You Searched For: Crime

Clue / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Clue
AKA
Signori, il delitto è servito [Gentlemen, the crime is served] (Italy)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Jonathan Lynn
Starring
Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Martin Mull
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Martin Mull,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Spiros Angelikas
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
It's not just a game anymore.

Mr Ricco / 30×40 / USA

03.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Mr Ricco
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Paul Bogart
Starring
Dean Martin, Eugene Roche, Thalmus Rasulala, Denise Nicholas, Cindy Williams, Geraldine Brooks, Philip Michael Thomas, George Tyne, Robert Sampson, Michael Gregory, Joseph Hacker, Frank Puglia
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dean Martin, Eugene Roche, Thalmus Rasulala, Denise Nicholas, Cindy Williams, Geraldine Brooks, Philip Michael Thomas, George Tyne, Robert Sampson, Michael Gregory, Joseph Hacker, Frank Puglia,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Larry Salk
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/27
Tagline
The one thing people hate more than a cop killer... is the lawyer who gets him off!

Mr Ricco, a little-seen 1970s crime thriller, marked the last starring role in film for ‘The King of Cool’ Dean Martin (unless you count his cameos in the two Cannonball Run films). The Italian-American entertainer, who had seen great success in several of his earlier roles including Rio Bravo and Ocean’s Eleven (with his fellow Rat Pack members), would continue to make popular TV appearances and music recordings but never headline a film again. After reading the reviews on IMDb it appears he was probably getting too old to convincingly pull-off the action scenes that roles like this one required.

Martin appears in the title role as Joe Ricco, a San Francisco lawyer who successfully defends Frankie Steele (Thalmus Rasulala) a member of a black militant group charged with murdering a woman. Shortly afterwards two cops are gunned down and Steele is implicated in the crime after witnesses describe seeing him fleeing the scene. The detective in charge of the case, George Cronyn (Eugene Roche), is angered that Steele appears to have got away with it again and decides to kill one of the members of the Black Serpents (Steele’s group) and implicate another in the cops’ murder. Ricco agrees to defend the wrongly-accused man but soon after is targeted by a lone sniper who almost kills him. Once again, Steele is implicated in the attempted murder so Ricco sets out to discover why his former client is trying to kill him.

This US 30×40 features artwork by an American artist called Larry Salk about whom I’ve been able to discover very little. A now defunct gallery site described him as a freelance illustrator who worked on around 165 film posters, as well as painting for advertisements, video game covers, record sleeves and more. IMPAwards features a few of his posters (I have his one sheet for the 3D re-release of House of Wax and the advance for Superman III) and he was the artist who painted the famous portrait of Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. He apparently passed away in 2004.

Outland / one sheet / UK

27.06.14

Poster Poster
Title
Outland
AKA
Atmosfera zero (Italy) | Outland - Comando Titânio (Brazil) | Rumstation Jupiter (Denmark) | Operation Outland (Sweden)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Peter Hyams
Starring
Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James Sikking, Kika Markham, Clarke Peters, Steven Berkoff
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James Sikking, Kika Markham, Clarke Peters, Steven Berkoff,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
On Jupiter's moon, something deadly is happening

One of my favourite non-James Bond roles for Sean Connery, the 1981 sci-fi thriller Outland still stands up 30 years after its release. It’s essentially a wild-west story set in space with Connery playing a space marshal based onboard a remote mining colony orbiting Jupiter’s moon Io. When he uncovers a smuggling operation of a dangerous drug on the station, he attempts to uncover who is responsible, only to find that the conspiracy reaches to the top of the mining operation. He soon finds his life under threat from a group of assassins called to the station and must use his ingenuity and knowledge of the station to stay alive.

The film was an acknowledged influence on Duncan Jones‘ superb 2009 film Moon, which I can heartily recommend. It also has one of the best posters of the past few years. I was lucky enough to see a double-bill of the two films together presented by Jones (at the Prince Charles Cinema in London) where he talked about his love for Outland and the influence it had on his directorial debut. Without spoiling things, the design of a particular space craft in Moon is a great homage to one in Outland.

This one sheet differs greatly from the UK quad but retains the tagline. It also features the same font used on the Mad Max UK one sheet.

Here’s the trailer for the film.

The Silence of the Lambs / Thailand

15.04.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Silence Of The Lambs
AKA
Il silenzio degli innocenti [The silence of the innocents] (Italy)
Year of Film
1991
Director
Jonathan Demme
Starring
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons, Frankie Faison, Diane Baker, Charles Napier
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons, Frankie Faison, Diane Baker, Charles Napier,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1991
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
23 15/16 x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for the release of the unforgettable thriller The Silence of the Lambs, a film that would win multiple awards across the globe following its release in 1991. Based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris which was the second to feature the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a sociopathic serial killer who was the focus of several of his novels (in fact all but one) and featured in multiple films and a TV series since his first appearance in the novel Red Dragon (later released as the 1986 film Manhunter). The Silence of the Lambs was directed by Jonathan Demme and based on a screenplay by Ted Tally who would later adapt Harris again with another version of Red Dragon in 2002.

Jodie Foster gives a deservedly award-winning performance as the young FBI recruit Clarice Starling who excels during her training and is given the task of interviewing the incarcerated Lecter (a mesmerising, against-type performance by Anthony Hopkins). The Bureau wants to see if Lecter can help them in their hunt for another serial killer, dubbed Buffalo Bill, who is on the loose and has been skinning the corpses of his female victims. Lecter decides to toy with Clarice and she must work to gain his trust, whilst the audience are shown Bill picking up his next victim. The tension rises as Clarice closes in on the killer through clues given by Lecter and the stage is set for a nerve-shredding finale. The film won the ‘big five’ at the 1991 Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Actress for Hopkins and Foster, as well as Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for Tally. It would prove to be a huge hit across the globe and enter the cultural lexicon in a significant way. The character of Lecter continues to fascinate and a recent TV series (called simply Hannibal) was a cult success.

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

The faces of Foster and Hopkins of course feature on the classic American posters, including the Style C one sheet which merges the two, although this is more like the UK quad. At first glance I thought that Tongdee had painted the montage at the bottom over a reproduction of the photographic originals but on closer inspection it’s clear that he repainted the whole lot, including the intricate details on the infamous Deaths Head moths (featuring the freaky ‘skull’ image). The montage below is unique to this poster and features four depictions of Lecter at various points in the film.

Looper / screen print / regular / Martin Ansin / USA

08.07.16

Poster Poster

A striking design by the artist Martin Ansin features on this official screen print for the 2012 sci-fi film Looper. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, creator of the superb ‘Brick’ (2005), the film is a futuristic, somewhat dystopian crime-drama based around the theme of time travel. Looper is set in both 2044 and 2074 and stars Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the same character from each era, with the latter made to look uncannily like the former thanks to the skills of makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji. The audience learns that time-travel was invented in 2074 but then immediately outlawed. Because the tracking of individuals is so advanced and accurate, enterprising criminal gangs begin using the technology to dispose of victims they want disappeared.

These individuals are sent back in time 30 years and killed by the titular loopers who are paid in silver bars strapped to the victims. Eventually, however, all loopers must accept that they too are sent back in time to be killed by their younger selves. They are sent with reward of a packet of gold bars strapped to them and this moment known as ‘closing the loop’, is intended to stop the future authorities seeing a link to the use of time-travel. Young Joe (Gordon-Levitt) discovers that his flat-mate Seth (Paul Dano) failed to close his own loop because his older self warned him of a mysterious figure in the future known as the Rainmaker who has begun to overthrow the crime bosses and is murdering each of the loopers one by one. Joe reluctantly agrees to help his crime boss Abe (Jeff Daniels) track down Seth and close the loop.

One day Joe comes face to face with his older self and the older Joe (Willis) manages to overpower his younger self and he escapes. Older Joe is determined to kill the Rainmaker when he was just a child and young Joe discovers the target is a young child called Cid (Pierce Gagnon) who lives on a remote farm with his mother Sara (Emily Blunt). Sara confides that Cid has advanced telekinetic powers and that the young boy is barely able to control them when he gets angry. Soon, Abe’s henchmen come looking for young Joe and he must try to survive whilst also protecting Cid from older Joe and attempting to stop him from fulfilling his destiny as the Rainmaker.

Johnson also introduces an alternative timeline in which young Joe kills his older self before he can escape but then shows how the timelines are then ingeniously linked together. The film was met with great critical acclaim and performed brilliantly at the box-office, with takings several times the original production cost. Some recent reviews on IMDb have been pretty brutal and unforgiving of what are perceived to be plot holes focused around the time travel concepts, but the director himself has since explained that the film was never intended to get too focused on the technicalities of how it works:

‘Even though it’s a time-travel movie, the pleasure of it doesn’t come from the mass of time travel. It’s not a film like Primer, for instance, where the big part of the enjoyment is kind of working out all the intricacies of it. For Looper, I very much wanted it to be a more character-based movie that is more about how these characters dealt with the situation time travel has brought about.’

This screen print was commissioned by the limited edition poster outfit Mondo for a screening of the film at the 2012 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. It was created by the talented Uruguayan designer and artist Martin Ansin, whose work has graced many of the best posters released by Mondo, including several in the Universal Monsters series, like this amazing Phantom of the Opera one. This design for Looper cleverly captures the time travel concepts and the two versions of the lead character.  The artist also worked on a variant of the poster that features a silver colourway.

The other posters I’ve collected by Ansin can be seen here. His official website is well worth a browse.

Something Wild / quad / UK

05.07.16

Poster Poster
Title
Something Wild
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Jonathan Demme
Starring
Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta, George 'Red' Schwartz, Leib Lensky, Tracey Walter, Maggie T., Patricia Falkenhain, Sandy McLeod, Robert Ridgely
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta, George 'Red' Schwartz, Leib Lensky, Tracey Walter, Maggie T., Patricia Falkenhain, Sandy McLeod, Robert Ridgely,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Something different, something daring, something dangerous

A colourful design features on this UK quad for the release of the 1986 cult flick Something Wild. Directed by Jonathan Demme (best known for Silence of the Lambs) the film is a difficult one to categorise as it has elements of comedy, action and also something of a road trip setup. The script was written by E. Max Frye whilst he was still at film school and made its way into Demme’s hands, with the director committing to filming it straight away.

Jeff Daniels stars as the straight-laced financier Charles Driggs who lives in a New York suburb and commutes every day into Manhattan. We first see him inside a greasy spoon diner from where he sneaks out without paying (in what he later calls a small act of rebellion) but not without attracting the attention of a sultry brunette who calls herself Lulu (a sexy turn from Melanie Griffith). Although reluctant at first, Charles is persuaded to accompany her on a spontaneous road trip out of the city.

Lulu first seduces him in a hotel room and then the pair continue on to her home town in Pennsylvania where she introduces Charles to her mother, saying that the pair have recently married. Lulu, who reveals her real name is Audrey, takes Charles along to a high school reunion. Whilst there Audrey’s ex-husband Ray Sinclair (an electrifying Ray Liotta), who she thought was still in prison for a string of robberies, appears and is initially friendly towards the couple. Things soon take a dark turn as Ray forces Charles to leave and drives off with Audrey. However, Charles realises how smitten he is with her and begins to tail them with a plan to prize her away from Ray.

The artwork on this UK quad is the same that is featured on the US one sheet and was clearly originally painted for that poster. I’ve struggled to identify who the artist is so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch. The colour schemes are similar on both posters but the logo is different and the quad has the additional photo of Ray Liotta.

Silver Streak / one sheet / style A / USA

31.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
Silver Streak
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Arthur Hiller
Starring
Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan, Ned Beatty, Clifton James, Ray Walston, Stefan Gierasch, Len Birman, Valerie Curtin, Lucille Benson, Scatman Crothers, Richard Kiel, Fred Willard
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan, Ned Beatty, Clifton James, Ray Walston, Stefan Gierasch, Len Birman, Valerie Curtin, Lucille Benson, Scatman Crothers, Richard Kiel, Fred Willard,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
George Gross
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/200
Tagline
By plane, by train, by the edge of your seat, it's the most hilarious suspense ride of your life!

Silver Streak, a 1976 comedy thriller, marked the first time that the celebrated comic actors Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor would appear together in a film and there would be a further three pairings following this one. Directed by Arthur Hiller, who would helm See No Evil, Hear No Evil starring Wilder and Pryor 13 years later, the film is mostly set onboard the eponymous long distance train. Wilder plays George Caldwell a book editor who is traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago for his sister’s wedding. Whilst onboard he meets Hilly (Jill Clayburgh) and the pair strike up a romance, but soon George is battling to stay alive after he witnesses the murder of an art historian and attracts the attention of the killers.

The gang plan to impersonate the dead historian in order to pass of a pair of forged Rembrandt paintings as original. George is forcefully removed from the train several times and it’s during one of these escapades that he meets the criminal Grover T. Muldoon (Pryor) who he enlists in helping him reach the train to climb back onboard and bring the conspiracy to light. As this poster artwork suggests, the film ends in a spectacular train crash.

The artwork is by George Gross, an American who is best known as an artist of pulp book covers but, as this short biography details, he also worked on magazine illustrations and covers for popular novels. The artist was born in 1909 in Brooklyn and he followed his father into the area of commercial illustration, with both of his siblings eventually making it a proper family affair. This site has a gallery of his pulp covers. I’ve been unable to determine if he painted any other film posters so please get in touch if you know of any others.

It’s worth noting that the central figures have been rather crudely cut out and placed over the background scenes, which have also been cut up in places (see if you can spot the replicated policeman).

Mississippi Burning / B1 / Poland

26.05.16

Poster Poster

A striking illustration by Wieslaw Walkuski on this B1 poster for the first release in Poland (in 1990) for Alan Parker‘s 1988 crime thriller Mississippi Burning. The film was loosely based on the real life case of the murders of three civil rights workers in the titular American state in 1964. Screenwriter Chris Gerolmo based his script on an article and several books on the FBI investigation of the case that had been written in the intervening years. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe play two FBI agents sent to the fictional town of Jessup County in order to investigate the disappearance of the three workers. Their investigation is met with suspicion and hostility by local residents, as well as the local police and the KKK. As attacks on African-American families intensify, the pair must use unorthodox methods to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Wieslaw Walkuski was born in 1956 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 1981 Walkuski has worked as a graphic designer and artist for publishing houses and theaters, as well as for the Polish film organisations Polfilm and Film Polski. He’s worked freelance since 1987 and has painted over 200 film posters. He continues to live and work in Warsaw. Walkuski’s official website features galleries of many of his designs and images of his other work.

He’s responsible for some incredible designs and two of my favourites include those he painted for Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and the Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie.

Cotton Club / A1 / Germany

23.05.16

Poster Poster

This is the poster for the German release of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1984 crime-drama/musical The Cotton Club. Legendary producer Robert Evans had originally planned to direct the film and the initial story and screenplay had been written by Mario ‘The Godfather’ Puzo, but Evans had a last-minute change of heart and asked Coppola to step in. Puzo’s script was apparently re-written by the author William Kennedy who ended up writing multiple drafts and ended up with a shared screenplay credit along with Coppola. Production was apparently beset with problems, including a spiralling budget that was provided by various parties including Las Vegas casino owners, an Arab arms dealer and a vaudeville performer. In typical fashion, Evans was determined to make the film as extravagant as possible and constructed ‘no expense spared’ sets, hiring some of the best technicians in the business at eye-watering figures.

Another likely reason that filming costs ballooned is the impressive ensemble cast that Evans and the studio were able to hire, which included the likes of Richard GereDiane LaneBob Hoskins and Gregory Hines. Loosely based on the real club of the same name that was located in New York’s Harlem neighbourhood, the story follows the machinations of various characters involved with the club in the 1930s, including Gere’s musician Dixie Dwyer whose dealings with the mobster owner of the club Owney Madden (Hoskins) sees him advance his career as an actor whilst having an affair with the girlfriend of the local kingpin, Dutch Schultz (James Remar). The film also follows Sandman Williams (Hines) a local dancer who falls for the club’s star performer Lila Rose Dwyer (Lonette McKee). Nicolas Cage appears as Dixie’s violent, racist brother Vincent who joins Schultz’s gang.

The film features several musical sequences and is soundtracked by several of the most popular jazz tunes of the era. Sadly, Coppola and Evans clashed regularly during the production and at a certain point the director apparently barred the producer from visiting the set. The Cotton Club was declared a flop when it opened in fourth place at the box-office and would eventually go on to recoup less than half of its reported budget of just under $60 million. Despite tepid critical reception the film was nevertheless nominated for several awards (only winning for Best Costumes at the BAFTAs). The film has something of a cult following today, with many fans speaking highly of the film’s production values and well-staged musical numbers. Rumours of a director’s cut release were ignited last year when Coppola declared that a restoration was in the works, reinstating several musical sequences that were apparently cut for its initial release.

This German poster was illustrated by Renato Casaro, an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

I, the Jury / one sheet / USA

05.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
I, the Jury
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
Richard T. Heffron
Starring
Armand Assante, Barbara Carrera, Laurene Landon, Alan King, Geoffrey Lewis, Paul Sorvino, Judson Scott, Barry Snider
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Armand Assante, Barbara Carrera, Laurene Landon, Alan King, Geoffrey Lewis, Paul Sorvino, Judson Scott, Barry Snider,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
He's charming, he's sexy, he's tough, and he's too hot to cool down. He's "The Hammer."

Artwork by the great Drew Struzan features on this one sheet for the release of the 1982 crime drama I, the Jury. Based on a novel of the same name by the late American author Mickey Spillane the story was previously brought to the screen in 1953 (and in 3D to boot). This version features several story elements that aren’t in the original novel.

The screenplay was written by B-movie legend Larry Cohen who was original set to direct but left the production after one week of filming when it became clear that the budget was already out of control. Cohen is the writer and director of films like Q: The Winged Serpent and The Stuff but has concentrated on screenwriting during the 1980s and 2000s. Cohen was replaced by Richard T. Heffron, perhaps best known for helming Futureworld, the sequel to Westworld.

Armand Assante plays detective Mike Hammer who discovers an old detective buddy of his, Jack Williams, has been shot and killed and he sets out to catch who was responsible. The trail leads him to a secretive sex therapy clinic that’s headed up by Dr Bennett (Barbara Carrera). Hammer discovers that Jack was on an undercover mission in the clinic and that’s what cost him his life. Before long the detective realises that he’s uncovered a conspiracy involving a rogue element of the CIA and the New York mafia who will both stop at nothing to keep their secret under wraps. 

Drew Struzan is an artist who barely needs an introduction given that he painted many of the most iconic film posters of all time, including several for Star Wars, Indiana Jones and a slew of other beloved classics like The Thing and The Goonies. The artist’s own site features 4 pages of his work for films and Drew also worked in other areas, including product marketing, book and magazine covers, editorial and multiple paintings as a fine artist. Drew declared that he’d retired in 2008 but has worked on a handful of special paintings since then, including one to announce the most recent Star Wars film in 2015.

To see a gallery of the other posters by Drew that I’ve collected click here.

The Anderson Tapes / B2 / Japan

18.04.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Anderson Tapes
AKA
--
Year of Film
1971
Director
Sidney Lumet
Starring
Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Christopher Walken, Val Avery, Dick Anthony Williams, Garrett Morris
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Christopher Walken, Val Avery, Dick Anthony Williams, Garrett Morris,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese poster for the release of The Anderson Tapes, a 1971 crime film from director Sidney Lumet. It stars Sean Connery and was released the same year as Diamonds are Forever, the film that marked the final time he would officially play James Bond (for Eon Productions). It’s based on a novel of the same name by Lawrence Sanders and had a screenplay written by Frank Pierson who was a producer as well as a screenwriter. Lumet and Pierson would later collaborate on the classic Dog Day Afternoon in 1975.

Connery plays the role of John “Duke” Anderson, a serial burglar who has just been released from prison and reunites with his girlfriend Ingrid (Dyan Cannon) who lives in a high-class apartment block in Manhattan. Far from being reformed, Duke decides he will target all of the flats in the block in one big heist with the help of his mafia connections and a crew of assorted criminals. Things have changed since he was put away and Duke must contend with the electronic surveillance throughout the building as well as various forms of snooping that are covering his entire crew. The film was one of several released at the start of the 1970s that dealt with the issue of surveillance, including the brilliant The Conversation.

This Japanese poster features artwork originally found on the US one sheet, although it appears to have been colour-tinted somewhat, particularly the masked men at the top. If anyone has any ideas who the artist is please get in touch.

Death Hunt / 30×40 / USA

11.04.16

Poster Poster
Title
Death Hunt
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Peter Hunt
Starring
Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens, Carl Weathers, Ed Lauter, Scott Hylands, Angie Dickinson, Henry Beckman, William Sanderson, Jon Cedar, James O'Connell, Len Lesser
Origin of Film
USA | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens, Carl Weathers, Ed Lauter, Scott Hylands, Angie Dickinson, Henry Beckman, William Sanderson, Jon Cedar, James O'Connell, Len Lesser,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Solie
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810073
Tagline
The Saga Of Two Rivals Who Clash As Enemies And Triumph As Heroes.

Great artwork by the American artist John Solie features on this 30×40 poster for the release of the 1981 action film Death Hunt. The film stars two acting legends, Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin, and was directed by Peter Hunt who was best known for being the editor of the first three James Bond films, as well as the director of one of the best films in the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). The story is a heavily fictionalised retelling of the manhunt for the real life fugitive Albert Johnson, dubbed the Mad Trapper, who shot a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer and went on the run in the Yukon territory in Canada in the early 1930s.

Bronson plays Johnson as a sympathetic character who we are first seen rescuing a dog from a vicious dogfight and assaulting its owner, another trapper called Hazel (Ed Lauter), when he tries to stop him. Later Hazel leads his gang of men to try and retrieve the dog but they end up shooting at Johnson’s cabin and killing the dog. During the firefight one of the trappers is shot in the head and at this point they manage to persuade aging RCMP officer Millen (Marvin) to visit Johnson’s cabin to investigate along with his colleagues, including Sundog (Carl Weathers).

Millen attempts to reason with him but one of Hazel’s men opens fire and another firefight begins. Johnson manages to escape and a full scale manhunt is launched which soon attracts the attention of other trappers looking to cash in on the $1000 bounty, as well as an air force pilot, Captain Hank Tucker (Scott Hylands) who sets off in his biplane to find Johnson. Millen is determined to bring in Johnson without having to kill him and follows the trapper deep into the wilderness. The film makes great use of real Canadian scenery and the outdoor locations used are stunning. Bronson and Marvin are on good form and watchable as always, plus the supporting turns by the likes of Weathers are good too.

John Solie has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Another gallery of his work can be viewed on Wrong Side of the Art.

Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

Mean Streets / quad / 1993 re-release / UK

22.08.16

Poster Poster
Title
Mean Streets
AKA
Mean Streets - Domenica in chiesa, lunedì all'inferno [Sunday in church, Monday in hell] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Martin Scorsese
Starring
Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Victor Argo, George Memmoli, Lenny Scaletta, Jeannie Bell, Murray Moston, David Carradine, Robert Carradine
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Victor Argo, George Memmoli, Lenny Scaletta, Jeannie Bell, Murray Moston, David Carradine, Robert Carradine,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1993
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it on the streets..."

This is a British quad poster for a 1993 re-release of Martin Scorsese‘s 1973 film Mean Streets. Whilst not the director’s earliest full-length feature, it’s certainly the one that put him firmly on the map ahead of 1976’s global hit Taxi Driver. Co-written by Scorsese, Mean Streets is also a film that is very personal to the director because the film is set in and around the Manhattan neighbourhood he grew up in. The story was shaped by his experience of living in Little Italy and the encounters he had with the various types of characters that live there, including members of the New York Mafia, with whom his father had dealings.

Scorsese also peppered the film with the kind of music he’d been listening to as a youth, which included the likes of the Rolling Stones and The Ronettes. It’s reckoned that half of the film’s budget was spent on clearing these songs for use in the soundtrack, but their inclusion makes for some memorable moments. One such example is the entrance of Joey (Robert De Niro) into the club soundtracked to the Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

Harvey Keitel plays Charlie, a small-time member of the mafia who spends his days collecting protection money on behalf of his uncle, the local boss Giovanni (Cesare Danova). He’s also torn between his feelings of Catholic responsibility, and devotion to the church, with his desire to move up the chain in the outfit. Charlie is also hampered by his friendship with the unhinged Johnny Boy (De Niro), an inveterate gambler who owes money to various unsavoury loan sharks around the neighbourhood. Johnny’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and threatens Charlie’s position as a wiseguy and his secret relationship with Johnny’s cousin Teresa (Amy Robinson). As tension rises, the group try to escape to Brooklyn but the neighbourhood has other plans for them.

I’m not totally sure why this film was given a 1993 re-release but it could have had something to do with the success of his 1990 gangster film Goodfellas. It’s also possible that the distributor (Electric Pictures) decided to show the film as part of a particular season of films. Note that all the films mentioned along the bottom of the poster are all based in London so it’s possible it wasn’t a nationwide re-release. The film’s original quad, for the film’s release in the 1970s, is hugely uninspiring (see here) and nothing beats the classic artwork created for the US campaign (see here).

The Crying Game / quad / UK

14.03.16

Poster Poster

This UK quad poster for the release of Neil Jordan‘s 1992 drama The Crying Game is notable for marking the end of an era of British film posters featuring painted artwork. As Sim Branaghan writes in his must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, ‘By the time this [quad] appeared in 1992, illustration on British posters was effectively dead.’ After this time it was a rare exception that a film wasn’t advertised using a photographic montage, often with the same image being used around the globe to promote a film.

The production company behind the film, Palace Pictures, had worked with Jordan on other features, including Mona Lisa and The Company of Wolves and had regularly worked with artists and illustrators when it came to the posters for the films they released. Celebrated artist Graham Humphreys received his big break into working as an illustrator for film posters when he was asked to paint the artwork to be used on the quad for The Evil Dead, which Palace were distributing in the UK. For more details see the Film on Paper interview with Humphreys which can be read here.

The Crying Game was written by Jordan (he would later win an Academy Award for the screenplay) and stars Stephen Rea as a member of an IRA crew who kidnap a British soldier called Jody (Forest Whitaker) by luring him into a wood with the promise of sex from one of their squad, Jude (Miranda Richardson). The group demand the release of imprisoned IRA members and threaten to execute Jody if their requests are not met.

Fergus and the soldier strike up an uneasy friendship, despite their differences. When the hostage situation goes horribly wrong Fergus is forced into hiding and moves to London, assuming a new identity as ‘Jimmy’. There he looks up Jody’s girlfriend Dil (Jaye Davidson) whom Jody had spoken a lot about and eventually the pair form a tentative relationship. But there’s more to Dil than Fergus realises and the danger that his past life will be uncovered by her grows ever larger.

The film was met with critical praise and glowing reviews around the globe but failed to perform at the UK and Ireland box-office, something that is now felt to be due to its heavy political undertones and the public’s attitude towards the IRA. It was released in the US by Miramax and became a sleeper hit over the following weeks. As hinted at by one of the press quotes on the poster, it’s one of those films that has a plot twist so significant that it becomes the main reason people are aware of and discuss the film (see also ‘The Sixth Sense’).

 

My New Partner / B1 / Poland

07.03.16

Poster Poster
Title
My New Partner
AKA
Les ripoux (France - original title) | Skorumpowani (Poland) | Le Cop (UK)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Claude Zidi
Starring
Philippe Noiret, Thierry Lhermitte, Régine, Grace De Capitani, Claude Brosset, Albert Simono, Julien Guiomar, Henri Attal
Origin of Film
France
Genre(s) of Film
Philippe Noiret, Thierry Lhermitte, Régine, Grace De Capitani, Claude Brosset, Albert Simono, Julien Guiomar, Henri Attal,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Wieslaw Walkuski
Artist
Wieslaw Walkuski
Size (inches)
26 3/16" x 37 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Striking and colourful artwork on this Polish B1 poster for the release of the 1984 French comedy film My New Partner that was originally released as Les Ripoux, which translates as ‘the corrupt ones’. The film stars two of France’s most popular and prolific actors, the late Philippe Noiret (best known for his role as the projectionist in Cinema Paradiso) and Thierry Lhermitte who starred in a number of popular comedies during the 1970s and 1980s. 

Noiret plays René, a corrupt Parisian beat cop who regularly dispenses street justice and happily takes bribes from minor criminals to let them carry on, instead of arresting them. When his long-term partner retires he is put together with Francois (Lhermitte), an idealistic young rookie who’s just graduated from training. René must work hard to convince Francois that his way of doing things is the right way, including using a sultry prostitute friend to seduce the innocent cop. The film was enough of a success to spawn two sequels (of lesser quality) over the following years.

The artwork on the poster is by Wieslaw Walkuski who was born in 1956 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 1981 Walkuski has worked as a graphic designer and artist for publishing houses and theaters, as well as for the Polish film organisations Polfilm and Film Polski. He’s worked freelance since 1987 and has painted over 200 film posters. He continues to live and work in Warsaw. Walkuski’s official website features galleries of many of his designs and images of his other work.

He’s responsible for some incredible designs and two of my favourites include those he painted for Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and the Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie.

Ichi the Killer / B2 / style A / Japan

08.02.16

Poster Poster
Title
Ichi the Killer
AKA
Koroshiya 1 (Japan - English title - means 'Hitman')
Year of Film
2001
Director
Takashi Miike
Starring
Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ômori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Toru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ômori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun, Susumu Terajima, Shun Sugata, Toru Tezuka, Yoshiki Arizono, Kiyohiko Shibukawa,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2001
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two styles of Japanese B2 posters printed for the release of director Takashi Miike‘s controversial 2001 film Ichi the Killer. A notably prolific director, Miike released 6 other films in the same year as Ichi alone, although it would be this one that would gain the most international notoriety. Based on the manga series of the same name by Hideo Yamamoto, the film focuses on the machinations of rival yakuza gangs within a crime syndicate and their interaction with Ichi (Nao Ômori), a shy and seemingly meek loner with a very dark side.

The film begins with the supposed disappearance of the gang boss Anjo, who vanishes from his apartment with millions of Yen, much to the confusion of his men. The audience sees the bloody aftermath of the fate that Anjo suffered at the hands of Ichi but a clean up crew led by Jijii (Shin’ya Tsukamoto) returns his apartment to a spotless state before his henchmen, led by the sadistic Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) arrives.

The hunt for Anjo begins and Kakihara wastes no time in kidnapping a rival gang leader, Suzuki (Susumu Terajima) and hangs him from meat hooks to try and get him to confess. When it becomes clear he’s got the wrong culprit, Kakihara is forced to apologise and then cuts off his own tongue as a punishment. After being kicked out of the syndicate, the gang continues to hunt for Anjo. The audience learns that Jijii has been psychologically manipulating Ichi for years and has trained him in preparation to be used as a kind of weapon against whoever he decides to target. Suzuki has offered Jijii a large sum of money to take out Kakihara and his gang in revenge for their earlier attack and they must hunt for Ichi before he can get to them first.

It’s fair to say that, in true Miike style, the film doesn’t shy away from violence and sadistic torture and there are some truly brutal sequences. It’s not hard to see why it attracted controversy and was even banned outright in a few countries soon after its release. Despite some very ropey CGI there are several scenes that still shock today and Miike uses editing and sound design to great effect.

This poster, which I’ve named ‘Style A’ features the standout character of Kakihara (here with the number 1 seen on the back of Ichi’s killer’s outfit projected onto his face). The other style also features Kakihara but in a very different situation.

Wsciekly / B1 / Poland

18.01.16

Poster Poster

Striking artwork on this B1 poster for the 1980 Polish crime thriller Wsciekly, apparently released internationally as Mad Dog. Helmed by Roman Zaluski the film is described on IMDb as a:

‘Detective thriller about a killer loose in the crowds. The film follows a sniper on his rounds looking for victims, while a police inspector, with few clues in his hand, has to figure out the motive for killings as well as who the psychopath is and where he might strike next. He uncovers that the mentally deranged sniper can’t stand seeing people happy together in public places.’

I can’t find any evidence of the film having been released in the US or UK but I can only assume it made it to some English-language territories because of the title translation. The film is available to watch in full on YouTube (albeit in terrible quality).

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!

Pagowski’s 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.

Note that there is an alternative style poster for Wsciekly, also by Pagowski, that features more dog-like art and can be seen here.

The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge / B2 / Japan

06.01.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Streetfighter's Last Revenge
AKA
Gyakushû! Satsujin ken (Japan - original title) | Revenge! The Killing Fist (literal English title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Shigehiro Ozawa
Starring
Shin'ichi Chiba (as Sonny Chiba), Reiko Ike, Kôji Wada, Tatsuo Endô, Akira Shioji, Tsuyoshi Ôtsuka, Frankie Black, Shingo Yamashiro, Masafumi Suzuki, Etsuko Shihomi
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Shin'ichi Chiba (as Sonny Chiba), Reiko Ike, Kôji Wada, Tatsuo Endô, Akira Shioji, Tsuyoshi Ôtsuka, Frankie Black, Shingo Yamashiro, Masafumi Suzuki, Etsuko Shihomi,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A rare mix of photography and artwork features on this Japanese B2 for the release of (what would later be re-titled) The Streetfighter’s Last Revenge. The final entry in a trilogy of films starring legendary Japanese martial artist Shin’ichi ‘Sonny’ Chiba, the film followed the original The Streetfighter and Return of the Street Fighter which were all produced in one year (1974). The original film was Chiba’s breakout international hit and was released in the USA and elsewhere in 1974, but this sequel would have to wait 5 years before it was given a cinema release in the States. When it did finally arrive it was significantly altered and had large amounts of violence removed.

The reason for the delayed release is likely to do with the drop in quality over the first two entries as this review (and several others) on IMDb testifies:

‘If you love THE STREET FIGHTER (and you probably do if you looked up this entry) don’t even bother with this final entry in the series. This one sucks out loud, and has only one decent fight scene which lasts for about a minute. Our hero now has taken on a more “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE”-type persona since he now is a master of disguise (???). Skip this.’

This film and the others in the trilogy are now in the public domain (so can be streamed from multiple sources online). Director Quentin Tarantino is a big Chiba fan and these are the films that the character of Clarence (Christian Slater) is watching in a cinema triple-bill when he first meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) in Tony Scott’s True Romance (Tarantino wrote the script).

I’ve struggled to find out who is responsible for the artwork on this poster so if anyone has an idea please get in touch. The US poster uses the same art and photograph, which was almost never the case, but I suspect that the distributor (New Line) was trying to save money by reusing as much as possible.

The Long Good Friday / Thailand

16.12.15

Poster Poster

This is the original poster for the Thai release of the classic British gangster film The Long Good Friday, starring the late, great Bob Hoskins. The story focuses on Harold Shand (Hoskins), an underworld kingpin whose grand plans to develop the London Docklands, with the backing of the American Mafia, start to go awry when a series of bombs kill his associates and undermine his credibility. Harold needs to discover who is behind the killings and exact revenge before the deal is lost.

The film is notable for its use of real London locations and it’s a thrill to watch the film now and see how much of the capital has changed. It was only made 33 years ago but the city is barely recognisable compared to today.

The film had a fairly tumultuous time getting into cinemas and was saved from being cut to shreds and offloaded as a TV special after its original production company (ITC) weren’t happy with the results. Helen Mirren was friends with Eric Idle who saw the film and recommended it to George Harrison who had just started up Handmade Films. Harrison saw commercial potential and was able to purchase the rights for less than the original production cost. The film went on to be a solid success for Handmade.

There is a signature on this artwork, which is unique to the Thai poster, but I’m not sure who it belongs to. Please get in touch if you have an idea. I’ll update the post once I know the identity of the artist.

The original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

Dvoynoy Obgon / B1 / Poland

26.11.15

Poster Poster

A striking illustration by the Polish artist Michal Piekarski features on this B1 poster for the release of the obscure Russian action film Dvoynoy Obgon (released at some point in English-speaking countries as ‘Double Passing’). I’ve struggled to find out much about the film beyond the information on its IMDb page, which includes the detail that it was helmed by Moscow-born Aleksandr Gordon, a director with a handful of titles to his name from 1956 to 1990 (when he appeared to stop working).

The lead actors, the late Boris Khimichev and Yuriy Nazarov, appear to be significantly more prolific. The latter is known for his work in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev and The Mirror. If anyone knows any details about the film’s plot please get in touch. There are several clips from car chases in the film on YouTube so it clearly made an impression in terms of its vehicular action.

I’ve also struggled to find out many details about Michal Piekarski online, other than some of the other posters he worked on via sites like Polishpostershop.com and Terry Posters. If anyone has any more information about him please get in touch.

Best Seller / one sheet / USA

10.11.15

Poster Poster
Title
Best Seller
AKA
Bestseller (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1987
Director
John Flynn
Starring
James Woods, Brian Dennehy, Victoria Tennant, Allison Balson, Paul Shenar, George Coe, Anne Pitoniak, Mary Carver, Sully Boyar
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
James Woods, Brian Dennehy, Victoria Tennant, Allison Balson, Paul Shenar, George Coe, Anne Pitoniak, Mary Carver, Sully Boyar,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
870069
Tagline
If words could kill...

A great photograph of James Woods looking his devilish best alongside Brian Dennehy on this US one sheet for the 1987 crime film Best Seller. Directed by the late John Flynn (Rolling Thunder) and written by the prolific Larry Cohen, the film stars Dennehy as Dennis Meechum, a police officer who is wounded during an attempted robbery on an evidence locker in 1972. He writes a memoir of his experience which is published to great success. Years later he is shown to be struggling with writer’s block whilst raising his daughter alone after being made a widower.

During a research visit to a court room, one of the suspects escapes the court and Meechum chases after him along with a man called Cleve (Woods). The suspect nearly kills Meechum but Cleve intervenes, shooting the suspect before disappearing. Later Cleve meets with Meechum and trues to persuade him to write a new book about his work as a hitman for a shadowy company called Kappa International. The pair travel around the country gathering proof of the hits that Cleve carried out, but David Madlock (Paul Shenar), Kappa’s founder, understandably wants to keep this sordid history under wraps and the pair are soon in grave danger. Madlock even goes after Meechum’s daughter and the stage is set for a final showdown.

I’m unsure who designed this one sheet so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

Poppies Are Also Flowers / A1 / Germany

21.09.15

Poster Poster

Five great portraits painted by Renato Casaro feature on this German re-release poster for Poppies Are Also Flowers (AKA Danger Grows Wild and several other titles). Made as an anti-drug trafficking film with the help of the United Nations, it was sponsored by corporate entities, including Xerox.  As this poster attests, it was based on a screenplay by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, was directed by Bond director Terence Young and had a seriously star-studded cast. The likes of Yul BrynnerAngie DickinsonTrevor Howard and Marcello Mastroianni all signed up and, so the story goes, worked for $1 each. Some serious favours must have been called in as I find it hard to believe they were all passionately anti-narcotics!

The story is described thusly on the film’s Wikipedia page:

In an attempt to stem the heroin trade at the Afghanistan–Iran border, a group of narcotics agents working for the United Nations inject a radioactive compound into a seized shipment of opium, in the hopes that it will lead them to the main heroin distributor in Europe.

Now largely forgotten, the film is apparently in the public domain and is available to watch on YouTube and elsewhere (although the quality of all copies out there is atrocious). Although originally intended for TV, the film was given a cinema release in several countries, including Japan, UK (as Danger Grows Wild) and Germany. This poster is apparently for a 1973 re-release (for what reason I’m not certain) and the original German release poster can be seen here. Casaro was clearly tasked with making the film appear as exciting as possible and added the action scenes in the bottom half of the poster. It’s safe to say that for all the effort that went it to making the film it wasn’t exactly successful in curtailing the activities of the international drug trade!

One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro is an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

The Day Of The Jackal / B2 / target style / Japan

09.09.15

Poster Poster

A striking design on this Japanese B2 for the release of the 1974 thriller The Day of the Jackal, which was based on the 1971 novel of the same name by the English author Frederick Forsyth. The story is set in 1962 and focuses on a fictional assassination attempt on France’s then president Charles de Gaulle who had angered many in his own country by deciding to grant independence to the French colony of Algeria. An underground resistance group called the OAS had formed to fight this decision and both the novel and the film start with a real incident in which de Gaulle’s car had been sprayed with machine gun fire, but he had miraculously survived unscathed. In the film the OAS decide to cut their losses and hire a professional assassin. They settle on an Englishman (played by Edward Foxwho decides on the call sign ‘Jackal’.

The film follows The Jackal as he prepares for the assassination by traveling all over Europe to procure identity documents, a special weapon, and other items necessary for the task. The French authorities become aware that someone has been hired for the job and appoint ‘France’s best detective, Lebel (Michael Lonsdale, best known for his role as the villain in Moonraker), to lead the hunt for him. Lebel calls in favours from all over Europe in the hunt and eventually they strike it lucky with enquiries by Scotland Yard in the UK. The film ratchets up the tension as the French authorities close in on The Jackal, but he manages to evade them long enough to line de Gaulle up in his sights. 

The film is almost two and a half hours long but maintains a brisk pace and is certainly thrilling throughout. It makes brilliant use of real locations and the Wikipedia page for the film points out some of the places the production visited. The film was very well critically acclaimed but failed to perform as spectacularly at the box-office as some had hoped, something later blamed on the fact that the lead was the then unknown Fox.

This is one of two styles of Japanese posters for the film and I also have the ‘face’ style, which can be seen here.

Shamus / one sheet / USA

08.08.16

Poster Poster
Title
Shamus
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Buzz Kulik
Starring
Burt Reynolds, Dyan Cannon, John P. Ryan, Joe Santos, Giorgio Tozzi, Ron Weyand, Larry Block, Beeson Carroll, Kevin Conway
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Burt Reynolds, Dyan Cannon, John P. Ryan, Joe Santos, Giorgio Tozzi, Ron Weyand, Larry Block, Beeson Carroll, Kevin Conway,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/378
Tagline
Shamus is a pro! He never misses!

An unusual illustration with a stylised half-finished look features on this US one sheet for the release of the 1973 film Shamus. It was directed by the late Buzz Kulik who spent the majority of his career directing TV shows and TV movies, including several episodes of The Twilight Zone. The film stars Burt Reynolds who had entered a golden period following his breakout performance in the 1972 film Deliverance. For the rest of the 1970s he would star in two or three films a year, cementing his reputation as a rugged action star and cheeky good ol’ boy, with films like Smokey and the Bandit, as well as an off-screen sex symbol (thanks to things like the infamous magazine centrefold image of him lying on a rug).

Set in New York, Reynolds stars as the titular Shamus McCoy, a hard-living private detective who enjoys drinking, gambling and womanising, but is in need of a new case to top up his bank account. One day he’s approached by an eccentric diamond dealer who’s had a stash of diamonds stolen and Shamus is offered $10k to track them down. What seems like a straightforward case turns out to be nothing of the sort and the PI is thwarted at every opportunity, with a beating by a gang of thugs making him realise he’s onto something big. Shamus teams up with his friend Springy as well as Alexis Montaigne (Dyan Cannon), the sister of a nightclub owner who’s involved in the plot. The gang uncover illegal arms dealing activities and are soon confronted by the deadly intentions of the improbably named, corrupt army Colonel Hardcore (John P. Ryan).

I’ve struggled to identify who is responsible for the artwork so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch. Unusually it features both a smaller illustration and a retouched photographic image. Typically posters from around this period might feature a main photographic image with supporting illustrations (see the Cleopatra Jones poster for example).