You Searched For: Blaxploitation

Shaft’s Big Score / B2 / Japan

25.07.11

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft's Big Score
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
Gordon Parks
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown, Joseph Mascolo, Kathy Imrie, Wally Taylor, Julius Harris, Rosalind Miles, Joe Santos
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown, Joseph Mascolo, Kathy Imrie, Wally Taylor, Julius Harris, Rosalind Miles, Joe Santos,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Shaft’s Big Score is the second in a trilogy of films featuring blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree). This Japanese poster features a still from one of the big action sequences in the film. I’m a fan of the typography used for the title.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

Melinda / 30×40 / USA

10.05.12

Poster Poster
Title
Melinda
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
Hugh A. Robertson
Starring
Calvin Lockhart, Rosalind Cash, Vonetta McGee, Paul Stevens, Rockne Tarkington, Ross Hagen, Renny Roker, Judyann Elder, Jim Kelly
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Calvin Lockhart, Rosalind Cash, Vonetta McGee, Paul Stevens, Rockne Tarkington, Ross Hagen, Renny Roker, Judyann Elder, Jim Kelly,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/306
Tagline
YOUR kind of black film

The late Calvin Lockhart stars as the smooth-talking DJ Frankie J. Parker in this 1972 revenge drama, an early entry into the so-called blaxploitation genre. One night Parker meets the titular lady, played by Vonetta McGee (who also starred in Blacula and Hammer the same year), and takes her back to his place for a spot of the old horizontal mambo. The next morning Melinda is found dead and when Parker realises it’s the fault of the local mob he teams up with a few old friends, including Charles Atkins (Jim Kelly, star of Black Belt Jones in his first screen role), to seek revenge and clear his name.

Lockhart is perhaps best known for his role as the gangster ‘Biggie Smalls’ in the 1975 boxing film Let’s Do It Again, also starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. The character name would later be appropriated by the now deceased rapper Christopher Wallace (AKA The Notorious B.I.G.). He also starred as the memorable character King Willie in Predator 2 (“You can’t see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin’.”)

One can only surmise as to who the ‘Your’ in the tag-line was aimed at originally. I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this poster, so if you have an idea please get in touch. Frustratingly, the film has not been released on an official DVD yet.

Super Fly TNT / 30×40 / USA

23.07.13

Poster Poster
Title
Super Fly TNT
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Ron O'Neal
Starring
Ron O'Neal, Roscoe Lee Browne, Sheila Frazier, Robert Guillaume, Jacques Sernas, William Berger, Roy Bosier, Silvio Noto, Olga Bisera
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Ron O'Neal, Roscoe Lee Browne, Sheila Frazier, Robert Guillaume, Jacques Sernas, William Berger, Roy Bosier, Silvio Noto, Olga Bisera,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Craig Nelson
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/233
Tagline
Same dude with a different plan... in another country with a different man.

Written, directed by and starring the late Ron O’Neal, Super Fly TNT was the hastily released follow up to the smash hit 1972 original Super Fly, one of the classic entries into the then burgeoning blaxploitation genre. Reprising his role as Priest from the first film, O’Neal would forever struggle to shake loose from the character and he was always to be known as ‘that Super Fly guy’. In this film, the character has retired from hustling and is living the good life in Rome, Italy with his lady Georgia (Sheila Frazier). Although he’s financially stable following a huge cocaine deal he manage to pull of back in New York, Priest is bored and spends his time playing cards against Italian businessmen.

One day he is approached by an African dignitary Dr. Lamine Sonko (Roscoe Lee Browne) who wants help with a gun smuggling operation that will help overthrow colonialism in his country. Initially reluctant to help, Sonko manages to convince Priest that he owes it to his ‘African brothers’ to help and, feeling a sense of guilt over his hustling days, the Super Fly guy decides to get back into action. The film was critically panned and faired poorly at the box-office; strong proof that rushing a sequel out to cash in on the success of an original usually ends in disaster.

This US 30×40 poster features artwork by the American artist Craig Nelson who has been painting for over forty years, and is an accomplished figure and landscape artist who also teaches at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco where he is Director of Fine Art, Drawing and Painting. Two other film posters that Nelson is known for are the US one sheets for The Monster Squad (1987) and Slap Shot (1977). The artist’s official website can be viewed by clicking here and includes galleries of his fine art paintings and a biography that does have mention of his film work, but there are no galleries of his other posters.

Black Eye / 30×40 / USA

22.04.13

Poster Poster
Title
Black Eye
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Jack Arnold
Starring
Fred Williamson, Rosemary Forsyth, Teresa Graves, Floy Dean, Richard Anderson, Cyril Delevanti, Richard X. Slattery, Larry D. Mann, Bret Morrison, Frank Ashmore
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Fred Williamson, Rosemary Forsyth, Teresa Graves, Floy Dean, Richard Anderson, Cyril Delevanti, Richard X. Slattery, Larry D. Mann, Bret Morrison, Frank Ashmore,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/1
Tagline
Whenever the cane turns up, someone turns up dead. | Black Eye knows why.

A striking design on this poster for the 1974 blaxploitation crime caper Black Eye, starring genre favourite Fred Williamson as Stone, a Los Angeles private-eye. Following a film star’s funeral, a signature cane is stolen from their house and Stone discovers that the item is connected to a string of grisly murders. His investigation sees him visiting an adult movie set, as well as getting involved with a drug ring and a religious cult, all the time dealing with the machinations of his bisexual girlfriend (played by Teresa Graves).

The film was directed by Jack Arnold who is best known for helming a series of iconic horror and sci-fi films during the 1950s, including Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), It Came from Outer Space (1953) and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957).

A couple of original TV spots for the film are available to watch on YouTube.

Blacula / B2 / Japan

16.07.12

Poster Poster
Title
Blacula
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
William Crain
Starring
William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala, Gordon Pinsent, Charles Macaulay, Emily Yancy, Lance Taylor Sr., Ted Harris
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala, Gordon Pinsent, Charles Macaulay, Emily Yancy, Lance Taylor Sr., Ted Harris,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The first in a line of blaxploitation horror films, Blacula was produced by the prolific studio American International Pictures who’d had success in the 1960s with a series of horrors directed by Roger Corman and based on Edgar Allan Poe‘s stories, which included House of Usher and The Raven. During the 1970s they produced multiple blaxploitation films that included Coffy and Foxy Brown, and they are credited with making Pam Grier a household name.

Blacula tells the story of Manuwalde an African prince (played by William Marshall) who is bitten by Count Dracula after visiting him to ask for his help in the ending the slave trade. Imprisoned in a coffin in the 18th century, the prince is unwittingly transported to Los Angeles two hundred years later by antique dealers who sell his casket. Unleashed on the city, Manuwalde goes on the hunt for human blood and later comes across the beautiful Tina (Vonetta McGee) who is the reincarnation of his old wife that was murdered by Dracula. Unfortunately one of Tina’s friends, Dr. Gordon Thomas (played by the brilliantly named Thalmus Rasulala) learns of the prince’s true nature and vows to hunt him down.

The film was followed a year later by a sequel called Scream, Blacula Scream. Another production company put together Blackenstein and Sugar Hill (1974) was AIP’s blaxploitation zombie film.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Book of Numbers / 30×40 / USA

16.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Book of Numbers
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Raymond St. Jacques
Starring
Raymond St. Jacques, Philip Michael Thomas, Freda Payne, D'Urville Martin, Sterling St. Jacques, Gilbert Green, Irma P. Hall, Doug Finell, Willie Washinton Jr.
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Raymond St. Jacques, Philip Michael Thomas, Freda Payne, D'Urville Martin, Sterling St. Jacques, Gilbert Green, Irma P. Hall, Doug Finell, Willie Washinton Jr.,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/117
Tagline
The Black King of the Numbers Game | Blue Boy's got the man's number..and takes it...at 600 to 1

A largely forgotten entry into the blaxploitation genre, Book of Numbers was written, directed and produced by its star Raymond St. Jacques, who is perhaps best known for his role as Coffin Ed Johnson in the film Cotton Comes to Harlem, as well as the street preacher in John Carpenter’s They Live.

The film sees two African-American waiters set up a numbers racket in a small town in Arkansas, raising the ire of the white gangsters in other towns nearby. Despite being something of a critical success it appears the film was a financial flop and put paid to  further films that Raymond St. Jacques had planned with his recently established production company.

The great artwork on this US 30×40 features a signature but I’ve had a hard time identifying who it belongs to. Take a look at the signature picture and let me know if you can identify it.

 

Sweet Jesus Preacher Man / 30×40 / USA

21.01.13

Poster Poster
Title
Sweet Jesus Preacher Man
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Henning Schellerup
Starring
Roger E. Mosley, William Smith, Michael Pataki, Tom Johnigarn, Joe Tornatore, Damu King, Marla Gibbs, Sam Laws, Phil Hoover, Paul Silliman
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Roger E. Mosley, William Smith, Michael Pataki, Tom Johnigarn, Joe Tornatore, Damu King, Marla Gibbs, Sam Laws, Phil Hoover, Paul Silliman,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/189
Tagline
Amen, Brother!

Sweet Jesus Preacher Man is apparently a lesser entry into the 1970s blaxploitation genre and it appears to have been largely forgotten with no DVD release forthcoming. Director Henning Schellerup is perhaps better known as a camera operator and cinematographer, having worked on such films as Death Race 2000A Nightmare on Elm Street and Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Roger E. Mosley (Tom Selleck’s partner in Magnum P.I.) stars as a hit man who who poses as a baptist preacher in order to take over the vice rackets in an L.A. ghetto. After his boss Martelli (character actor William Smith) double-crosses him he sets out on a rampage of revenge leaving bodies in his wake.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this American 30×40 poster so please get in touch if you have an idea. You’ll notice that a large sticker with the credits on it has been applied over what is clearly the original credits block. This was likely done shortly after the posters were printed to correct an error without having to scrap the whole batch and print them again.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

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.

Hit Man / 30×40 / USA

14.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
Hit Man
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
George Armitage
Starring
Bernie Casey, Pam Grier, Lisa Moore, Bhetty Waldron, Sam Laws, Candy All, Don Diamond, Ed Cambridge, Bob Harris
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bernie Casey, Pam Grier, Lisa Moore, Bhetty Waldron, Sam Laws, Candy All, Don Diamond, Ed Cambridge, Bob Harris,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/13
Tagline
He aims to please.

Excellent artwork for this entry into the 1970s Blaxploitation genre. Hit Man was based on the novel Jack’s Return Home by Ted Lewis that had been previously filmed as the British classic Get Carter a year before this.

Check out the superb trailer on YouTube.

This particular poster is the 30×40 version, printed on thicker paper and typically used for drive-in screenings or at larger cinemas. You’ll notice that the NSS and copyright information at the bottom has been cut off, probably due to a printing error (it hasn’t been trimmed).

Trick Baby / B2 / Japan

10.10.12

Poster Poster
Title
Trick Baby
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
Larry Yust
Starring
Kiel Martin, Mel Stewart, Dallas Edward Hayes, Beverly Ballard, Vernee Watson-Johnson, Donald Symington, Don Fellows, Thomas Anderson
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kiel Martin, Mel Stewart, Dallas Edward Hayes, Beverly Ballard, Vernee Watson-Johnson, Donald Symington, Don Fellows, Thomas Anderson,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A nice photo montage on this poster for the Japanese release of Trick Baby, a 1972 crime caper, often placed in the blaxploitation genre, despite featuring a lot more in the way of plot and character development than many of the films under that banner.  Based on the novel of the same name by the infamous former pimp Iceberg Slim, the film follows two conmen, ‘White Folks’ (Kiel Martin)  and ‘Blue’ Howard (Mel Stewart), as they pull off the biggest score of their lives and inadvertently raise the ire of the local Mafia and a corrupt cop.

The former was given the odd moniker after he was born to mixed-race parents and can pass as a white man, which proves useful for the pair’s criminal antics. The title Trick Baby comes from the other nickname he is given because of his prostitute mother and ‘trick’ father.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

The Mack / 30×40 / USA

02.12.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Mack
AKA
Mack - Il Marciapiede Della Violenza [Mack - The Sidewalk of Violence] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Michael Campus
Starring
Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor, Carol Speed, Roger E. Mosley, Dick Anthony Williams, William Watson, George Murdock, Juanita Moore
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor, Carol Speed, Roger E. Mosley, Dick Anthony Williams, William Watson, George Murdock, Juanita Moore,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Fred Pfeiffer
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/87
Tagline
Now that you've seen the rest... make way for... | the biggest and the best

One of the all-time-great pieces of Blaxploitation artwork for this 1973 flick starring Max Julien and Richard Pryor. The film is notorious for the ‘player’s ball’ scene, which birthed the idea of an annual meet-up for pimps in Chicago, Illinois.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the great artwork so please get in touch or leave a comment if you have an idea.

Here’s the original trailer on YouTube.

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.

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold / B2 / Japan

20.04.12

Poster Poster

The late Tamara Dobson‘s second and last outing as the titular blaxploitation crime-fighter sees her traveling to Hong Kong to rescue two of her fellow agents who have disappeared whilst on a case. She soon discovers that the owner of a Macao casino and major drug lord, the sinister Dragon Lady (Stella Stevens), is responsible and Cleopatra sets out to stop her at all costs.

Apparently the film failed to make as much of an impact as the first one due to the fall in popularity of blaxploitation films by 1975. Director Charles Bail had previously worked on another entry in the genre, Black Samson, released in 1974. He went on to direct episodes of several TV series including CHiPsKnight Rider and Dragnet.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

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.

Shaft in Africa / 30×40 / USA

25.11.13

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft in Africa
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins, Willie Jonah
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins, Willie Jonah,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Solie
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
THE Brother Man in the Motherland. Shaft is stickin' it... all the way.

Shaft in Africa is the final entry in the trilogy of films featuring Blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree). This time the eponymous detective is kidnapped from his New York apartment and coerced into assuming the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker. His ’employer’ wants Shaft to smash a human trafficking ring, run by the dastardly Amafi (Frank Finlay), that’s bringing African workers into Europe to exploit them. Much more of an adventure film than the previous two entries, which were pretty much entirely set in urban areas, this film was actually shot on location in Ethiopia and has less of a blaxploitation feel and more of a James Bond-style action style. Gordon Parks, the director of the previous entries, was replaced by the British director John Guillermin who would helm the box-office smash The Towering Inferno the following year.

The all-action artwork on this 30×40 poster is by the American artist John Solie who has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Another gallery of his work can be viewed on Wrong Side of the Art. Solie also painted the art for the US poster for Shaft’s Big Score.

Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

Shaft in Africa / B2 / Japan

30.06.14

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft in Africa
AKA
Shaft e i mercanti di schiavi [Shaft and the slave merchants] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins,
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 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 for Shaft in Africa, the final entry in the trilogy of films featuring Blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree). This time the eponymous detective is kidnapped from his New York apartment and coerced into assuming the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker in an African country. His ‘employer’ wants Shaft to smash a human trafficking ring, run by the dastardly Amafi (Frank Finlay), that’s bringing African workers into Europe to exploit them.

Much more of an adventure film than the previous two entries, which were pretty much entirely set in urban areas, this film was actually shot on location in Ethiopia and has less of a blaxploitation feel and more of a James Bond-style action style. Gordon Parks, the director of the previous entries, was replaced by the British director John Guillermin who would helm the box-office smash The Towering Inferno the following year.

The photo montage is unique to Japan and the US poster features excellent artwork by John Solie. The fact that the designer chose to tint Shaft blue in the image of him kissing a white woman is more than a little strange and one can only guess at the motivations behind that decision.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

Black Samson / 30×40 / USA

20.09.12

Poster Poster

Excellent artwork on this 30×40 poster for the 1974 entry into the blaxploitation genre, Black Samson. The film was directed by Charles Bail, who also had a career as an actor and starred in several TV series throughout the 1960s, including The Big Valley and Batman (as a henchman). He was also a prolific stuntman and stunt coordinator, lending his talents to such films as The Green Berets and Freebie and the Bean. This film was his directorial debut but he went on to work on another blaxploitation caper, Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975) and the road race comedy The Gumball Rally (1976).

The plot follows nightclub owner Samson (the brilliantly named Rockne Tarkington), who keeps his neighbourhood clear of drugs and crime, face up against a mob gang led by Johnny Nappa (William Smith) who are trying to muscle in on his territory. Carol Speed (The Mack) stars as Samson’s love interest, alongside his pet lion and gigantic bashing stick!

I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this poster so please get in touch if you have an idea.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

 

Cleopatra Jones / 30×40 / USA

07.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Cleopatra Jones
AKA
Dynamite Jones (France)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Jack Starrett
Starring
Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Brenda Sykes, Antonio Fargas, Dan Frazer, Bill McKinney, Shelley Winters
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Brenda Sykes, Antonio Fargas, Dan Frazer, Bill McKinney, Shelley Winters,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/147
Tagline
She's 6 feet 2" of Dynamite... and the Hottest Super Agent Ever!

An excellent design on this 30×40 poster for the release of one the most prominent entries in the blaxploitation genre, 1973’s Cleopatra Jones. The late Tamara Dobson stars as the eponymous secret agent who masquerades as a catwalk model in order to disguise her real job, which sees her traveling the globe and tackling drug gangs. After burning down a Turkish poppy field used to create heroin by the kingpin Mommy (Shelley Winters), Cleopatra returns to Los Angeles to arrest the dirty cops on the cartel’s payroll. An incensed Mommy tracks our heroine back home and tries to prevent her dismantling the rest of her drug operation.

The film is notable for being the first in the genre to feature a strong female lead who uses physical strength and combat skills to battle adversaries, and because of its box-office success was later followed by films such as CoffyBlack Belt Jones and Foxy Brown. Dobson would return for the sequel Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold, which was released two years later but saw nowhere near the same level of success, mostly due to the blaxploitation genre’s waning appeal at that time.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design of this poster, or for the hand-drawn artwork featured on it, so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

The trailer is on YouTube.

Shaft’s Big Score / 30×40 / USA

25.02.13

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft's Big Score
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
Gordon Parks
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown, Joseph Mascolo, Kathy Imrie, Wally Taylor, Julius Harris, Rosalind Miles, Joe Santos
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown, Joseph Mascolo, Kathy Imrie, Wally Taylor, Julius Harris, Rosalind Miles, Joe Santos,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Solie
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/175
Tagline
You liked it before, so he's back with more. SHAFT's BACK IN ACTION! | a brand new caper

Shaft’s Big Score is the second in the trilogy of films featuring Blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree) which sees the private-eye caught up in a war between two rival mobs after the death of one of his friends. The murder leaves the two gangs chasing a missing $200,000 and battling to take over a neighbourhood with Shaft battling to stop them. The film was directed by Gordon Parks who was also responsible for the first film and would later direct another blaxploitation caper, The Super Cops (1974). Although singer Isaac Hayes had provided the score for the first Shaft film, he wasn’t available for this sequel and Parks decided to work on the score himself since he was also a composer.

The all-action artwork on this 30×40 poster is by the American artist John Solie who has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Another gallery of his work can be viewed on Wrong Side of the Art.

Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold / 30×40 / USA

15.03.13

Poster Poster
Title
Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Charles Bail
Starring
Tamara Dobson, Stella Stevens, Ni Tien, Norman Fell, Albert Popwell, Caro Kenyatta, Shen Chan, Christopher Hunt, Chen Chi Lin, Locke Hua Liu, Eddy Donno
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Tamara Dobson, Stella Stevens, Ni Tien, Norman Fell, Albert Popwell, Caro Kenyatta, Shen Chan, Christopher Hunt, Chen Chi Lin, Locke Hua Liu, Eddy Donno,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert Tanenbaum
Size (inches)
30 2/16 x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/164
Tagline
6ft. 2in. of dynamite explodes into action.

The late Tamara Dobson‘s second and last outing as the titular blaxploitation crime-fighter sees her traveling to Hong Kong to rescue two of her fellow agents who have disappeared whilst on a case. She soon discovers that the owner of a Macao casino and major drug lord, the sinister Dragon Lady (Stella Stevens), is responsible and Cleopatra sets out to stop her at all costs.

Apparently the film failed to make as much of an impact as the first one due to the fall in popularity of blaxploitation films by 1975. Director Charles Bail had previously worked on another entry in the genre, Black Samson, released in 1974. He went on to direct episodes of several TV series including CHiPsKnight Rider and Dragnet.

The excellent artwork is by the American artist Robert Tanenbaum who was responsible for many excellent film posters during the 1970s and 80s. He’s also an award-winning portrait artist and his official website features several galleries of his impressive work. IMPAwards also features a number of his film posters.

To see other posters I’ve collected by him click here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Black Hooker / one sheet / USA

15.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Black Hooker
AKA
Streets Sisters (USA - alternative title) | Black Mama (USA - video title) | Don't Leave Go My Hand (USA - alternative title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Arthur Roberson
Starring
Sandra Alexandra, Jeff Burton, Kathryn Jackson, Teddy Quinn, Gioya Roberson, Durey Mason, Mary Reed, Alan Bass
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sandra Alexandra, Jeff Burton, Kathryn Jackson, Teddy Quinn, Gioya Roberson, Durey Mason, Mary Reed, Alan Bass,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Clyde Knudson
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
She was lovable... She Was Mean.... Damn mean! | What would you do if your mama was a hooker?

They sure don’t make, title or market them like this anymore! Black Hooker is an obscure 1974 drama that was written, produced and directed by a man named Arthur Roberson whose sole film credits are all for this film (according to IMDb he also did the production design, art direction and set decoration). Seemingly only released in the States, the reason for its obscurity is explained in the reviews section of its IMDb page. In 2004 a reviewer with the handle ‘spropes’ wrote the following:

‘When I worked with L.A. County, I knew Art Roberson fairly well, tho I have no idea of his current status or whereabouts. We were both social workers in the ghetto (really) in the 1970s. My impression was that being a social worker was his day job, that being a movie maker was his primary ambition…so what else is new? The movie, some interiors of which were shot at the legendary Joe Jost’s in Long Beach, premiered for friends and associates at Warner Bros. screening room in Burbank. At the end of the showing, it was greeted by dead silence, replacing excitement or applause. 

I think the viewers realized that the director had blown a pretty good chance to do something worthwhile after all his work, investment and attention to this film. Originally entitled something like “Don’t Leave Go My Hand” (or maybe “Don’t Let Go My Hand”), it was supposed to sensitively portray the horrible life of a neglected (or abused, I don’t recall which) black child, the son of a…you guessed it…black hooker! But that original intent didn’t play, so the title was changed to “Black Hooker,” presumably to piggyback on the blaxploitation movement at the time.’

This would explain why the film has several alternative titles and why it is often listed as a blaxploitation film despite the storyline having barely anything in common with other entries in the genre. Another reviewer sums up the film thusly:

‘Whatever the hell this is, it is quite the mean-spirited, uncomfortable little obscurity, which caters only to collectors of the most obscure B-cinema available. A hostile, impersonal story, with zero light at the end of the tunnel. none of the characters even have names. What kind of director makes a movie like this? A director who didn’t have a very happy childhood, that’s who. I mean, this isn’t exactly Cannibal Holocaust, or I Spit On Your Grave, or anything like that, but Black Hooker is just hateful.’

I have no clues as to who is responsible for the design or artwork of this one sheet and I doubt I’ll ever be able to discover who should be credited with it, but if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Black Dynamite / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Car Wash / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Car Wash
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Michael Schultz
Starring
Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/190
Tagline
--

Coffy / one sheet / re-release/reprint / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Coffy
AKA
Coffy, la panthère noire de Harlem (France)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Jack Hill
Starring
Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release or reprint
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
Unknown
Designer
Unknown
Artist
George Akimoto
Size (inches)
27" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/157
Tagline
The Baddest One-Chick Hit-Squad that ever hit town!

This is definitely not from the time of the original release, but the print quality is excellent (plenty of detail etc) so I’m thinking it must be either an official studio reprint or from a re-release. If anyone knows any more details please get in touch.