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Excalibur / one sheet / teaser / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
--

Excalibur / one sheet / 80s re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
80s re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.

Because of the presence of a GCIU logo, this is likely not from the 1981 original release but a re-release from later in the 1983. This note from an emovieposter.com auction explains why:

Note that there are two versions of this poster: one with a GAU printer logo and one with GCIU logo. We have been told that the GCIU logo wasn’t trademarked until July 1983, so the theory is that any poster that carries the GCIU logo must be from 1983 or later and are either theatrical re-release posters or possibly video store posters. We do not know for sure.

A Passage to India / B1 / Poland

22.04.15

Poster Poster

This is the Polish poster for the release of British director David Lean‘s final film behind the camera, 1984’s A Passage to India. Lean hadn’t helmed a feature film since 1970’s Ryan’s Daughter, the poor reception of which had put him off directing for a few years, and an abandoned attempt to make a pair of films based on the Mutiny of the Bounty also took up several years of Lean’s life. The film is an adaptation of English author E. M. Forster’s novel of the same name and also a stage production of the book by Indian-born American playwright Santha Rama Rau.

Set in India during the 1920s when there was a growing Indian independence movement in the British Raj, the film sees young British woman Adela Quested (Judy Davistravel to India to visit her fiancee Ronny Heaslop (Nigel Havers) who is serving as a magistrate in the town of Chandrapore. Accompanying her on the trip is Ronny’s mother Mrs Moore (Peggy Ashcroft). The pair spend time in the company of British colonials but when Mrs Moore meets a local doctor named Aziz Ahmed (Victor Banerjee) they see the opportunity to experience ‘the real India.’ Aziz agrees to take them on an expedition to the remote Marabar Caves (actually based on the real life Barabar Caves) but when Adela is attacked and almost raped, Aziz is accused of the crime and relations between the natives and the British quickly break down.

This poster was painted for the first release of the film in Poland in 1988 and was created by the Polish artist Wiktor Sadowski who was born in Olendry in 1956 and later graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Sadowski has painted hundreds of film posters during his career and has won several prestigious awards, including a gold medal at Poster Biennale of Poland in 1984 and a gold medal from the New York Society of Illustrators in 1994. There are multiple galleries of his work online, including this one on the Polish Poster Gallery website and this one on Polishposter.com that both clearly show the quality of his artwork.

Excalibur / A0 / Germany

19.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
A0
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Based on Bob Beak artwork
Size (inches)
33" x 46 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

At first glance, the artwork on this large-format (A0) German poster for the 1981 fantasy film Excalibur seems to be the same Bob Peak artwork that appears on posters from around the world, including the US one sheet, but it is not. When viewed up close, and compared to the Peak art, it’s clear that the (German) artist was asked to replicate the original as closely as possible, but the quality is definitely lacking in comparison to Peak. The likely reason the distributor decided to have the art repainted, as opposed to cutting and recomposing Peak’s, is that the one sheet art’s composition is completely unsuited to the landscape format of this A0. I suspect a similar thing happened with the British quad, which features an image of the sword being held aloft that is not the same artwork as on the Peak one sheet. The sword appears alongside an image of Merlin that is the artist’s work.

Excalibur was a passion project for the director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank) who had been trying to kickstart a project based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table since 1969. After almost a decade he was able to pull together the financial backing to commence filming, with a script based on the 15th century tales of Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory. The film is notable for being entirely shot on location in Ireland and for featuring breakout performances from a number of notable actors, including Helen MirrenGabriel Byrne, and Liam Neeson. Set over several decades, the story follows the machinations of multiple characters, with the wizard Merlin (Nicol Williamson) acting as something of a constant (if deeply eccentric) figure who floats around the rulers of Britain. In one of the first scenes we see him retrieving the titular sword from the Lady of the Lake.

Beginning with a king called Uther Pendragon (Byrne), Merlin first assists him in first reaching a truce with Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, before Uther sets his sights on the Duke’s wife Igrayne and war breaks out once more. Merlin reluctantly offers to help him defeat Gorlois and capture Igrayne on the condition that he can have ‘whatever results from this lust’. Without fully understanding the ramifications of the deal, Uther agrees, slays the Duke and has his way with Igrayne (albeit under a Merlin spell that makes him look like the Duke). Nine months later Merlin arrives to claim his agreed prize, a boy born of that night’s passion. The wizard leaves the castle with him, much to Igrayne’s horror, and eventually Uther decides to pursue and attempt to rescue his son. Unfortunately he is attacked in a forest by a group of Gorlois’ men and dies, but not before he thrusts Excalibur into a stone and proclaims, “He who draws the sword from the stone, he shall be king.”

The story then jumps forward several years and sees the boy, now grown into a teenager named Arthur, completely unaware of his origins (Merlin had given him to another couple to raise as their own). Whilst attending a jousting contest with his father and brother, a mixup with a stolen sword sees Arthur easily pulling Excalibur from the stone after hundreds of men have failed to do so in the past. Unaware of the significance of the event, it takes Arthur a while to understand that he is now the rightful king and only a visit from Merlin eventually convinces him. The rest of the film follows Arthur as he rallies knights around him, takes the throne and establishes the famous court and castle of Camelot. He also meets and falls in love with Guinevere (Cherie Lunghi) but eventually tensions rise when Lancelot, one of his trusted knights, becomes infatuated with her. Morgana, a budding sorceress and Arthur’s half-sister, also tricks Merlin into teaching her the Charm of Making, allowing her to take the form of others. When she tricks Arthur into sleeping with her (him believing it to be Guinevere) the resultant child threatens an end to the whole kingdom.

Apparently the film was originally completed to a length of around three hours before having 40 minutes trimmed and I can’t help but feel that allowing the film to breathe might have helped. There’s a lot of story to fit in and it’s fair to say that the cuts do show; I found some of the time jumps and scene to scene transitions pretty jarring, whilst the script doesn’t exactly help matters. Critics at the time also found the film’s story and exposition wanting but most agreed that Boorman had definitely succeeded in making the film visually stunning. The use of real locations along with some incredible costumes such as the shiny chrome armour worn by most of the male cast (Merlin even has a shiny cap) are accentuated by the use of coloured lighting. The film has developed something of a cult reputation over the years, largely thanks to the arresting visuals on display.

If anyone knows who the artist was that repainted the original Bob Peak art, please get in touch.

Excalibur / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.