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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.

Raid on Entebbe / quad / UK

04.07.12

Poster Poster

Raid on Entebbe is based on the true story of Operation Thunderbolt a mission undertaken by Israeli commandos in 1976 with the aim of rescuing hostages from a hijacked Air France plane being held at Entebbe airport in Uganda. The plane and hostages were under control of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and, after landing in Uganda, almost all of the non-Israeli hostages had been released. After it became clear that the Ugandan president Idi Amin was actively helping the terrorists, a daring rescue was planned by the Israeli Defence Forces, which resulted in the rescue of all but four of the hostages and the death of only one commando,  Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the brother of Benjamin Netanyahu who would later serve as the Israeli prime minister.

There were actually three film versions of the events put into production within months of the rescue; two were US-produced including this film, which followed the hastily made-for-TV Victory at Entebbe, starring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor. Legendary director and producer Menahem Golan also put together an Israeli-made versions starring mostly Jewish actors called Mivtsa Yonatan (AKA Operation Thunderbolt). Raid on Entebbe was first shown on TV in the US but was given a theatrical release in other countries, including the UK.

Action legend Charles Bronson was obviously seen as the biggest draw for UK audiences over the likes of Peter Finch who actually passed away 10 days after the film first aired and would be given a posthumous Academy Award for his role in the film Network.

This UK quad features stylised artwork painted with large brushstrokes onto a canvas, the grain of which is clearly still visible. Sim Branaghan believes this to be the work of British artist Mike Vaughan, perhaps best known for his work on several Hammer Horror quads, including Twins of Evil.

They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! / B2 / Japan

24.02.16

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of the first of two sequels to the 1967 drama In the Heat of the Night, starring Sidney Poitier as the eponymous police detective. The actor had made history in 1964 by becoming the first African American to win the Oscar for Best Actor (for Lilies of the Field), and 1967 saw him star in three hit films that all dealt with the issue of race and race relations. This included Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which tackled the controversial issue of interracial marriage that was still illegal in several states, and To Sir, with Love, a British drama that dealt with racial issues in an inner-city school. It was In the Heat… that was the biggest hit that year and the film would go on to win 5 Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Actor for Rod Steiger, who played alongside Poitier.

Three years later, the original film’s producer Walter Mirisch decided there was an opportunity to try and create a franchise around Virgil Tibbs. Without a source novel to base a screenplay on Mirsch hired to two successful screenwriters in Alan Trustman (Bullitt) and James R. Webb (the original 1962 Cape Fear), as well as the prolific director Gordon Douglas (Them!). They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (the capitalisation is intentional and part of the original title) was named after a famous line spoken by Poitier in the first film and saw the detective, now based in San Francisco, investigating the murder of a prostitute. The death has been pinned on Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau), a street preacher with whom we’re told Tibbs has a long-standing friendship. The film follows the detective as he attempts to prove Sharpe’s innocence whilst dealing with domestic family issues and ends on something of a down note, which I won’t spoil. 

The film was criticised for being a very routine police procedural and certainly had none of the cultural urgency that the first film was able to capitalise on. It was something of a damp squib both critically and at the box-office but that didn’t stop Mirisch producing another sequel called The Organization only a year later. Again that film failed to make an impact, even though it was able to capitalise on the then popular blaxploitation subgenre, but by then Poitier had started to field accusations of typecasting. Virgil Tibbs would thus hang up his badge for 17 years until the TV series In The Heat of the Night, based on the original film and novel and starring Howard E. Rollins Jr., which was aired between 1988 and 1992.

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Superman IV: The Quest For Peace
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Sidney J. Furie
Starring
Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Jon Cryer, Sam Wanamaker, Mark Pillow, Mariel Hemingway, Margot Kidder
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Jon Cryer, Sam Wanamaker, Mark Pillow, Mariel Hemingway, Margot Kidder,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Dan Goozee
Size (inches)
26 15/16" x 40.5"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Nuclear Power. In the best hands, it is dangerous. In the hands of Lex Luthor, it is pure evil. This is Superman's greatest battle. And it is for all of us.

Serpico / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Serpico
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Sidney Lumet
Starring
Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe, Biff McGuire, Barbara Eda-Young, Cornelia Sharpe, Tony Roberts, John Medici, Allan Rich
Origin of Film
Italy | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe, Biff McGuire, Barbara Eda-Young, Cornelia Sharpe, Tony Roberts, John Medici, Allan Rich,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Network / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Network
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Sidney Lumet
Starring
Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, Arthur Burghardt, Bill Burrows
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Addy, Ned Beatty, Arthur Burghardt, Bill Burrows,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Mars Attacks! / one sheet / advance / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Family Business / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Family Business
AKA
--
Year of Film
1989
Director
Sidney Lumet
Starring
Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman, Matthew Broderick, Rosanna DeSoto, Janet Carroll, Victoria Jackson, Bill McCutcheon, Deborah Rush
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman, Matthew Broderick, Rosanna DeSoto, Janet Carroll, Victoria Jackson, Bill McCutcheon, Deborah Rush,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Deathtrap / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Deathtrap
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
Sidney Lumet
Starring
Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon, Irene Worth, Henry Jones
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon, Irene Worth, Henry Jones,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Damien: Omen II / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Damien: Omen II
AKA
La maledizione di Damien [The curse of Damien] (Italy)
Year of Film
1978
Director
Don Taylor
Starring
William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor, Lew Ayres, Sylvia Sidney, Lance Henriksen
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Holden, Lee Grant, Jonathan Scott-Taylor, Robert Foxworth, Nicholas Pryor, Lew Ayres, Sylvia Sidney, Lance Henriksen,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
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.

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.

Beetlejuice / one sheet / version B / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Beetlejuice
AKA
Beetle Juice (USA, UK etc) | Beetlejuice - spiritello porcello [Genie pig] (Italy)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Tim Burton
Starring
Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Sylvia Sidney
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Sylvia Sidney,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Version B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
B.D. Fox Independent
Artist
Carl Ramsey
Size (inches)
27" x 40 2/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
In This House... If You've Seen One Ghost... You Haven't Seen Them All | The Name In Laughter From The Hereafter.

Almost Human / quad / UK

15.10.12

Poster Poster
Title
Almost Human
AKA
Shock Waves (USA) | Le commando des morts-vivants [The commando of the living dead] (France) | L'occhio nel triangolo [The eye in the triangle] (Italy)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Ken Wiederhorn
Starring
Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, John Carradine, Fred Buch, Jack Davidson, Luke Halpin, D.J. Sidney, Don Stout, Clarence Thomas
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter Cushing, Brooke Adams, John Carradine, Fred Buch, Jack Davidson, Luke Halpin, D.J. Sidney, Don Stout, Clarence Thomas,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 39 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Once they were... | The Deep end of horror!

Produced and released in the US as Shock Waves, this effective low-budget horror features Nazi super-soldier zombies attacking an unsuspecting group of holidaymakers whose boat breaks down near a mysterious island. Prolific character actor John Carradine plays the crotchety boat captain who, despite his billing on the poster, is quickly dispatched leaving the rest of the group, including Brooke Adams (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, to discover they’re not alone on the island. Horror legend Peter Cushing appears as the former Nazi commander of ‘Der Toten Corp’, a group of super soldiers who were the result of a series of World War II experiments that left them unable to feel pain and breath underwater.

Cushing, sporting a spectacular facial scar, has time for one German-accented explanatory speech and some moments of rambling around the island before he too is offed; a short but memorable performance that also sees him given top billing. That same year the actor would make arguably his most famous non-horror appearance in George Lucas’ Star Wars.

The film features nothing in the way of gory splatter kills seen in other zombie films of the period (particularly 1978s Dawn of the Dead) and most of the deaths occur off screen or see the victims being dragged underwater by the silent killers. What it lacks in gore the film more than makes up for in atmosphere, and this is helped in no small part to the excellent electronic soundtrack that features a pulsing bass rhythm during the moments of tension.

The scenes featuring the Toten Corp underwater are effectively done and the costumes and zombie makeup are also decent considering the low budget. True, some of the acting leaves a lot to be desired and the script is occasionally laughably clunky, but it’s still a horror film that’s well worth seeking out. Sadly it appears that there are currently no plans for a blu-ray release, which is a shame considering the terrible picture quality of the current DVD releases.

The excellent artwork on this quad features on the American one sheet (note the tagline), as well as on the posters for several other countries. In typical 1970s style the artist took certain liberties with both the size of the creatures and the number of bikini-clad beauties in peril. I’m unsure who is responsible for it so if you know please get in touch.

Ted, a friend of the site, noticed that the artwork on the quad has actually been redrawn as it differs in detail from the illustration seen on the US one sheet. Take a look at this high-resolution scan, and in particular the faces of the people, for confirmation.

The excellent trailer is on YouTube.

Mars Attacks! / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster