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Poppies Are Also Flowers / A1 / Germany

21.09.15

Poster Poster

Five great portraits painted by Renato Casaro feature on this German re-release poster for Poppies Are Also Flowers (AKA Danger Grows Wild and several other titles). Made as an anti-drug trafficking film with the help of the United Nations, it was sponsored by corporate entities, including Xerox.  As this poster attests, it was based on a screenplay by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, was directed by Bond director Terence Young and had a seriously star-studded cast. The likes of Yul BrynnerAngie DickinsonTrevor Howard and Marcello Mastroianni all signed up and, so the story goes, worked for $1 each. Some serious favours must have been called in as I find it hard to believe they were all passionately anti-narcotics!

The story is described thusly on the film’s Wikipedia page:

In an attempt to stem the heroin trade at the Afghanistan–Iran border, a group of narcotics agents working for the United Nations inject a radioactive compound into a seized shipment of opium, in the hopes that it will lead them to the main heroin distributor in Europe.

Now largely forgotten, the film is apparently in the public domain and is available to watch on YouTube and elsewhere (although the quality of all copies out there is atrocious). Although originally intended for TV, the film was given a cinema release in several countries, including Japan, UK (as Danger Grows Wild) and Germany. This poster is apparently for a 1973 re-release (for what reason I’m not certain) and the original German release poster can be seen here. Casaro was clearly tasked with making the film appear as exciting as possible and added the action scenes in the bottom half of the poster. It’s safe to say that for all the effort that went it to making the film it wasn’t exactly successful in curtailing the activities of the international drug trade!

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.

Once Upon a Time In America / A1 / Germany

03.03.14

Poster Poster

Considered by many to be Sergio Leone’s masterpiece – certainly not an easy choice to make when there are films like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West to choose from – ‘…America’ was to be the Italian director’s last film. Infamously, it had almost 90 minutes removed for its US cinematic release (in 1984), apparently after receiving terrible notice from American critics at the Cannes Film Festival – the re-cut version was also given a slating when it appeared.

Eventually the full 229 minute version was made available on home video in America. In 2012 it was announced that the film was to be restored to an even longer cut with over 40 minutes of newly discovered material that was thought lost. An extended cut of the film was released on blu-ray in 2014.

I recently visited the same street in Brooklyn that leads down to the Manhattan Bridge and is featured in the film and on this poster. I took this picture, which gives you an idea of how the street looks today.

This is the German poster (style A) that was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, 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. The other posters I have collected by Casaro can be seen by clicking here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

 

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom / A1 / Czechoslovakia

19.03.14

Poster Poster

This is the original Czech poster for the release of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom, which followed on from the classic Raiders of the Lost Ark but was in fact a prequel to the original action-adventure. Set in 1935 (so pre-WWII Nazis), the film sees Harrison Ford’s intrepid adventurer escaping from an ambush in a Shanghai nightclub whilst trying to procure an ancient artefact. Together with the American lounge singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and a cocky Chinese kid called Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) he escapes on a plane only to be double-crossed by the pilots who disable the controls before parachuting out. Surviving with the improbable help of a rubber dinghy, the trio end up in a remote northern Indian village.

After discovering that all the children from the surrounding area have been kidnapped and taken to the nearby Pankot Palace, as well as the fact that village’s sacred stone is missing, Indy decides to pay a visit to the palace. Although they receive a warm welcome at first, questioning around the missing children is quickly dismissed and later that night Indy is attacked by an assassin, which leads the trio to discover a hidden door in Willie’s room. Venturing through booby-trapped passages they discover an underground temple which is presided over by an evil Thuggee priest called Mola Ram and before long their presence is discovered.

Although the film received mixed critical notice back in 1984, particularly in respects to its darker tone and increased violence over Raiders (the film was responsible for the creation of the American PG-13 rating), the film was mostly well received by fans and has since gained more of a critical appreciation. Spielberg was less enamoured by the finished film, however, and is quoted as saying “Temple of Doom is my least favourite of the trilogy. I look back and I say, ‘Well the greatest thing that I got out of that was I met Kate Capshaw. We married years later and that to me was the reason I was fated to make Temple of Doom'”

The film was first released in Czechoslovakia in 1986 and this poster was designed and printed by the Czech artist Milan Pecák. The imagery alludes to one of the most memorable scenes in the film, which seriously disturbed me when I watched it as a child, where Mola Ram sacrifices an unlucky innocent into a fiery pit. A celebrated designer and artist, Pecák was born in 1962 and studied at the Vaclav Hollar School of Fine Arts in Prague before working as an architect and later as a set designer for several films.

It was whilst working on the 1986′ ‘Zastihla Me Noc’ that he was first given the opportunity to work on the film’s poster and from then onwards he was in demand as an artist for posters advertising Czech releases, as well as several American films, including Gorillas in the Mist, Mississippi Burning and arguably his most famous design for James Cameron’s Terminator (released in Czechoslovakia in 1990). In addition to film posters, Pecak is also an accomplished book and magazine cover illustrator and in his spare time works on fine art painting as well as digital graphics.

Milan Pecak’s official website can be viewed here and features several galleries of his work as well as a biography.

Fish Tank / A1 / Czechoslovakia

20.10.16

Poster Poster

A unique design by Bohdan Heblik features on this Czech poster for the release of director Andrea Arnold‘s 2009 film Fish Tank. The British director won an Oscar for her short film Wasp in 2003 and her first feature-length film, Red Road, was released three years later. Like her first film, Fish Tank is a slice of gritty British realism focusing on a female protagonist. The location has changed, however, with East London replacing Glasgow.

Katie Jarvis plays the main character, 15-year-old Mia. Jarvis was a first-time actress who was cast after one of the film’s casting assistants saw her arguing with her boyfriend in public. Mia is a troubled teen who has been expelled from school multiple times. She lives with her mum Joanne (longtime Eastenders actress Kierston Wareing) and her younger sister on a council estate. She’s also a bit of a loner and has recently fallen out with her friend Keeley. Mia dreams of pursuing a career as a dancer and practices her moves in an empty flat on the estate. The arrival of her mum’s new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender, just on the cusp of superstardom) into their home unsettles Mia. Although events quickly spiral out of control, Connor will prove to have a profound effect on the direction Mia’s life takes.

This Czech poster was created in 2010 for a yearly film festival called Projekt 100. Each year, AČFK (the Association of Czech Film Clubs) selects a handful of classic films (and recent films of particular note) to be distributed at independent cinemas throughout the Czech Republic.

Bohdan Heblik is a prolific Czech designer who has a personal website featuring plenty of examples of his work. There’s not much in the way of a biography but I believe he was born in 1978 and currently lives in Prague. It appears he’s worked on posters for the Projekt 100 festival three times, including 2010 when this poster was created. If you look on this page you can see the other designs he created that year, including one for the 1971 film Harold and Maude.

Cotton Club / A1 / Germany

23.05.16

Poster Poster

This is the poster for the German release of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 crime-drama/musical The Cotton Club. Legendary producer Robert Evans had originally planned to direct the film and the initial story and screenplay had been written by Mario ‘The Godfather’ Puzo, but Evans had a last-minute change of heart and asked Coppola to step in. Puzo’s script was apparently re-written by the author William Kennedy who ended up writing multiple drafts and ended up with a shared screenplay credit along with Coppola. Production was apparently beset with problems, including a spiralling budget that was provided by various parties including Las Vegas casino owners, an Arab arms dealer and a vaudeville performer. In typical fashion, Evans was determined to make the film as extravagant as possible and constructed ‘no expense spared’ sets, hiring some of the best technicians in the business at eye-watering figures.

Another likely reason that filming costs ballooned is the impressive ensemble cast that Evans and the studio were able to hire, which included the likes of Richard GereDiane LaneBob Hoskins and Gregory Hines. Loosely based on the real club of the same name that was located in New York’s Harlem neighbourhood, the story follows the machinations of various characters involved with the club in the 1930s, including Gere’s musician Dixie Dwyer whose dealings with the mobster owner of the club Owney Madden (Hoskins) sees him advance his career as an actor whilst having an affair with the girlfriend of the local kingpin, Dutch Schultz (James Remar). The film also follows Sandman Williams (Hines) a local dancer who falls for the club’s star performer Lila Rose Dwyer (Lonette McKee). Nicolas Cage appears as Dixie’s violent, racist brother Vincent who joins Schultz’s gang.

The film features several musical sequences and is soundtracked by several of the most popular jazz tunes of the era. Sadly, Coppola and Evans clashed regularly during the production and at a certain point the director apparently barred the producer from visiting the set. The Cotton Club was declared a flop when it opened in fourth place at the box-office and would eventually go on to recoup less than half of its reported budget of just under $60 million. Despite tepid critical reception the film was nevertheless nominated for several awards (only winning for Best Costumes at the BAFTAs). The film has something of a cult following today, with many fans speaking highly of the film’s production values and well-staged musical numbers. Rumours of a director’s cut release were ignited last year when Coppola declared that a restoration was in the works, reinstating several musical sequences that were apparently cut for its initial release.

This German poster was illustrated by Renato Casaro, 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.

Heart Like a Wheel / A1 / Hungary

30.03.16

Poster Poster
Title
Heart Like a Wheel
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Jonathan Kaplan
Starring
Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Bruce Barlow, Leo Rossi, Anthony Edwards, Hoyt Axton, Paul Barte, Missy Basile
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Bruce Barlow, Leo Rossi, Anthony Edwards, Hoyt Axton, Paul Barte, Missy Basile,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Hungary
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Futó
Artist
Futó
Size (inches)
22 5/16" x 32 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Colourful and unique artwork features on this Hungarian poster for the release of the 1983 biographical drama Heart Like a Wheel. The film is based on the life of Shirley Muldowney who made history by becoming the first woman to compete in the sport of drag racing and who would go on to win an unprecedented three world championship awards. Born in Vermont in 1940, Shirley began amateur drag racing with the help of her then husband in the 1950s and had to battle against the prevailing misogynist views surrounding the ultra-macho sport.

Eventually in 1966, after proving her skills on the speedways and persuading three male drivers to sign a letter agreeing to it, the sport’s official body the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) granted Shirley a licence to compete in the biggest events. Over the following four decades she consistently proved herself on the track, with awards in several of the sports’ categories, including the most prestigious Top Fuel events. The film deals with Shirley’s life on and off the track, including the breakup of her first marriage and a rocky relationship with another race driver called Connie Kalitta (Beau Bridges).

Bonnie Bedelia, perhaps best known as Holly McClane in Die Hard 1 and 2, was chosen to play Shirley, although the Muldowney apparently didn’t approve of the casting and had wanted Jamie Lee Curtis to depict her. 

The artwork on this poster features the signature of ‘Futó’, a Hungarian artist about whom I’ve been able to discover nothing. If anyone has any information about him or her please get in touch.

Blue Velvet / A1 / Germany

13.06.16

Poster Poster

A unique design features on this German poster for the release of David Lynch’s cult mystery, Blue Velvet (1986). The film was long in gestation and Lynch has since said the story began to crystallise into a series of ideas as early as 1973. The critical and commercial failure of Lynch’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune (1984) had left the director bruised and deflated, so he was keen to return to an original story in the vein of his 1977 debut Eraserhead. Dino De Laurentiis, the producer behind Dune, agreed to finance and produce Blue Velvet for a relatively low-budget of $6m.

Lynch assembled an eclectic cast ready for production, including Isabella Rossellini, who was known for her modelling and TV adverts, Dennis Hopper and Kyle MacLachlan who had also appeared in Dune and would later gain worldwide fame as FBI Agent Cooper in Lynch’s TV series, Twin Peaks.

MacLachlan plays mild-mannered Jeffrey Beaumont who returns to his small hometown in North Carolina to visit his father who has suffered a stroke. Soon after arriving he takes a shortcut through a vacant lot and discovers a severed human ear on the ground. After taking the ear to the local police detective he becomes reaquainted with detective’s daughter Sandy (Lynch regular Laura Dern) and the pair decide to carry out their own investigation into the mystery.

They soon realise that the enigmatic nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens (Rossellini) has something to do with the missing ear and Jeffrey decides to start following her but makes the mistake of getting caught in her apartment. Vallens threatens him with a knife but soon afterwards the sociopathic Frank Booth (an incredible performance from Hopper) arrives and Jeffrey hides in the closet from where he is forced to watch Booth’s bizarre sexual proclivities. Jeffrey soon discovers that Booth has kidnapped Vallens’ son and he agrees to help her as he descends further into the sinister underworld hidden beneath a seemingly pleasant town. The film received mixed critical notices at the time but has since gone onto achieve cult status and is often cited as one of the best American films of all time. It’s also one of the director’s more accessible films, certainly in comparison to the likes of Inland Empire.

This German poster was created by a French designer who goes by the name Benjamin Baltimore (I’m assuming that’s not his actual name). I’m not quite sure why the German distributor used a French designer and the majority of the work in Baltimore’s portfolio is for French posters – Blue Velvet’s French poster is completely different in style. Blue Velvet is the rare film that has a unique poster for practically every country it was released in and emovieposter.com’s archive is a good way of viewing them all – see here. According to this article he’s responsible for over 600 film posters and has worked for a number of legendary directors during his career.

Never Say Never Again / A1 / Germany

25.02.15

Poster Poster

An excellent portrait of Sean Connery surrounded by an action montage features on this German poster for Never Say Never Again, a non-canon James Bond film. The existence and status of the film is due to a long-running legal issue involving Bond creator Ian Fleming and a film producer called Kevin McClory. The pair had worked together on an abandoned Bond project called Longitude 78 that Fleming later turned into the novel Thunderball without crediting the producer or another writer who worked on the project. The case went to the high court and McClory was then given the right to produce the resultant Thunderball film in 1965 as well as the ability to remake the novel turned film after 10 years had elapsed. It took a bit longer than that but eventually McClory brought the same story to the screen in 1983, which happened to be the year that Octopussy, an official entry into the series starring Roger Moore, was released.

Connery wasn’t always in the frame to return as Bond, but after he developed an initial draft of the script with novelist Len Deighton in the 1970s, his name became attached to the project and he was eventually persuaded to star thanks to a significant fee as well as a share of the profits and the ability to veto script and casting decisions. Irvin Kershner came onboard to direct and the rest of the cast was filled with the likes of Max von Sydow as the arch-villain Blofeld and Klaus Maria Brandauer as Maximilian Largo (key villain in Thunderball). A young Kim Basinger appears as Domino, the partner of Largo and later a love interest for Bond.

The film’s plot about the hunt for stolen nuclear warheads features a great deal of similarities with Thunderball, given that it is effectively a remake, but there are significant stylistic differences and also several references made to the fact that Connery is playing an older Bond (he was 52 at the time). The ending is hugely different from Thunderball and ditches the now embarrassing sequence on the out-of-control ship and replaces it with a bit of an anticlimactic showdown underwater. The rest of the film is entertaining enough with excellent use of locations and some thrilling action and stunt sequences, although it’s certainly no match for the best of the canonical series. It was favourably received critically at the time of release and supposedly went on to outperform Octopussy at the box office in 1983, which no doubt annoyed the folks at Eon Productions

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, 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. In it he mentions working on this poster and he showed me the original art for the version of the poster where it’s just Connery alone (the advance poster).

The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

The Thing / A1 / Germany

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Thing
AKA
Das Ding (Germany) | John Carpenter's The Thing (USA - complete title) | Stvor (Serbia)
Year of Film
1982
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David,Charles Hallahan, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart, David Clennon, Richard Masur, T. K. Carter, Joel Polis, Thomas G. Waites, Peter Maloney
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David,Charles Hallahan, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart, David Clennon, Richard Masur, T. K. Carter, Joel Polis, Thomas G. Waites, Peter Maloney,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
23 5/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

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.

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor / A1 / Germany

27.03.15

Poster Poster

This is the German poster for the release of the second of two ill-advised TV movies featuring the Ewoks, the furry, love ’em or hate ’em characters from Return of the Jedi. The Battle for Endor is set some time after the first TV movie The Ewok Adventure (AKA The Caravan of Courage) and occurs between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The plot is summarised thus:

The army of the Marauders, led by by King Terak and the witch Charal attack the Ewoks village. The parents and the brother of Cindel all die in this attack. Cindel and the Ewok Wicket escape and in a forrest they meet Teek a naughty and very fast animal. Teek takes them to a house in which a old man, Noa, lives. Like Cindel he also crashed with his Starcruiser on Endor. Together they fight Terak and Charal.

The film was first shown on TV in the US in 1985 and was given a theatrical run in UK cinemas but quickly disappeared from screens when audiences discovered the poor quality of the film. Despite not being embraced by most fans, the Ewok films nevertheless had elements that continued into the expanded Star Wars universe, including an animated series called Star Wars: Ewoks broadcast between 1985 and 1987 and the Star Tours rides at Disney theme parks.

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, 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. In it he mentions working on this poster and he showed me the original art for the version of the poster where it’s just Connery alone (the advance poster).

The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

Vozvrashchenie s orbity / A1 / Czechoslovakia

11.03.15

Poster Poster

This is the Czechoslovakian poster for the release of the obscure Soviet Union sci-fi film Vozvrashchenie s orbity. There’s barely any information about the film online other than this single review on the film’s IMDb page:

“Well,this film looks more like very deep and dramatic space drama. As soon as two friends-cosmonauts came back from space, a lot of things changed on the Earth. The wife of one of them died. And Kuznetsov can not go on flying to space. So he returns to navy aviation. Very soon a serious trouble happens to spacecraft and Kuznetsov flies to space to help his best friend, who was trapped in the closed sector of the craft. As soon as he managed to do that- new troubles start -the meteorite wind hits the craft and they have no ability to go back. They have only 12 hours. Then their teacher decides to help his students and saves their lives in space. Very serious and unusual look at the space explorations and true to life situations, not that sci fi. Far more like space necro realism. The score by master of Russian electronic music Edward Artemeyev is perfect, especially in the end of the film it becomes really symphonic dark space ambient. Very rare to find exclusive flick.”

The artwork on this Czech poster is by the late designer Zdeněk Vlach who was born in 1942 in Prague and studied at the School of Art there before working on film posters, commercial art and illustration. He won two awards for his film posters. The artist worked on over 200 posters from 1970 to 1989, which included designs for the likes of Excalibur (1984), Mona Lisa (1988) and Blue Velvet (1986). The website Terry Posters features an extensive gallery of his work. The artist sadly passed away in 1999 at the age of 58.

Angel Heart / A1 / Germany

24.09.14

Poster Poster

This is the original German poster for the release of Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, featuring excellent portraits of its two main stars, Robert De Niro and Mickey Rourke, that were painted by Renato Casaro. An occult mystery thriller, the film was adapted by Parker, a British screen writer, producer and director, from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. Set in 1955, the story follows private detective Harry Angel (Rourke) after he is hired by a law firm to find a missing pre-war singer called Johnny Favorite on behalf of their enigmatic client Louis Cyphre (De Niro). The trail leads Angel to a hospital where Favorite was last seen and he discovers that the singer was taken away by a mysterious benefactor whilst suffering from dementia caused by war injuries. He next travels to New Orleans in search of his ex-wife and then one of Favorite’s former band mates, but as the witnesses he meets all end up murdered Angel suspects that all is not what it seems with Cyphre and finding the truth about the singer’s disappearance becomes more than just another job.

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, 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.

Cotton Club / A1 / Czechoslovakia

25.01.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Cotton Club
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Francis Ford Coppola
Starring
Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins, James Remar, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Tom Waits,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Czechoslovakia
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Jan Weber
Artist
Jan Weber
Size (inches)
22 12/16" x 32.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the poster for the Czech release of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 crime-drama/musical The Cotton Club. Legendary producer Robert Evans had originally planned to direct the film and the initial story and screenplay had been written by Mario ‘The Godfather’ Puzo, but Evans had a last-minute change of heart and asked Coppola to step in. Puzo’s script was apparently re-written by the author William Kennedy who ended up writing multiple drafts and ended up with a shared screenplay credit along with Coppola. Production was apparently beset with problems, including a spiralling budget that was provided by various parties including Las Vegas casino owners, an Arab arms dealer and a vaudeville performer. In typical fashion, Evans was determined to make the film as extravagant as possible and constructed ‘no expense spared’ sets, hiring some of the best technicians in the business at eye-watering figures.

Another likely reason that filming costs ballooned is the impressive ensemble cast that Evans and the studio were able to hire, which included the likes of Richard GereDiane LaneBob Hoskins and Gregory Hines. Loosely based on the real club of the same name that was located in New York’s Harlem neighbourhood, the story follows the machinations of various characters involved with the club in the 1930s, including Gere’s musician Dixie Dwyer whose dealings with the mobster owner of the club Owney Madden (Hoskins) sees him advance his career as an actor whilst having an affair with the girlfriend of the local kingpin, Dutch Schultz (James Remar). The film also follows Sandman Williams (Hines) a local dancer who falls for the club’s star performer Lila Rose Dwyer (Lonette McKee). Nicolas Cage appears as Dixie’s violent, racist brother Vincent who joins Schultz’s gang.

The film features several musical sequences and is soundtracked by several of the most popular jazz tunes of the era. Sadly, Coppola and Evans clashed regularly during the production and at a certain point the director apparently barred the producer from visiting the set. The Cotton Club was declared a flop when it opened in fourth place at the box-office and would eventually go on to recoup less than half of its reported budget of just under $60 million. Despite tepid critical reception the film was nevertheless nominated for several awards (only winning for Best Costumes at the BAFTAs). The film has something of a cult following today, with many fans speaking highly of the film’s production values and well-staged musical numbers. Rumours of a director’s cut release were ignited last year when Coppola declared that a restoration was in the works, reinstating several musical sequences that were apparently cut for its initial release.

This Czech poster was designed by Jan Weber about whom I’ve been able to discover very little, other than that he was active from the 1970s to the 1990s and mainly specialised in posters for Hollywood films being released in Czechoslovakia. The site Terry Posters has a gallery of many of his posters.

Ghostbusters / A1 / Czechoslovakia

14.11.14

Poster Poster
Title
Ghostbusters
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Ivan Reitman
Starring
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, William Atherton, David Margulies
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, Annie Potts, William Atherton, David Margulies,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Czechoslovakia
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Petr Poš
Artist
Petr Poš
Size (inches)
22 4/16" x 31 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Another film that is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Ghostbusters, like James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi classic Terminator, has had a lasting cultural impact and recent announcements of a long-awaited sequel helped to reinforce how big its worldwide fan base is. Director Ivan Reitman helped comedian and actor Dan Aykroyd develop his original concept into the New York-set story of three nerdy parapsychologists – Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Aykroyd) and Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) – setting up a ghost-hunting team to take care of pesky spooks around the city.

Demand for their services quickly escalates and they end up hiring a fourth member of the team (Ernie Hudson‘s Winston Zeddmore). Soon they are having to deal with a demonic spirit called Zuul, which infests the apartment of Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) before possessing her, whilst nerdy accountant Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) is also possessed by ‘the keymaster’. They herald the arrival of the ancient, evil god Gozer the Gozerian who the Ghostbusters battle on top of an apartment complex before it morphs into the now-infamous form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, which begins attacking the city. The film was a massive critical and commercial success and ended up as the second-highest grossing film of 1984, behind Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop. A less successful sequel followed 5 years later but two cartoons, comics and video games (plus plenty of merchandise) kept the franchise going for many years.

This wonderfully surreal image was painted by Petr Poš for the 1988 Czech release of the film. Poš was born in Prague in 1944 and studied at the city’s School of Applied Arts from 1958-62 and then the Academy of Applied Arts and the Studio of Animated Film for the following 6 years. In 1981 he went to Brussels to study at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. Back in Prague he worked as an assistant at the Studio of Film and Television Graphics.

He’s responsible for several acclaimed animated films, including Až opadá listí z dubu (1991) and Lakomá Barka (1998). He also worked as a graphic artist and, according to the Czech film poster site Terry Posters, he completed 53 film posters over a 27 year period. This poster was given an honourable mention in the Best Czechoslovak Poster competition, 1988. Other films he created posters for include DARYL and Krzysztof Kieslowski ‘s A Short Film About Love

Wild At Heart / A1 / Czechoslovakia

06.02.15

Poster Poster

A suitably bizarre design features on this Czech poster for David Lynch’s 1990 twisted road trip Wild at Heart. Based on Barry Gifford’s 1989 novel of the same name, the film is arguably the most conventional film that Lynch has ever made, but it’s no less weird and wonderful than the rest of his output. Nicolas Cage turns in one of his career best performances as Sailor Ripley, a young man sent to jail for killing a knife-wielding attacker in North Carolina.

Upon his release, he is met by his girlfriend Lula Fortune (Laura Dern) at the prison gates and the pair decide to run away to California to escape her domineering mother Marietta (a memorable performance by Diane Ladd). Marietta is a twisted bully and totally disapproves of Sailor and Lula’s relationship. It’s revealed that she sent the knife-wielding killer after him to begin with and when they disappear she hires both a private detective and a dangerous mobster to track them down.

The lovers end up in Texas where they meet an old friend called Perdita Durango (Isabella Rossellini) who they hope will be able to help them, but also encounter the psychotic gangster Bobby Peru (a terrifying Willem Dafoe) who leads Sailor astray with terrible consequences. The film is full of Lynch’s trademark surreal sequences and shocking moments of violence, including one involving a shotgun that is hard to forget. Apparently the film tested badly upon completion and Lynch recalls that over 100 people walked out during one screening. It received a pretty mixed critical reception but it did win the coveted Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was a moderate financial success in the US and internationally.

This Czech poster was designed by Jan Weber about whom I’ve been able to discover very little, other than that he was active from the 1970s to the 1990s and mainly specialised in posters for Hollywood films being released in Czechoslovakia. The site Terry Posters has a gallery of many of his posters.

Big Trouble In Little China / A1 / Germany

20.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Big Trouble In Little China
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
A. Helden
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

John Carpenter’s excellent action adventure Big Trouble in Little China marked the director’s fourth outing with lead actor Kurt Russell and also saw him satisfy his long-held desire to make a film featuring martial artistry. The film apparently started life as a Western but the screenwriter W. D. Richter was tasked with retooling the script and modernising it completely. Russell stars as Jack Burton, an all-American trucker who arrives in town with cargo to deliver and, after beating him at a card game, offers to drive his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) to the airport to pick up his fiancee, Miao Yin (Suzee Pai). When a gang of thugs from the Lords of Death street gang abduct Miao Yin, Burton and Wang chase them back to the alleys of Chinatown.

After interrupting a funeral procession the pair become embroiled in a battle between two rival Chinese gangs, which is brought to a conclusion by the arrival of The Three Storms, a trio of supernaturally strong warriors. Whilst attempting to escape, Burton inadvertently runs over the crime lord Lo Pan (James Hong) who then blinds Burton after he exits his truck. As Lo Pan’s gang steals the truck, Wang leads Jack out of the area and to his restaurant where they meet up with a lawyer called Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), Wang’s friend Eddie Lee (Donald Li) and magician Egg Shen (Victor Wong). The gang then plan a mission to rescue Miao Yin from the clutches of Lo Pan, who aims to sacrifice her in order to break an ancient curse. What follows is an action-packed romp that sees Burton and the others descend into the crime-lord’s lair to face-off against a series of adversaries, both human and otherwise.

Russell plays Burton with a perfect mix of tough-guy bravado and goofball charm and the character makes a nice change from the gruff, no-nonsense roles he played in Escape from New York and The Thing. Sadly, the film was to prove a flop at the box-office and it struggled to even regain its $25 million budget. Carpenter and Russell have since revealed that they feel the studio didn’t really know how to sell the film to audiences, plus it was also (unluckily) released with a couple of weeks of James Cameron’s mega-hit Aliens. Big Trouble in Little China became a huge cult hit on video and has subsequently seen a large amount of critical reappraisal and now stands at 82% fresh on RottenTomatoes.com, for example.

In the States the film was marketed with a Drew Struzan illustration, whilst the UK was treated to a wonderful Brian Bysouth painting. This is the German poster that features exclusive artwork by someone who signs their work A. Helden. It’s a decent portrait of Russell and Cattrall and also features Burton’s truck, the Pork Chop Express. Despite numerous searches I’ve been unable to discover much about the artist, so if you have any ideas about them please get in touch.

Duel / A1 / Germany

26.10.12

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
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
23 5/16" x 33"
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.

Brilliantly, 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 the stark German poster for the first release of the film there in 1973 and it features a mixture of artwork and manipulated photography. I’m unsure who’s responsible for the art so please get in touch if you have an idea.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Der Superhammer / A1 / Germany

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Der Superhammer
AKA
Hu quan (original title) | Gold Snatchers (English Title)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Kim Lung
Starring
Chen Sing, Yasuaki Kurata, Lung Fei, Liu Ping, Chan, Wai-Lau, Gam Ming, Blacky Ko Sau-Leung, Jimmy Lung Fong, Wang Tai-Lang
Origin of Film
Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Chen Sing, Yasuaki Kurata, Lung Fei, Liu Ping, Chan, Wai-Lau, Gam Ming, Blacky Ko Sau-Leung, Jimmy Lung Fong, Wang Tai-Lang,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
Unknown
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Lutz Peltzer
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Bergman Festival / 2008 / Czechoslovakia

02.12.16

Poster Poster
Title
Bergman Festival
AKA
--
Year of Film
Various
Director
Ingmar Bergman
Starring
--
Origin of Film
Various
Genre(s) of Film
--,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Czechoslovakia
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Vladimir 518
Artist
Vladimir 518
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a poster for a Czechoslovakian film festival focused on 43 films by the legendary Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman. The festival took place in 2008, one year after Bergman’s death, and the films were shown in three Czech cities, including Prague. The colourful poster was created by the designer known as Vladimir 518. According to a translation of this Wikipedia article, he’s also a famous Czech rapper and he was born in 1978. The article mentions that he also creates illustrations and designs for comics, books and a music label, BiggBoss. His Instagram feed is here.