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The Funhouse / B2 / Japan

27.05.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Funhouse
AKA
Il Tunnel dell'Orrore [The Tunnel of Horror] (Italy)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Elizabeth Berridge, Jack McDermott, Cooper Huckabee, Kevin Conway, William Finley, Sylvia Miles, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Elizabeth Berridge, Jack McDermott, Cooper Huckabee, Kevin Conway, William Finley, Sylvia Miles, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A creepy slice of horror from Tobe Hooper, the man responsible for the classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Funhouse features a menacing atmosphere helped by great production design, solid performances from a number of character actors and a genuinely ghoulish killer. The story sees a quartet of teenage friends; Amy (Elizabeth Berridge), her boyfriend Buzz (Cooper Huckabee), her best friend Liz (Largo Woodruff) and Liz’s boyfriend Richie (Miles Chapin), visit a traveling carnival where they smoke marijuana, sneak into an over-21 strip show and interact with the carnies who run the shows. Richie dares the group to spend the night in the The Funhouse, an indoor ride on rails (often called a ghost train in the UK), and the girls reluctantly agree to hide until the park clears of people.

After sneaking into the depths of the ride the group inadvertently witness the mute, mask-wearing ride operator murder Madame Zena (Sylvia Miles), the fortune teller who also moonlights as a prostitute. When the ride’s barker Conrad (Kevin Conway) discovers what has happened it is revealed that he is the father of the murderous ride operator, actually called Gunther, and when Conrad admonishes him he knocks the mask off revealing a hideous freak underneath. Conrad realises that the crime has been witnessed by the kids and he unleashes Gunther to track them down. The rest of the film sees the teenagers trying to outwit the murderous carnies and escape The Funhouse alive. The make-up for Gunther is incredibly effective and he surely ranks up their as one of the best horror movie bad guys.

This Japanese B2 features an obscured photograph of Gunther which emphasises his glowing eyes. A photo montage of the four unlucky teens is displayed at the bottom along with the same logo seen on the US one sheet.

The Beastmaster / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Cult filmmaker Don Coscarelli wrote and directed this 1982 sword and sorcery flick starring Marc Singer as the titular prince and the gorgeous Tanya Roberts as Kiri, his love interest. Dar (Singer) is the son of King Zed (Rod Loomis) who, in a bizarre sequence, is stolen from his mother’s womb and placed inside the belly of an ox on the orders of evil priest Maax (Rip Torn). When born the prince is gifted with the ability to telepathically communicate with animals and after being adopted and raised by a lowly villager, Dar is trained to be a skilled swordsman. One day the village is attacked and burned by the rampaging Jun horde who are under the control of Maax, and the warrior sets on a quest for revenge with his animal friends, including an eagle, two ferrets(!) and a black panther.

According to the IMDb trivia page for the film, the black panther was actually a tiger with its fur dyed and whenever the animal took a drink the dye would wash off around its mouth, which is noticeable in several scenes. Also, rather brilliantly, the eagle often refused to fly on cue so in order to shoot footage of it in the air it was dropped from a trapdoor in a hot air balloon.

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 brilliant 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film and the excellent design for The Empire Strikes Back. Perhaps his most iconic film work is the series of posters he illustrated for the Heisei era Godzilla films, including this fantastic B1 for Godzilla vs King Ghidorah.

The other Ohrai posters I’ve added to the site so far can be seen by clicking here (note that I also have this poster in B1 size).

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

18.07.16

Poster Poster

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

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

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

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

The Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo / B2 / Japan

03.06.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo
AKA
La isla misteriosa (original title) | Jules Verne's Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo (alt. title) | The Mysterious Island (USA)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Juan Antonio Bardem, Henri Colpi
Starring
Omar Sharif, Ambroise Bia, Jess Hahn, Philippe Nicaud, Gérard Tichy, Gabriele Tinti, Rafael Bardem Jr., Mariano Vidal Molina, Rik Battaglia
Origin of Film
Spain | France | Italy | Cameroon
Genre(s) of Film
Omar Sharif, Ambroise Bia, Jess Hahn, Philippe Nicaud, Gérard Tichy, Gabriele Tinti, Rafael Bardem Jr., Mariano Vidal Molina, Rik Battaglia,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of the 1973 adaptation of the French novelist Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island (1874). A co-production between Spanish, French, Italian and Cameroonian companies, the film started out as a TV miniseries (300 minutes long) and was later adapted into a 96 minute feature that was released into cinemas in USA, Japan and other countries. Omar Sharif plays Captain Nemo, the enigmatic scientist that first appeared in Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which was adapted numerous times over the past century (Mysterious Island has also seen numerous versions released).

Like the novel, this version is set during the time of the American Civil War and follows five prisoners of war who escape captivity by riding a hot air balloon. They are blown wildly off course and end up on a remote Pacific island where they must use their wits to survive. Eventually they meet Nemo who piloted the Nautilus submarine there following the events in the previous story.

The longer version appears to be almost impossible to find today, whilst the shorter version is also poorly served by home video releases.

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.

The Fuller Report / B2 / Japan

21.03.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Fuller Report
AKA
Rapporto Fuller, base Stoccolma (Italy - original title)
Year of Film
1968
Director
Sergio Grieco
Starring
Ken Clark, Beba Loncar, Lincoln Tate, Jess Hahn, Paolo Gozlino, Serge Marquand, Sarah Ross, Mirko Ellis, Claudio Biava, Gianni Brezza, Nicole Tessier
Origin of Film
Italy | France
Genre(s) of Film
Ken Clark, Beba Loncar, Lincoln Tate, Jess Hahn, Paolo Gozlino, Serge Marquand, Sarah Ross, Mirko Ellis, Claudio Biava, Gianni Brezza, Nicole Tessier,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1970
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A dynamic photographic montage features on this Japanese B2 for the obscure 1968 action thriller, The Fuller Report. One of a number of films in the Eurospy genre, which were European co-productions (this is Italian and French) of espionage thrillers intended to capitalise on the huge success of the Bond films that began with Dr No in 1962. It’s estimated that there were over 50 films in the genre, with productions from all over Europe, including the UK. Some of the more famous films include those starring Dean Martin as the spy Matt Helm (four films including ‘The Silencers’) and France’s OSS 117 (8 films plus two homage spoofs in 2006 and 2009).

This film stars the American actor Ken Clark (perhaps best known as the character Stewpot in South Pacific) as Dick Worth, a skilled race driver who gets involved in an espionage plot. It’s IMDb page describes the plot thusly:

Ken Clark is a race car driver and a good one. Somehow, he becomes entangled in espionage involving a Russian Ballerina and a secret document called the Fuller Report. Not being any kind of a secret agent, Dick Worth [Clark] has to rely on his quick thinking, catlike reflexes and most of all, his luck to see him through. After all, the powers involved play only one way … for keeps!

The film takes in Stockholm, Zurich and London. Given the paucity of reviews on IMDb it appears to have disappeared from public availability and there are no obvious DVD or blu-ray releases of the film. However, it does seem to be available to stream on the American Amazon Instant service, should you want to see it.

I Am Curious (Yellow) / B2 / black title style / Japan

21.01.16

Poster Poster
Title
I Am Curious (Yellow)
AKA
Jag är nyfiken - en film i gult (Sweden - original title)
Year of Film
1967
Director
Vilgot Sjöman
Starring
Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren, Chris Wahlström, Marie Göranzon, Magnus Nilsson, Ulla Lyttkens
Origin of Film
Sweden
Genre(s) of Film
Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren, Chris Wahlström, Marie Göranzon, Magnus Nilsson, Ulla Lyttkens,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Black title style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 3/16" x 28 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters printed for the release (in 1971) of the landmark Swedish drama I Am Curious (Yellow) from the controversial director Vilgot Sjöman. Yellow is a companion film to I Am Curious (Blue) and the pair were originally meant to have been released as one 3.5 hour film. The colours in the titles refer to the Swedish flag. They were part of a series of left wing films that were made after the founding of the Swedish Film Institute in the early 1960s and the attempt, by prominent Swedish cultural figure Harry Schein, to start Sweden’s own flavour of New Wave cinema. 

Filmed in a pseudo-documentary, cinéma vérité style, the film sees Sjöman playing a version of himself, a director who decides to make a film starring his 22-year-old lover Lena Nyman (also playing herself) who is a theatre student interested in social issues. The film within the film is called ‘Lena on the Road’ and sees her leaving the flat she shares with her father and, when not getting involved in socio-political activism with a group of friends, she is shown traveling around Stockholm interviewing people she meets about issues including social classes and gender equality.

Later she meets another man called Börje who she begins a love-affair with but this becomes fraught when she discovers he has hidden the fact that he has another lover and a daughter. After traveling to a country retreat Lena begins meditating, practicing yoga and studying about non-violence, but her lover catches up with her and the pair continue their stormy relationship. Soon after the film within a film begins to break down as the ‘actors’ form a ‘real’ relationship that causes the ‘director’ to get jealous and wrap up shooting.

The film is most notable for its then ground-breaking use of full-frontal shots and scenes of (simulated) sexual intercourse that until then had been confined to sex films and not used in a dramatic context. The film was released in a cut form both in the US, UK and elsewhere but it was in the US that it attracted the most controversy with some states even going so far as banning the film outright on grounds of obscenity (Massachusetts in 1969, later overturned). As is the case with any censorship case brought against a film featuring sex and nudity, the box-office takings were helped greatly as punters flocked to see what the fuss was about. The film was the highest-grossing foreign film in the US for many years afterwards. This article on Vulture.com goes into more detail about the original release.

The other style of Japanese poster features a similarly colourful image but has white text down the side instead of black.

The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge / B2 / Japan

06.01.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Streetfighter's Last Revenge
AKA
Gyakushû! Satsujin ken (Japan - original title) | Revenge! The Killing Fist (literal English title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Shigehiro Ozawa
Starring
Shin'ichi Chiba (as Sonny Chiba), Reiko Ike, Kôji Wada, Tatsuo Endô, Akira Shioji, Tsuyoshi Ôtsuka, Frankie Black, Shingo Yamashiro, Masafumi Suzuki, Etsuko Shihomi
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Shin'ichi Chiba (as Sonny Chiba), Reiko Ike, Kôji Wada, Tatsuo Endô, Akira Shioji, Tsuyoshi Ôtsuka, Frankie Black, Shingo Yamashiro, Masafumi Suzuki, Etsuko Shihomi,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A rare mix of photography and artwork features on this Japanese B2 for the release of (what would later be re-titled) The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge. The final entry in a trilogy of films starring legendary Japanese martial artist Shin’ichi ‘Sonny’ Chiba, the film followed the original The Streetfighter and Return of the Street Fighter which were all produced in one year (1974). The original film was Chiba’s breakout international hit and was released in the USA and elsewhere in 1974, but this sequel would have to wait 5 years before it was given a cinema release in the States. When it did finally arrive it was significantly altered and had large amounts of violence removed.

The reason for the delayed release is likely to do with the drop in quality over the first two entries as this review (and several others) on IMDb testifies:

‘If you love THE STREET FIGHTER (and you probably do if you looked up this entry) don’t even bother with this final entry in the series. This one sucks out loud, and has only one decent fight scene which lasts for about a minute. Our hero now has taken on a more “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE”-type persona since he now is a master of disguise (???). Skip this.’

This film and the others in the trilogy are now in the public domain (so can be streamed from multiple sources online). Director Quentin Tarantino is a big Chiba fan and these are the films that the character of Clarence (Christian Slater) is watching in a cinema triple-bill when he first meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) in Tony Scott’s True Romance (Tarantino wrote the script).

I’ve struggled to find out who is responsible for the artwork on this poster so if anyone has an idea please get in touch. The US poster uses the same art and photograph, which was almost never the case, but I suspect that the distributor (New Line) was trying to save money by reusing as much as possible.

Once Upon a Time in China II / B2 / Japan

14.12.15

Poster Poster
Title
Once Upon a Time in China II
AKA
Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yee tung chi keung (Hong Kong - original title)
Year of Film
1992
Director
Tsui Hark
Starring
Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Siu Chung Mok, David Chiang, Donnie Yen, Tielin Zhang, Xin Xin Xiong, Paul Fonoroff, Shi-Kwan Yen, Ka-Kui Ho, Michael Miller, Dion Lam, Shu-Kei Chow
Origin of Film
Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Siu Chung Mok, David Chiang, Donnie Yen, Tielin Zhang, Xin Xin Xiong, Paul Fonoroff, Shi-Kwan Yen, Ka-Kui Ho, Michael Miller, Dion Lam, Shu-Kei Chow,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1992
Designer
Unknown
Artist
M. Tsuchiya
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Great artwork by a Japanese artist who has signed the work ‘M. Tsuchiya’ features on this B2 for the release of the 1992 action-adventure sequel, Once Upon a Time in China II. Celebrated producer and director Tsui Hark (who also co-wrote the screenplay) would end up helming all 6 films in the OUATIC franchise that ended in 1997 with ‘Once Upon a Time in China and America’. The legendary martial artist Jet Li appeared once more as the Chinese folk hero Wong Fei-hung and Donnie Yen, another celebrated action star, plays one of the main bad guys in the film.

Set during the Qing dynasty at the end of the 19th century, the film sees Wong Fei-hung traveling to Guangzhou with his love interest ’13th Aunt’ (Rosamund Kwan) and apprentice Leung Foon (Siu Chung Mok) to attend a medical seminar. Whilst there he gets caught up in the troubles wrought by the White Lotus Sect an extremely xenophobic group who are against any form of Westernisation or influence in China and have been attacking foreigners and anyone allied to them.

After protecting 13th Aunt from kidnap, Wong then deals with an attack on the seminar, followed by one on a group of school children. Eventually he joins forces with a revolutionary group planning to overthrow the Qing dynasty, who count Westernised doctor Sun Yat-Sen (Tielin Zhang) amongst their number, and attack the White Lotus Sect’s base. Psychotic leader Gao Kung (Xin Xin Xiong) isn’t about to go down without a fight and this is before Wong and the others must confront Yen’s military Commander Nap-lan who is out to crush the revolution.

I’ve struggled to find anything of note about ‘M. Tsuchiya’ so if anyone knows anything about the artist please get in touch and I’ll add the details here.

Roller Boogie / B2 / style A / Japan

16.08.16

Poster Poster

This is the style A Japanese B2 poster for the release of the 1979 musical oddity Roller Boogie, featuring artwork by Yasuo Nemoto. One of those films that’s something of a time capsule, the film was put into production by Irwin Yablans the independent producer who had struck gold a year earlier with John Carpenter’s Halloween. Yablans is credited with the film’s story and the intention was to capitalise on the then craze for rollerskating that was sweeping the States.

 Mark L. Lester (known for Commando and Class of 1984) was hired to direct and Linda Blair (The Exorcist) was given the starring role opposite an award-winning amateur skating champion called Jim Bray who was originally attached as a stuntman but was later given acting lessons when the production struggled to find a leading actor.

Blair plays Terry Barkley a Beverly Hills rich girl who is largely ignored by her parents who are determined to see her attend a prestigious school in New York and carry on as a flautist. One day whilst visiting Venice Beach she meets a hotshot skater named Bobby James (Bray) who dreams of making it to the Olympics. The pair strike up a friendship and eventually Terry asks Bobby if she can teach him how to skate and create a routine for them both so they can compete in a Roller Boogie contest at a skating rink called Jammer’s. Unfortunately a nefarious property developer plans to buy Jammer’s and raze it to the ground, so the pair team up with other skaters to put a stop to the plans whilst practicing their routines ready for the big night.

The film was largely panned on its release but found success with teen audiences and has since gone on to have something of a cult following. Plans for a mooted sequel were scrapped when disco music and roller skating lost their popularity.

The artwork is credited to someone called Yasuo Nemoto but I’ve been unable to find out anything about them online. If anyone has any further details about Nemoto please get in touch. I also have the style B Japanese B2 in the collection and it can be viewed here.

The Day Of The Jackal / B2 / target style / Japan

09.09.15

Poster Poster

A striking design on this Japanese B2 for the release of the 1974 thriller The Day of the Jackal, which was based on the 1971 novel of the same name by the English author Frederick Forsyth. The story is set in 1962 and focuses on a fictional assassination attempt on France’s then president Charles de Gaulle who had angered many in his own country by deciding to grant independence to the French colony of Algeria. An underground resistance group called the OAS had formed to fight this decision and both the novel and the film start with a real incident in which de Gaulle’s car had been sprayed with machine gun fire, but he had miraculously survived unscathed. In the film the OAS decide to cut their losses and hire a professional assassin. They settle on an Englishman (played by Edward Foxwho decides on the call sign ‘Jackal’.

The film follows The Jackal as he prepares for the assassination by traveling all over Europe to procure identity documents, a special weapon, and other items necessary for the task. The French authorities become aware that someone has been hired for the job and appoint ‘France’s best detective, Lebel (Michael Lonsdale, best known for his role as the villain in Moonraker), to lead the hunt for him. Lebel calls in favours from all over Europe in the hunt and eventually they strike it lucky with enquiries by Scotland Yard in the UK. The film ratchets up the tension as the French authorities close in on The Jackal, but he manages to evade them long enough to line de Gaulle up in his sights. 

The film is almost two and a half hours long but maintains a brisk pace and is certainly thrilling throughout. It makes brilliant use of real locations and the Wikipedia page for the film points out some of the places the production visited. The film was very well critically acclaimed but failed to perform as spectacularly at the box-office as some had hoped, something later blamed on the fact that the lead was the then unknown Fox.

This is one of two styles of Japanese posters for the film and I also have the ‘face’ style, which can be seen here.

The Klansman / B2 / style A / Japan

28.08.15

Poster Poster

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters for the release of the 1974 drama The Klansman that marks a low point in the careers of the main participants involved and, in my opinion, deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of film history. British director Terence Young (best known for his work on the first two James Bond films and Thunderball) helms this tale of racial tension in a small Southern town that has a large Ku Klux Klan contingent. Lee Marvin plays the lone Sheriff of the town who has to deal with the fallout when a white woman is raped, apparently by a black man. Tensions are escalated when a lone gunman (played by O.J. Simpson) decides to stir things up with the Klan by shooting white townsfolk with a sniper rifle. Richard Burton plays a local landowner who has long opposed the views of the Klan and harboured black people on his land but he gets drawn into the conflict with deadly consequences.

There are many issues with the film, including a confusing script that was clearly trying to imbue the film with something of a social justice message but bungles it badly. All scenes involving the Klan are cringeworthy and obviously massively politically incorrect. The performances from the two leads are also pretty terrible with Lee Marvin mumbling and drawling through all of his scenes looking like a man who wishes he was elsewhere. Richard Burton also phones his performance in, with an accent that attempts Southern American but ends up sounding altogether wrong, and he also affects a limp in some scenes that disappears in others. Legend has it that the two men were both drunk during the entire shoot and that might explain things. It also doesn’t help that the only version of the film available on home video has been badly cut to remove a lot of the violence and a pivotal rape scene.

This is the style A Japanese B2 poster but I also have the style B that features artwork unique to the Japanese campaign by Seito.

The Sea Wolves / B2 / Japan

17.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
The Sea Wolves
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen
Origin of Film
Switzerland | UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the art-style Japanese B2 for the 1980 action film The Sea Wolves, which is based on real events that occurred during the Second World War. The story is based on the exploits of ex-members of the Calcutta Light Horse, a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army that was formed in 1872 and was disbanded a couple of years after the end of WWII. The plot sees British intelligence discovering that a Nazi radio ship is broadcasting the coordinates of allied ships from a harbour in Portuguese Goa, which was neutral during the war, so an all out assault cannot be launched by the Navy because of this.

British Intelligence officers Col. Lewis Pugh (Gregory Peck) and Capt. Gavin Stewart (Roger Moore) lead the operation and covertly enlist retired officer Col. Bill Grice (David Niven) of the Calcutta Light Horse & some of his former soldiers. The gang sneak into Goa and arrange a diversion on the evening of a planned raid, before making their way to the radio ship carrying enough explosives to sink it and put a stop any more transmissions. The film reunited much of the creative team behind an earlier OAPs on a mission film, 1978’s The Wild Geese, including director Andrew V. McLaglen, screenwriter Reginald Rose, producer Euan Lloyd and several of the stars.

This Japanese poster features artwork painted by Seito that is unique to the Japanese campaign. Seito is one of my favourite Japanese artists who was responsible for several fantastic illustrated posters during the 1970s and 1980s. Little is known about the man himself, even in his native country.

To see the other posters I’ve collected by Seito click 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’.

 

Dead and Buried / B2 / style B / Japan

24.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
Dead and Buried
AKA
Zongeria (Japan)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Gary Sherman
Starring
James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield, Nancy Locke, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
James Farentino, Melody Anderson, Jack Albertson, Dennis Redfield, Nancy Locke, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is the style B B2 for the Japanese release of the American horror film Dead and Buried. The film was written by Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon, the two screenwriters responsible for the 1979 sci-fi masterpiece Alien, and was directed by Gary Sherman whose previous film had been the creepy ‘cannibals on the London Underground’ horror Raw Meat (AKA Deathline) almost a decade earlier. The story is set in the seemingly normal New England seaside town of Potter’s Bluff and sees the local Sheriff Dan Gillis (James Farentino) investigating a series of mysterious disappearances of strangers visiting the area. The baffling thing for the sheriff is that the strangers are then reappearing some days later now seemingly a member of the community.

The viewer bears witness to a series of gruesome murders beginning with that of a photographer (Christopher Allport) who is seduced on the town beach before being attacked by several people from the town who beat him and burn him alive whilst taking photographs. It soon becomes clear that Potters Bluff’s eccentric mortician William G. Dobbs (Jack Albertson AKA Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) has been practicing some fairly unorthodox patient handling in his morgue and the sheriff sets out to put a stop to his plans.

Apparently, the film went through a number of edits at the request of one of the financiers and was moulded into more of a dark horror film than Gary Sherman had originally intended, with two additional killings inserted and filmed without the assistance of effects maestro Stan Winston (these are noticeably different in tone and quality of execution than the rest of the film). Despite this, Dead and Buried is a solid horror film with a creepy atmosphere, excellent production design and some memorable turns, particularly from Albertson and Melody Anderson as Dan Gillis’ wife who harbours a dark secret.

The film’s original trailer is on YouTube.

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.

I Am Curious (Yellow) / B2 / white title style / Japan

03.08.16

Poster Poster
Title
I Am Curious (Yellow)
AKA
Jag är nyfiken - en film i gult (Sweden - original title)
Year of Film
1967
Director
Vilgot Sjöman
Starring
Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren, Chris Wahlström, Marie Göranzon, Magnus Nilsson, Ulla Lyttkens
Origin of Film
Sweden
Genre(s) of Film
Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren, Chris Wahlström, Marie Göranzon, Magnus Nilsson, Ulla Lyttkens,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
White title style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters printed for the release (in 1971) of the landmark Swedish drama I Am Curious (Yellow) from the controversial director Vilgot Sjöman. Yellow is a companion film to I Am Curious (Blue) and the pair were originally meant to have been released as one 3.5 hour film. The colours in the titles refer to the Swedish flag. They were part of a series of left wing films that were made after the founding of the Swedish Film Institute in the early 1960s and the attempt, by prominent Swedish cultural figure Harry Schein, to start Sweden’s own flavour of New Wave cinema. 

Filmed in a pseudo-documentary, cinéma vérité style, the film sees Sjöman playing a version of himself, a director who decides to make a film starring his 22-year-old lover Lena Nyman (also playing herself) who is a theatre student interested in social issues. The film within the film is called ‘Lena on the Road’ and sees her leaving the flat she shares with her father and, when not getting involved in socio-political activism with a group of friends, she is shown traveling around Stockholm interviewing people she meets about issues including social classes and gender equality.

Later she meets another man called Börje who she begins a love-affair with but this becomes fraught when she discovers he has hidden the fact that he has another lover and a daughter. After traveling to a country retreat Lena begins meditating, practicing yoga and studying about non-violence, but her lover catches up with her and the pair continue their stormy relationship. Soon after the film within a film begins to break down as the ‘actors’ form a ‘real’ relationship that causes the ‘director’ to get jealous and wrap up shooting.

The film is most notable for its then ground-breaking use of full-frontal shots and scenes of (simulated) sexual intercourse that until then had been confined to sex films and not used in a dramatic context. The film was released in a cut form both in the US, UK and elsewhere but it was in the US that it attracted the most controversy with some states even going so far as banning the film outright on grounds of obscenity (Massachusetts in 1969, later overturned). As is the case with any censorship case brought against a film featuring sex and nudity, the box-office takings were helped greatly as punters flocked to see what the fuss was about. The film was the highest-grossing foreign film in the US for many years afterwards. This article on Vulture.com goes into more detail about the original release.

The other style of Japanese poster features a similarly colourful image but has black text down the side instead of white – see here.

Cotton Comes to Harlem / B2 / Japan

30.08.16

Poster Poster

Cotton Comes to Harlem is often considered to be one of the first films in the so-called blaxploitation sub-genre of exploitation that was popular during the 1970s. The film was the second film to be directed by the late Ossie Davis, who was one of a handful of African-American actors to achieve commercial success in films without being stereotyped in films prior to 1970. Although best known as an actor, with roles in films like The Hill (1965) and The Scalphunters (1968), Davis tried his hand at directing, starting with the little-seen Kongi’s Harvest in 1970. The same year, ‘Cotton…’ proved to be a huge hit and saw him helm two other blaxploitation pictures, with Black Girl following in 1972 and then another hit with Gordon’s War a year later.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Chester Himes and is set in the eponymous neighbourhood of Manhattan. Two detectives, Grave Digger Jones (Godfrey Cambridge, who died tragically aged 43) and Coffin Ed Johnson (Raymond St. Jacques) are assigned to investigate the apparent armed robbery of $87000 during a public rally. The gathering was being led by Reverend Deke O’Malley (Calvin Lockhart) who is fundraising for a Back-to-Africa movement ship to be called Black Beauty. A gang of thieves wearing masks appear at the event and steal the money from an armoured truck before making off. A chase ensues and the titular bale of cotton falls from the getaway van. The detectives soon realise that the stolen money was apparently stashed inside the bale and the hunt is on after it disappears from the street. O’Malley must fend off the angry mob of locals looking for their money, as well as a jealous girlfriend (Judy Pace) and the partner who he was in cahoots with to stage the robbery.

The film was a huge hit in cinemas, grossing over $5 million on a $1 million budget and triggering a rush to produce films in a similar vein. Arguably the sub-genre’s most famous film, Shaft, would follow a year later. ‘Cotton…’ was given a sequel called Come Back, Charleston Blue in 1972, but the second film wasn’t met with as much critical or audience adulation.

This Japanese B2 is a photo montage but at least part of it is inspired by the US theatrical poster, which had been painted by the artist Robert McGinnis and can be seen here.

Gordon’s War / B2 / Japan

09.10.15

Poster Poster
Title
Gordon's War
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Ossie Davis
Starring
Paul Winfield, Carl Lee, David Downing, Tony King, Gilbert Lewis, Carl Gordon, Nathan C. Heard, Grace Jones
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Paul Winfield, Carl Lee, David Downing, Tony King, Gilbert Lewis, Carl Gordon, Nathan C. Heard, Grace Jones,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 for the 1973 blaxploitation crime drama Gordon’s War, directed by Ossie Davis (Cotton Comes to Harlem) and starring Paul Winfield as the eponymous Gordon Hudson. After returning from the Vietnam war he finds that his neighbourhood in Harlem has been taken over by drug dealers and that his wife has died from a heroin overdose. He gathers some of his fellow soldiers together and sets out to rid the area of the dealers.

The film is unavailable on blu-ray but receives decent enough reviews on IMDb, with one praising its use of real locations:

The location shoot in Harlem is an essential ingredient in making this film work. The feel of the streets, shops, people, cars, bars, abandoned buildings, rundown apartments and ramshackle appearances bolsters the movie greatly. There is a chase scene, car following motorcycle, that ranks among the very best of any movie anywhere, including those in poliziotteschis. That alone makes the movie.

The Fog / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Fog
AKA
Tåken (Norway)
Year of Film
1980
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Tom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis, Andy Wayne, Hal Holbrook
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John Houseman, Tom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis, Andy Wayne, Hal Holbrook,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 poster for John Carpenter’s excellent supernatural horror The Fog, the next cinema release following the directors’ 1978 horror masterpiece Halloween. The film is set in the fictional Californian fishing town of Antonio Bay which is about to celebrate its centennial. What the current residents don’t know is that the town holds a terrible secret; the six original founders deliberately wrecked the Elizabeth Dane, a ship containing a wealthy man named Blake and his five companions who were all suffering from leprosy and wanted to establish a colony nearby. After plundering the wreck and stealing the gold onboard, the conspirators went on to establish Antonio Bay and deliberately covered up their actions.

As the celebrations are being prepared, a mysterious fog bank rolls off the sea which enshrouds the town and surrounding area. Off the coast, a local trawler is also enveloped and the crew subjected to an attack by mysterious glowing-eyed apparitions. Around the same time a young hitchhiker named Elizabeth Solley (Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis) is picked up on the outskirts of the town by local resident Nick Castle (genre stalwart Tom Atkins). As the pair are driving through the fog into town Nick’s vehicle mysteriously cuts out and all the windows shatter without warning. Local radio DJ Stevie Wayne (played by gorgeous ‘scream queen’ Adrienne Barbeau), who broadcasts from a lighthouse on a cliff above the town, is handed a piece of driftwood with ‘Dane’ inscribed on it. She takes it back to her studio only for the wood to trigger a strange sequence of events that culminates with a mysterious voice intoning that ‘six must die’. Over the next few hours the town is subjected to a series of terrifying attacks as Blake and his crew return from their watery graves to claim six souls in revenge for their treatment at the hands of the town’s founders.

The lighthouse featured in the film is actually the Point Reyes lighthouse which is situated to the north of San Francisco in California. In 2010 I visited the lighthouse and it’s an incredibly spooky place, even in bright sunshine. There is a constantly sounding foghorn which is used to warn ships away from a series of underwater rocks just off the coast. I spotted a series of whales moving past the point whilst I was there too. It’s well worth the trip if you’re ever in that area of the world.

I also have the Japanese B1 poster that can be viewed here.

Easy Rider / B2 / orange style / Japan

13.09.13

Poster Poster
Title
Easy Rider
AKA
--
Year of Film
1969
Director
Dennis Hopper
Starring
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Luke Askew, Phil Spector, Karen Black, Toni Basil, Antonio Mendoza, Mac Mashourian, Warren Finnerty
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Luke Askew, Phil Spector, Karen Black, Toni Basil, Antonio Mendoza, Mac Mashourian, Warren Finnerty,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Orange
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

A landmark American film, Easy Rider defined a generation and was a touchstone of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Directed, co-written by and starring the late Dennis Hopper, the film was produced by Peter Fonda, who also helped to write the screenplay and starred alongside Hopper as one of two bikers who set off on a cross-country trip through the Southern United States. At the beginning of the film Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) pull off a successful drug deal and decide to take their earnings and ride from Los Angeles to New Orleans to attend the forthcoming Mardi Gras festival.

Along the way the pair meet an assortment of unusual characters, including a hippie hitchhiker (Luke Askew) who takes them to a commune, drunken lawyer George (Jack Nicholson in a career-defining role) who helps them to escape jail and joins them on their trip, and a pair of prostitutes (Karen Black and Toni Basil). They also experience the hostility of the authorities and suspicious locals whose aggression towards the bikers leads them question if the halcyon days of the early 1960s are well and truly over. After one particular encounter George comments ”You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.”

The film is infamous for its scenes featuring actual drug use (prominently marijuana) and, thanks to its incredible box-office success, Easy Rider is also credited with kickstarting a new era in Hollywood that saw a slew of low-budget films helmed by avant-garde directors being financed, particularly once studio heads realised the profits easily outweighed the initial production costs. Thanks to the success of the film Dennis Hopper was given carte-blanche for his next directorial effort, 1971′s The Last Movie; a film that saw woeful critical and commercial performance and effectively ended his career as a director for over a decade.

This is the Japanese poster for the film, which features the stylised portrait of Fonda, as featured on the American one sheets. The colour scheme and use of stars is unique to this poster and there is also a blue version featuring the same design, which I have in my collection and can be viewed here.

The film’s original trailer is on YouTube.

Easy Rider / B2 / blue version / Japan

01.08.12

Poster Poster
Title
Easy Rider
AKA
--
Year of Film
1969
Director
Dennis Hopper
Starring
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Luke Askew, Phil Spector, Karen Black, Toni Basil, Antonio Mendoza, Mac Mashourian, Warren Finnerty
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Luke Askew, Phil Spector, Karen Black, Toni Basil, Antonio Mendoza, Mac Mashourian, Warren Finnerty,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Blue
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1969
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

A landmark American film, Easy Rider defined a generation and was a touchstone of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Directed, co-written by and starring the late Dennis Hopper, the film was produced by Peter Fonda, who also helped to write the screenplay and starred alongside Hopper as one of two bikers who set off on a cross-country trip through the Southern United States. At the beginning of the film Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) pull off a successful drug deal and decide to take their earnings and ride from Los Angeles to New Orleans to attend the forthcoming Mardi Gras festival.

Along the way the pair meet an assortment of unusual characters, including a hippie hitchhiker (Luke Askew) who takes them to a commune, drunken lawyer George (Jack Nicholson in a career-defining role) who helps them to escape jail and joins them on their trip, and a pair of prostitutes (Karen Black and Toni Basil). They also experience the hostility of the authorities and suspicious locals whose aggression towards the bikers leads them question if the halcyon days of the early 1960s are well and truly over. After one particular encounter George comments “You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.”

The film is infamous for its scenes featuring actual drug use (prominently marijuana) and, thanks to its incredible box-office success, Easy Rider is also credited with kickstarting a new era in Hollywood that saw a slew of low-budget films helmed by avant-garde directors being financed, particularly once studio heads realised the profits easily outweighed the initial production costs. Thanks to the success of the film Dennis Hopper was given carte-blanche for his next directorial effort, 1971’s The Last Movie; a film that saw woeful critical and commercial performance and effectively ended his career as a director for over a decade.

This is the Japanese poster for the film, which features the stylised portrait of Fonda, as featured on the American one sheets. The colour scheme and use of stars is unique to this poster and there is also an orange version featuring the same design, which I have in my collection.

The film’s original trailer is on YouTube.

Diamonds are Forever / B2 / Japan

15.11.13

Poster Poster

Diamonds are Forever is the seventh film in the long-running James Bond franchise and was the last official (EON productions) film to star arguably the greatest actor who played the spy, Sean Connery. After appearing in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service actor George Lazenby decided to leave the franchise, apparently on the advice of his agent, and the producers considered a few other actors before the then head of United Artists (David Picker) declared that he wanted Connery back and money was no object. The Scottish actor, who had previously declared he would never return to the role, demanded an unprecedented fee of £1.25m (equivalent to £23 million in 2013) and was also granted backing to produce two other films of his choice. After both sides agreed to the deal the casting was announced and Connery then donated his fee to set up the Scottish International Education Trust, which allowed artists from the country to apply for funding without having to leave Scotland.

The story starts out with Bond apparently killing his arch-enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld in revenge for the death of his new bride at the end of the previous film. The spy is then sent to investigate the mysterious murders of diamond smugglers and the theft of thousands of the precious stones. After following the trail from Amsterdam to Las Vegas, picking up a partner in smuggler Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) along the way, Bond discovers that two quirky assassins called Mr Wint and Mr Kidd (played memorably by Bruce Glover and Putter Smith) have been killing other smugglers across the world and are stockpiling diamonds for a mysterious benefactor. When Bond tracks the diamonds to their destination in a remote desert facility, he discovers that his arch enemy Blofeld is still alive and is using the diamonds to create a space laser capable of destroying targets on earth. The super spy sets out to stop the maniac’s plans and prevent him from holding the world to ransom with his new weapon.

This Japanese B2 features a montage that is unique to the poster and it includes images of Tiffany Case (on the left) and Trina Parks as the inept assassin Thumper (partnered in the film with ‘Bambi’) who is notable as being the first African-American actress to appear in a Bond film. There is also a small part of the artwork from the American one sheet that was painted by Robert McGinnis.

The Man With The Golden Gun / B2 / Japan

16.06.14

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of The Man With the Golden Gun, the ninth James Bond film and the second to star Roger Moore as the legendary secret agent. It’s definitely one of the weaker films in the long-running series and certainly not Moore’s finest hour, but it has several elements that make it worth watching, including a host of interesting far-eastern locales, strong production design and a very memorable bad guy in the shape of Christopher Lee‘s Scaramanga. Guy Hamilton returned as director for the fourth and last time in the series and the script, written by Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz, takes place amidst the climate of energy worries that followed the 1973 oil crisis. It also reflected the then craze for martial arts movies that followed the release of films like Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon with several kung-fu sequences and exotic locations.

The story starts as MI6 receive a golden bullet with 007 etched into it, leading them to believe that Bond’s life is at threat from the notorious international assassin Scaramanga so they decide to remove him from active duty. The agent was on the trail of a scientist who it is thought could help with the energy crisis and he is frustrated to have been stopped in his pursuit so he sets off to find Scaramanga without official approval. Bond follows a trail of assassinations which lead him from Macau to Bangkok and eventually to Scaramanga’s private island hideout where he discovers that the master assassin has an interest in solar power. Soon Bond is challenged to a duel to the death and he must use his wits to survive the traps set around Scaramanga’s hideout. Dwarf actor Hervé Villechaize has a memorable role as the assassin’s servant Nick Nack, and Clifton James returns as the (perhaps ill-advised) comic relief figure of Sheriff J.W. Pepper, as featured in Live and Let Die.

The artwork on this poster also features on the US one sheet and was painted by Robert McGinnis who is responsible for some of the best James Bond posters, including Thunderball, Live and Let Die 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 and to see the other James Bond posters in the Film on Paper collection click here.