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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 Shawshank Redemption / one sheet / 10th anniversary re-release / USA

12.01.12

Poster Poster

The Greatest Film Ever Made (IMDb) was re-released with a brief cinema run on its 10th anniversary in 2004. Director Frank Darabont approached legendary illustrator Drew Struzan and asked him to work on the poster. This design is featured in the brilliant book ‘The Art of Drew Struzan’ (available at Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk).

The book reveals several of the other designs that he and Darabont worked on together and explains how the pair first met:

You know how I met Frank Darabont? He ordered two copies of the Creature from the Black Lagoon print and liked them so much he called me on the phone, out of the blue, to thank me and ask to meet. Frank became my friend through his appreciation of my work, same as Guillermo [Del Toro].

Once Frank approached Drew to work on the Shawshank re-release poster the pair quickly struck up a close working relationship:

Warner Bros. Home Video was ready to accept whatever Frank wanted, so I did some comps [comprehensive roughs] directly for him. The trouble with working a director who loves my stuff: He couldn’t decide what he wanted: he wanted them all! He ultimately chose my reprise of Tim Robbins in the rain for the cover.

Drew clearly has a fond recollection of the project and remarks on the fact that the style of painting stands out from the rest of his work:

It was a real blessing – he got me the job, he used the art, and I got to do a kind of painting that is completely different from what I had done for movie posters. The experience was all about Frank. We didn’t meet in some office; he came over to my house, we collaborated, I showed him my pictures, and he watched me work.

And the fate of the other comps that can be seen in the Art of Drew Struzan book?

In the end, they’re hanging in his house because he fell in love with the art, and I fell in love with him.
The original US one sheet is the single photographic image of Andy (Tim Robbins) in the rain after his escape and, whilst that image is a well-known one, I do prefer Drew’s moody collage. The use of light and dark on the faces is superbly done and the layout of each of the characters works very well.

The other posters in my Drew Struzan collection can be seen here.

Wizards / one sheet / style A / USA

02.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Wizards
AKA
--
Year of Film
1977
Director
Ralph Bakshi
Starring
Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, James Connell, Steve Gravers, Mark Hamill, Susan Tyrrell
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, James Connell, Steve Gravers, Mark Hamill, Susan Tyrrell,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
William Stout
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
77/10
Tagline
An epic fantasy of peace and magic

Great artwork by the legendary fantasy artist William Stout for Ralph Bakshi‘s post-apocalyptic fantasy sci-fi animation Wizards. The film was Bakshi’s first fantasy story and was something of a departure from the urban settings seen is his earlier works, including Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic. His intention was to create a family film that had the same kind of impact of his previous adult features. It’s essentially a good versus evil story set two million years after a nuclear war where fairies, elves and dwarves have returned to reclaim parts of the earth, whilst the rest of the human survivors are mutants roaming the wasteland.

The film sees two wizards called Avatar and Blackwolf, one kind and gentle and the other a grumpy mutant, born to a fairy (stay with me) who end up battling each other to prevent Blackwolf from using his band of mutants to destroy all goodness left on the earth. The film is described on the DVD audio commentary as being ‘an allegorical comment on the moral neutrality of technology and the potentially destructive powers of propaganda’. Blackwolf uses old projections of (genuine) Nazi propaganda marches to inspire his evil troops and frighten his enemies.

The film is notable for its rough animation style and its use of rotoscoping, a technique of painting over live-action footage, to create several of the major sequences, which was employed after Fox (the studio financing the film) refused an increase to the budget. Bakshi would later use the same technique for his 1978 version of the The Lord of the Rings.

This was William Stout’s first film poster and he went on to illustrate over 120 more, a few of which can be seen on his official website. Stout is known for being an incredibly versatile artist and he has worked in multiple fields throughout his long career, including motion picture design, comic art, book illustration, CD covers and paleontological illustration. He worked as conceptual artist and production designer on an impressive range of films, including both of the original Conan adventures, First Blood and The Return of the Living Dead; Stout designed the brilliant Tar-Man. Check out his impressive bio for more details and there are plenty of galleries on the same site.

The creature depicted is Necron 99, a robot assassin who is eventually controlled by Avatar and renamed as Peace.

The official trailer is on YouTube.

Innocent Blood / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster

The Shawshank Redemption / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster