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Nijinsky / one sheet / USA

27.02.17

Poster Poster
Title
Nijinsky
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Herbert Ross
Starring
Alan Bates, George De La Pena, Leslie Browne, Alan Badel, Carla Fracci, Colin Blakely, Ronald Pickup, Ronald Lacey, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jeremy Irons
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Alan Bates, George De La Pena, Leslie Browne, Alan Badel, Carla Fracci, Colin Blakely, Ronald Pickup, Ronald Lacey, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jeremy Irons,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Hamsel
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
800034
Tagline
Genius. Madman. Animal. God. Nijinsky. | A True Story.

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

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

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

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

The Wicked Lady / one sheet / USA

29.08.17

Poster Poster
Title
The Wicked Lady
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Faye Dunaway, Alan Bates, John Gielgud, Denholm Elliott, Prunella Scales, Oliver Tobias, Glynis Barber, Joan Hickson, Helena McCarthy
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Faye Dunaway, Alan Bates, John Gielgud, Denholm Elliott, Prunella Scales, Oliver Tobias, Glynis Barber, Joan Hickson, Helena McCarthy,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
830033
Tagline
She's wild. She's wicked. And she really knows how to whip up a good time.

The Wicked Lady is a period drama that was directed by the late Michael Winner and was based on the 1945 film of the same name. Faye Dunaway stars as Barbara whose sister Caroline (Glynis Barber) is due to marry wealthy landowner, Sir Ralph Skelton (Denholm Elliott). Seemingly devoid of any scruples, Barbara seduces Ralph and takes her sister’s place at the wedding. She soon grows bored of just being the wife of a wealthy man and decides to take up highway robbery, depriving wealthy coach travelers of their jewels and other trinkets. Eventually she meets and falls in with a real highway robber, Jerry Jackson (the late Alan Bates), and the pair step up their game by robbing gold bullion-filled stage coaches. Eventually their sloppiness catches up with them and people around Barbara begin to suspect she has some involvement in the robberies. 

The film was a critical and commercial failure and was compared unfavourably with the original film. Dunaway’s character is totally unlikeable and her performance is nothing short of bizarre. Perhaps the worst aspect of the film is the pointless nudity, including one really cringeworthy sex scene by a fire, with a stockings removal setup that’s tortuously long. You can practically hear the sleazy Winner rubbing his knees at the back of the set. Despite a strong cast on paper this is a squandered opportunity.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the art on this American one sheet so if you have an idea please get in touch. It’s not to be confused with the artwork that was used elsewhere around the globe, including the British quad, that was painted by Brian Bysouth.