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Trouble Man / B2 / Japan

12.02.14

Poster Poster
Title
Trouble Man
AKA
Fureur Noire [Black Fury] (France)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Ivan Dixon
Starring
Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, William Smithers, Paula Kelly, Julius Harris, Bill Henderson, Wayne Storm, Akili Jones, Vince Howard
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, William Smithers, Paula Kelly, Julius Harris, Bill Henderson, Wayne Storm, Akili Jones, Vince Howard,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Actor turned director Ivan Dixon helmed Trouble Man, a blaxploitation thriller from 1972, starring Robert Hooks and featuring an original soundtrack by Marvin Gaye. Mr T (Hooks) is a former hustler turned private eye who has allies on both sides of the law and operates out of a pool hall where he sharks during his spare time. One day he is approached by Chalky (Paul Winfield) and Pete (Ralph Waite), two former pimps who have been running illegal dice games around the local neighbourhood which they claim have been robbed several times by a gang of masked men, despite them having changed the location several times.

Mr T agrees to help the pair discover who’s behind the heists for a price, but what he assumes to be a routine assignment soon turns out to be nothing of the sort when Chalky and Pete double cross him and leave him caught between a gang led by the kingpin Big (Julius Harris) and the local police captain. T must fight to survive and clear his name whilst getting even with Chalky and Pete before its too late. Often compared favourably to perhaps the best known blaxploitation feature Shaft, the film has something of a cult reputation today which is helped by the memorable Marvin Gaye soundtrack.

This Japanese B2 features a photo of Mr T in front of mirrors that is similar to the American one sheet, although this poster is obviously more violently explicit.

The excellent original trailer is on YouTube.

Life During Wartime / one sheet / USA

18.10.16

Poster Poster

Artwork by artist Akiko Stehrenberger features on this one sheet poster for the release of director Todd Solondz‘s Life During Wartime. The film is a sort of semi-sequel to Happiness which he directed 11 years earlier. It features the same characters but each one has been re-cast with new actors. The plot mainly revolves around the three Jordan sisters that appeared in Happiness and looks at where their lives are a decade later. Like the director’s other films it straddles a fine line between dark comedy and uncomfortable drama. The performances from the likes of Allison JanneyShirley Henderson and Michael Lerner are all excellent and, although perhaps not as memorable as Happiness, it’s still worth a watch.

Akiko Stehrenberger is one of my favourite poster artists working today and she’s created several memorable pieces of key poster art over the past few years. As detailed on her official website, Akiko began her career in New York City as an illustrator for various magazines, including SPIN and The Source. In 2004 she moved to Los Angeles and began working on illustrations for film posters as well as other freelance projects. She’s won multiple awards and has created poster designs for some of the most celebrated directors working today.

One of her most celebrated posters is the one sheet for Funny Games, Michael Haneke’s 2008 remake of his own film of the same name, released a decade earlier. When first released, many people assumed it was a manipulated photograph of the actress Naomi Watts but this excellent interview on Mubi confirms that it’s a digital illustration. The article is well worth a read to get an idea of how Akiko works and the process she went through for that poster. The gallery of posters on her website features a mixture of designs that were chosen by the distributor to be used as official campaign material as well as ones that didn’t get chosen but are nevertheless excellent. I particularly love this poster for Blue Ruin and the unused quad art for Under the Skin. You can see from her portfolio of work that she’s not afraid to experiment with new styles for each project.

There’s another gallery of her work on IMPawards.

Meek’s Cutoff / one sheet / advance / USA

26.05.17

Poster Poster

This is the advance one sheet for the 2010 western Meek’s Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring Michelle WilliamsBruce Greenwood and Paul Dano. The director is best known for her work on indie films and spent some of the early part of her career working behind the scenes for directors including Todd Haynes (she was involved in his first film, Poison) before beginning to direct in 1994. She’s best known for Wendy and Lucy (2006), this film, and 2016’s Certain Women. The film is loosely based on a real incident that happened in 1845 on the Oregon Trail, a famous route for families who were emigrating across the United States to the West coast. The name of the film references an alternative route that was taken by the famous frontiersman Stephen Meek.

The film focuses on three families who have hired Meek (Greenwood) to take them along the trail to Oregon. They place their trust in him when he suggests a shortcut that will shave time off their journey. After some time it becomes clear that Meek has miscalculated and the group struggle to find a source of fresh water, which is much needed in the arid and sunbleached Oregon High Desert. The group realise a Native Indian has been following them at a distance and eventually Meek sets out to capture him. They then have to decide whether to kill him or trust him to lead them to water and eventual safety.

The artwork on this one sheet is by the noted designer and illustrator Marlene McCarty who was apparently specifically requested to work on the poster by Reicardt. McCarty has been active since the 1980s and gained notoriety for her work with the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury during the 80s and 1990s. She’s also known as the co-founder trans-disciplinary design studio Bureau along with Donald Moffett. As Adrian Curry explains in this ‘Movie poster of the week’ article on mubi.com, the artist has also worked on film posters for various indie productions over the years. More recently she’s been producing large scale drawings of people and chimpanzees, drawn using pencil and ballpoint pen. Curry notes that this illustration of Michelle Williams has been drawn in a similar style, albeit with some digital touch-ups during the design process. McCarty also worked on the film’s titles.