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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.

Ryan’s Daughter / one sheet / style B / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / B2 / Japan

25.01.12

Poster Poster

A striking use of Japanese characters on this poster for Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 take on the true story of lawman versus outlaw, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The film starred James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson and featured American musician Bob Dylan in his first film role. Dylan also composed several songs for the soundtrack and released an album of the same name that year, which featured the classic song ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’.

This was Peckinpah’s third western and it’s said that he wanted the film to be the definitive statement on the genre. Sadly, multiple problems beset the production, including budgetary and time constraints, malfunctioning equipment and sick cast and crew members. This led to a falling out between the director and the studio (MGM) and ultimately saw the film being removed from Peckinpah’s control. The footage was roughly edited and cut down before being dumped into cinemas, with an unsurprisingly poor critical and commercial outcome.

In 1988 a director’s cut of the film was released and led to it being given a favourable reappraisal from critics and many now hail the film as one of Peckinpah’s best. In 2005 a third version was released onto DVD, which combines the two cuts and adds in some new material whilst still running shorter than the director’s cut.

The original trailer is on YouTube.