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Life of Brian / one sheet / style A / USA

18.04.12

Poster Poster

Probably my favourite of the five cinematic outings by the Monty Python crew, Life of Brian is one of the funniest films ever made and the brilliant satirical humour hasn’t diminished at all in the thirty plus years since its release. Infamously causing an uproar with various religious groups, it also saw EMI, the original financial backers, pulling out during production claiming the script was blasphemous. Luckily, George Harrison stepped in with the finance, apparently after realising it may have been the last chance to see another Python film in cinemas. His company HandMade Films was formed as a result of this deal.

The film’s religion-baiting story sees a man called Brian (Graham Chapman) born at the same time as Jesus Christ and initially mistaken for the Messiah, who ends up living an unremarkable life under the Roman occupation of Judea. Things take a fateful turn when his infatuation with a young rebel called Judith (Sue Jones-Davies) leads him to join the People’s Front of Judea, a bickering group who have decided to take a stand against the emperor.

The film raised the ire of several religious groups who were outraged at the concept, despite most of them having never even seen the film, and it was only given a general release once several cuts had been made. Despite the edits, several local UK councils banned the film from being shown at cinemas within their boroughs. Apparently some of these bans lasted until very recently, with the Welsh town of Aberystwyth finally lifting its one in 2009, which then saw a screening of the film attended by Jones, Michael Palin and Sue Jones-Davies, who was the then mayor of the town.

One of the more infamous bans was carried out by the Norwegians who refused to allow the film to be screened at all, which lead some of the international marketing material for the film to be emblazoned with the proclamation ‘So funny it was banned in Norway!’

This is the American one sheet for the release of the film featuring illustration by an artist I have been unable to identify. William Stout had previously provided an illustration for an alternative one sheet, which can be seen here.

The original American trailer can be seen on YouTube.

Life of Brian / quad / 1988 re-release / UK

11.04.14

Poster Poster

Probably my favourite of the five cinematic outings by the Monty Python crew, Life of Brian is one of the funniest films ever made and the brilliant satirical humour hasn’t diminished at all in the thirty plus years since its release. Infamously causing an uproar with various religious groups, it also saw EMI, the original financial backers, pulling out during production claiming the script was blasphemous. Luckily, George Harrison stepped in with the finance, apparently after realising it may have been the last chance to see another Python film in cinemas. His company HandMade Films was formed as a result of this deal.

The film’s religion-baiting story sees a man called Brian (Graham Chapman) born at the same time as Jesus Christ and initially mistaken for the Messiah, who ends up living an unremarkable life under the Roman occupation of Judea. Things take a fateful turn when his infatuation with a young rebel called Judith (Sue Jones-Davies) leads him to join the People’s Front of Judea, a bickering group who have decided to take a stand against the emperor.

The film raised the ire of several religious groups who were outraged at the concept, despite most of them having never even seen the film, and it was only given a general release once several cuts had been made. Despite the edits, several local UK councils banned the film from being shown at cinemas within their boroughs. Apparently some of these bans lasted until very recently, with the Welsh town of Aberystwyth finally lifting its one in 2009, which then saw a screening of the film attended by Jones, Michael Palin and Sue Jones-Davies, who was the then mayor of the town.

One of the more infamous bans was carried out by the Norwegians who refused to allow the film to be screened at all, which lead some of the international marketing material for the film to be emblazoned with the proclamation ‘So funny it was banned in Norway!’

This is a scarce, alternate style UK quad which differs from the other somewhat confusing design, which is simply the logo doubled up. A reader of the site got in touch to confirm that this quad was designed in house at HandMade films. To quote their informative email:

HandMade and the Pythons decided to re-submit the film to Irish Film Board to have the original ban overturned. The submission was successful and with the censor certification under our belt plans to release the film moved ahead and the Life of Brian was finally released in Ireland  I recall in the summer of 1988 as I recall eight years after original release. One of the unsung heroes of HandMade was freelance artist/designer George Rowbottom.

George was closely involved in many HMF posters over the years along with Ray Cooper and it was George who re-worked Life of Brian poster and came up with the “tablet” design for the quad used for the Irish release and also the superior amended 1-sheet. In both cases these were printed by National Screen who printed all our posters for domestic and international.

The original American trailer can be seen on YouTube.

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

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Willow / one sheet / UK

14.01.15

Poster Poster
Title
Willow
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Ron Howard
Starring
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
27" x 39 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A world where heroes come in all sizes and adventure is the greatest magic of all.

Excellent artwork on this UK one sheet for the release of Ron Howard‘s 1988 fantasy film Willow, which was conceived of by George Lucas. British actor Warwick Davis features as the eponymous hero and the part had been written specifically with him in mind after he appeared as an Ewok in Lucas’ Return of the Jedi. The story begins as the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) hears of a prophecy that a newborn child will bring about her downfall and sets about imprisoning all pregnant women in her castle’s dungeon.

When a child is born and identified as the one in the prophecy, the child’s mother manages to convince the mid-wife to secret her daughter out of the castle. When Queen Bavmorda discovers what has happened she sends her daughter Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) and leader of her army General Kael in pursuit. Before being caught, the midwife manages to put the child on a raft on a river and the child ends up being found by Willow Ufgood (Davis) a a member of a race of hobbit-like people called the Nelwyns. Initially caring for the baby with his wife, Willow is persuaded to take it away from their village and back to the Daikinis (humans) when it becomes clear that there are people hunting for it. As the adventure begins, Willow and his companions soon realise they’re in for more than they bargained for.

Featuring a great performance by Val Kilmer as a selfish, reluctant hero the film still stands up today as a fun and engaging fantasy adventure with several memorable sequences and a brilliant score by James Horner. Despite being critically derided on release and not fairing too well at the box- office it has nevertheless grown something of a cult following and is notable for its use of ground-breaking special effects by Industrial Light and Magic that were used for a sequence involving a morph between several animals and a human.

This one sheet was created by the British designer and artist Brian Bysouth who I interviewed for this site in 2012, There is also a quad for Willow featuring the same artwork. Brian is one of my favourite artists and worked on multiple classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

Not Quite Hollywood / one sheet / Australia

25.09.13

Poster Poster
Title
Not Quite Hollywood
AKA
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (full title)
Year of Film
2008
Director
Mark Hartley
Starring
Steve Bisley, Jamie Blanks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Barry Humphries, John Jarratt, Barry Jones, Brian Jones, Stacy Keach, Ted Kotcheff, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Quentin Tarantino
Origin of Film
Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Bisley, Jamie Blanks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Barry Humphries, John Jarratt, Barry Jones, Brian Jones, Stacy Keach, Ted Kotcheff, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Quentin Tarantino,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Australia
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Marcus Cobbledick (Madman Entertainment)
Artist
Various (partially a montage of original poster images)
Size (inches)
26 10/16" x 39 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Finally an Aussie film packed full of boobs, pubes, tubes... and a bit of kung fu.

Not Quite Hollywood is an excellent, raucous documentary looking at the Ozploitation genre of films – the low budget horror, action and comedies packed full of sex, violence and swearing that were made following the introduction of the adult ‘R’ rating by Australian censors in 1971. Featuring just about every surviving filmmaker and actor, the film intercuts new and archive interviews with footage from a huge list of titles that were made during the roughly 15 year period that the genre flourished. Writer/director Mark Hartley has a clear abiding love of the genre and wants to treat the viewer to as many clips and details as possible – you certainly won’t be bored watching this documentary.

Featuring films such as the action/horror Road Games, the dystopian horror Turkey Shoot, the telekinetic coma patient on rampage flick Patrick and the post-apocalyptic action classic Mad Max, it also has interviews with fans of the genre such as director Quentin Tarantino who admits to becoming obsessed with several of the films in the genre. He is interviewed both alone and alongside his friend the Anglo-Australian director Brian Trenchard-Smith (BMX Bandits, Dead End Drive-In) and these sections are particularly entertaining. I guarantee that you’ll come away from watching the documentary with a list of films to check out as soon as possible – I know I did!

This poster, which features several images from the original posters of the films, was put together by Marcus Cobbledick who is the ‘Theatrical Art Director’ at the film’s distributor Madman Entertainment. He is interviewed about his job in this article and mentions this particular poster:

‘Not Quite Hollywood was a special title as I was involved in the project before pre-production and worked many hours on the film itself. We had access to thousands of wonderful production stills and vintage posters from the archives so we were spoilt for choice when selecting images for the poster montage.’

Mark Hartley was interviewed on the (now defunct Media & Culture Australia) site and mentions that Cobbledick also had a hand in the opening title sequence for the film:

‘I had collected, over the years, so much poster art, and we had amassed an amazing amount of stills when we were doing the research. I said to [our graphic designer] Marcus Cobbledick: We just need to keep a real 70s feel, because all the poster art was so great. It’s a lost art. So I wanted everything to have that sort of sensibility to it, and he ran with it. He was getting briefs that no-one really gets: We need to get a photo of such-and-such, and then vomit on her’

Bonus points if you can name each film featured on this poster!

The Bounty / quad / UK

09.09.13

Poster Poster
Title
The Bounty
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Roger Donaldson
Starring
Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Edward Fox, Daniel Day-Lewis, Bernard Hill, Philip Davis, Liam Neeson. Wi Kuki Kaa, Tevaite Vernette, Philip Martin Brown, Simon Chandler
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Edward Fox, Daniel Day-Lewis, Bernard Hill, Philip Davis, Liam Neeson. Wi Kuki Kaa, Tevaite Vernette, Philip Martin Brown, Simon Chandler,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Eric Pulford | Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
They began their epic voyage as friends... it ended in hatred and bloodshed. | After 200 years, the truth behind the legend.

The Bounty was the fifth film based on the true life story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, which took place at sea onboard the British Royal Navy ship of the same name in 1789. The event saw a mutinous group of sailors led by Fletcher Christian place Captain William Bligh, and a group of sailors loyal to him, onboard a small launch (boat) before sailing back to the island of Tahiti where they wished to settle. Incredibly, Captain Bligh was able to navigate the tiny boat over 3600 nautical miles to Timor in the East Indies from where he was able to travel back to London and report the mutiny.

A Royal Navy ship (HMS Pandora) was dispatched with the task of rounding up the mutineers and the crew were successful in capturing fourteen of them, but were unable to locate Fletcher Christian or The Bounty itself. After setting sail back to England, the ship ran aground on part of the Great Barrier Reef and sank shortly thereafter, killing a number of the crew and four of the prisoners. Eventually the remaining mutineers were returned to face court martial in Britain, whilst those who escaped continued to try to evade justice aboard the Bounty before settling one of the tiny Pitcairn Islands in the Pacific Ocean to the east of Australia.

This version was originally being prepared for the screen by the legendary British director David Lean, but problems were encountered with getting the requisite financial backing for his vision of two films, later reconfigured to a TV series. Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis stepped in with the financial support and the film was reconfigured as a single feature. When Lean’s screenwriter partner Robert Bolt suffered a massive stroke, Lean decided to leave the project but had already overseen the construction of a replica Bounty and had successfully cast most of the roles.

Mel Gibson, who was to play Fletcher Christian, brought in a fellow Aussie Roger Donaldson to helm the film and production got underway. Featuring an extremely impressive cast, including Anthony Hopkins (as Captain Bligh), Laurence OlivierDaniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson, the film was considered to be something of a revisionist take on the event and was certainly more accurate than the two previous Hollywood versions. The Bounty was warmly critically received but was sadly something of a flop at the box office, failing to recoup even half of its budget in the US.

The artwork on this British quad was painted by the British artist Brian Bysouth, from an original design by Eric Pulford. When I interviewed the artist in 2012 this poster was discussed and the following is an excerpt from the article:

—————-

One Bond poster you worked on is the quad for For Your Eyes Only. It had the Bill Gold designed element of the long legs, but you modified the montage when doing the finished illustration?
Eric Pulford created the U.K. poster design that was approved. The inclusion of the very iconic Bill Gold legs concept was a must in any design that was submitted, so I suppose the scope for fresh designs was limited. In my opinion Eric’s original montage was not his best work and, although I tried to re-arrange some of the elements, the reference material supplied was not very exciting and I think the surrounding montage looks rather ordinary.

A similar difficulty arose with the design Eric had done for The Bounty (1984). His atmospheric colour rough was exciting, but when I began to sketch out the finished painting I realised the perspective of the ship was flawed. Eric’s exciting random montage of characters had initially disguised the shortcoming. I spent a day redrawing the ship and rigging to ensure it was reasonably correct, and then moved the characters to try to improve the composition. I was pleased with the final painting but was never happy with the montage, which I really thought needed recomposing. I didn’t think a confrontation with Eric was in my best interest.

Some weeks later I asked for the return of my painting only to be told, ‘it could not be found’.  Obviously, a light-fingered person took a fancy to it. Much of my work has been lost to me in that way, including my teaser art for A View to a Kill.

—————-

The other posters I have that were designed and/or painted by Brian Bysouth can be viewed here.

Lone Wolf McQuade / quad / UK

14.06.13

Poster Poster
Title
Lone Wolf McQuade
AKA
Una magnum per McQuade [A magnum for McQuade] (Italy)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Steve Carver
Starring
Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Robert Beltran, L.Q. Jones, Dana Kimmell, R.G. Armstrong, Jorge Cervera Jr., Sharon Farrell, Daniel Frishman, William Sanderson
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Robert Beltran, L.Q. Jones, Dana Kimmell, R.G. Armstrong, Jorge Cervera Jr., Sharon Farrell, Daniel Frishman, William Sanderson,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Fighting... loving... killing... There's no-one like McQuade.

Chuck Norris versus David Carradine was always going to be a good match and this is definitely one of Chuck’s better films. His character, a Texas Ranger named J.J. McQuade, was the inspiration behind his successful TV series Walker, Texas Ranger that began 10 years after this was released. In this film, ex-Marine McQuade lives on his own with only a wolf for company and prefers to do things his way. When an army convoy is hijacked and his daughter put in hospital after witnessing the attack, the Texas Ranger reluctantly teams up with an FBI agent (Leon Isaac Kennedy) and ends up facing off against the arms dealer Wilkes (Carradine). The pair go head to head in a series of increasingly violent martial arts and gun battles. The film’s body count is detailed in a YouTube video.

This British quad poster was designed and painted by the British artist Brian Bysouth whilst he was working at the FEREF agency. The artwork is unique to this poster but it has elements that appear on both the Style A and the style B American one sheets. I also have another American one sheet for the film in the collection. In 2012 I interviewed the artist and that article can be found here. Other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The uncensored trailer can be watched on Youtube. Someone has made a clip called Lone Wolf McQuade in four minutes, which is handy if you never intend to watch the film in full.

The Living Daylights / quad / UK

24.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
The Living Daylights
AKA
007 zona pericolo [Dangerous area] (Italy)
Year of Film
1987
Director
John Glen
Starring
Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Joe Don Baker, Art Malik, John Rhys-Davies, Jeroen Krabbé
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Joe Don Baker, Art Malik, John Rhys-Davies, Jeroen Krabbé,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Brian Bysouth | Bernie Goddard | Mike Bell | Stephen Laws
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The new James Bond... living on the edge.

The Living Daylights was the first of two films in the long-running James Bond franchise to feature actor Timothy Dalton as the legendary spy. Dalton had been offered the role following Roger Moore’s decision not to reprise it in the wake of the disappointing performance of 1985’s A View to a Kill. The film sees Bond caught up in an international conspiracy after the abduction from a London safe-house of a recently defected KGB officer, which sees the agent travel to Czechoslovakia, Morocco, Austria and eventually Afghanistan in search of the missing man. The spy uncovers an arms-dealing plot with global ramifications and he must work with the Russian girlfriend of the missing KGB officer to get to the truth and prevent the conspirators from fulfilling their plans.

This is the UK quad and it features artwork that was used across the globe to promote the film. It’s unquestionably the last truly great Bond poster and was also the last to be entirely hand painted. The man responsible is the British artist Brian Bysouth and the poster was discussed during my 2012 interview with him:

“The last painting I did was for The Living Daylights. There were a number of us involved with the initial design ideas for that poster, including Bernie Goddard, a freelance designer who often worked with FEREF. Mike Bell and Stephen Laws also produced some concept roughs. Using the original Bond spiral gun barrel idea was a concept that featured on some of the designs and Bernie submitted one using it. The final concept was an amalgamation of ideas and I was tasked with composing the montage that became the poster. I produced the final colour rough that was sent to the client and we were all very glad when it was approved and I was able to start the finished painting.

I came across the rough a little while ago and it’s in reasonable condition considering it’s age.

That design ended up being used around the world and, as Sim Branaghan disclosed in his book, you were paid the highest fee ever given to a British film poster artist for that.
[Laughs] I probably shouldn’t have told Sim that! I don’t know if it was the highest fee ever paid, as I have no idea what other artists in Britain were getting for their work. But later I read somewhere that Bob Peak was being paid up to $50,000 for one poster at the beginning of the 1980s, and other artists such as Drew Struzan were perceived as being extremely well rewarded. I used to charge a day rate and always felt there was a downward pressure on the fees I charged. I was aware that as a director of the company I felt obliged not to inflate my prices, always making allowance for the company mark-up.  With the wisdom of hindsight, maybe I was wrong and I should have charged more. Anyway, I remember being content at the time.

I never knew how much FEREF were charging the client and I never thought to enquire. I decided that I was going to charge £3000 for my work on The Living Daylights because I had been working on the campaign for weeks. The fee was agreed and that was fine. Looking back in retrospect at an illustration that was used around the world to market a James Bond film do you really think that was a lot of money? It’s peanuts! Especially in comparison to the enormous budget the studio would have allotted to the marketing in total. Finally, I hope I am right in believing the client thought well of FEREF because we didn’t ridiculously inflate the price of the work we did for them. We sincerely believed we were the best at what we did, and it was upmost in our minds that we had to be competitive with our charges.”

The article also features pictures of the original artwork and initial sketches for this poster.

Class of Nuke ‘Em High / quad / UK

13.02.13

Poster Poster
Title
Class of Nuke 'Em High
AKA
Atomic College (France)
Year of Film
1986
Director
Richard W. Haines, Lloyd Kaufman
Starring
Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard, Pat Ryan, James Nugent Vernon, Brad Dunker, Gary Schneider, Théo Cohan, Gary Rosenblatt, Mary Taylor, Rick Howard, Lauren Heather McMahon, Chris McNamee
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard, Pat Ryan, James Nugent Vernon, Brad Dunker, Gary Schneider, Théo Cohan, Gary Rosenblatt, Mary Taylor, Rick Howard, Lauren Heather McMahon, Chris McNamee,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
They were there... to learn the three R's... READIN'.... WRITIN' and RADIATION!

An appropriately lurid design on this UK quad for the release of infamous independent studio Troma Entertainment’s Class of Nuke ‘Em High. The film was directed by Richard W. Haines and Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman (under the pseudonym Samuel Weil) and the story centres on the Tromaville High School in New Jersey, which is located close to a dodgy nuclear power-plant that continuously suffers leaks of hazardous material. The Cretins are the school’s anarchic gang (who feature heavily on this poster) and are responsible for peddling drugs to the other pupils. When they inadvertently buy a marijuana plant that has been contaminated by nuclear waste things start to get very messy indeed. Of particular note is the parasitic offspring birthed by Chrissy (Janelle Brady) under the influence of the toxic weed, which mutates into the spiky monstrosity seen at the top of this poster.

Criticising a Troma production is a bit like tearing down a school production; this is amateur entertainment at best, with acting that is hilariously awful across the board, choppy editing and a total lack of atmosphere. With that being said, if you go in expecting the usual Troma mixing-pot of gore, guns, girls and explosions you won’t leave too disappointed. Some of the effects are actually well-realised on what I can only assume was a minuscule budget.

The montage on this quad was designed and painted by one of my favourite British artists Brian Bysouth, whose wonderfully detailed illustrations featured on hundreds of posters over three decades. Some of his most famous posters include the withdrawn one sheet for A View to a KillHighlanderBig Trouble in Little China and The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was lucky enough to meet and interview Brian and the resultant article can be read by clicking here.

Licence to Kill / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Bronx Warriors / quad / UK

13.09.12

Poster Poster
Title
Bronx Warriors
AKA
1990: I guerrieri del Bronx (Italy - original title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Enzo G. Castellari
Starring
Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Mark Gregory, Stefania Girolami Goodwin, Ennio Girolami, George Eastman, Joshua Sinclair, Betty Dessy, Rocco Lerro
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Mark Gregory, Stefania Girolami Goodwin, Ennio Girolami, George Eastman, Joshua Sinclair, Betty Dessy, Rocco Lerro,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 2/16 x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The lucky ones were the first to die!

Prolific Italian director Enzo G Castellari was behind a string of low-budget rip-offs homages of successful American productions during the 1980s. Having directed Great White in 1980 (pulled from release after a successful lawsuit by Universal Pictures), there’s no question that his 1983 post-apocalyptic film Bronx Warriors owes a lot to John Carpenter’s classic Escape From New York, with a generous dash of Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979)

To be fair to Castellari he was a pioneer in the Poliziotteschi (Italian crime film) genre in the 1970s, with La Polizia Incrimina la Legge Assolve (AKA High Crimes – 1973) and Il Grande Racket (The Big Racket – 1976) being particular standouts. He was also behind the war films La battaglia d’Inghilterra (Eagles over London – 1969) and the original Inglorious Bastards (Quel maledetto treno blindato – 1978). By the 1980s the director was churning out a series of B-movies, including Bronx Warriors and The New Barbarians (1983) and would eventually move into directing TV movies during the 1990s and 2000s.

Bronx Warriors follows the plight of 17-year-old Ann (Stefania Girolami Goodwin), the heiress to a questionable arms company (The Manhattan Corporation) who runs away into the lawless wasteland of a post-apocalyptic Bronx and is attacked by a gang of roller skaters (!) called The Zombies. She’s rescued by The Riders, another gang who are led by Trash – played by Mark Gregory (actually Marco de Gregorio, a non-actor Castellari had met in the gym) – who take Ann under their protection. The corporation dispatches the ruthless psychopath Hammer (Vic Morrow in his penultimate role before his untimely death during the filming of Twilight Zone the Movie) to disrupt the gangs and return Ann safely.

The artwork on this quad is by the brilliant British artist Brian Bysouth, whose wonderfully detailed illustrations featured on hundreds of posters over three decades. His most famous designs and artwork include the withdrawn one sheet for A View to a Kill, Highlander, Big Trouble in Little China and The Living Daylights. Bysouth would work on the quad for the sequel to this film, Escape 2000 (AKA Fuga Dal Bronx), one year later.

In 2012 I interviewed Brian Bysouth and the resulting article can be read here.

The international trailer is on YouTube.

Highlander / quad / UK

07.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
Highlander
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Russell Mulcahy
Starring
Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart, Clancy Brown, Sean Connery, Beatie Edney, Alan North, Jon Polito, Sheila Gish, Hugh Quarshie, Christopher Malcolm
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart, Clancy Brown, Sean Connery, Beatie Edney, Alan North, Jon Polito, Sheila Gish, Hugh Quarshie, Christopher Malcolm,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
From another time comes a man of great power. A man of incredible strength. An immortal about to face his greatest challenge... | There can be only one

British artist Brian Bysouth is responsible for this great design for the classic fantasy film Highlander that spawned several sequels and TV series. It’s significantly more interesting than the dull US poster. This Bysouth design can also be found in a one sheet format.

During my interview with Brian this poster was discussed:

I like it because of the amount of detail you can see, much like your painting for Highlander.
Thank you, I was pleased with that one. It was an enjoyable job and, fortunately, when asked to do a design for that type of film I was usually quick to identify what the key image should be. Phil Howard-Jones, the advertising director at EMI, who I did the work for, liked it very much and eventually he kindly returned it to me.

The trailer for the film can be seen on YouTube.

Saigon / quad / UK

28.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Saigon
AKA
Off Limits (original title)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Christopher Crowe
Starring
Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward, Amanda Pays, Kay Tong Lim, Scott Glenn, David Alan Grier, Keith David, Raymond O'Connor, Richard Brooks
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward, Amanda Pays, Kay Tong Lim, Scott Glenn, David Alan Grier, Keith David, Raymond O'Connor, Richard Brooks,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
They're the only law and order on the streets.

Artwork by Brian Bysouth on this quad for the UK release of Saigon, which is also known as Off Limits in the USA. As the international title suggests, the film is set during the Vietnam war and sees two military policemen played by Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines investigating the deaths of several prostitutes in Saigon’s red light district. It soon becomes clear that the prime suspect is a high-ranking US Army officer and that the two cops are in for more than they bargained for.

Despite a strong supporting cast, including Scott GlennKeith David and Fred Ward, the film appears to have failed to make much of a box-office or critical impact. It certainly saw none of the success of Dafoe’s previous Vietnam-based film, the oscar-winning Platoon. The film features some brilliantly odd character names, such as Buck McGriff (Dafoe) and Albaby Perkins (Hines).

Bysouth’s artwork has similar star portraits to the ones seen on the US one sheet, but the street scene and other characters are unique to the quad. In 2012 I met and interviewed the artist and the resulting article can be read here.

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

The trailer for the film can be seen on YouTube.

The Lighthorsemen / one sheet / UK

09.01.17

Poster Poster
Title
The Lighthorsemen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Simon Wincer
Starring
Jon Blake, Peter Phelps, Tony Bonner, Bill Kerr, John Walton, Gary Sweet, Tim McKenzie, Sigrid Thornton, Anthony Andrews
Origin of Film
Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Jon Blake, Peter Phelps, Tony Bonner, Bill Kerr, John Walton, Gary Sweet, Tim McKenzie, Sigrid Thornton, Anthony Andrews,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
27" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
At last... the true and epic story... of triumph, love, courage and adventure.

Typically detailed and action-packed artwork by the British artist Brian Bysouth features on this UK one sheet for the release of The Lighthorsemen. The film is an Australian production helmed by Simon Wincer, a director best known for films such as Free Willy and D.A.R.Y.L.. It tells the true story of the heroism of an Australian light horse unit in the first World War. Featuring largely unknown actors, the story leads up to a famous incident at the Battle of Beersheeba in Palestine, 1917.

The plot focuses on a group of friends in the unit and in particular a soldier called Dave Mitchell (Peter Phelps) who proves himself in various skirmishes before being injured in a bi-plane attack. Whilst in hospital he meets and falls in love with an army nurse called Anne (Sigrid Thornton). The pair are featured in the top right of the artwork. The film also shows how the Australian and British army worked together to fool the Turks and Germans who were controlling towns in Palestine, including Gaza.

Using a secret scheme involving faked papers and personal letters, they managed to convince the opposition that an attack would take place on Gaza and not the strategically important settlement of Bersheeba. The film climaxes with an incredible charge by the Lighthorsemen as they run towards the Turkish cannons and guns. The mind boggles at the bravery of the real soldiers who faced down terrifying odds. The film was critically well-received and saw good returns at the box-office in Australia, in particular.

Brian Bysouth is one of my favourite poster artists and he was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here.

The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

Note that there is a British quad for the film and it features the same artwork in the centre but is surrounded by photographs of the cast members.

Society / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Society
AKA
--
Year of Film
1989
Director
Brian Yuzna
Starring
Billy Warlock, Connie Danese, Ben Slack, Evan Richards, Patrice Jennings, Tim Bartell, Charles Lucia, Heidi Kozak, Brian Bremer
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Billy Warlock, Connie Danese, Ben Slack, Evan Richards, Patrice Jennings, Tim Bartell, Charles Lucia, Heidi Kozak, Brian Bremer,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Bilkas?
Size (inches)
27" x 39 6/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The rich have always fed off the poor. This time it's for real.

Big Trouble In Little China / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Big Trouble In Little China
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
29 7/8" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Some people pick the damnedest places to start a fight!

A brilliant quad for this John Carpenter classic, which was designed and illustrated by the British poster artist Brian Bysouth. In 2012 I met and interviewed Brian and the resulting article can be found here.

Swiss Family Robinson / quad / 1976 re-release / UK

10.08.15

Poster Poster

A typically detailed and action-packed illustration by Brian Byouth on this 1976 re-release poster for the 1960 Disney adaptation of the 1812 novel The Swiss Robinson by Johann David Wyss. The story had already been filmed once by RKO pictures in 1940 and was a commercial success so another adaptation was considered a sure bet. Filmed on location in Tobago as well as at Pinewood studios in the UK, the film was directed by the late British director Ken Annakin who worked with Disney on a number of pictures. Legendary Brit actor John Mills plays the father of a family that is shipwrecked on a remote tropical island whilst en-route to New Guinea and the film deals with their adventures as they make a new home and try to cope with marauding pirates who are roaming the waters around the island and are causing havoc for ships that enter its waters.

The film differs significantly from the novel and the changes are detailed on the Wikiepdia page for the film. Happily for all involved it was well received by critics and audiences and went on to be the highest earning film of 1960 (beating Hitchcock’s Psycho and Kubrick’s Spartacus). Adjusted for inflation the film made over $427 million which makes it one of the biggest hits of all time. 

British artist Brian Bysouth worked on many Disney posters during the 1970s and early 1980s, including several for re-releases of earlier films from the 1950s and 60s like this one. Brian is one of my favourite artists and worked on many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The Burning / B2 / Japan

08.05.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Burning
AKA
Cropsy (USA - reissue title) | Carnage (France)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Tony Maylam
Starring
Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua, Jason Alexander, Ned Eisenberg, Carrick Glenn, Carolyn Houlihan, Fisher Stevens, Holly Hunter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres, Brian Backer, Larry Joshua, Jason Alexander, Ned Eisenberg, Carrick Glenn, Carolyn Houlihan, Fisher Stevens, Holly Hunter,
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 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

One of the first films produced by Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax Films, The Burning is a slasher very much in the mould of the hugely successful horrors Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). The film begins in 1976 and sees a group of teenagers at a summer camp playing a prank on the cruel, alcoholic caretaker Cropsy, which ends with him being accidentally horribly burned. Five years later he is released from hospital and heads to Camp Stonewater to seek revenge for his disfigurement.

Cropsy is nicknamed after the large pair of garden shears he used as a caretaker and then later wields as he carries out his revenge attacks, but the name (often spelt Cropsey) is also associated with an actual urban legend about a campsite killer in Upstate New York that has apparently been around since the 19th century. The 2009 documentary film Cropsey is an investigation of the mysterious disappearances of several children on Staten Island and the link to a patient in the nearby mental hospital.

The Burning was caught up in the infamous Video Nasties situation in the UK in 1983 (as DPP 39) due to the ‘raft massacre’ scene and a shot where a pair of scissors pierces the belly of a female victim. According to the Melonfarmers page on the Nasties, the film had been subjected to 10 seconds of cuts for the 1981 cinema release but was released uncut on VHS, which was what lead to to it being added to the list two years later. It was eventually re-released with cuts in 1992 and finally appeared intact in 2001. I highly recommend picking up the great documentary ‘Video Nasties: the definitive guide’ (available here).

The superb original trailer is on YouTube.

Freaky Friday / quad / UK

15.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
Freaky Friday
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Gary Nelson
Starring
Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin, Patsy Kelly, Dick Van Patten, Vicki Schreck, Sorrell Booke, Alan Oppenheimer, Ruth Buzzi, Kaye Ballard, Marc McClure, Marie Windsor
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin, Patsy Kelly, Dick Van Patten, Vicki Schreck, Sorrell Booke, Alan Oppenheimer, Ruth Buzzi, Kaye Ballard, Marc McClure, Marie Windsor,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Annabel and her mother are not quite themselves today - in fact, they're each other!

Unique artwork features on this UK quad for the release of the 1976 version of the Disney comedy Freaky Friday. Based on the novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers (who also wrote the screenplay), the film focuses on the Andrews family in which the mother and daughter (played memorably by Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster) are constantly at odds with each other and struggle to understand why they behave the way they do to each other. On Friday the 13th they both happen to say “I wish I could switch places with her for just one day” at the same time and their wishes come true as their minds swap places. The pair then must cope with being in each other’s bodies as they realise the pressures and expectations they both have on them.

Mr Andrews (John Astin) is a real-estate developer preparing for an important launch in which mother and daughter are meant to be playing their different parts and hilarity ensues as the pair attempt to cope with the situation. The film is classic Disney family entertainment and definitely harkens back to a more innocent time. Both Harris and Foster bring a great energy to their parts and it’s easy to see why the latter would go on to catch the eye of many a Hollywood casting director.

This quad was created by the British designer and artist Brian Bysouth who I interviewed for this site in 2012. He is one of my favourite artists and worked on multiple classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The Living Daylights / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Living Daylights
AKA
007 zona pericolo [Dangerous area] (Italy)
Year of Film
1987
Director
John Glen
Starring
Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Joe Don Baker, Art Malik, John Rhys-Davies, Jeroen Krabbé
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Joe Don Baker, Art Malik, John Rhys-Davies, Jeroen Krabbé,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Brian Bysouth | Bernie Goddard | Mike Bell | Stephen Laws
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
27" x 40 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The new James Bond... living on the edge.

Unquestionably the last truly great James Bond poster was painted by the British artist Brian Bysouth and the design was discussed during my 2012 interview with him:

“The last painting I did was for The Living Daylights. There were a number of us involved with the initial design ideas for that poster, including Bernie Goddard, a freelance designer who often worked with FEREF. Mike Bell and Stephen Laws also produced some concept roughs. Using the original Bond spiral gun barrel idea was a concept that featured on some of the designs and Bernie submitted one using it. The final concept was an amalgamation of ideas and I was tasked with composing the montage that became the poster. I produced the final colour rough that was sent to the client and we were all very glad when it was approved and I was able to start the finished painting.

I came across the rough a little while ago and it’s in reasonable condition considering it’s age.

That design ended up being used around the world and, as Sim Branaghan disclosed in his book, you were paid the highest fee ever given to a British film poster artist for that.
[Laughs] I probably shouldn’t have told Sim that! I don’t know if it was the highest fee ever paid, as I have no idea what other artists in Britain were getting for their work. But later I read somewhere that Bob Peak was being paid up to $50,000 for one poster at the beginning of the 1980s, and other artists such as Drew Struzan were perceived as being extremely well rewarded. I used to charge a day rate and always felt there was a downward pressure on the fees I charged. I was aware that as a director of the company I felt obliged not to inflate my prices, always making allowance for the company mark-up.  With the wisdom of hindsight, maybe I was wrong and I should have charged more. Anyway, I remember being content at the time.

I never knew how much FEREF were charging the client and I never thought to enquire. I decided that I was going to charge £3000 for my work on The Living Daylights because I had been working on the campaign for weeks. The fee was agreed and that was fine. Looking back in retrospect at an illustration that was used around the world to market a James Bond film do you really think that was a lot of money? It’s peanuts! Especially in comparison to the enormous budget the studio would have allotted to the marketing in total. Finally, I hope I am right in believing the client thought well of FEREF because we didn’t ridiculously inflate the price of the work we did for them. We sincerely believed we were the best at what we did, and it was upmost in our minds that we had to be competitive with our charges.”
The article also features pictures of the original artwork and initial sketches for this poster.

The Living Daylights / one sheet / Australia

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Living Daylights
AKA
007 zona pericolo [Dangerous area] (Italy)
Year of Film
1987
Director
John Glen
Starring
Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Joe Don Baker, Art Malik, John Rhys-Davies, Jeroen Krabbé
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Joe Don Baker, Art Malik, John Rhys-Davies, Jeroen Krabbé,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Australia
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Brian Bysouth | Bernie Goddard | Mike Bell | Stephen Laws
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
27" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The new James Bond... living on the edge.

Unquestionably the last truly great James Bond poster was painted by the British artist Brian Bysouth and the design was discussed during my 2012 interview with him:

“The last painting I did was for The Living Daylights. There were a number of us involved with the initial design ideas for that poster, including Bernie Goddard, a freelance designer who often worked with FEREF. Mike Bell and Stephen Laws also produced some concept roughs. Using the original Bond spiral gun barrel idea was a concept that featured on some of the designs and Bernie submitted one using it. The final concept was an amalgamation of ideas and I was tasked with composing the montage that became the poster. I produced the final colour rough that was sent to the client and we were all very glad when it was approved and I was able to start the finished painting.

I came across the rough a little while ago and it’s in reasonable condition considering it’s age.

That design ended up being used around the world and, as Sim Branaghan disclosed in his book, you were paid the highest fee ever given to a British film poster artist for that.
[Laughs] I probably shouldn’t have told Sim that! I don’t know if it was the highest fee ever paid, as I have no idea what other artists in Britain were getting for their work. But later I read somewhere that Bob Peak was being paid up to $50,000 for one poster at the beginning of the 1980s, and other artists such as Drew Struzan were perceived as being extremely well rewarded. I used to charge a day rate and always felt there was a downward pressure on the fees I charged. I was aware that as a director of the company I felt obliged not to inflate my prices, always making allowance for the company mark-up.  With the wisdom of hindsight, maybe I was wrong and I should have charged more. Anyway, I remember being content at the time.

I never knew how much FEREF were charging the client and I never thought to enquire. I decided that I was going to charge £3000 for my work on The Living Daylights because I had been working on the campaign for weeks. The fee was agreed and that was fine. Looking back in retrospect at an illustration that was used around the world to market a James Bond film do you really think that was a lot of money? It’s peanuts! Especially in comparison to the enormous budget the studio would have allotted to the marketing in total. Finally, I hope I am right in believing the client thought well of FEREF because we didn’t ridiculously inflate the price of the work we did for them. We sincerely believed we were the best at what we did, and it was upmost in our minds that we had to be competitive with our charges.”
The article also features pictures of the original artwork and initial sketches for this poster.

The Sword and the Sorcerer / quad / UK

30.01.15

Poster Poster

The Sword and the Sorcerer is a 1982 fantasy film directed by Albert Pyun (in his debut) and was one of several entries in the genre that were released the same year, including Conan the Barbarian and The Beastmaster. Lee Horsley appears in his first film role as Prince Talon the song of a King and Queen who are slain by the evil King Cromwell (Richard Lynch) after he uses the black magic of a sorcerer named Xusia (Richard Moll) to overthrow their kingdom.

Over a decade later, Talon returns to the kingdom as a mercenary leading a band of men on a mission to help rebels overthrow Cromwell. Talon is asked to help free Mikah (Simon MacCorkindale), Cromwell’s war chancellor, who is secretly a double agent and is captured and imprisoned. His sister Alana (Kathleen Beller) begs for help from Talon and the mercenary sets out to Cromwell’s castle where the final showdown with his parents’ murderer takes place.

The film was critically derided at the time but still proved a popular box-office draw, easily recouping its relatively low budget and ending up as the most profitable independent film of 1982.

This quad was painted by the British designer and artist Brian Bysouth who I interviewed for this site in 2012, There is also a quad for Willow featuring the same artwork. Brian is one of my favourite artists and worked on multiple classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

This poster takes elements from both the Style A US one sheet as well as the Style B one sheet, both credited to the artist Peter Andrew Jones.

Picnic at Hanging Rock / quad / UK

29.11.13

Poster Poster
Title
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Year of Film
1975
Director
Peter Weir
Starring
Rachel Roberts, Vivean Gray, Helen Morse, Kirsty Child, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Jacki Weaver, Frank Gunnell, Anne-Louise Lambert, Karen Robson, Jane Vallis, Christine Schuler
Origin of Film
Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Rachel Roberts, Vivean Gray, Helen Morse, Kirsty Child, Tony Llewellyn-Jones, Jacki Weaver, Frank Gunnell, Anne-Louise Lambert, Karen Robson, Jane Vallis, Christine Schuler,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
On St. Valentine's day in 1900 a party of schoolgirls set out to picnic at Hanging Rock ... Some were never to return. | ... A recollection of evil.

One of the best Australian films ever made, Peter Weir‘s enigmatic mystery Picnic at Hanging Rock was released in 1975 and is based on the novel of the same name by the Australian author Joan Lindsay. The story focuses on the mysterious disappearance of a group of girls who travel to the titular rock with a school party and vanish without trace, much to the horror of their fellow pupils and the head teacher of the school. Infamously Lindsay elected to remove the ‘final’ chapter that fully explained their disappearance from the novel and it was not published until after her death in 1987 as ‘The Secret of Hanging Rock’. Weir and screenwriter Cliff Green thus filmed the story without the standard Hollywood explanation, which apparently frustrated American distributors looking to buy the rights and who were unused to ambiguous endings.

The film has an unforgettable atmosphere, helped by the ethereal cinematography of Russell Boyd who utilised the same material used for bridal veils to cover the lens and give many of the outdoor scenes a soft glow – this look was much imitated in the years following. The cast is uniformly excellent, particularly the key group of school girls that includes the beautiful Anne-Louise Lambert as Miranda (as featured on this poster) who is the focus of more than one characters’ infatuation. Filming took place at the real Hanging Rock in Victoria as well as a mansion called Martindale Hall that doubled as Appleyard College. The film was a global critical and box office  success, despite some audience frustration at the ending, and it retains its legacy as one of Australia’s most beloved films.

This British quad was illustrated by one of my favourite British artists, Brian Bysouth, who worked on a number of classic British posters during the 1970s and 1980s. It is unique to this particular poster but has some elements that also appeared on the original Australian poster that can be seen here (image taken from emovieposter.com).

You can read my extensive interview with Brian by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen by clicking here.

The Watcher in the Woods / quad / UK

13.03.13

Poster Poster
Title
The Watcher in the Woods
AKA
Obserwator (Poland)
Year of Film
1980
Director
John Hough
Starring
Bette Davis, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards, Carroll Baker, David McCallum, Benedict Taylor, Frances Cuka, Richard Pasco, Ian Bannen
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Bette Davis, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards, Carroll Baker, David McCallum, Benedict Taylor, Frances Cuka, Richard Pasco, Ian Bannen,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
it is not a fairy tale

Another of Disney’s forays into live-action filmmaking (this was actually the studio’s second PG-rated film after 1979’s The Black Hole), The Watcher in the Woods is an eerie mystery thriller that absolutely terrified me when I first watched it as a child in the 1980s. An Anglo-American co-production, the film was helmed by John Hough and English director who had proved his horror chops with the adults-only The Legend of Hell House (1973) and was chosen by the American producer Ron Miller to work on this film. Legendary Hollywood actress Bette Davis was lined up to star and the year of production coincided with her 50th in the business.

The story sees an Anglo-American family move to a manor house surrounded by thick woodland that is owned by Mrs. Aylwood (Davis). One of the daughters, Jan (played by Lynn-Holly Johnson, the real-life figure-skater who would appear in For Your Eyes Only soon after), is told she bears a striking resemblance to Mrs Aylwood’s daughter Karen who went missing 30 years earlier. Jan begins to see strange apparitions in the forest and suffers a series of unexplainable phenomena. After discovering an abandoned church in the middle of the woods, Jan finds that there’s more to Karen’s disappearance than she’s been told and it’s not long before the secret behind the ‘Watcher’ is revealed.

This British quad features an illustration of the scene that terrified me the most when I first saw the film, which is the moment that a ritual is carried out inside the church during a violent thunderstorm. It also features an image of the Watcher in the form seen in the final release, but as the Wikipedia article on the film details there had originally been an alternative ending to the film that showed it in a much different form. The first ending apparently went down disastrously with test audiences and critics because of the poor quality of the creature effects and the studio took the decision to reshoot a new one without the participation of John Hough. The original ending can be viewed on YouTube.

This poster was illustrated by one of my favourite British artists, Brian Bysouth, who worked on a number of posters for Disney during the 1970s and 1980s, including for several of their animated titles. You can read my extensive interview with the man himself by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen by clicking here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.