Harakiri / B1 / Poland

27.07.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
Harakiri
AKA
Seppuku (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
1962
Director
Masaki Kobayashi
Starring
Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba, Masao Mishima, Ichirô Nakatani, Kei Satô, Yoshio Inaba, Hisashi Igawa, Tôru Takeuchi, Yoshirô Aoki
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Drama | History
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Waldemar Świerzy
Artist
Waldemar Świerzy
Size (inches)
26 7/16" x 37 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a Polish B1 poster for a 1987 re-release of the 1962 Japanese drama Harakiri (originally titled Seppuku) that was designed and illustrated by Waldemar Świerzy. Both titles refer to the grisly ritual suicide by slashing a sword across your own belly that was originally practiced by samurai swordsmen in medieval and early-modern Japan. The action formed part of the samurai code and was used by warriors who would rather die with honour than fall into the hands of the enemy, or by disgraced samurai who had committed gross offences or brought shame upon themselves.

The film was helmed by the celebrated Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi who directed a number of notable films, including the superb horror anthology Kwaidan (1964), before he passed away aged 80 in 1996. The story is set in 17th Century Japan and deals with an elder samurai without a master (known as a Ronin) called Hanshirō Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai, star of multiple Akira Kurosawa films). The plot is described thusly on IMDb:

Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate’s breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house.

The film won multiple awards upon its release in 1962, including the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and received excellent reviews when released around the world in the following years (1964 was its first release in the USA). Japanese director Takeshi Miike released a remake in 2011 with the title Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai.

The late Waldemar Świerzy is considered to be one of the most important Polish designers and artists and it’s estimated he’s worked on over 2500 posters during his career. He was born in Katowice in 1931 and graduated from the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts in 1952. He later became professor in the University of Fine Arts in Poznań from 1965 and Professor in the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1994. The artist was one of the key figures in the influential Polish School of Posters a movement to push the level of quality of Polish posters forward which was active for over 30 years, starting in the 1950s. Świerzy won multiple awards during his career and had several exhibitions of his work held over the years. He sadly passed away in 2003.

Polishposter.com has seven pages of his work and this biography on culture.pl goes into great detail about his life and work. Poster.com.pl has another gallery of his work.

Inserts / quad / style A / UK

22.07.16

PosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Inserts
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
John Byrum
Starring
Richard Dreyfuss, Jessica Harper, Bob Hoskins, Veronica Cartwright, Stephen Davies
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Comedy | Drama
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Vic Fair
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"Women in Love", "Last Tango in Paris" and "Emmanuelle" - Now...

Striking artwork by the British artist Vic Fair on this quad poster for the release of the 1975 film Inserts. The film was the debut film of writer/director John Byrum, an American who appears to have spent quite a lot of time writing, producing and directing TV shows, although his last credit was for Duets (2000). The film is set in Hollywood in the 1930s and deals with actors and directors who were struggling to make the transition from silent films into ‘talkies’ so instead turned to making pornography for a living. Rather unusually the film was shot in the style of a stage play, on one set and in real time, with only five actors in total. The cast is rather impressive and features Richard Dreyfuss (the same year that Jaws was released), Jessica Harper (Suspiria) and the late Bob Hoskins in one of his first major film roles. The plot is described thusly on IMDb:

A once-great silent film director, unable to make the transition to the new talkies, lives as a near-hermit in his Hollywood home, making cheap, silent sex films, and suffering in the knowledge of his sexual impotence, and apathetic about the plans to demolish his home to make way for a motorway. His producer and his producer’s girlfriend come by to see how he is doing (and to supply heroin to the actress as her payment). The girlfriend stays to watch them filming, and is deeply impressed by his methods. When the actress goes to the bathroom, and dies there of an overdose, the girlfriend takes her place in the film. Then the producer returns…

Sadly the film was a critical and commercial failure on its release, not helped by the fact that it was given a very prohibitive X certificate in the US, which was later downgraded to NC-17 after a battle with the sensors that Dreyfuss himself was involved in. The user reviews on IMDb are a little less damning than the professional critics were at the time of its cinema release.

This quad poster was both designed and painted by Vic Fair who is one the most important characters ever to work in British film marketing. He is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

Note that there are also at least two other styles of British quads for the release of Inserts, including this style B one (image taken from Moviepostermem.com) which was based on Vic’s design but was painted by the celebrated Italian artist Arnaldo Putzu.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: the Dream Child / B2 / photo style / Japan

18.07.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
AKA
Il Mito [The Myth] (Italy)
Year of Film
1989
Director
Stephen Hopkins
Starring
Robert Englund, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, Erika Anderson, Nicholas Mele, Joe Seely, Valorie Armstrong, Danny Hassel, Burr DeBenning, Clarence Felder
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Horror
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Photo style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A bizarre design features on this Japanese B2 for the release of the fifth entry in the much-loved horror franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5. The film’s subtitle ‘the Dream Child’ hints at the plot for the film, which sees Freddy attempting to return from hell by using the mind of an unborn baby. The child belongs to Alice (Lisa Wilcox) who was the main character in the previous film and the father is her boyfriend Dan (Danny Hassel) who also returns from Part 4. The Dream Child was only the second film directed by Stephen Hopkins, the Jamaican-born English-Australian director best known for helming Predator 2 and the 1998 reboot of Lost in Space.

Set a year after the previous film, the story sees Alice and her friends graduating from high school with Freddy Krueger seemingly vanquished for good. Alice begins to have strange dreams in which she finds herself in the asylum where Freddy’s mother, a nun named Amanda, was attacked and raped by the inmates. Later she has another dream in which she witnesses Amanda giving birth to a strange, deformed baby. The creature scuttles off and ends up in the church where Alice vanquished Freddy in Part 4 whereupon it grows into an adult Krueger. He immediately begins to taunt Alice, claiming he has found a way to return for good. When she wakes from the dream she immediately summons Dan to her but he falls asleep at the wheel of his motorbike and Freddy attacks and, during a gruesome sequence, melds him together with the bike before crashing him into a truck. Soon afterwards she learns that she is pregnant with Dan’s child and immediately begins to fear for its safety.

Alice and her friends must once again battle together with the spirit of Amanda Krueger to stop Freddy before he is able to return and take over the mind of Alice’s unborn son (Jacob). To be honest, the film gets very confusing and it’s hard to follow what’s happening most of the time, never mind how an unborn baby suddenly becomes a ten-year-old child in some of the sequences. The usual dream deaths are pretty dark and there are some gruesome moments for horror hounds, but the story barely hangs together, with choppy editing and hammy acting not helping at all. Although not a box-office disaster, the film failed to make anywhere near the box-office of Part 3 and 4 and audiences were certainly cooling towards the franchise by this point.

The smiling boy depicted on this poster doesn’t appear in the film and my guess is that he was chosen for a photoshoot by the poster’s designer. I’m not sure who was responsible for the artwork of the cartoon Freddy characters so if anyone has an idea please get in touch.

Beastmaster 2 / Thailand

15.07.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Beastmaster 2
AKA
Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time (International alt. title)
Year of Film
1991
Director
Sylvio Tabet
Starring
Marc Singer, Kari Wuhrer, Sarah Douglas, Wings Hauser, James Avery, Robert Fieldsteel, Arthur Malet, Robert Z'Dar
Origin of Film
USA | France
Genre(s) of Film
Fantasy | Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1991
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
25" x 35.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Colourful artwork by the artist Tongdee Panumas on this poster for the Thai release of the belated sequel to the 1982 original, Beastmaster 2. The film was directed by Sylvio Tabet who was the co-producer on the first film. The original screenwriter also returned, although judging by the number of screenwriter credits on the film’s IMDb page it clearly went through multiple re-writes before making it to the screen. The only member of the first film’s cast to return was Marc Singer who plays the titular character, also known as Dar. The plot is described thusly on Wikipedia:

Dar, the Beastmaster, is back and now he has to deal with his half-brother, Arklon (Wings Hauser), and a sorceress named Lyranna (Sarah Douglas) who have escaped to present day Los Angeles. Despite the name, the movie is not about traveling through a time portal, but traveling through a portal to a parallel universe that 1991 Earth exists in. Dar and his animal companions, Ruh, Kodo, Podo and Sharak, must follow them through the portal and stop them from obtaining a neutron bomb. During his visit, Dar meets a rich girl named Jackie Trent (Kari Wuhrer) and they become friends.

The film was roundly panned by critics and largely ignored by audiences on its release. Today it’s considered to be one of the worst sequels ever made. The handful of reviews on IMDb are largely unforgiving, for example:

If you are ever in the mood for a truly terrible film, it would be hard to find something that could even compare to this. I have spent a lot of time watching a lot of terrible movies just for the sheer joy I get from it, and man, this is one of the worst. This movie was so bad, I had to buy the third Beastermaster online. That one wasn’t as bad, which is amazing since it was straight to video.

The ending sounds unintentionally hilarious:

During the closing credits (at least in the version that hit theatres), the Beastmaster can be seen running into the sunset. This sunset is actually a painted backdrop, and after a while, you can clearly discern that the guy is actually running in place for almost two minutes as the credits roll! A perfect end to a perfect movie!

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai 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.

Note that the line across the centre of the poster is where the original artboards onto which Tongdee paints were joined. Thai artists apparently often struggled to find large enough canvases to paint on.

Barbarosa / one sheet / USA

13.07.16

PosterPosterPosterPosterPoster
Title
Barbarosa
AKA
La Vengeance mexicaine (France)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Fred Schepisi
Starring
Willie Nelson, Gary Busey, Isela Vega, Gilbert Roland, Danny De La Paz, Alma Martinez, George Voskovec, Sharon Compton
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Western
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
G. T. Suj
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
820030
Tagline
The Outlaw... The Outcast... And the Legend that was bigger than both of them.

Great artwork features on this US one sheet for the little-seen 1982 western Barbarosa. The film was the first American film to be directed the Australian producer/director Fred Schepisi who would go on to international success with films such as Roxanne and Six Degrees of Separation. It stars the legendary country musician Willie Nelson who forged a career in acting towards the end of the 1970s and this was one of his first feature films. He appears alongside Gary Busey who plays a young farm boy who joins up with Nelson’s titular outlaw. The plot is described thusly on IMDb:

Karl Westover (Busey), an inexperienced farm boy, runs away after unintentionally killing a neighbor, whose family pursues him for vengeance. He meets Barbarosa, a gunman of near-mythical proportions, who is himself in danger from his father-in-law Don Braulio, a wealthy Mexican rancher. Don Braulio wants Barbarosa dead for marrying his daughter against the father’s will. Barbarosa reluctantly takes the clumsy Karl on as a partner, as both of them look to survive the forces lining up against them.

The film appears to have only been released in a few countries, including the US and Australia but was well received by critics at the time. The artwork on this one sheet appears to have been used to promote the film in most of the markets in which it was released. It features a signature (see picture 9) that emovieposter.com believes to be G. T. Suj. I suspect they’re right but I can find no artist matching those details online. It’s also possible that the latter part is Sui, with a stylistic flourish of the final character. If anyone has any more information about the artist please get in touch.

At Your Own Request / B1 / Poland

11.07.16

PosterPosterPoster
Title
At Your Own Request
AKA
Na wlasna prosbe (Poland - original title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Ewa Petelska, Czeslaw Petelski
Starring
Andrzej Zarnecki, Bogusz Bilewski, Krzysztof Chamiec, Andrzej Gawronski, Piotr Grabowski, Adam Gwara, Janusz Klosinski, Juliusz Lubicz-Lisowski
Origin of Film
Poland
Genre(s) of Film
Drama
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Andrzej Pagowski
Artist
Andrzej Pagowski
Size (inches)
26 10/16" x 38 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking design features on this Polish poster for the domestic release of At Your Own Request (originally titled Na Wlasna Prosbe). The film was co-directed by husband and wife Ewa Petelska and Czeslaw Petelski, both of whom have since passed away. It must have been granted a release overseas, given that it has an English-language title, but I can find no evidence of which markets it appeared in. It’s fair to say that it’s a little-seen film, especially going by the lack of any user reviews on IMDb but it does have a plot description:

The story is of an engineer in conflict with his superior. He won’t go along with the usual corruption and conformity. He is left to himself amid indifference and ineptitude by his fellow workers and the management.

It doesn’t exactly sound like the most thrilling of dramas but at least this poster is interesting!

The 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.