You Searched For: Drama

The Kid / A1 / 1960s re-release / Germany

01.09.15

Poster Poster
Title
The Kid
AKA
--
Year of Film
1921
Director
Charlie Chaplin
Starring
Charles Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance, Carl Miller
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Chaplin, Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance, Carl Miller,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1960s (exact year unknown)
Designer
G. Kratzsch
Artist
--
Size (inches)
23 4/16" x 33 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a German poster for a 1960s re-release of the great Charlie Chaplin‘s first full-length film as a director, The Kid. Written, produced, directed and starring the man himself, it was made during a period of difficulty for Chaplin who had apparently been suffering creative block for a number of months and was also going through a divorce from his first wife Mildred Harris, who had been a 16-year-old when Chaplin had met her. The pair were married a short while afterwards because Mildred apparently fell pregnant and Chaplin wanted to avoid any more scandal. The pregnancy then turned out to be a false alarm. Eventually Mildred did become pregnant and carried the child to full term, but sadly it was born malformed and died three days later. The marriage had been a rocky one throughout with Chaplin supposedly feeling that she ‘stunted his creativity’ and the child’s death was the final straw.

The whole situation clearly had an effect on Chaplin and influenced the writing of The Kid as a result. The film sees Chaplin’s character The Tramp find and adopt a baby after it is abandoned by its unwed mother (Edna Purviance) and winds up in alley near The Tramp’s bedsit. Cut to five years later and the child (played by Jackie Coogan, later best known as Uncle Fester in the Addams Family TV show) is in partnership with The Tramp in a venture in which the kid smashes house windows, runs away and then The Tramp conveniently appears with a pane of glass to carry out the repair. Eventually the authorities discover that the kid is not The Tramp’s own and try to take him away, which triggers a series of events that will change both of their lives forever. The Kid is one of Chaplin’s funniest and most heartfelt films and hasn’t lost any of its charms almost a century later. Chaplin edited the film in length in 1971, removing some scenes with the mother and also added a brilliant new score. This is the only version that’s readily available on home video today.

I’ve struggled to determine what year this poster is from and the only date on here is for the original 1921 copyright (in roman numerals). If anyone has any ideas please get in touch. I believe the design can be credited to a design studio in Berlin called G. Kratzsch, which may be the name of an individual. Again, if anyone knows any more details please get in touch.

City of Women / quad / UK

29.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
City of Women
AKA
La città delle donne (Italy - original title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Federico Fellini
Starring
Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Prucnal, Bernice Stegers, Jole Silvani, Donatella Damiani, Ettore Manni, Fiammetta Baralla
Origin of Film
Italy | France
Genre(s) of Film
Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Prucnal, Bernice Stegers, Jole Silvani, Donatella Damiani, Ettore Manni, Fiammetta Baralla,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Andrea Pazienza
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
'City of Women' is a film about a man who invents woman' - Fellini

A striking piece of art by the late Italian comic artist Andrea Pazienza on this UK quad poster for the release of the late Italian director Federico Fellini‘s City of Women. Often cited as being semi-autobiographical, the dream-like film sees Fellini’s frequent collaborator (and arguably alter-ego) Marcello Mastroianni (La Dolce Vita, 8 and a half) playing Snàporaz a businessman traveling on a train who becomes infatuated by a woman (Bernice Stegers) in the same carriage. When the train stops at a remote station he lets his lust get the better of him and follows her into a forrest. Eventually she leads him to a hotel in which a raucous feminist conference is taking place and Snàporaz moves from room to room in search of the woman. Each room contains a different event or discussion dealing with the different ways that women and men interact, with satirical displays of machismo and passionate arguments taking place. 

Eventually, growing impatient, Snàporaz manages to persuade an older woman to take him to the train station but she stops on the way and forces herself on him in a greenhouse. After escaping from her clutches he ends up getting a lift from a group of women in convertibles who drive him around all night until he runs away and ends up at the house of the pompous Dr. Xavier Katzone (a play on the Italian word for ‘big dick’) who is hosting a lavish party to celebrate his 10,000th conquest. A number of events occur and Snàporaz ends up sliding down a tunnel under a bed into an even more surreal world where he is forced to recall his previous sexual encounters and eventually ends up being judged by a kind of court for his masculinity. Although he is freed for his crimes, he ends up confronting the punishment and ends up in a boxing ring above a huge crowd of women.

During a making-of documentary on the recent blu-ray release Fellini collaborators explain that the film was definitely written by Fellini as a way of working out his own feelings around his infidelity and the relationship between the two sexes. Filled with typically Felliniesque surrealist sequences, the film is visually interesting throughout and is frequently funny. Mastroianni is clearly enjoying himself and despite some sluggish moments the film mostly works. Rather bizarrely, Ettore Manni, the actor playing Katzone, died during filming by shooting himself in the genitals and dying from blood loss. A large section of the end of the film had to be altered by Fellini because of the accident.

Sadly, Andrea Pazienza also died prematurely at the age of 32 from a heroin overdose. Born in 1956, he studied Art at the University of Bologna and went on to create comic strips for Italian magazines, with often surreal, satirical stories featuring several characters of his own creation. Arguably his most famous creation was Zanardi, a high-school student from Bologna, who appeared in several comic strips during the 1980s and was very popular with Italian comic fans. During this period he also worked on illustrations for advertising and editorial content, as well as a designs for theatrical productions and a handful of movie posters. This illustration also appeared on the Italian teaser poster but the UK quad is, I believe, the only other international poster to feature it.

Gymkata / one sheet / USA

24.04.15

Poster Poster
Title
Gymkata
AKA
Asia Mission (Germany)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Robert Clouse
Starring
Kurt Thomas, Tetchie Agbayani, Richard Norton, Edward Bell, John Barrett, Conan Lee, Bob Schott
Origin of Film
USA | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Kurt Thomas, Tetchie Agbayani, Richard Norton, Edward Bell, John Barrett, Conan Lee, Bob Schott,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
850047
Tagline
A new kind of martial arts combat! The skill of gymnastics. The kill of karate!

‘The skill of gymnastics. The kill of karate!’ – the tagline says it all on this US one sheet for the ill-advised martial arts clunker Gymkata, starring the American Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas who won a string of medals towards the end of the 1980s. Thomas stars as Jonathan Cabot, a champion gymnast who is approached by the fictional Special Intelligence Agency (SIA) to take part in ‘The Game’. Held in the small fictional nation of Parmistan, The Game is a sort of decathlon with extra threats coming from Parmistan warriors who are pursuing the participants at all times. The winner of the event is granted their life and also a single wish, which the SIA want Cabot to use to request that the king of Parmistan allow them to set up a ‘Star Wars’ satellite monitoring station in the country (some premise!)

The film is quite the experience with several unintentionally hilarious sequences and consistently terrible acting throughout. This YouTube video features most of the ‘highlights’ from the film and hopefully gives you an idea of what you’re in for if you’ve not seen it. One particular sequence, known as ‘the village of the crazies’ has to be seen to be believed (YouTube link). Poor Kurt Thomas only appeared in a couple of other long-forgotten roles but his work in the world of gymnastics continues to this day. The director of the film Robert Clouse, of Enter the Dragon fame, probably should have known better, but it’s easy to see why producers chose him to helm the film.

Rather brilliantly, the ninjas featured on this one sheet don’t actually appear in the film itself and the intention was clearly to try and tempt fans of the then popular ninja sub-genre of martial arts films (with titles like American Ninja) I’m unsure who was responsible for the art so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Blow Out / one sheet / USA

18.05.15

Poster Poster
Title
Blow Out
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May, John Aquino, John McMartin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May, John Aquino, John McMartin,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810132
Tagline
Murder has a sound all of its own

Following the poor reception of 1980’s Dressed to Kill, director Brian De Palma decided to develop an idea he’d had during production that was based on Antonioni’s 1966 thriller Blow Up, swapping photography for sound recording. The resultant film, with a screenplay by De Palma, was named Blow Out and released almost exactly a year after Dressed to Kill. John Travolta stars as Jack Terry, a sound technician who is working on a low-budget exploitation film and is tasked by a producer to set out and record a better scream for a pivotal scene as well as some ambient noises. Jack travels to a local park at night to record but whilst there he witnesses a limousine crash off a road and into a lake.

After diving in to see if there are any survivors Jack discovers the driver dead and a young woman alive but trapped in the back of the car. After rescuing her and pulling her to safety, Jack discovers that the driver was a governor and presidential candidate and the woman is Sally (De Palma’s then wife Nancy Allen), an escort. The governor’s associates persuade Jack to cover up the fact that Sally was in the car and whilst listening to the recordings he made that night he begins to suspect that the crash wasn’t an accident as people are being led to believe. When he discovers that an amateur cameraman was also recording in the park that night he works with Sally to get a copy of the film, and when spliced together it becomes clear that a single gunshot was fired before the car smashes into the lake. It soon becomes clear that Jack has inadvertently involved himself in a deepening conspiracy and that he and Sally are in grave danger, with the gunman Burke (John Lithgow) still at large and keen to tie up loose ends.

As expected, the film is visually stylish and features several of De Palma’s trademark bravura sequences, with one towards the end of the film featuring a parade and a fireworks display that is particularly memorable. The leads all give excellent performances, with Travolta’s low-key depiction of an ordinary man in over his head is in stark contrast to his breakout role in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever. The score by regular De Palma collaborator Pino Donaggio is also superb and serves the film perfectly.

Although it received several rave reviews from the likes of Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert, the film failed to take off at the box-office and only found cult success years after its initial release. The home video label Criterion released the film on blu-ray in 2011 and during a making-of documentary Nancy Allen mentions the marketing for the film, and this poster, as not helping the film’s box-office performance. It’s a very simple image and perhaps didn’t say enough about the film to entice potential film-goers. It’s also thought that word of mouth about the notoriously downbeat ending probably didn’t help either.

If anyone has any ideas who designed this poster please get in touch.

Certain Fury / quad / UK

27.05.15

Poster Poster
Title
Certain Fury
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Stephen Gyllenhaal
Starring
Tatum O'Neal, Irene Cara, Nicholas Campbell, George Murdock, Moses Gunn, Peter Fonda, Rodney Gage, Jonathon Pallone, David Longworth
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Tatum O'Neal, Irene Cara, Nicholas Campbell, George Murdock, Moses Gunn, Peter Fonda, Rodney Gage, Jonathon Pallone, David Longworth,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Two Academy Award winning stars... in the one motion picture that hurtles them from innocence - to fear - to rage!

Great artwork by Renato Casaro features on this UK quad for the release of the largely forgotten 1985 b-movie Certain Fury. As this poster is keen to point out, the film stars two young award-winning actresses, Tatum O’Neal (daughter of Ryan) and Irene Cara, a singer-songwriter who had won awards for her work on Fame and Flashdance. Tatum plays Scarlet, a tough, young delinquent who supports herself with prostitution and drug-dealing and Irene is Tracy, the daughter of a doctor, who has been arrested for drug possession and resisting arrest. The pair first meet in a courtroom and are waiting to be seen by the judge when other defendants begin attacking the court staff and police, leading to a deadly shootout. Scarlet and Tracy manage to escape the carnage and enter into the city’s sewers whilst being pursued by the police who believe they were part of the shootout. Soon the accidental death of a policeman is blamed on their actions and they have most of the force after them as well as various criminals who Scarlet asks for help before they turn on her and Tracy.

The film was poorly reviewed at the time and hardly set the box-office on fire. It’s never been released on home video since the days of VHS and, if the IMDb reviews are anything to go by, there’s probably a good reason. It sounds like a film that’s not even ‘so bad it’s good’ and this seems like one of those cases where the poster art is the best thing about the film!

One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro is an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

Meteor / B2 / Japan

01.06.15

Poster Poster

Arriving at the tail-end of the 1970s, a decade that saw the release of a number of successful disaster movies like The Towering Inferno and Earthquake, Meteor ended up as an all-star clunker and is easily one of the worst entries in the genre. Helmed by the British filmmaker Ronald Neame, who had seen success with 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, the film focuses on the outcome of the eponymous lump of rock barrelling towards earth after being knocked off course by a comet. Sean Connery plays Paul Bradley, a scientist who masterminded the creation of a space-based weapon named Hercules that was originally intended to protect earth from such a threat, but was instead taken over by the military and aimed at the Soviet Union due to escalating Cold War tensions.

The plot sees the US and Russia agreeing to work together after much (dull) handwringing and Paul Bradley works with his opposite number from the CCCP Alexei Dubov (Brian Keith) to ensure the Russian’s own weapons platform can combine forces with Hercules and fire both payloads at the rock. Meanwhile, fragments of the asteroid begin hitting earth in some unconvincing sequences featuring uniformly awful special effects. Eventually, and improbably, a large chunk hits Manhattan, which just happens to be where Paul Bradley and most of the other characters are located, leading to some sequences of mild peril that end up with Connery covered in mud and a few dead background characters. The special effects are truly, inexcusably awful and I can’t think of one well-executed sequence. The rock hitting New York is mostly done with what is clearly red-tinted stock footage of buildings being knocked down by controlled demolition.

The biggest problem with the film is that most of the actors look bored and, with the exception of a crazy-eyed Martin Landau, like they’d rather be somewhere else. It doesn’t help that the Cold War machinations, whilst maybe more relevant in 1979, are totally boring today and way too much of the film is spent focused on discussions to try and resolve differences between the two nations. Sadly, Meteor is one to be avoided and check out this article on Cinetropolis for further proof.

Whilst the film is a stinker, the same can’t be said for this moody artwork showing an obliterated Manhattan that was illustrated by Noriyoshi Ohrai, my favourite Japanese artist and certainly in my top five greatest film poster illustrators of all time. He’s responsible for a number of other posters in the Godzilla franchise, some of which can be seen here. He also worked on a number of Star Wars related posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film. In March 2014 a retrospective exhibition was held in Japan of Ohrai’s work and I made the trip over to Miyazaki to see the exhibition. I’m very glad I did as it featured most of his original artwork and a whole array of posters and book covers. A full report will follow soon.

The posters I’ve managed to collect by Noriyoshi Ohrai can be seen by clicking here.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape / quad / UK

09.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
Sex, Lies, and Videotape
AKA
--
Year of Film
1989
Director
Steven Soderbergh
Starring
James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo, Ron Vawter, Steven Brill
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo, Ron Vawter, Steven Brill,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (the oxford comma was a stylistic choice) is an important film for a number of reasons. It was the directorial debut of Steven Soderbergh, who apparently wrote the script in just eight days during a trip across the States, and the film would go on to win the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as launching Soderbergh’s impressive career (recently potentially ended for good). It was also a defining moment for the independent film movement, particularly since it was met by rave reviews and grossed multiple times its original budget (reported to be around $1.2m). A slew of successful indie pictures would follow during the 1990s and this film is often credited with kickstarting it all.

The film introduced Andie MacDowell and the next decade saw her becoming a hugely successful actress, particularly in the romantic comedy genre. It was also an important role for James Spader who had previously appeared in films like Wall Street and Pretty in Pink, but ‘Sex, Lies…’ gave a great boost to his career. MacDowell plays Ann Bishop Mullany who is living in Baton Rouge and is unhappily married to John (Peter Gallagher), a successful lawyer. Unbeknownst to Ann, her husband has been sleeping with her sister Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo) for some time, using Ann’s disinterest in sex as an excuse. Spader plays Graham, an old friend of John who returns to Baton Rouge after a nine year absence and stays with the Mullanys until he finds an apartment. Graham reveals that he records women talking about their sexual experiences and fantasies, and that its the only way he can receive sexual gratification. This revelation stirs up differing responses from the group and soon all of their lives will be changed for good.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design on this British quad but it is unique to this particular poster. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Orca / B2 / style C / Japan

12.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
Orca
AKA
Orca: Killer Whale (alt. title) | The Killer Whale (alt. title)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Michael Anderson
Starring
Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson, Bo Derek, Keenan Wynn, Robert Carradine, Scott Walker, Peter Hooten, Wayne Heffley
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling, Will Sampson, Bo Derek, Keenan Wynn, Robert Carradine, Scott Walker, Peter Hooten, Wayne Heffley,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style C
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
'Dino'
Size (inches)
20 3/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A man versus giant killer fish film that was released two years after the original summer blockbuster Jaws, Orca was always going to be compared to Spielberg’s classic even if its lead actor, the late Richard Harris, was apparently angered by the links; ‘I get really offended when people make the comparison’, he is quoted as saying at the time of release. The late Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis was determined to one-up the spectacle of Jaws and tasked the screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni to “find a fish tougher and more terrible than the great white”, which led them to the killer whale and production on ‘Orca’ began.

Harris plays Nolan, the Irish captain of a fishing boat operating in the waters off the coast of northern Canada who hears of a lucrative contract being offered for the live capture of a killer whale and hopes the bounty will pay off the mortgage on his boat. After Nolan and his crew accidentally spear a pregnant female killer whale they drag it onto the ship where it miscarries, and almost dies, before the male (Orca) attacks the ship, killing one of the crew before the female is cut loose and falls into the water. The next morning the body of the female whale washes up on shore and before long it becomes clear that Orca is out for revenge, as he attacks the fishing village and destroys vital fuel lines. The villagers insist Nolan is responsible and task him with killing Orca so he sets off with the remainder of his crew, plus marine biologist Rachel Bedford (Charlotte Rampling) and a native American killer whale expert (Will Sampson). The whale leads the boat away from the village into frozen, iceberg covered waters and the stage is set for a final confrontation.

Unfortunately for De Laurentiis and all involved the film was critically derided and sank quickly at the box office, particularly since the juggernaut that was Star Wars was already smashing box office records around the world. The idea of a vengeful fish obviously didn’t go down too well with audiences, although the people behind 1987’s awful Jaws: The Revenge must have forgotten this by the time it was decided to make a third Jaws sequel. The practice of hunting and capturing killer whales to feed the demand from aquariums in the 1960s and 70s was sadly all too prevalent, as documented in the recent heartbreaking documentary Blackfish, which also points out that there are no documented cases of humans being killed by the whales in the wild.

The artwork on the American one sheet was painted by John Berkey who also worked on the poster for the De Laurentiis produced remake of King Kong a year earlier, and the Orca art was also used for the British quad. The Japanese marketing campaign, however, featured at least three B2-sized posters, including this one, that featured artwork apparently unique to the posters and only the B1 format used the Berkey painting. I’ve called this B2 style C and there’s also the style A and style B. There’s a signature that looks like ‘Dino’ at the bottom of the art (see picture 5) but if anyone knows which artist this belongs to please get in touch.

Check out the bonkers original trailer on YouTube.

The Models / one sheet / USA

15.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
The Models
AKA
In Love with Sex (international title) | Donnez-nous notre amour quotidien [Give us our daily love] (French - original title)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Claude Pierson
Starring
Paola Senatore, Lucretia Love, Mauro Parenti, Jacques Buron, Yves Arcanel, Alice Arno, Jean-Michel Dhermay
Origin of Film
France | Canada | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Paola Senatore, Lucretia Love, Mauro Parenti, Jacques Buron, Yves Arcanel, Alice Arno, Jean-Michel Dhermay,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert McGinnis
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
What really goes on behind all the glitter and glamour | Banned in 36 countries. You can see it now without a single cut! | You'll never see this movie on TV!

The Models (AKA by the racier title ‘In Love with Sex’) was a French-Canadian-Italian co-production and a sexploitation drama directed by the Parisian Claude Pierson who seems to have made a living from helming these kind of films. I can find little information about the film itself but the various tag lines on this poster give you an idea of what you’re in for. The only synopsis I could find was on the BFI’s page for the film and simply says ‘About the problems of frigidity encountered by a young married woman and how they are overcome with help of her husband.’ The artwork on this poster is by the legendary artist Robert McGinnis and it’s a wonder that the production company were able to secure his talents (his services can’t have been cheap at this point in his career).

Robert McGinnis was responsible for some of the most iconic James Bond posters, including Thunderball,  The Man With the Golden Gun and Diamonds are Forever as well as multiple other classic posters from the 60s, 70s and 80s. He was born in Cincinatti, Ohio in 1926 and was given an apprenticeship at Walt Disney studios before studying fine art at Ohio State University. After serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, he started work in the advertising industry and later moved into painting book jackets for several notable authors, as well as editorial artwork for the likes of Good Housekeeping, TIME and The Saturday Evening Post. McGinnis’ first film poster was the now iconic one sheet for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, painted in 1962, and he went on to paint over 40 others during his career, including one for The Incredibles in 2004.

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were painted by McGinnis click here.

21 Grams / B1 / Japan

01.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
21 Grams
AKA
--
Year of Film
2003
Director
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring
Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Benicio Del Toro, Danny Huston, Clea DuVall, Eddie Marsan, Melissa Leo
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Benicio Del Toro, Danny Huston, Clea DuVall, Eddie Marsan, Melissa Leo,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2003
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
28 14/16" x 40.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams is the second film in his so-called ‘Trilogy of Death’, following on from his breakout debut hit Amores Perros (2000), with Babel completing the trilogy in 2005. Like the first film, 21 Grams features three main characters and plot lines that interweave around a fatal car accident and its consequences. Sean Penn plays Paul Rivers, a mathematics professor who is close to death from heart failure after years of smoking and abusing his body, and his wife Mary (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is desperate to conceive a child before he dies. Benicio Del Toro plays Jack Jordan, a reformed criminal who has spent many years in jail and is now trying to go straight by helping out at church and counselling kids who are on a similar path that he took. Naomi Watts plays Cristina Peck, a former drug addict who has settled down into suburban life with husband Michael (Danny Hustonand two daughters.

One fateful day, Jack accidentally hits Michael and the kids with his car, putting Michael into a coma and killing the daughters instantly. A grief-stricken Cristina returns to her drug-taking past but not before agreeing to have her husband’s organs donated. Jack is given Michael’s heart and eventually decides to track down the donor with the aid of a private detective. The rest of the film deals with the encounters between the characters. The title refers to the early 20th-century research of an American doctor called Duncan MacDougall who attempted to prove the existence of the human soul by recording a small loss of weight immediately after death. His methods detected varying amounts but 21 grams, or three quarters of an ounce, was the first recorded instance. The marketing campaign compared this weight to a ‘stack of nickels’, a chocolate bar and a hummingbird and this explains why the creature appears on this poster.

The film was very well critically received and was a success with worldwide audiences, although today it’s IMDb rating doesn’t quite match that of the first film in the trilogy. This poster design is unique to the Japanese marketing campaign.

Ichi the Killer / B2 / style A / Japan

08.02.16

Poster Poster
Title
Ichi the Killer
AKA
Koroshiya 1 (Japan - English title - means 'Hitman')
Year of Film
2001
Director
Takashi Miike
Starring
Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ômori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Toru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ômori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Toru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2001
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two styles of Japanese B2 posters printed for the release of director Takashi Miike‘s controversial 2001 film Ichi the Killer. A notably prolific director, Miike released 6 other films in the same year as Ichi alone, although it would be this one that would gain the most international notoriety. Based on the manga series of the same name by Hideo Yamamoto, the film focuses on the machinations of rival yakuza gangs within a crime syndicate and their interaction with Ichi (Nao Ômori), a shy and seemingly meek loner with a very dark side.

The film begins with the supposed disappearance of the gang boss Anjo, who vanishes from his apartment with millions of Yen, much to the confusion of his men. The audience sees the bloody aftermath of the fate that Anjo suffered at the hands of Ichi but a clean up crew led by Jijii (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) returns his apartment to a spotless state before his henchmen, led by the sadistic Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) arrives.

The hunt for Anjo begins and Kakihara wastes no time in kidnapping a rival gang leader, Suzuki (Susumu Terajima) and hangs him from meat hooks to try and get him to confess. When it becomes clear he’s got the wrong culprit, Kakihara is forced to apologise and then cuts off his own tongue as a punishment. After being kicked out of the syndicate, the gang continues to hunt for Anjo. The audience learns that Jijii has been psychologically manipulating Ichi for years and has trained him in preparation to be used as a kind of weapon against whoever he decides to target. Suzuki has offered Jijii a large sum of money to take out Kakihara and his gang in revenge for their earlier attack and they must hunt for Ichi before he can get to them first.

It’s fair to say that, in true Miike style, the film doesn’t shy away from violence and sadistic torture and there are some truly brutal sequences. It’s not hard to see why it attracted controversy and was even banned outright in a few countries soon after its release. Despite some very ropey CGI there are several scenes that still shock today and Miike uses editing and sound design to great effect.

This poster, which I’ve named ‘Style A’ features the standout character of Kakihara (here with the number 1 seen on the back of Ichi’s killer’s outfit projected onto his face). The other style also features Kakihara but in a very different situation.

Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion / B1 / Japan

06.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion
AKA
Gamera 2: Region shurai (Japan - original English title)
Year of Film
1996
Director
Shûsuke Kaneko
Starring
Toshiyuki Nagashima, Miki Mizuno, Tamotsu Ishibashi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Ayako Fujitani, Hiroyuki Okita, Yûsuke Kawazu, Yukijirô Hotaru, Hatsunori Hasegawa
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Toshiyuki Nagashima, Miki Mizuno, Tamotsu Ishibashi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Ayako Fujitani, Hiroyuki Okita, Yûsuke Kawazu, Yukijirô Hotaru, Hatsunori Hasegawa,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion is actually the 10th film to star the turtle-esque daikaiju (giant monster). The first film in the Showa period, entitled simply Gamera, was filmed in black and white in 1965 and released a year later in the US as ‘Gammera the Invincible’. Subsequent films during the Showa period were all ‘Gamera vs…’ a different kaiju and ended with Gamera: Super Monster. Fifteen years later the series was rebooted during the current Heisei period with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.  Attack of the Legion is set a year after the events of the last film and begins with a meteor crashing into a mountainside that is carrying swarms of an insect-like extraterrestrial.

Soon after the city of Sapporo is covered with strange plants and it becomes clear that the creatures are nesting underneath the city and encouraging them to grow into a giant flower in order to form a kind of launchpad for another meteor-like spore to be blasted into space so they can colonise another world. Just before the creatures are able to trigger a launch explosion that would flatten the city, Gamera flies in and tears the flower out by its roots. Soon he is battling the smaller creatures, which a soldier nicknames Legion (after the Biblical demon army), as well as a gigantic queen which bursts out of the ground and flies off to try and create a nest in another city. Before long Tokyo is being threatened by the creatures and Gamera is all that stands in the way.

The film was a critical success in Japan and was followed in 1999 by a sequel called Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys.

I’m unsure who is responsible for this artwork but I’m confident that it’s not Noriyoshi Ohrai, who painted several fantastic Godzilla posters. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

 

Platoon / one sheet / international

10.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Platoon
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Oliver Stone
Starring
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Mike Bryan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

An iconic image on this one sheet for the release of Oliver Stone‘s Academy Award-winning Vietnam war classic, Platoon, one of a three films that the director made on the subject (the others being Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth). The script, which was written by Stone, is based on his own experiences as an infantryman who served in tours of duty during the Vietnam war. He had signed up in 1967 after dropping out of Yale University and specifically requested to see combat in the war that had seen the first ground troops sent to the country two years earlier. Stone served in two different divisions for over a year and was wounded twice,  receiving several medals, including a Purple Heart.

The film follows Charlie Sheen‘s army grunt Chris Taylor (a proxy for Stone) who is serving as part of Bravo Company, 25th Infantry Division near the Cambodian Border. Taylor is fresh into the field and is treated with disdain by the more experienced soldiers (an incredible ensemble of acting talent, including Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Keith David and Forest Whitaker) who have all been in country for months, and he is quickly made aware that his presence is inconsequential. After a few skirmishes in which some members of the division are killed, Taylor is eventually accepted into the group and discovers the grinding boredom and rampant drug use amongst his fellow soldiers. Tensions between two sergeants, the ill-tempered, battle-scarred Barnes (Berenger) and the pleasant, more reasonable Elias (Dafoe) reach breaking point following an incident involving innocent villagers. Upon returning to base, the issue of a court-martial for illegal killing is raised and when the division is sent out on their next patrol, things reach boiling point, leaving Taylor fighting to survive against the enemy as well as members of his own team.

This one sheet features a shot from a pivotal scene in the film where Elias is left behind during an evacuation to escape from advancing Vietcong troops. The shot was used on most posters for the film’s release across the board, but not on the US one sheet. This poster is in fact a one sheet printed for use in English-speaking international countries (note the lack of MPAA rating). It most commonly appears without the white border and measuring 25″ x 39″ but this is the full-size 27″ x 41″ bordered version.

I had always assumed the image was a photograph but I only recently discovered it’s the work of the American artist Mike Bryan who also painted the fantastic and iconic Robocop one sheet. Heritage auction house sold the original paintings for both posters in March 2014 and included with each was a note from Bryan himself. The platoon one can be read here.

Cannonball / B2 / Japan

13.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Cannonball
AKA
Carquake (UK) | Cannonball! (alt. title)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Paul Bartel
Starring
David Carradine, Bill McKinney, Veronica Hamel, Gerrit Graham, Robert Carradine, Belinda Balaski, Judy Canova, Archie Hahn, Carl Gottlieb, Dick Miller
Origin of Film
USA | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
David Carradine, Bill McKinney, Veronica Hamel, Gerrit Graham, Robert Carradine, Belinda Balaski, Judy Canova, Archie Hahn, Carl Gottlieb, Dick Miller,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Paul Bartel, the late actor/director who was at the helm of the cult b-movie Death Race 2000 (released a year earlier), stuck with the cross-country car chase theme with this 1976 flick Cannonball, though he removed most of the gore that gave the former film its notoriety. The film and title are based on the exploits of Erwin G. “Cannon Ball” Baker, a legendary bike and car racer who made over 140 cross-country speed runs during his career and put his name to the Sea to Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an illegal cross-country race that was run five times during the 1970s. This was the first in a series of films that was based on the idea of illegal long-distance races, with The Gumball Rally seeing release the same year, and the more successful Cannonball Run and its sequel being released at the start of the 1980s.

Whilst perhaps not as star-studded as the later films, Cannonball still has a large ensemble cast with several cameos that are both credited and un-credited, including Martin Scorsese, Sylvester Stallone, Don Simpson and Roger Corman. David Carradine appears as Coy ‘Cannonball’ Buckman, a race driver who has recently been released from jail where he was sent for killing someone whilst driving drunk. He decides to enter the Trans-America Grand Prix, an illegal road race that travels between Los Angeles and New York City. The racing team Modern Motors has promised a contract to either Coy or his arch-rival Cade Redman (Bill McKinney) so he is determined to win.

Because the race crosses state lines Coy will be in violation of his parole conditions, his parole officer (Veronica Hamel) attempts to stop him and ends up being forced to come along for the ride. Two people who have offered to pay his race expenses are also passengers in his Dodge Charger and there are several other racers in the competition, including a surfer dude played by David’s brother Robert and his girlfriend (played by Belinda Balaski). The race soon descends into a violent destruction derby with many of the competitors meeting grizzly ends. Coy will be challenged in more ways than one and the first to cross the finish line isn’t who you might think. Later films in the genre would tone down the violence and deaths considerably.

This Japanese B2 poster features a unique montage design and was printed for the film’s first release in the country in 1977. Note the miss-spelling of the title as ‘Canonnball’.

 

Carrie / one sheet / Turkey

05.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
Carrie
AKA
Carrie, lo sguardo di Satana [The gaze of Satan] (Italy) | Keri (Serbia)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Turkey
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
26 14/16" x 39 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Brian De Palma‘s horror classic Carrie still stands up today as a perfectly paced thriller and a powerful portrait of the torment suffered by a social outcast on the receiving end of a bullying campaign. Sissy Spacek delivers a breakout performance as Carrie White, the teenager who is picked upon by her teachers, peers and her domineering, abusive mother Margaret (played brilliantly by Piper Laurie). What nobody knows is that Carrie has discovered that she has a latent telekinetic power that flares up when she’s upset or angry. The film also features memorable turns from several young actors who were relative unknowns at the time, including John TravoltaNancy Allen and William Katt as Tommy.

The unforgettable prom night sequence that sees Carrie’s destructive powers fully unleashed was clearly seen as the marketing cornerstone for the film, as evidenced by the images at the bottom of this Turkish one sheet. A still from the scene features on the brilliant Japanese B2. An image of Sissy Spacek drenched in blood is often used to promote the film and has been used for multiple DVD covers and other marketing materials. This artwork only appears on the Turkish poster but my friend Sim Branaghan confirmed that it was originally used by the UK publishing company NEL on the cover of the paperback reprint of Stephen King’s novel as early as 1975. Here’s a link to it on a later 1978 edition, also published by NEL. I’ve searched but am unable to find an artist to whom I can credit it.

Flesh and Blood / quad / UK

29.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Flesh and Blood
AKA
Flesh+Blood (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Paul Verhoeven
Starring
Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson, Jack Thompson, Fernando Hilbeck, Susan Tyrrell, Ronald Lacey, Brion James
Origin of Film
Spain | USA | Netherlands
Genre(s) of Film
Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson, Jack Thompson, Fernando Hilbeck, Susan Tyrrell, Ronald Lacey, Brion James,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown artist - based on artwork by Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A timeless adventure, a passion for wealth and power. Only the strongest will survive.

This is the British quad for the release of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven‘s first English language film, Flesh and Blood (sometimes referred to as Flesh+Blood). Verhoeven had been making films with subsidies from the Dutch government but things had been proving difficult due to the controversial subject matter of his stories so he decided to seek financial backing from a Hollywood studio. The now defunct Orion Pictures stumped up most of the budget for Flesh and Blood and had asked the director for a war film after seeing the celebrated Soldier of Orange. Verhoeven had nothing prepared in that genre so he worked hastily with a regular collaborator, the screenwriter Gerard Soeteman, to adapt some unused material from their TV series Floris, which was set during the Middle-Ages. Verhoeven would later rue the decision to allow Orion to insist on script changes that added a romantic interest to the story.

Set in Italy in 1501, the film features the Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, who had worked with Verhoeven several times before (including on Floris), as Martin, the leader of a band of mercenaries who are asked to help Lord Arnolfini (Fernando Hilbeck) retake his city that was captured whilst he was away. After successfully storming and recapturing it the mercenaries are initially told they can ransack the houses of the richest inhabitants of the city, but Arnolfini then changes his mind and orders his army to march the mercenaries from the city without the bounty that was agreed. The group vow to take their revenge and when Arnolfini’s son Steven (Tom Burlinson) leaves the castle to meet Agnes (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a noblewoman who has been betrothed to him, the mercenaries strike. After attacking the caravan and badly wounding Arnolfini, they kidnap Agnes and ride away with her. Eventually they end up at a castle where they hole-up and attempt to see off any attempts to rescue Agnes, who is seemingly falling in love with Martin.

Although it features moments of humour, Verhoeven’s intention was to show that the Middle-Ages weren’t as glamorous and pleasant as had been depicted in previous films, so he doesn’t shy away from casual violence, filth and degradation. Agnes in particular is subjected to a humiliating ordeal at the hands of the mercenaries, effectively ending up as their plaything later in the film. There’s plenty of blood-letting too with some battle scenes that are not for the faint hearted. Apparently the production was beset with problems, including an uncooperative international crew who were often drunk or under the influence of drugs, as well as a giant rift that opened up between Verhoeven and Hauer because the actor wanted to build a career as a heroic leading man, but the director wanted his character to be more ambiguous and at times unpleasant. The resulting film is definitely uneven and at times confusing, but is nevertheless engaging. Hauer in particular injects his scenes with plenty of wild energy and Jennifer Jason Leigh is memorable as the sensuous Agnes. Unfortunately Orion botched the American release and the film apparently flopped quickly. Verhoeven would later say he felt that he’d probably made the film too cynical and downbeat for audiences to take.

This artwork was adapted by an unknown British artist from an original piece of art by the Italian artist Renato Casaro, which was originally painted for the German poster. Notable changes include the position of the characters, which widened for this quad, plus the smaller figure of Hauer is also markedly different. One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro had a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

Lethal Pursuit / one sheet / USA

19.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
Lethal Pursuit
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Don Jones
Starring
Mitzi Kapture, Blake Bahner, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Blake Gibbons, Stephanie Johnson, Gary Kent
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mitzi Kapture, Blake Bahner, Thom Adcox-Hernandez, Blake Gibbons, Stephanie Johnson, Gary Kent,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Bill Garland
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Some live for the hunt... Others for the kill.

Definitely one of those cases where the poster is the best thing about the film, Lethal Pursuit is a forgotten action b-movie from 1988. It appears to have only had a cinema release in a handful of countries and was straight to video in others. It hasn’t been given a DVD release anywhere in the world as far as I can tell. The IMDb plot description says:

A rock star babe and her hunky honey find themselves targeted by her psychotic ex, whose insane jealousy sparks a deadly game of desert cat-and-mouse.

There’s a single review on the film’s IMDb page and it’s rather damning. Here’s some excerpts:

There is not much to say except simply, do not watch this film. In fact, if you are reading this I must ask why you even looked this movie up? If you are here because you saw this in the 99 cent VHS bin at the Good Will, where it probably can be found, and want to know weather to buy it. PASS! You will want your dollar back.

Best way to sum it up. Think of every little detail that makes a film a film. Then take this sentence “The ____ of/in this film is awful in every way.” and insert every one of those details. And you have a summary.

There’s an illustrated review of the film on the Betamax Rundown site.

I’ve discovered that this illustration can be credited to the American artist Bill Garland who is probably best known for the brilliant original Mad Max one sheet, but has worked on several other film posters. The artist has a page on Phosphor Art featuring a short biography as well as a selection of his art. It details that Garland has been working for over 30 years and started his career as a Ford Motor company scholar and used these core technical skills to ‘enhance his command of a wide range of artistic styles’. In addition to working with Hollywood studios, Garland also carried out work for commercial clients like Coca Cola and the NFL. I can’t find an official site for the artist so if anyone knows any more details about him please get in touch.

Księżniczka / B1 / Poland

21.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
Księżniczka
AKA
Adj Király Katonát [Give the King Troops] (Hungary - original title) | The Princess (English translation of Polish title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Pál Erdöss
Starring
Erika Ozsda, Andrea Szendrei, Denes Diczhazi, Árpád Tóth, Júlia Nyakó, Lajos Soltis
Origin of Film
Hungary
Genre(s) of Film
Erika Ozsda, Andrea Szendrei, Denes Diczhazi, Árpád Tóth, Júlia Nyakó, Lajos Soltis,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Maciej Woltman
Artist
Maciej Woltman
Size (inches)
26.5" x 38.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking image features on this Polish poster for the release of the obscure Hungarian drama Adj Király Katonát (literally ‘Give the King Troops’), which was titled as Księżniczka (Princess) for its Polish release. I’ve struggled to find out much about the film other than it was the directorial debut of Budapest-born Pál Erdöss who worked on 17 films right up to his death in 2007. The film is available to view in full on YouTube should you so wish.

The poster was designed by Maciej Woltman, a Polish artist who was born in 1952 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań under the professor (and artist in his own right) Waldemar Świerzy for posters and illustration and under John Świtki for painting. After graduating in 1982 he began to work with the film poster outfit Polfilm and worked on plenty of film posters as well as other illustrations for editorial content and commercial projects. The Polish encyclopaedia site Pomeranica lists a large number of exhibitions that he has held over the years. He also practices as a fine artist and some of his paintings can be seen on this page on Galeria Kapitanska and on this site.

Other film posters Woltman has worked on include those for Gandhi and Star 80.

Jaws / one sheet / Turkey

26.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
Jaws
AKA
Les dents de la mer [The teeth of the sea] (France)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Turkey
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Lou Feck (original shark) | Renato Casaro (original woman)
Size (inches)
26 11/16" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Lurid artwork features on this Turkish one sheet for Steven Spielberg’s 1975 masterpiece Jaws. Apparently the film wasn’t actually released in Turkey until 1981 which explains why the enterprising designer of this poster has used American artist Lou Feck’s illustration of a shark from the poster for Jaws 2 (1978) and inserted a bikini-clad victim into its mouth (as well as blood dripping from the shark’s teeth). Feck’s illustration was used around the world to promote the sequel after originally appearing on the front of the Jaws 2 novel and I have the Japanese B2 in the Film on Paper collection.

The US one sheet’s instantly recognisable image was painted by the American artist Roger Kastel and was originally commissioned for the paperback cover of Peter Benchley’s novel, but when Universal saw the artwork they bought the rights to use it for the poster and following the worldwide success of the film it would go onto become one of the most imitated and parodied images of all time, as well as a merchandising product in its own right.

Friend of the site Steve Guariento got in touch to point out that the bikin-clad lady was also adapted from another piece of art, namely the Italian four sheet for the Hammer film Dracula AD 1972 (click here to see it) that was painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro. The designer of the poster clearly had a Turkish artist paint some open eyes and an open mouth over the original art since the woman is asleep on Casaro’s poster. All of which makes it a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster of a poster!

Duel / re-release / Thailand

01.02.16

Poster Poster
Title
Duel
AKA
--
Year of Film
1971
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone, Lou Frizzell, Eugene Dynarski, Lucille Benson, Tim Herbert
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone, Lou Frizzell, Eugene Dynarski, Lucille Benson, Tim Herbert,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
198?
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
21 4/16" x 30 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Steven Spielberg‘s brilliant Duel was originally made for TV but was later expanded by 16 minutes and released in cinemas around the globe, making it technically the director’s second feature-length film. One of the best thrillers ever made, the story follows businessman David Mann (Dennis Weaver) who is traveling along a two-lane highway on the way to an important meeting. After getting stuck behind a series of slow moving vehicles he decides to overtake a rusty tanker truck and manages to enrage the driver, thus beginning an episode of road rage that escalates beyond Mann’s worst nightmares.

Cleverly, the psychotic truck driver is never fully shown, thus making it seem like it’s the truck itself that’s in deadly pursuit of Mann. The film was based on a short story by the legendary sci-fi author and screenwriter Richard Matheson who has penned countless classic novels, short stories and screenplays, including the original ‘I Am Legend’, and one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever, ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet‘ (a similar kind of ‘single man versus relentless evil’ story).

One of the original trucks used in the film survives to this day and is pictured here along with a similar Plymouth Valiant to the one driven by Mann in the film.

This is one of two Thai posters that I’m aware of for the release of the film there and I believe this to be for a later re-release (though I’m not certain of the year). I have the other style and will be adding it to the site in the future. There is a signature on the poster but I’m not sure which artist it belongs to. If anyone has an idea please get in touch.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

The Crying Game / quad / UK

14.03.16

Poster Poster

This UK quad poster for the release of Neil Jordan‘s 1992 drama The Crying Game is notable for marking the end of an era of British film posters featuring painted artwork. As Sim Branaghan writes in his must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, ‘By the time this [quad] appeared in 1992, illustration on British posters was effectively dead.’ After this time it was a rare exception that a film wasn’t advertised using a photographic montage, often with the same image being used around the globe to promote a film.

The production company behind the film, Palace Pictures, had worked with Jordan on other features, including Mona Lisa and The Company of Wolves and had regularly worked with artists and illustrators when it came to the posters for the films they released. Celebrated artist Graham Humphreys received his big break into working as an illustrator for film posters when he was asked to paint the artwork to be used on the quad for The Evil Dead, which Palace were distributing in the UK. For more details see the Film on Paper interview with Humphreys which can be read here.

The Crying Game was written by Jordan (he would later win an Academy Award for the screenplay) and stars Stephen Rea as a member of an IRA crew who kidnap a British soldier called Jody (Forest Whitaker) by luring him into a wood with the promise of sex from one of their squad, Jude (Miranda Richardson). The group demand the release of imprisoned IRA members and threaten to execute Jody if their requests are not met.

Fergus and the soldier strike up an uneasy friendship, despite their differences. When the hostage situation goes horribly wrong Fergus is forced into hiding and moves to London, assuming a new identity as ‘Jimmy’. There he looks up Jody’s girlfriend Dil (Jaye Davidson) whom Jody had spoken a lot about and eventually the pair form a tentative relationship. But there’s more to Dil than Fergus realises and the danger that his past life will be uncovered by her grows ever larger.

The film was met with critical praise and glowing reviews around the globe but failed to perform at the UK and Ireland box-office, something that is now felt to be due to its heavy political undertones and the public’s attitude towards the IRA. It was released in the US by Miramax and became a sleeper hit over the following weeks. As hinted at by one of the press quotes on the poster, it’s one of those films that has a plot twist so significant that it becomes the main reason people are aware of and discuss the film (see also ‘The Sixth Sense’).

 

Red Road / A1 / Czechoslovakia

17.02.16

Poster Poster
Title
Red Road
AKA
--
Year of Film
2006
Director
Andrea Arnold
Starring
Kate Dickie, Tony Curran, Martin Compston, Natalie Press, Paul Higgins, Andrew Armour
Origin of Film
UK | Denmark
Genre(s) of Film
Kate Dickie, Tony Curran, Martin Compston, Natalie Press, Paul Higgins, Andrew Armour,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Czechoslovakia
Year of Poster
2006
Designer
Tomáš Brousil
Artist
Tomáš Brousil
Size (inches)
23 7/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Czech poster for the release of director Andrea Arnold’s 2006 drama Red Road. The film is set in and around Glasgow’s Red Road flats, a series of high-rise blocks designed in a brutalist style that were condemned in 2008 and demolished over five years, starting in 2015. Kate Dickie plays Jackie Morrison, a CCTV operator tasked with monitoring the flats. She is revealed to be living a simple, joyless life based around her work.

One evening a camera picks up the face of a man she wasn’t expecting to see and over the course of the film we watch as Jackie engineers getting closer to Clyde (Tony Curran) who is revealed to be a prisoner that was released early on good behaviour. Jackie hatches a plan to frame Clyde for rape and have him sent back to prison and only at the end of the film do we learn the horrifying reason for her wanting to punish him in such a way.

The film was shot in the Danish Dogme 95 style, which among other rules means utilising only natural lighting (no fake setups) and the use of handheld cameras. The film was rightly lauded and won the prestigious Jury Prize at the Cannes film festival in 2006. Dickie and Curran’s performances were also praised and the pair would go on to win multiple awards in the wake of the film’s release.

A reader of the site got in touch to confirm that the poster was designed by Tomáš Brousil, a renowned graphic artist and designer of fonts who has his own type foundry called Suitcase. According to the Czech Wikipedia page he was born in 1975 in Nitra, Slovakia and started studying at the renowned Academy of Arts in Prague in 2002. Since 2008 he has worked as a teaching assistant for the type designer and professor Jan Solpera. 

 

The Lighthorsemen / one sheet / UK

09.01.17

Poster Poster
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
Jon Blake, Peter Phelps, Tony Bonner, Bill Kerr, John Walton, Gary Sweet, Tim McKenzie, Sigrid Thornton, Anthony Andrews,
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.

Where the Green Ants Dream / quad / UK

12.09.16

Poster Poster
Title
Where the Green Ants Dream
AKA
Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen (Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Werner Herzog
Starring
Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Ray Barrett, Norman Kaye, Ralph Cotterill, Nick Lathouris, Basil Clarke, Ray Marshall
Origin of Film
West Germany | Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Ray Barrett, Norman Kaye, Ralph Cotterill, Nick Lathouris, Basil Clarke, Ray Marshall,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Paul Derrick
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 4/16" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking image by the British designer Paul Derrick features on this UK quad for the release of maverick director Werner Herzog‘s 1984 drama Where the Green Ants Dream. The film was the directorial follow up to what many consider to be Herzog’s masterpiece, Fitzcarraldo, and is set in the Australian outback. Co-written with the Australian screenwriter Bob Ellis, the film deals with the contentious issue of aboriginal land rights that has existed ever since the British established a settlement there in the 18th Century. A mix of facts and fiction, the film features a number of aboriginal activists who had been involved in a real-life court case

Bruce Spence, who is best known as the Gyro Captain from Mad Max 2, plays Lance Hackett, a geologist working for a mining company that is carrying out a series of tests on some land that they intend to mine for Uranium. The title refers to the insects that the aborigines believe to be sacred and they fear will be disturbed by the blasting and drilling. One of the tribal elders, as featured on this poster, explains that this disturbance could bring about the end of the world. Lance is instructed to spend time with the activists and try and work out a deal with them so that the mining company can carry on their testing. When that eventually fails, even after they are given a large army plane as part of an attempted deal, the case goes to the courts. 

Paul Derrick’s official website can be viewed here and, according to the short biography on the site, he has been working for many years on publishing and visual identity projects for a wide range of clients, including arts and educational organisations as well as government clients. He also says that he is ‘experienced in undertaking, and art directing, documentary photography to create visual narratives and storytelling.’ There are a few examples of posters he worked on and the British distribution company Artificial Eye is listed in the projects section.