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Licence to Kill / one sheet / teaser / ‘S’ version / USA

07.07.14

Poster Poster
Title
Licence to Kill
AKA
License to Kill (alternative, pre-release spelling)
Year of Film
1989
Director
John Glen
Starring
Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Frank McRae, David Hedison, Wayne Newton, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Starke, Everett McGill, Desmond Llewelyn
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Frank McRae, David Hedison, Wayne Newton, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Starke, Everett McGill, Desmond Llewelyn,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser - 'License' version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Steven Chorney
Artist
Keith Hamshere (photography)
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
His bad side is a dangerous place to be.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Licence to Kill, the sixteenth James Bond adventure, marked the end of an era in the franchise. Whilst certainly not in the running for best Bond film, it’s nevertheless a solid entry with excellent use of locations (actually forced due to budgetary constraints), a memorable bad guy in Robert Davi‘s drug kingpin Sanchez and a number of impressive stunt sequences. Fans of the original Ian Fleming novels often rate Licence to Kill as the film that’s closest to the original source material’s harder-edged action. Licence to Kill marked the last Bond film for director John Glen who had been involved in the series since 1969 and also saw legendary producer Albert R. Broccoli effectively retire from the reigns of a franchise he had begun with producing partner Harry Saltzman back in 1958. 

The story is significantly darker and grittier than anything that had come before in the series, particularly those films released during the Roger Moore era. It opens with Bond and old friend CIA agent Felix Leiter on the way to the latter’s wedding ceremony in Key West (Florida) when they’re informed that Sanchez, a wanted drug lord, has been spotted in the area. The pair manage to apprehend the kingpin after an exciting chase that ends with them parachuting out of a helicopter and landing in front of the church, just in time for the ceremony. After the title sequence (with the excellent Gladys Knight theme tune) things take a dark turn as Sanchez escapes and takes revenge on Felix and his new bride.

When Bond discovers a badly mutilated Leiter and his dead bride he vows revenge, but when his superiors deny his request and order him on another mission to Turkey, Bond flees and has his licence to kill revoked. With the help of one of Leiter’s friends, he follows a trail leading him from the Bahamas to the fictional Republic of Isthmus where Davi’s plan for global drugs domination is revealed. The film ends with a thrilling chase involving several tanker trucks along a dangerous highway, which is easily one of the most memorable action sequences in the series’ history. The film was Welsh actor Timothy Dalton‘s second appearance as 007 and would ultimately prove to be his last after a protracted legal wrangle meant that no Bond film was put into production until 1995’s Goldeneye, by which time the actor had moved on and was replaced by Pierce Brosnan.

The marketing of the film went through a number of iterations, designers and artists and, crucially, marked the first time that painted artwork gave way to a photographic montage. Despite some initial sketches and concepts by the legendary artist Bob Peak, MGM decided to commission a number of designers and artists to work on the posters, including American Steven Chorney who designed this particular advance one sheet, and British design firm FEREF (led by Robin Behling) which designed a montage that was used on the international one sheet, the British quad and for some other posters around the globe. Although initially produced under the title ‘Licence Revoked’, MGM feared that American audiences wouldn’t understand the second word and changed it to the title we know today. Note that there was some wrangling over whether to go with the American spelling ‘License’ or the British-English ‘Licence’. Eventually the latter won out, but not before these posters had been printed with the American spelling (the same poster also exists with ‘Licence’ too).

Live and Let Die / one sheet / East hemi version / USA

02.09.11

Poster Poster

This is the US one sheet for the first (and my favourite) Roger Moore-starring James Bond film, Live and Let Die, featuring artwork by the great Robert McGinnis. Along with the others in the series I probably saw the film on TV about fifteen times and can vividly recall many of the best scenes. Like British comedian and director Joe Cornish admitted when interviewing Roger Moore, his Bond films are responsible for many of my first ‘awakenings to the delights of the female form’ (being a young teenager at the time it would have been shown). The gorgeous Jane Seymour who plays ‘Solitaire’ is definitely responsible for putting at least a couple of hairs on my chest, as it were.

McGinnis is responsible for some of the best Bond posters, including Thunderball,  The Man With the Golden Gun and Diamonds are Forever as well as multiple other classic posters from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

You’ll notice that this particular poster has ‘East Hemi’ written at the bottom. This page on Learn About Movie Posters explains what the significance of that text is. An excerpt:

[Albert] Broccoli met with [Harry] Saltzman and tried to acquire the rights but Saltzman refused to sell. They instead decided to co-produce them. [….] After some success they decided to divide the production credits and entered into a contractual agreement for top billing and so was created the Hemi’s. [….] They divided the world into hemispheres. Harry took the East Hemisphere and Albert took the West Hemisphere. So Saltzman would get the European countries and Broccoli would get the Americas.

 

 

Licence to Kill / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Live and Let Die / B2 / Japan

31.03.14

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B2, featuring artwork by the great Robert McGinnis, for the first (and my favourite) Roger Moore-starring James Bond film, Live and Let Die. Along with the others in the series I probably saw the film on TV about fifteen times and can vividly recall many of the best scenes. Like British comedian and director Joe Cornish admitted when interviewing Roger Moore, his Bond films are responsible for many of my first ‘awakenings to the delights of the female form’ (being a young teenager at the time it would have been shown). The gorgeous Jane Seymour who plays ‘Solitaire’ is definitely responsible for putting at least a couple of hairs on my chest, as it were.

Robert McGinnis is responsible for some of the best James Bond posters, including Thunderball,  The Man With the Golden Gun and Diamonds are Forever as well as multiple other classic posters from the 60s, 70s and 80s. He was born in Cincinatti, Ohio in 1926 and was given an apprenticeship at Walt Disney studios before studying fine art at Ohio State University. After serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, he started work in the advertising industry and later moved into painting book jackets for several notable authors, as well as editorial artwork for the likes of Good Housekeeping, TIME and The Saturday Evening Post. McGinnis’ first film poster was the now iconic one sheet for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, painted in 1962, and he went on to paint over 40 others during his career, including one for The Incredibles in 2004.

The artwork on this B2 poster isn’t identical to the US one sheet (the art of which was used worldwide) and it’s not clear whether the original art was painted over or whether it was repainted entirely. Some examples on the Japanese poster include the ‘Devil’ missing the doll from her hand and the alligator being given a yellow eye.

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were painted by McGinnis click here and to see the other James Bond posters in the Film on Paper collection click here.