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King Kong / 1976 / one sheet / teaser / USA

16.05.17

Poster Poster
Title
King Kong
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Diener-Hauser
Artist
John Berkey
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/212
Tagline
The most exciting original motion picture event of all time.

Great artwork by the late American artist John Berkey features on this teaser one sheet for the release of the 1976 remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong. Legendary Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis conceived of the idea of remaking and updating the original. He worked with the screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. (Batman the TV series, Flash Gordon) – a regular collaborator with the producer – and asked for the script to be more light-hearted than the original version. British director John Guillermin, who had seen great box-office success with The Towering Inferno a couple of years earlier, was given the director’s job. The two leads were a young Jeff Bridges and the stunning Jessica Lange in her debut role – De Laurentiis had spotted her modelling and asked her to audition. The rest of the cast is filled with respected character actors, including Charles GrodinJohn Randolph and Ed Lauter.

The film follows the overall plot of the original fairly closely, although some of the details are updated to reflect its contemporary setting and the special effects are no longer stop-motion. An American oil company sets sail onboard a research vessel to find a mysterious, f0g-shrouded island that has long been rumoured to exist somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Jack Prescott (Bridges), a primate paleontologist stows away onboard and eventually reveals himself to exhibition leader Fred Wilson (Grodin) and the rest of the crew. As he’s about to be put into lock-up, Jack spots a life raft drifting in the middle of the ocean and the crew discover an unconscious woman. Dwan (Lange) is apparently the sole survivor from a yacht that exploded and killed the rest of the passengers. After she wakes she’s told of aim and destination of the ship that has rescued her.

After discovering the island, several of the crew venture inland and encounter a primitive tribe carrying out some kind of ritual near a giant wooden wall. After returning to their boat when the natives charge them, the crew pauses to rethink their plans. In the darkness of night, a canoe full of natives steal Dwan from the ship and take her to the wall where she is prepared as an offering to Kong. The beast takes her to his lair in the jungle where he spends a while ogling over her. Jack and some of the other crew manage to track her down but not before Kong offs several crew members and a giant snake. Eventually, Kong is subdued using chloroform and a giant pit and Fred Wilson decides to salvage the exhibition by transporting the ape back to America onboard an oil tanker. Needless to say, he doesn’t stay captive for very long when he reaches New York, and soon Kong is climbing the Twin Towers with Dwan in his hand.

De Laurentiis had hired both Carlo Rambaldi (most famous for E.T.) and Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London) to work on the special effects for the creature, and the result was Baker himself wearing an ape suit in the majority of shots. A giant mechanical version of Kong was built but wasn’t ready in time for many of the shots and had severe issues when it did finally appear. Only about 15 seconds of the mechanical version survive in the last cut of the film. Baker was apparently displeased with the final version of the suit and it’s arguably what dates the film most when viewed today. There’s also some terrible rear-projection scenes, which were shoddy even in 1976. In some ways it might have been better to film using stop-motion animation, which was still being employed by the likes of Ray Harryhausen, even in the latter half of the 1970s, but the production must have decided that audiences were tired of that style of creature effects. Critics weren’t kind to the film at the time of its release but it still performed well at the box-office, thanks in part to the significant amount of tie-in marketing campaigns that De Laurentiis set in motion.

This teaser one sheet artwork was actually one of several painted by John Berkey for the film, and depicts Kong at the top of the World Trade Centre, clutching a destroyed helicopter as a jet buzzes him. This painting was actually updated later and replaced the helicopter with a jet, as well as adding a shadow beneath Kong. It can be seen on one of four Japanese B2 posters that featured Berkey’s artwork. Other posters for the film, painted by Berkey can be seen via this emovieposter archive link. The artist is perhaps best known for his science-fiction artwork which graced hundreds of novels from the 1960s into the 2000s. This page features links through to many of the covers. His estate has a website on which it sells both original artwork and prints of his art, primarily focused on his space-based paintings. It’s well worth a look to see the quality of his artwork.

Born in 1932, Berkey lived in Minnesota and spent most of his career as a freelance artist. He worked on a few film posters over the years, including one for Star Wars that appeared inside the vinyl soundtrack, as well as the poster for The Towering Inferno and one for another De Laurentiis creature-feature, Orca. The emovieposter archive features lots of his posters. The artist sadly passed away in 2008 from heart failure but he leaves behind an incredible legacy of artwork.

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

11 Harrowhouse / 30×40 / USA

03.12.12

Poster Poster
Title
11 Harrowhouse
AKA
Anything for Love (USA - TV title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Aram Avakian
Starring
Charles Grodin, Candice Bergen, James Mason, Trevor Howard, John Gielgud, Helen Cherry, Peter Vaughan, Cyril Shaps, Leon Greene
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Grodin, Candice Bergen, James Mason, Trevor Howard, John Gielgud, Helen Cherry, Peter Vaughan, Cyril Shaps, Leon Greene,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
FMA (full details unknown)
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/190
Tagline
This is like no robbery you've ever imagined. Two amateurs armed only with a common insect, ingenuity, a thin cord, guts and a household appliance... how could they penetrate a steel fortress and rob 12 billion dollars of uncut diamonds? IMPOSSIBLE? They didn't think so.

An unusual design on this poster for 11 Harrowhouse, a British heist thriller from 1974 that was helmed by Aram Avakian. The American director had gained notoriety for the ground-breaking indie film End of the Road (1970), which was given an X-rating for its graphic depiction of an abortion and other scenes considered shocking for the time. 11 Harrowhouse stars Charles Grodin as a diamond merchant who is blackmailed into pulling a heist at a London jewel-exchange known as The System, which is located at the titular address. Candice Bergen features as his girlfriend who joins him on the heist, along with various ingenious ‘tools’ that include the cockroach depicted on this poster.

The initials FMA can be seen on the right of the poster (see picture 8) but I’m unsure who they belong to. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch and I’ll add the credit.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Filofax / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Filofax
AKA
Taking Care of Business (USA - original title)
Year of Film
1990
Director
Arthur Hiller
Starring
James Belushi, Charles Grodin, Anne De Salvo, Loryn Locklin, Stephen Elliott, Hector Elizondo, Veronica Hamel, Mako, Gates McFadden, John de Lancie, hom Sharp, Ken Foree
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
James Belushi, Charles Grodin, Anne De Salvo, Loryn Locklin, Stephen Elliott, Hector Elizondo, Veronica Hamel, Mako, Gates McFadden, John de Lancie, hom Sharp, Ken Foree,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
International
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Steven Chorney
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Jimmy's finally got a life, the trouble is, it's someone else's! | Lose it and you're lost.

Heaven Can Wait / one sheet / advance / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Heaven Can Wait
AKA
--
Year of Film
1978
Director
Warren Beatty, Buck Henry
Starring
Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Jack Warden, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Merv Bloch | Larry Lurin
Artist
Birney Lettick
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
780043
Tagline
--

Rosemary’s Baby / B1 / hands style / Poland

03.09.15

Poster Poster

This is one of two posters that were printed for the release in Poland of Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby, which didn’t take place until 1984. The film, based on a 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin, stars Mia Farrow as the titular young housewife who moves into Bramford, an opulent but fading apartment block, with her actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes). At first all seems well, despite Guy struggling to find work, but when another young resident dies in strange circumstances the pair meet elderly neighbours Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer) and are invited for dinner.

Soon afterwards Rosemary begins to have strange dreams and hears weird noises from inside the building, whilst Guy begins to spend more time with the Castevets. When Rosemary falls pregnant she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems and a friend of hers called Hutch (Maurice Evans) confirms that the building has a shady history and is concerned for her health. Soon after warning her of the possibility that a satanic group are active in the building Hutch falls into a coma and later dies. When the baby is due to arrive, Rosemary comes to learn the truth and sees that Guy had betrayed her to the satanic group for the sake of his acting career. The ending, which is one of the most infamous in horror film history, is still as disturbing today as it was in 1968. 

The film was a huge critical and commercial success, earning over $30 million in the US alone, which wasn’t significant considering it had a budget of around $2.3 million. Polanski had already been lauded for Repulsion (1966) but it was this film, his first Hollywood production, that really shot him to international stardom. Sadly, a year after its release his wife Sharon Tate and four others were murdered by the psychotic Charles Manson and his gang and it would be three years before his next film was made.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Andrzej Pagowski, a prolific film poster artist who was born in Warsaw in 1953 and studied at the celebrated University of Fine Arts in Poznań, graduating in 1978 under the tutorship of the noted artist Waldemar Świerzy. In 1990 he started his own graphic design studio called Studio P, which he developed into an advertising agency by 1993. According to the biography on his official site, Pagowski has illustrated over 1000 posters during his career and has also done work for books, magazines and music covers. In addition, he is also a TV and theatre stage designer and a screen writer. Undoubtedly a man of many talents! His official site features an extensive gallery of his work, including several of the posters. Polishposter.com also features multiple pages worth of his movie posters and this culture.pl article is well worth a read too.

Rosemary’s Baby / quad / UK

07.12.12

Poster Poster

Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror masterpiece Rosemary’s Baby was released with one of the most iconic posters of all time that, like many of the most memorable designs, features a striking image in conjunction with an intriguing tagline. There is a fascinating, newly-filmed documentary on the recently released Criterion blu-ray of the film, which features many of the people involved in its making, including the legendary producer Robert Evans who recounts the story of how this poster came to be:

“When we finished the film the front office [of Paramount], which was in New York at the time, didn’t want to release it. They didn’t know how to sell it. I went to a friend of mine [Stephen Frankfurt] who was president at Young & Rubicam, a very large advertising agency, and I told him my problem; I can’t release the movie because the whole of our advertising team doesn’t know how to sell it, and the picture’s brilliant! He goes to see it and then he said to be ‘Bob, I’m going to tell it you straight; it’s not an easy picture to sell and I’m not going to take one dime from you to give you a whole campaign for it.’ He then said ‘But if you buy what I give you I want one hundred thousand dollars’.

I walked in to the chairman of the board Charles Bluhdorn‘s office and said ‘take a look at this and you tell me if you want to write a cheque for one hundred thousand dollars’ and I turned the artboard around and there it is; there’s a mountain and a carriage and it says ‘Pray for Rosemary’s Baby’, that’s all. And he looks at it and he becomes so pale that he’s as white as these shoes that I’m wearing and he said ‘I have to pay him one hundred thousand dollars for three [four] words?!’ and I said that’s right, and he did! Pray for Rosemary’s Baby became the ad of the year. It made the picture and without that image people wouldn’t know what it is and they still didn’t know but they were intrigued. It opened to the biggest business Paramount had done in years.”

After a bit of research it seems that although Stephen Frankfurt should be credited as the creative director for the poster, it was actually designed by Philip Gips in conjunction with Richard Danne. I’ve been attempting to figure out exactly where each of these designers worked and I have to confess it has left me slightly confused. Stephen Frankfurt is profiled in this excellent piece by Adrian Curry on Mubi.com that details his involvement in several seminal film posters of the 1960s and 70s, including Downhill Racer and the first Emmanuelle movie. He also worked on opening titles (To Kill a Mockingbird) and trailers for several films, including the one for Rosemary’s Baby. According to the article Frankfurt’s thing ‘was to see the packaging of movies as a totality—designing the titles, posters, trailers and ads with one common look and theme.’ The article also notes that the baby carriage on the crag was shot on the outcrops of rocks in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Frankfurt died earlier this year and in this article in Adweek it mentions that he was also a partner in an agency he set up with Philip Gips and Aubrey Balkind (named simply Frankfurt Gips Balkind), where he worked on over 55 film marketing campaigns. It’s not totally clear but I believe that he must have worked on this poster whilst also serving as president at Young and Rubicam, hence the fact that Robert Evans mentions the larger agency in the interview above.

Note that in the comments of that article someone with the username ‘Villafranca’ writes the following:
“In the mid-90’s, I worked for Philip Gips’s the small agency that he started after he left Frankfurt, Gips Balkind. In his office, he had framed prints of both the “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Alien” posters hanging in his office because, well, he designed them. And one other small tidbit: his wife, Barbara, wrote the line “In space no one can hear you scream” (not Stephen Frankfurt). Phil told me this personally.”

Further on in the comments another poster called ‘danagips’ writes:
“This should absolutely be retitled the movie posters of Phil Gips. And my mother did indeed write, ‘In Space No One Can Hear You Scream’ for Alien.”

In addition to this, the website of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) features a page on the poster that also credits Richard Danne as a co-designer of the poster. Danne appears to have had a lengthy and lauded career in the New York advertising industry and his official website features a biography that indicates he served as president of AIGA as well as a several other organisations. The Rosemary’s Baby poster features on his website where another agency ‘Gips and Danne’ is mentioned (the AIGA website has examples of that agency’s work).

The agency for the poster is credited as Gips and Danne so does that mean that Philip Gips was also working as a partner in a second design firm in addition to the one he founded with Frankurt and Balkind? Was this job given to Gips and Richard Danne’s firm by Frankfurt who was working for Paramount? I intend to contact Richard Danne to try and clarify but I’d appreciate any other information that people may have so I can accurately credit the poster.

This is the original British quad for the release of the film over here and I was utterly thrilled to find it in excellent, rolled condition. Note the circular snipe in the bottom corner which ties it to the Paramount cinema in London’s Piccadilly Circus. The building was opened in 1921 as the large and luxurious cinema known as the Plaza Theatre that was designed and built for Paramount Pictures to be their showcase venue in London. The Arthur Lloyd ‘music hall and theatre history’ website features a page on the cinema that details its history and has several excellent pictures included. Finally, I’m unsure who will have done the design work to adapt the original portrait one sheet design to the landscape quad format.

King Kong / 1976 / B2 / climbing style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
King Kong
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Climbing
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Berkey
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

King Kong / 1976 / B2 / snake style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
King Kong
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Snake
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Berkey
Size (inches)
20 7/16" x 28 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

King Kong / 1976 / B2 / train style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
King Kong
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Train
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Berkey
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

King Kong / 1976 / B2 / top of tower style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
King Kong
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Top of tower style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Berkey
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Midnight Run / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Midnight Run
AKA
Prima di mezzanotte [Before midnight] (Italy)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Martin Brest
Starring
Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto, John Ashton, Dennis Farina, Joe Pantoliano,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
29 6/8" x 39 6/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The mob wants to kill him, the FBI wants to arrest him and his partner thinks he should give up smoking

Unique artwork on this British quad for the 1988 comedy caper film Midnight Run, which was painted by the British artist Brian Bysouth. In December I met and interviewed Brian and the resulting article can be read here.