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Blow Out / one sheet / USA


Poster Poster
Blow Out
Year of Film
Brian De Palma
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May, John Aquino, John McMartin
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May, John Aquino, John McMartin,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Origin of Poster
Year of Poster
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
Murder has a sound all of its own

Following the poor reception of 1980’s Dressed to Kill, director Brian De Palma decided to develop an idea he’d had during production that was based on Antonioni’s 1966 thriller Blow Up, swapping photography for sound recording. The resultant film, with a screenplay by De Palma, was named Blow Out and released almost exactly a year after Dressed to Kill. John Travolta stars as Jack Terry, a sound technician who is working on a low-budget exploitation film and is tasked by a producer to set out and record a better scream for a pivotal scene as well as some ambient noises. Jack travels to a local park at night to record but whilst there he witnesses a limousine crash off a road and into a lake.

After diving in to see if there are any survivors Jack discovers the driver dead and a young woman alive but trapped in the back of the car. After rescuing her and pulling her to safety, Jack discovers that the driver was a governor and presidential candidate and the woman is Sally (De Palma’s then wife Nancy Allen), an escort. The governor’s associates persuade Jack to cover up the fact that Sally was in the car and whilst listening to the recordings he made that night he begins to suspect that the crash wasn’t an accident as people are being led to believe. When he discovers that an amateur cameraman was also recording in the park that night he works with Sally to get a copy of the film, and when spliced together it becomes clear that a single gunshot was fired before the car smashes into the lake. It soon becomes clear that Jack has inadvertently involved himself in a deepening conspiracy and that he and Sally are in grave danger, with the gunman Burke (John Lithgow) still at large and keen to tie up loose ends.

As expected, the film is visually stylish and features several of De Palma’s trademark bravura sequences, with one towards the end of the film featuring a parade and a fireworks display that is particularly memorable. The leads all give excellent performances, with Travolta’s low-key depiction of an ordinary man in over his head is in stark contrast to his breakout role in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever. The score by regular De Palma collaborator Pino Donaggio is also superb and serves the film perfectly.

Although it received several rave reviews from the likes of Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert, the film failed to take off at the box-office and only found cult success years after its initial release. The home video label Criterion released the film on blu-ray in 2011 and during a making-of documentary Nancy Allen mentions the marketing for the film, and this poster, as not helping the film’s box-office performance. It’s a very simple image and perhaps didn’t say enough about the film to entice potential film-goers. It’s also thought that word of mouth about the notoriously downbeat ending probably didn’t help either.

If anyone has any ideas who designed this poster please get in touch.

Timebomb / Thailand


Poster Poster

An action-packed and colourful montage by the artist Tongdee features on this Thai poster for the release of the 1991 sci-fi thriller Timebomb. Produced by Raffaella De Laurentiis, the daughter of the legendary Italian producer Dino, the film was helmed by Avi Nesher, an Israeli producer, screenwriter and director. American actor Michael Biehn was chosen for the lead role after the director saw his performance in James Cameron’s The Abyss (1989) and British actress Patsy Kensit (who’s now mostly retired from acting) also appears. The plot is described thusly on Wikipedia:

Mild-mannered watchmaker Eddy Kay (Biehn) runs into a burning building to save a trapped woman and is featured in the news as a result. Watching the news, Colonel Taylor (Richard Jordan) is shocked to see Eddy, whom he had assumed to be dead. A game of cat and mouse begins as Eddy, with the help of psychiatrist Dr. Anna Nolmar (Patsy Kensit), tries to discover his past and why they want him dead.Eddy and Dr. Nolmar discover that he was part of a secret government program to create assassins. Using various sensory deprivation and brainwashing techniques, the assassins could be sent to infiltrate other organisations and facilities undetected and carry out programmed missions. Eddy manages to capture and interrogate one of the female assassins (Tracy Scoggins), finding out the Colonel’s current assassination plan. He then plots to confront Colonel Taylor and put an end to the assassination program once and for all.

The excellent artwork on this Thai poster is by Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) who was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.