian De Palma’s Carrie.

The plot sees Nick Devlin (Marvin), a Chicago mob enforcer, sent with a crew of men to Kansas City to track down Mary Ann (Hackman) and recover a $500,000 debt. Previous men sent by the mob have disappeared and we witness one being ‘processed’ through Mary Ann’s meat factory, ending up as the filling in a string of sausages that are then sent to the mob boss as a taunt. After driving to Kansas, Devlin first attacks Mary Ann’s brother and warns him that the group are there to collect the debt. The following day they find Mary Ann in a barn where he is the ringleader of a white-slave auction in which young girls are being auctioned off to older men. The women are kept naked in pens like livestock and drugged up so they don’t try to escape. Devlin threatens Mary Ann and rescues one of the women called Poppy (Spacek) “on account”. The rest of the film sees him attempting to secure the missing money and avoiding Mary Ann’s gang of denim-wearing, shotgun-toting farm boys.

The film is fairly brisk at just under 90 minutes and both leads are entertaining to watch throughout. Spacek is also excellent as Poppy and it’s not hard to see why her career took off quickly following her appearance in Prime Cut. There are several memorable scenes in the film, including one faintly ridiculous one where Devlin and Poppy are chased through a wheatfield by a combine harvester, which then goes onto chew up an entire car!

As well as the iconic one sheet for Star Wars, Tom Jung is also known for the style B one sheet for The Empire Strikes Back. He was a prolific designer and illustrator for film campaigns from the 1950s through to the 1980s. IMPAwards features a gallery of his work and his Wikipedia article has a selected list of the many posters he worked on. Rather unusually, at least in comparison to other film poster artists, Jung was also a designer of his posters as well as the artist. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Note that this is the Style A one sheet and style B is photographic. Rather unusually, the decision was taken to insert ‘A’ in next to the title at the bottom of the poster which makes it look like the title is ‘A Prime Cut’.

Naked Lunch / quad / UK

22.06.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Naked Lunch
AKA
Hadaka no lunch (Japan)
Year of Film
1991
Director
David Cronenberg
Starring
Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider, Monique Mercure, Nicholas Campbell, Michael Zelniker
Origin of Film
Canada | UK | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Biography | Comedy | Drama
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1991
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Exterminate all rational thought

Naked Lunch is cult Canadian director David Cronenberg‘s semi-adaptation of the celebrated American writer William S. Burroughsnovel of the same name. The book, which is a collection of vignettes with little in the way of connecting narrative, was written in 1959 and several attempts had been made over the years to try and adapt it for the screen. The structure of the book meant crafting a coherent plot was a tall order for any screenwriter, so Cronenberg decided to try a slightly different approach. The resultant film features scenes and characters from the vignettes but blends them with a semi-biographical look at the process Burroughs went through to write the original book, and includes incidents and characters (albeit renamed) from his experiences during the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s.

The resultant film, despite having more of a connecting narrative, is no less batshit crazy for it. Peter Weller plays Burroughs as William Lee (a sometime pen name of the author) who is working as a bug exterminator and whose wife Joan Lee (Judy Davis) has become addicted to the powder he uses to kill the critters. He is also a heroin addict and is arrested by the police for possession. Whilst in custody he begins to hallucinate and sees a giant bug who tells him he is being recruited as a secret agent and that his mission is to kill Joan who may or not be a shape-shifting agent working for a shady organisation. Disbelieving, he smashes the bug and escapes from custody, returning home to find Joan having sex with one of his friends. Soon afterwards he accidentally kills Joan by shooting her in the head after attempting to shoot a glass off her head, William Tell-style (this mirrors a real incident in which Burroughs killed his then partner Joan Vollmer in Mexico).

On the run from the police, he’s introduced to a bipedal alien called a Mugwump in a bar who gives him a travel ticket to get to Interzone (an area of a North African country) where he can lie low and carry out missions for his ‘handlers’. There he meets a whole host of odd characters, including Tom Frost (Ian Holm) and his wife Joan who bears a striking relation to his deceased wife. He continues to write reports for his imaginary handlers, with his typewriter soon morphing into another talking bug. Things continue to get progressively weirder as he is told to search out the mysterious Dr Benway, the source of a drug that is swamping the Interzone.

The above description makes the film sound vaguely conventional when it is anything but and there’s no doubt that it’s a marmite film for many who watch it. The film had a botched release in North America which saw it only recouping a small percentage of its original budget due to a limited number of screenings. Nevertheless it was largely lauded by critics and has since garnered something of a cult following.

This British quad features a unique design that includes a close-up photograph of Weller’s William Lee above a centipede. The film had a range of poster designs across the globe, with little repetition in the designs. The US one sheet is memorable but by far my favourite is the incredible Japanese ‘bug’-style poster that features a freaky illustration by H Sorayama.

Into the Abyss / one sheet / USA

16.06.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Into the Abyss
AKA
Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, a Tale of Life (long title) | Tod in Texas [Dead in Texas] (Germany)
Year of Film
2011
Director
Werner Herzog
Starring
Werner Herzog, Richard Lopez, Michael Perry, Damon Hall, Lisa Stolter-Balloun, Charles Richardson, Jason Burkett
Origin of Film
USA | UK | Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Documentary | Crime | Drama
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
P+A / Mojo
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 39 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A tale of death, a tale of life

This is the US one sheet for the release of Werner Herzog‘s 2011 documentary, Into the Abyss. The film is one of the legendary German director’s best films from the past decade and focuses on the situation of a prisoner in a maximum security prison in Texas who is awaiting execution. The subject is one that Herzog had wanted to focus on for a number of years and he had originally intended to look at life inside a maximum security prison in Germany. Originally the director planned to interview a number of death row inmates but ended up focusing on just one, Michael Perry, and looking into the reason for his incarceration and (at that time) imminent execution.

Using the director’s trademark interview style, where he asks questions off-camera typically to a single person, the film looks at the crime that Perry and an accomplice are said to have perpetrated and the effect it has had on the victims’ families. Herzog shies away from trying to decipher whether Perry is guilty or innocent (the man himself claims innocence) of the murder of three people in Conroe, Texas in 2001. The film is gripping throughout and some of the most memorable scenes are when the siblings of the murdered people are interviewed. One person in particular has suffered such imaginable loss it is almost breathtaking.

This poster was designed by P+A (Percival and Associates) an established and prolific design company whose output can be viewed on IMPAwards. Their official website is not currently up and running. Mojo design were also involved but the company now appears to be defunct (Into the Abyss was one of their last posters) – their output can also be viewed on IMPAwards.

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid / 30×40 / USA

12.06.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid
AKA
La légende de Jesse James (France)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Philip Kaufman
Starring
Cliff Robertson, Robert Duvall, Luke Askew, R.G. Armstrong, Dana Elcar, Donald Moffat, John Pearce, Matt Clark, Wayne Sutherlin ... Charley Pitts Robert H. Harris Robert H. Harris
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Western
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/151
Tagline
The West the way it really was! | Cole Younger and Jesse James starring in the greatest western of the century!

The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid is a 1972 Western, written and directed by the American director Philip Kaufman. The film was Kaufman’s first commercial film following the two independent pictures he had directed in the 1960s. He is perhaps best known for the 1983 film The Right Stuff, based on the lives of the first test pilots involved in the race for space during the 1950s. This film is roughly based on the escapades of the real-life outlaws, the James-Younger Gang, who were active during the latter half of the 19th Century.

The film focuses on one of the gang’s most famous escapades which was the robbery of the bank known as ‘the biggest west of the Mississippi’ in the titular town of Northfield, Minnesota. The late actor Cliff Robertson appears as Cole Younger and Robert Duvall stars as Jesse James. That same year Duvall appeared in one of his most famous roles as Tom Hagen in The Godfather, and also starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the western Joe Kidd. The botched raid on the bank would have tragic consequences for most of the gang and eventually saw Cole Younger captured. Jesse James and one other man escaped but he was later infamously killed by a member of his own gang (brilliantly depicted in the 2007 film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).

I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this US 30×40 poster, which also features on the US one sheet and insert posters. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

High Spirits / quad / UK

06.06.17

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
High Spirits
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Neil Jordan
Starring
Peter O'Toole, Liz Smith, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, Martin Ferrero, Connie Booth, Daryl Hannah, Liam Neeson
Origin of Film
Ireland | UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Fantasy
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Jack's American, married and looking for romance. Mary's beautiful, Irish and 200 years old... Does their love stand a ghost of a chance? | A supernatural comedy

This is the UK quad for the release of Irish director Neil Jordan‘s (The Crying Game) 1988 comedy High Spirits. Filmed on location and in a studio in Ireland, the story was written by Jordan and focuses on an old, run-down castle/hotel that is home to the Plunkett family, which only consists of Peter (Peter O’Toole) and his mother (Liz Smith) and a motley group of staff. Peter owes money to an American financier and is struggling to work out how to stop the castle defaulting into his hands. After half-heartedly attempting to hang himself, he hits on the idea of selling the hotel as the most haunted in Ireland after his mother reminds him about all the ghosts that supposedly haunt the place. Following a montage of the staff setting up various haunting gags around the castle, the first group of all-American guests arrive at the castle.

Jack Crawford (Steve Guttenberg) is joined by his wife Sharon (Beverly D’Angelo, best known for National Lampoon’s Vacation films) and it’s clear that their marriage is under some strain. Also there is a sceptical paranormal investigator and his family, plus a wannabe priest on a ‘final hurrah’ and a kooky dancer (Jennifer Tilly). The staff soon stage several attempts at convincing the guests that they are surrounded by ghosts but all fall flat. Jack, despondent with how unimpressed his wife is, stumbles into an old area of the castle whilst drunk and witnesses the apparition of two real ghosts, Mary Plunkett Brogan (Daryl Hannah) and Martin Brogan (Liam Neeson). The husband and wife have been stuck in a loop, enacting the moment that Martin fatally stabbed Mary in a fit of jealous rage. Somehow Jack interrupts the ghostly murder and Mary is able to see him.

The rest of the the film sees the pair fall in love, whilst Sharon also falls for Martin. Meanwhile, the other real ghosts stage paranormal events after getting fed up of Peter’s half-hearted efforts to scare. The film is energetic for sure but fairly nonsensical in places and the acting varies wildly across the cast. Apparently Jordan claims the film was taken out of his hands during the editing stage and the version released in cinemas doesn’t match his vision for the film. It’s clear that several scenes have been cut and truncated and it barely hangs together towards the end. On a positive note, the location work is excellent and the production design is solid. O’Toole works well as the eccentric Peter and D’Angelo and Tilly are fun to watch.

I’m not sure who is responsible for the artwork which is unique to this UK quad and there’s no obvious signature on it. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Porno / B1 / Poland

31.05.17

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Porno
AKA
--
Year of Film
1990
Director
Marek Koterski
Starring
Zbigniew Rola, Maja Barelkowska, Henryk Bista, Zbigniew Buczkowski, Iwona Choinska, Malgorzata Chojnacka, Miroslawa Dubrawska, Katarzyna Figura, Anna Gornostaj, Ewa Grabarczyk, Boguslaw Linda
Origin of Film
Poland
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Romance
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Andrzej Pagowski
Artist
Andrzej Pagowski
Size (inches)
26 3/16" x 37 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking illustration features on this Polish B1 poster for the release of the Polish comedy-romance Porno. Directed by Marek Koterski and starring Zbigniew Rola, I believe the film was not released outside its native country. The plot is described on IMDb:

[A] Middle aged man lies sleeplessly in bed, recalling his numerous sexual encounters. The various couplings are haphazard, loveless affairs in which most of the women are as anxious to release sexual tension as he is. He fails to find fulfilment and is left with feelings of despair and hopelessness.

According to IMDb it was the top grossing Polish film of 1990.

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.