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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Licence to Kill / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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 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.

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 Philadelphia Experiment / quad / UK

08.08.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Philadelphia Experiment
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Stewart Raffill
Starring
Michael Paré, Nancy Allen, Eric Christmas, Bobby Di Cicco, Louise Latham, Kene Holliday, Joe Dorsey, Michael Currie, Stephen Tobolowsky
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Michael Paré, Nancy Allen, Eric Christmas, Bobby Di Cicco, Louise Latham, Kene Holliday, Joe Dorsey, Michael Currie, Stephen Tobolowsky,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The terrifying story of an experiment that went wrong. | They opened a whole in time. Now there is no going back.

Unique artwork features on this British quad for the release of the science-fiction film The Philadelphia Experiment. Based on the urban legend of the same name in which the US Navy was said to have temporarily rendered one of its destroyer escorts, the USS Eldridge, invisible (or rather cloaked) to the naked eye in October 1943. The experiment has never been validated, despite investigations (most famously by an astronomer and researcher called Morris Jessup) and several unverified accounts of the events.

The film takes the experiment as the basis for a story in which two sailors aboard the ship, David Herdeg (Michael Paré) and Jim Parker (Bobby Di Cicco), are transported through time during the 1943 experiment and end up in 1984. A scientist called Dr Longstreet (Eric Christmas) tried to use the same experiment in 1984 to protect a town in Nevada from a missile attack. The plan backfired, causing the town to disappear, David and Jim to be sucked through time and a black hole opens up at the site of the town. David agrees to help the scientist close the vortex before it destroys the planet.

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 Castle / quad / UK

23.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Castle
AKA
Casa dolce casa [Home Sweet Home] (Italy) | My Home Is My Castle (Germany)
Year of Film
1997
Director
Rob Sitch
Starring
Michael Caton, Anne Tenney, Stephen Curry, Anthony Simcoe, Sophie Lee, Wayne Hope, Tiriel Mora, Eric Bana, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Robyn Nevin, Costas Kilias
Origin of Film
Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Michael Caton, Anne Tenney, Stephen Curry, Anthony Simcoe, Sophie Lee, Wayne Hope, Tiriel Mora, Eric Bana, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Robyn Nevin, Costas Kilias,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1998
Designer
Steve Laws - FEREF
Artist
Brian Bysouth - model
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
They want to extend the airport... but the Kerrigans wont belt up!

The Castle is a true cult film and one that many folks outside of Australia will never have even heard of, but those that have seen it are very likely to sing its praises to anyone who’ll listen. For a long time it wasn’t an easy film to catch in the UK, having opened at a handful of cinemas in 1998 and then languishing unreleased on DVD until a month ago (it was released on VHS at a time when that format was being ousted from most shops). I first saw it after borrowing a copy of the Australian DVD from a Kiwi friend who had urged me to watch it on a number of occasions and I’m very glad I did.

It’s a really funny, sweet little film and you can’t help but get caught up in the story of a family trying to save their home from destruction. Some of the Aussie references will be lost on non-natives but there’s plenty to enjoy and I heartily recommend you check it out as soon as possible. The film is endlessly quotable and, from what I understand, it’s a film that Australians really took to heart. I’ve been told that you’d be hard pressed to find any Aussie who can’t recite lines such as “This is going straight to the pool room” or “Tell him he’s dreaming”.

This British poster features a unique design of a ‘pottery relief’ of the Kerrigan family in front of their house with a Jumbo jet flying overhead. This was done by the great British artist Brian Bysouth. The press quote is also rather great and I had someone tell me that this particular poster was withdrawn at some cinemas for the ‘pissing’, though I’m not sure how true this is.

In December 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and this poster was discussed:

One poster that I recently discovered had your input is the quad for The Castle, which is that small independent Australian film that came out in the 1990s. You modelled the wall plaque that’s featured on it, right? How did that come about?
We went to a screening of the film and afterwards had a meeting to discuss what we all thought was a unique and challenging film to create a poster for.  Later I sat down with Steve Laws, the studio manager and a leading creative, and we thrashed out some ideas, but inspiration was lacking.  The following day an excited Steve came into my office and explained his idea for making something ‘that the dad in the film would be happy to have in his poolroom’ (a famous quote from the film).

Steve’s idea was that we should create something that you could easily imagine hanging in the poolroom amongst all of the other bric-a-brac. We decided to imitate those bass-relief plaster plaques that you see in kitsch-filled shops. So we went out and bought some Plasticine and a very large plate to base the model on, and I set to work. I modelled the characters and the airplane taking off over the bungalow. The title was cut out of Plasticine and included around the base. I remember thinking that my art school training in sculpture was a real help.

Steve and I enjoyed a good laugh as we watched the thing develop, and a series of transparencies were made to show the client how it was progressing. When it was finished I painted it with poster colour then sprayed it with varnish to protect the delicate surface, and that was that. For the background of the poster we wanted to reproduce the wallpaper of the poolroom but couldn’t find anything we liked, so we ended up using a macro close-up of one of the FEREF account executive’s silk ties!

Note that the article also features an image of an initial sketch idea for the poster by Brian.

An Interview with Brian Bysouth

20.12.12

British designer and artist Brian Bysouth is responsible for some of the most iconic film posters ever printed. In a career lasting over forty years he lent his considerable talents to a wide range of design projects, including product and service adverts, editorial, TV storyboards, VHS and DVD covers and hundreds of fantastic film posters. Over the past year I’ve been lucky to get to spend time with Brian discussing his work and career and I’m very proud to present the following interview article that details his life from his beginnings as a fledgling artist through to his retirement in 2002. It features many images of his brilliant work, including early sketches and the original artwork for several posters. There are also a handful of unused designs and concepts, many of which have never been seen before online.

Brian Bysouth with the original sketch for The Living Daylights poster, 2012

Brian Bysouth with the original coloured rough (sketch) for The Living Daylights poster (1987), photograph taken in 2012.

The British quad for John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China, painted by Brian Bysouth in 1986

The British quad for John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, painted by Brian Bysouth in 1986

I’ve split the interview into seven parts and you can use the links below to jump quickly to each section if you wish.

Part 1 – Origins
Part 2 – Starting out – Downtons
Part 3 – Rapier Arts and then a return to Downtons
Part 4 – Going freelance
Part 5 – Bysouth and Hayer Associates
Part 6 – FEREF
Part 7 – The end at FEREF and retirement

Part 1 – Origins

I’d like to start with your origins and I understand you were born in October 1936 in London. Your mother was a fashion artist?
Yes, I remember when I was very young seeing some of her work and, looking back, I think it was pretty good. She worked for a firm just off Oxford Street in London, which was the capital of the rag trade then. This would have been whilst my father was away during the war. She always encouraged me to draw and often gave me paints and paper. Most of my time was spent sketching or drawing something.

I had an old watercolour box that a relative had given me and sometimes at the weekends I would fetch some paper and sit up in bed to draw and paint instead of getting up. I really enjoyed it and it absorbed most of my time.

Incidentally, when my mother died a couple of years ago we were clearing out her things and we found one of my old paintings that she had kept. When I was about seven she took me to see the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and afterwards I painted a picture of the dwarves’ mine. It was studded with great gobs of paint, which were meant to represent the jewels.

You’d spend every moment you could sketching and painting when you weren’t at school?
I suppose I did, but I was out with my friends playing cricket and football and later on getting into mischief. I think painting in my spare time subsided a bit in my early teens, but I was encouraged at school by our art teacher, a Mr. Thompson, who was a very nice man. He’d been in the RAF during the war and had a huge military moustache. I think he liked some of the lads in the class that he judged to be talented. He would sometimes pick out our work and say to the class, ‘this is how you should do it.’

Eventually the Eleven-plus came around and I didn’t do very well. I suppose I was reasonably good academically until about the age of nine or ten, but I remember when my father came back from serving in the war it was quite a traumatic time. He’d gone away in 1939 when I was three, and had been involved at Dunkirk. When he came back my mother persuaded him to apply for a commission and he was posted to India, then to West Africa and I didn’t see him until the end of the war. By that time I didn’t really know him and he didn’t know me. After he came home my two sisters were born and my parents were so occupied with them I was allowed freedom to neglect my schoolwork.

Continue reading

Eight Million Ways To Die / video / UK

13.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
Eight Million Ways To Die
AKA
8 Million Ways to Die (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1986
Director
Hal Ashby
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul,
Type of Poster
Video
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Death comes to all except those that deserve it most

This is the UK video poster (note the 18-rating emblem) for the release of Eight Million Ways to Die, a crime drama that was to be the final film by the late Hal Ashby. The director was associated with the American New Wave that started in the 1960s, lasted until the 1980s and saw a younger generation of filmmakers invading tinseltown, forever changing the way films were shot, edited and released. The Wikipedia article on the period gives you a good idea of the kinds of directors that were part of the new wave, which included the likes of Woody Allen, John Cassavetes, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.

Ashby began his career as an editor, with credits including In the Heat of the Night and the original Thomas Crown Affair, but he was encouraged to begin directing in 1970 with The Landlord, a critical success that was largely ignored by audiences at the time. This was quickly followed by Harold and Maude , an offbeat comedy that has a sizeable cult following today. Ashby embraced the hippie lifestyle of the early 1970s and his films featured main characters that were on the edge of ‘normal’ society. His biggest hit would prove to be the 1978 romantic drama Coming Home that was set against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, and would see him garnering a Best Director nomination at the Oscars that year, whilst the two main stars, Jon Voight and Jane Fonda, both won the main Best Acting gongs.

Eight Million Ways to Die was based on a book by the prolific American author Lawrence Block whose most famous series of novels focused on the private investigator (and recovering alcoholic) Matthew Scudder. The screenplay was written by Oliver Stone with help from R. Lance Hill and an uncredited Robert Towne. The actor Jeff Bridges was given the part of Scudder (Ashby had previously directed his brother Beau Bridges in The Landlord) and Rosanna Arquette appears as Sarah, a call girl who is central to the story. The film’s plot is described thusly on IMDb:

Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff’s Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage. During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, he meets a mysterious stranger who draws him back into a world of vice. In trying to help this beautiful woman, he must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a murder, while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse.

Unfortunately for all concerned the film was a critical and commercial flop and was yet another disappointment for Ashby, who by then had garnered something of a reputation for prolific drug-taking and eccentric behaviour during the post-production of his films. He would never again direct a film, despite efforts to turn things around, and would sadly die of cancer in 1988, aged just 59.

The artwork on this UK video poster is by the British artist Brian Bysouth and the art has been trimmed somewhat for the poster as his truncated signature can be seen towards the bottom right-hand side. 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.

Force 10 from Navarone / B2 / Japan

04.04.16

Poster Poster

Typically detailed artwork by the British artist Brian Bysouth features on this Japanese poster for the release of the 1978 film Force 10 From Navarone. Created as a sequel to the 1961 film The Guns of Navarone, the film is loosely based on the 1968 novel of the same name by Alistair MacLean. The 17 year gap between films was due to MacLean’s treatment of a sequel to ‘Guns…’, written shortly after the original film was met with box-office success, becoming bogged down in development hell. When it was clear that the production was going nowhere MacLean turned his treatment into a novel. The Producer of ‘Guns…’, Carl Foreman, spent years trying to get the sequel off the ground and eventually succeeded by scraping together a budget from five different international sources. The final screenplay bears little resemblance to MacLean’s novel released a decade earlier.

Because almost two decades had passed since ‘Guns…’, the two actors who had played the leads in that film, Gregory Peck and David Niven, were decided to be too old to convince as the leads and the parts of Miller and Mallory were awarded to Edward Fox and Robert Shaw. Brit director Guy Hamilton, best known for a number of James Bond adventures, including Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever, was given the task of directing, having impressed with his 1969 WWII film ‘Battle of Britain’.

The story sees the pair tasked with hunting down a traitor from the original mission, a German spy who has infiltrated the Yugoslavian resistance and is masquerading as Captain Lescovar (Franco Nero). They join up with an elite American sabotage unit, known as Force 10, which is led by Colonel Barnsby (Harrison Ford, fresh off the success of Star Wars in 1977) who have a mission to carry out of their own. The crew steal an RAF Lancaster bomber and head towards the mission site but the plane is shot down by German fighters and most of the squad are lost. Miller, Mallory and the remaining soldiers are soon captured and imprisoned by German forces but all is not lost as they have a spy of their own in the ranks, Maritza (Barbara Bach) who helps them to escape and continue their mission. Soon they come across Lescovar and the Partisan army. A plan to destroy a large bridge being used by the German forces unites them together, but the German spy’s double-crossing threatens to jeopardise everything.

Force 10 would prove to be Shaw’s penultimate role as he died a year later during the filming of Avalanche Express. The film was met with less than stellar box-office results and general audience indifference, likely not helped by there being such a large gap between the films.

The artwork on this poster was painted by Brian Bysouth who is one of my favourite poster artists and 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.

The artwork was reused around the world with the original title, painted to resemble part of the dam, redrawn depending on the language required. The results page for Force 10 on emovieposter.com shows some of these alternative versions, including those for the French and Italian releases. Interestingly this Japanese poster features the title printed down the left hand side, rather than painted onto the dam.

Note that there is an alternative style of poster for the film, the artwork of which can be seen here, that also features the dam bursting and is, I’m fairly certain, erroneously credited to Brian on emovieposter. If anyone has any ideas who the artist of that version is please get in touch or leave a comment below.

The Emerald Forest / Thailand

20.10.15

Poster Poster

A detailed painting on this Thai poster for the release of John Boorman‘s adventure film The Emerald Forest. Bill Markham (Powers Boothe) is an engineer working on the construction of a dam in the jungles of Brazil who has brought his wife and young children with him to live there. One day his son Tommy disappears and the family discover that he has been kidnapped by an indigenous tribe called the Invisible People. Markham spends years searching for his son and it’s not until a decade later that he finally locates him, only to discover that he’s now fully assimilated into the tribe. The dam is nearing completion and Markham decides to help his son’s adopted tribe before their way of life is totally destroyed. Tommy/Tomme is played by Charley Boorman, the director’s own son.

The painting was done by the Thai artist Tongdee Panumas and elements of it were based on the design and illustration that was done for the British poster by Vic Fair and Brian Bysouth (notably the faces at the top and the figures running away in the bottom left). The art was one of several collaborations between the two immensely talented British designer-illustrators Like the withdrawn A View to a Kill UK one sheet, Vic was on design duties and is responsible for this brilliantly clever composition that juxtaposes the face of Powers Boothe with that of a tribesman, using the device of the multi-stranded leaf. Brian executed the final illustration in his typically detailed style with the use of careful brush strokes and airbrush techniques to give the whole thing a nice texture.

Vic and Brian were unquestionably two of the greatest talents ever to work on British film posters, which make collaborations like this even more special. For more information on the pair I highly recommend picking up a copy of ‘British Film Posters‘ as it features sections on both men. Here are the posters I’ve collected so far by Brian Bysouth and those by Vic Fair (with more to add over the coming months). In December 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and this poster was discussed.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s but I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947. If anyone has any more information please get in touch.