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At the Earth’s Core / quad / style B / UK

08.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
At the Earth's Core
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant, Godfrey James, Sean Lynch, Keith Barron, Helen Gill, Anthony Verner
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Doug McClure, Peter Cushing, Caroline Munro, Cy Grant, Godfrey James, Sean Lynch, Keith Barron, Helen Gill, Anthony Verner,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 38 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
From the creator of 'The Land That Time Forgot'

At the Earth’s Core was the first entry in a series of British sci-fi/fantasy b-movies that were directed by Kevin Connor and starred the prolific American actor Doug McClure, known for his hammy leading man performances (McClure was one of the inspirations for The Simpsons’Troy ‘You may remember me from…’ McClure). The series began with The Land That Time Forgot (1975), was followed by The People That Time Forgot (1977) and ended with Warlords of Atlantis (1978). The initial three were shepherded through production by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky’s Amicus Productions, which was based at Shepperton studios and is perhaps best remembered for its series of portmanteau horror films. By the time Warlords of Atlantis was released the company was almost defunct and so EMI Films stepped in and produced it, utilising many of the same cast and crew as the previous films.

Like the first three films in the series, At the Earth’s Core is based on a novel by the American author Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and prolific creator of adventure and sci-fi tales. First published in 1914, the story introduced the author’s creation of Pellucidar, which is the idea that Earth is a hollow shell with another land 500 miles beneath the crust. Pellucidar featured in a number of other Burroughs stories and Tarzan even visited it in a 1929 story.

Set in Victorian Britain, the film features McClure playing David Innes, an American financier working with scientist Dr. Abner Perry (Peter Cushing) who has built a giant drilling machine nicknamed the Iron Mole. The idea of the machine is to make the creation of tunnels much easier and the pair have decided to first test it on a Welsh mountain. After launch, the Mole takes an unexpected turn and they find themselves in a strange land with a pink sky and giant unidentified fauna. Suddenly they are attacked by a giant dinosaur-like creature with a beak-like face, but are eventually rescued by an aggressive group of pig-faced cavemen who add them to a gang of primitive humans they have enslaved, including Dia (the stunning Caroline Munro). Soon they are taken to a city ruled over by the evil, pterodactyl-like creatures called The Mahar who, they are horrified to discover, eat human sacrifices. It’s up to David to find a way of escaping from their enslavement and put an end to the Mahar’s reign of terror.

The film has aged pretty badly, not least in the area of the special effects with the creatures looking particularly hokey. The production team decided not to use the stop-motion style of the previous film and instead went for stuntmen in suits for most of the creatures. It’s safe to say that, whilst it may have wowed audiences of the time, it now looks extremely hokey. The production design is otherwise excellent, with some superb sets and lots of effort put into props like the Iron Mole. McClure is his usual ebullient self and Cushing gives it plenty of gusto, although the strange high-pitched voice he affects gets very grating after a while. The score by Michael Vickers is notably decent.

The brilliant artwork on this quad, featuring a similarly chunky title treatment as seen on the quad for the first film in the series, is by Tom Chantrell, the celebrated British artist whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a number of other designs by him on this site.

Note that there are two styles of the UK quad and I’ve called this one style 2. The more common style 1 (see this picture) is fairly similar but features a bit more artwork at the bottom of the poster. Note the extra vegetation on style 1 and the alternate placement of the credits block, with style 2’s covering over part of the fire-breathing frog. I’m not sure why there are two versions of the poster and the answer is sadly likely to be lost to time, with Chantrell having passed away in 2001. This poster is also undersized widthways but I don’t believe it has been trimmed.

The Day the Earth Stood Still / one sheet / 1994 re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Day The Earth Stood Still
AKA
Ultimatum alla Terra [Ultimatum to earth] (Italy)
Year of Film
1951
Director
Robert Wise
Starring
Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Billy Gray, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin, Frank Conroy, Tyler McVey
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Billy Gray, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe, Frances Bavier, Lock Martin, Frank Conroy, Tyler McVey,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Killian re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1994
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert Rodriguez
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
R94/1951
Tagline
From out of space... A warning and an ultimatum!

The Man Who Fell to Earth / quad / UK

18.08.11

Poster Poster

An absolutely superb design by British artist Vic Fair for Nic Roeg’s seminal sci-fi film The Man Who Fell to Earth. The typography alone is a thing of beauty, particularly that of the main title – I’m not sure who designed it but it’s an undoubted classic. The rock band Iron Maiden later used it for their own band logo.

This is perhaps the best known of Vic Fair’s designs, though he is responsible for many other great posters from the sixties, seventies and eighties, including several for Hammer Horror, Lisztomania and quads for the infamous ‘Confessions…’ series of films. I plan to post another of his best designs in the next few weeks.

This poster is featured in Sim Branaghan’s superb ‘British Film Posters: An Illustrated History’ and he notes:

Probably the best known of Fair’s posters, and the only one regularly credited to him, since he liked it so much at the time he actually signed it.

I personally think this is David Bowie’s finest starring role and no one else could have portrayed the oddity that is Thomas Newton quite as well as him. It’s not my favourite of Nic Roeg’s films though (that would be Don’t Look Now).

The brilliantly nuts original US trailer can be seen on YouTube.

 

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Another Earth / one sheet / advance / USA

15.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Another Earth
AKA
--
Year of Film
2011
Director
Mike Cahill
Starring
William Mapother, Brit Marling, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Jordan Baker, Robin Taylor, Rupert Reid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Mapother, Brit Marling, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Jordan Baker, Robin Taylor, Rupert Reid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
Ignition Print
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Another Earth, an excellent, haunting sci-fi drama released in 2011 marked the feature film debut of director Mike Cahill, who co-wrote and co-produced the film along with Brit Marling, the main actress in the film (and focus of this American one sheet). Marling stars as Rhoda Williams an enthusiastic astronomy student living in West Haven, Connecticut who discovers she’s been accepted to study at MIT and, after celebrating with friends, foolishly decides to drive home drunk. As she listens to a story on the news about a recently discovered Earth-like planet, her attention drifts long enough to cause her to smash into another car, instantly killing a woman and child and putting the driver, John Burroughs (William Mapother) into a coma.

Wracked with guilt, and having served four years in prison, Rhoda hides herself away from contact with much of the outside world and works as a janitor at a local school. She visits William, who has since emerged from his coma and has no knowledge of who killed his wife and child, at his home under the pretence of being a house maid offering her services and the pair spark up a relationship. All the time William is unaware that she was the person responsible for the death of his loved ones, but when the other Earth moves closer to ours Rhoda enters a competition to win a (potentially one-way) ticket to visit the new planet and their relationship is jeopardised, the truth is revealed and William struggles to cope. The film cleverly weaves the intriguing idea of a mirror Earth into a relationship drama, and the subtle ending hints at multiple possibilities for the characters’ journeys beyond the time which the audience shares with them.

This one sheet was designed by the hugely prolific Los Angeles (and London) design studio Ignition Print, who also appear to work on video advertising and film trailers for various big name brands.

Godzilla vs Mothra / 1992 version / B1 / Japan

28.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Godzilla vs. Mothra
AKA
Gojira vs. Mosura (Japan - original title) | Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (USA - video title)
Year of Film
1992
Director
Takao Okawara
Starring
Tetsuya Bessho, Satomi Kobayashi, Takehiro Murata, Saburô Shinoda, Akiji Kobayashi, Akira Takarada, Makoto Ohtake, Keiko Imamura, Sayaka Osawa, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Hurricane Ryu' Hariken
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Tetsuya Bessho, Satomi Kobayashi, Takehiro Murata, Saburô Shinoda, Akiji Kobayashi, Akira Takarada, Makoto Ohtake, Keiko Imamura, Sayaka Osawa, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Hurricane Ryu' Hariken,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1992
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A colourful montage on this Japanese B1 poster for Godzilla vs Mothra, which was the 19th film in the series featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters). The film was also the fourth release in the second generation of Godzilla films, which were part of the Heisei era of Japanese monster movies (daikaiju eiga). The eras are named after the Japanese emperor at the time, so the first generation of Godzilla films were part of the Shōwa era. There was an earlier film in the franchise called Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) but this film is not a remake of that story.

Godzilla vs Mothra is, adjusted for inflation, the most financially successful entry in the entire series. The story sees a meteor crashing to earth and awakening not only the legendary lizard but also uncovering an egg of the benevolent giant moth, plus an evil version of Mothra called Battra that was created by Earth’s ‘life force’ to protect the planet itself from threat. Godzilla sets off on one of his usual rampages and Battra attacks Tokyo in anger at the pollution that mankind has caused. The trio of monsters face-off against each other in several battles and there’s also a subplot involving an Indiana-Jones-like treasure hunter and ethereal creatures known as Cosmos who are involved in the bigger conflict.

The artwork on the poster is by Noriyoshi Ohrai who is something of an enigma, even in his native Japan. I’ve been unable to find much about him beyond a few pages like this one on the Star Wars Wookiepedia. He’s responsible for a number of Star Wars posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film and the brilliant design for The Empire Strikes Back.

Ohrai painted a poster for each of the Heisei era of Godzilla films, which were always accompanied by a photographic-style poster. I will be adding more of the Ohrai Godzilla posters over the coming weeks.

The other Ohrai posters I’ve added to the site so far can be seen by clicking here.

The Omega Man / 30×40 / USA

20.03.13

Poster Poster
Title
The Omega Man
AKA
1975: occhi bianchi sul pianeta Terra [White eyes on planet earth] (Italy)
Year of Film
1971
Director
Boris Sagal
Starring
Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Eric Laneuville, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Jill Giraldi
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo, Eric Laneuville, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Jill Giraldi,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
71/208
Tagline
The last man alive... is not alone!

American author Richard Matheson‘s 1954 post-apocalyptic tale I Am Legend has been adapted for the screen three times, first in 1964 as the Vincent Price-starring The Last Man on Earth that was shot in Rome and co-directed by Italian Ubaldo Ragona and American Sidney Salkow. The rights to the story had originally been bought by Tony Hinds of the British Hammer Studios and Matheson was asked to write the screenplay, but worries about the gruesome content being too much for British censors saw the script being sold to the American producer Robert Lippert. Matheson was apparently so disappointed with his own screenplay and resultant film that he asked to be credited with the pseudonym Logan Swanson. The Last Man on Earth’s limited success at the box-office might explain why The Omega Man was put into production only seven years later.

Charlton Heston stars as Robert Neville, the Army scientist who manages to inject himself with an experimental vaccine just as the world’s population is obliterated by biological warfare between the Chinese and Russians. Two years later Neville believes himself to be the only surviving human and spends his days exploring a deserted Los Angeles and hunting down a group of infected mutants known as The Family. One day whilst exploring a shopping centre Neville has an encounter with another human survivor but quickly dismisses it as a hallucination, having been alone for so long. When he is captured by The Family and almost burned at the stake his rescue comes from a ragtag bunch of human survivors who ask for his help in saving a group of children that are infected and slowly succumbing to the disease. Neville decides to see if his blood can be used to create a serum to save them, but The Family are not done with him yet…

The Omega Man has several memorable scenes, particularly during the first half of the film as Neville explores a convincingly deserted Los Angeles, which was achieved with out any visual effects by shooting in the city’s business district early on Sunday mornings. The soundtrack is also excellent and Heston does a solid job in the lead role, supported by Rosalind Cash who’s memorable as one of the other survivors with whom Heston shares a controversial (for the time) interracial kiss. The make-up for the mutants has dated rather badly but it’s nowhere near as poor as the terrible CGI abominations that all but sank 2007’s I Am Legend, starring Will Smith in the lead role.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design of this poster but the pencil drawing is similar to the one seen on the Dirty Harry one sheet that was designed by Bill Gold, so I suspect the same artist may be credited and that Gold was also behind the design. If anyone knows for sure please get in touch.