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Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back / double bill / quad / UK

02.09.14

Poster Poster

Following the unprecedented success of the original Star Wars, released in 1977 to worldwide audience acclaim, expectations were high for the sequel which was put into production a few months after its release. Three years later, The Empire Strikes Back arrived in cinemas and was met with huge audience and critical acclaim, firmly cementing the series’ place in the hearts of millions of fans across the globe. A less well-received third part of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, and a lacklustre set of prequel films failed to dampen audience enthusiasm for the franchise and a new film adventure is set to be released at the end of 2015.

To capitalise on the successful release of the films, particularly before home video was a reality, distributor 20th Century Fox decided to release a double-bill of both Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back in to cinemas towards the end of 1980. This event was repeated across the world but this British quad is unique to this country and is the result of the amalgamation of the original quads for both films, plus an extra photographic element not included on either in the figure of Jedi master Yoda, which was probably added due to the characters’ popularity.

The original Star Wars quad was designed and illustrated by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. The artist sadly passed away in 2001 but last year his widow Shirley launched his official website, which showcases his work and features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own book British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and he was also responsible for many other pieces of iconic poster artwork. I have a number of other designs by Chantrell on this site and you can read an exclusive interview with Shirley by clicking here.

The Empire Strikes Back quad features the artwork painted for the US style B one sheetwhich was by the American artist Tom Jung, perhaps best known for his iconic ‘style A’ one sheet that he painted for the release of the original Star Wars. Jung was a prolific designer and illustrator for film campaigns from the 1950s through to the 1980s. IMPAwards features a gallery of his work and his Wikipedia article has a selected list of the posters he worked on. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Another special quad was put together for a triple-bill event after the release of Return of the Jedi, which again featured elements of the artwork from all three separate release quads. Note that this poster can be found undersized at around 28″ x 40″ and this was because several hundred copies were machine trimmed to be used in special frames on the London Underground, a fate which befell a number of posters around the end of the 1970s and early 1980s.

 

Revenge of the Jedi / one sheet / dated version / USA

28.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Revenge of the Jedi
AKA
Return Of The Jedi (release title) | Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Dated version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Saga Continues

The third film in the much-loved original trilogy of Star Wars films was written by Lawrence Kasdan and, in a recently produced documentary, he claims to have suggested that the initially planned title of ‘Return of the Jedi’ was too weak and that ‘Revenge’ would be a better option. A teaser trailer for the film featured the Revenge title and legendary poster artist Drew Struzan, who had worked on the style D one sheet for the first film, was hired to paint this teaser poster.

Lucas eventually decided that revenge was not a Jedi concept so the film was changed back to the original ‘Return’ title and all subsequent posters were renamed too. According to the Star Wars poster book, by the time the title had been changed thousands of Revenge posters had been printed and hundreds had been distributed to theaters. Lucasfilm stopped the shipping of the posters and destroyed all but 6,800 posters, which were sold in three days to Star Wars fan club members for $9.50. (Source: The Star Wars Poster Book).

The excellent resource site Movie Poster Collectors has a page on the poster that confirms:

The vast majority of posters that escaped destruction have the tagline “Coming May 25, 1983 to your galaxy” at the bottom.  According to reports, a very few – perhaps 100 – omit that tag line. The posters without the release date command somewhat higher prices than the “Coming May 25” posters.

Unfortunately because of its collectable nature there have been several fakes printed over the years and the MPC page features details on what to look for if you want to make sure you purchase an original.

The poster is one of Struzan’s most iconic designs and brilliantly depicts a moment from what would eventually be revealed as a fight between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The colours and use of painting techniques are fantastic and you should check out the detailed images to see these up close. The poster features on his own website. The design was later adapted for a British advance quad featuring the Return title.

This teaser one sheet was officially reprinted by Kilian Enterprises on the film’s tenth anniversary but with the Return title instead. This page on Learn About Movie Posters details the various versions that were released.

The other posters I’ve collected by Struzan can be viewed here.

Star Wars / one sheet / style A / first printing / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A - first printing
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Tom Jung | Murray Smith (art direction)
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
77/21-0
Tagline
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Return Of The Jedi / one sheet / style B / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Return Of The Jedi
AKA
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title) | Revenge of the Jedi (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Christopher Werner
Artist
Kazuhiko Sano
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Easily my favourite of the various Return of the Jedi posters. I found some excellent info on an ebay auction I was watching a couple of years ago:

“The art is by Kazuhiko (Kazo) Sano. The art direction and design were by Christopher Werner. There was some resizing of Lando’s head on this poster, which needed to match the general size of the other actors. Because Sano was in Japan when this decision was made, they had another artist come in to do it.

This retouch artist may have been Vincent Malizia, an airbrush artist in Los Angeles. I have an old newspaper clipping with him standing in front of the Jedi B poster and a caption that reads he was an airbrush artist for this poster.”

LAMP reports that there are three variations of this poster:

This poster was issued with 3 variations. The first variation has ‘Return of the Jedi Style ‘B’ One Sheet’ printed in the lower right corner.The second variation has the same line as the first but the NSS number ‘830013’ was added below the first line and ‘Return of the Jedi’ was repeated below the NSS number.The third variation is the international poster. The international version doesn’t have the white border around the poster and measures only 26 3/4 x 39 1/4. ‘Return of the Jedi Style B International One Sheet’ is printed in silver in the bottom right corner. The PG rating and the phrase ‘May be too intense for very young children’ was dropped from the poster and the phrase ‘Trade marks owned by Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL) and used by Film Freak Shop under authorization’ was added to the copyright information.

 

 

 

 

The Empire Strikes Back / B1 / Poland

08.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Jakub Erol
Artist
Jakub Erol
Size (inches)
26 4/16" x 38 3/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the B1 poster for the original Polish release of The Empire Strikes Back, which was one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of cinema following on from the unexpected international success of George Lucas’ original Star Wars (1977). The first film wasn’t released in Poland until 1979 and Empire Strikes Back appeared in 1983, the same year that the original trilogy came to an end in most other markets with Return of the Jedi (released a year later in Poland).

This highly-stylised image, the centre of which resembles Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the outfit he wears during the opening scenes on the ice planet of Hoth, was created by the designer and artist Jakub Erol who was born in Zamość in 1941 and graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1968. He worked as a prolific poster artist for over 25 years and designed several iconic images for both Polish and American films. Some of his other poster highlights include the bizarre image he conjured up for Ridley Scott’s Alien, a striking design for James Cameron’s The Terminator and the poster for Robocop. One of his best, in my opinion, is the skull-style poster he created for the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Polishposter.com website features many of his designs, several which are for sale, and the Polish cinemaposter.com website also features three pages of his work. This list of his designs on the same website gives you an idea of how prolific an artist he was.

Note that the name of director Irvin Kershner has been misspelled at the bottom of the poster (Wershner).

Return of the Jedi / B1 / Rebels style / Poland

16.01.15

Poster Poster
Title
Return of the Jedi
AKA
Revenge of the Jedi (pre-release title) | Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Rebels
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Witold Dybowski
Artist
Witold Dybowski
Size (inches)
26 6/16" x 38 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two posters printed for the original Polish release of Return of the Jedi in 1984. Although ROTJ, the third in the original trilogy of Star Wars films, was often maligned by fans who complained it was a weak end to the series and derided for featuring the child-friendly Ewoks, all was forgiven with the release of the 1999’s The Phantom Menace and its ‘galactic trade disputes’ and the risible Jar-Jar Binks. Now, although certainly not as highly acclaimed as the original 1977 film or the classic The Empire Strikes Back, ROTJ is still beloved by fans of the series. In 2015, director JJ Abrams will release Episode VII into cinemas, mooted as a direct sequel to this film and much anticipated by fans worldwide. JJ is seen as a much safer pair of hands than George Lucas after his shepherding of a well-received reboot of the Star Trek franchise.

Even if the Ewoks are loved and hated in equal measure, ROTJ still features many memorable, fan favourite characters, locations and scenes, including the attempted rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hut’s palace leading to a memorable showdown above a Sarlacc pit monster (which features the ignominious exit of fan favourite Boba Fett). Later the film sees the passing of Yoda along with more revelations about the Skywalker family, and an excellent scene that sees Luke Skywalker confront the evil Emperor Palpatine with Vader standing by. Meanwhile, the Ewoks (essentially child-sized teddy bears) join forces to defeat the ground forces of the Empire on the surface of the planet Endor.

This poster, depicting four members of the rebel alliance, including Luke Skywalker (centre top) and friendly robot C-3PO, and was designed and illustrated by Witold Dybowski who, according to the short biography on his official website, was born in Sopot, Poland and went on to study at the College of Design in Gdansk. After graduating he worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, art director and creative director in Poland, Germany and Austria. During the 1980s he worked on a number of Polish film posters advertising both native and Hollywood productions, which include this and one other poster for Return of the Jedi (to be added to Film on Paper later this year), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the ‘bubbles’ style poster for Aliens. Since 2010 he has been working as a freelance photographer and his official site features galleries of his work.

I also have the Darth Vader style Polish B1 designed by Dybowski.

Return Of The Jedi / one sheet / style A / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Return Of The Jedi
AKA
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title) | Revenge of the Jedi (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Paykos Phior
Artist
Tim Reamer
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
830013
Tagline
--

The Empire Strikes Back / one sheet / style A / studio version / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A - studio version - AKA 'Gone With The Wind' style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Roger Kastel
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Star Wars saga continues

Star Wars / one sheet / style D / studio version / USA

23.07.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style D - studio version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Charles White III | Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

This is the excellent ‘style D’ poster for the original sci-fi classic Star Wars, which was printed for the 1978 re-release of the film in the US. The artwork, which only appears on this US one sheet, was a collaboration between two talents; Charles White III who was at the time an established and well regarded artist well known for his skills with an airbrush, and Drew Struzan who was early in his film poster painting career and yet to paint the iconic images for which he is famous for today. This is Struzan’s first poster for the Star Wars franchise and he would later go on to be one of Lucasfilm’s most trusted artists, painting several other posters and related images for the Star Wars universe over the following 35 years.

In an interview with Airbrush Magazine in August 1999, Struzan said:

‘I will never fail to give credit to Charlie White for what he did for me. It may have been a small thing to him, but a life changer for me. He is an extraordinary artist famed for his airbrush work. He had the desirable assignment to do the one-sheet poster for the re-release of Star Wars in 1978. He is marvellous at painting objects, but was hesitant to paint portraits for the poster. Somehow, he asked me to paint the portraits while he would paint the droids and the like…Only an extraordinary individual does anything so generous and unselfish. It is the individual who deserves the honor. I have no doubt that there was a desire on Charlie’s part to do the best job possible on the Star Wars project…It was to his advantage to use the best talent he could find. He also gave the lettering to a great letterer. It made for an outstanding poster. All of us who worked on it have been proud ever since to have had the opportunity. It remains a perennial favorite, even among Hollywood executives.’

The style D page on TheForce.net notes that this is said to be George Lucas’ favourite Star Wars poster and the original artwork apparently hangs on the wall in his house. It is often described as being a ‘circus’ style poster as the main image has been illustrated to appear that it’s sitting on a wooden board with other older, torn paper surrounding it.

In another interview with Struzan carried out by Cinefantastique in 1997, the artist recalls how the design came about:

‘The novel idea of making the poster appear as if it were pasted on a wall came about almost by accident. “We had already done the lettering of the title, painting it in as part of the poster,” recalled Struzan. “Then, when we got the billing, we discovered there wasn’t enough room for all the credits, so we had to figure out a way to make more space. We thought, ‘Why don’t we take what we already have and paint it to look like it’s wild posted on top of other posters?’ That gave us the extra room we needed for the billing at the bottom. It was a case of Necessity being the Mother of Invention.” …”We had to do other art to fill it out, so we had a chance to include more characters. We added Han Solo in a little vignetted circle, and Alec Guinness was an afterthought. It kind of grew to include everybody.”‘

Note that this is the ‘studio’ version of the one sheet and there is also the National Screen Service (NSS) version which has all of the associated markings on the bottom edge of the poster. The studio style was printed by the studio itself, whilst the NSS version would have been produced at one of their own printing offices. There were also two official reprints done around the time of the film’s 15th anniversary but they are pretty easy to spot since they are undersized and feature several new lines of text (copyright and so on). Movieposterauthenticating.com features an excellent article on the poster and shows photographic detail of the differences. Moviepostercollectors.com also features a page on the poster that’s well worth a read.

Drew Struzan barely needs an introduction to film fans worldwide but he also has an official website featuring galleries of his work. To see the other posters I’ve collected by Struzan click here.

Star Wars / B2 / 1982 re-release / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The Empire Strikes Back / one sheet / style B / NSS version / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B - NSS version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Tom Jung
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
80000?
Tagline
The Star Wars saga continues

Return Of The Jedi / one sheet / 1985 re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Return Of The Jedi
AKA
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title) | Revenge of the Jedi (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
R850025
Tagline
RETURN to a galaxy far, far away

Return Of The Jedi / quad / Special Edition re-release / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Return Of The Jedi
AKA
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title) | Revenge of the Jedi (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Special Edition re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
30 1/8" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Star Wars / quad / UK

25.11.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
First printing
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
May the force be with you

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for a style C one sheet as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

This particular style of the poster is the first printing of the poster for the initial 1977 release in cinemas and this can be distinguished from the later printing known as the ‘Oscars version’, so called because it was printed once the film had won a handful of Academy Awards a few months after the original UK release. The ongoing success and phenomenon of the film meant that many more copies of the second version were printed as it was shown around the UK. The Oscars version is also in the Film on Paper collection and can be viewed here.

During the time I spent with Shirley we browsed through several boxes of the plentiful material she has kept from the days that Tom was working on film posters. I was amazed to see that he had retained the original invoice that he had sent to 20th Century Fox (Star Wars’ UK distributors) and some letters from Fox relating to the invoice, which confirmed that he had been paid the sum of £1000 for his original work on the art. These can be viewed by accessing picture thumbnails 28 and 29.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and my friend, and author of the must own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but Tom Chantrell’s classic artworks have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

Star Wars / one sheet / style C / international

16.09.15

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style C
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market on the quad, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for this style C one sheet, as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

Note that the style C one sheet was originally printed for use in international territories, meaning it was printed in the US for use in other English-speaking countries. Note that it’s lacking the MPAA ratings box (PG). There were a handful of style Cs that were printed with a ratings box which were used for limited US screenings, but these are harder to find than this international version. Another thing to note is that this poster was bootlegged towards the end of the 1980s and there are thought to be thousands of copies out there. Unlike typical fake one sheets, the bootlegs are full size at around 27″ x 41″ but there are ways to differentiate them. The colours on the fake are not as vibrant and there are two hairs that were likely caught in the printing presses when the fakes were being run off (one on Leia’s gown and one on R2D2’s foot). This video goes into detail about what to look for and Cinemasterpieces.com has a detailed section on the poster here. Moviepostercollectors.guide also has a page on what to look out for.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and my friend, and author of the must own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but Tom Chantrell’s classic artworks have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

To see the other posters I have in the collection that were painted by Chantrell click here.

Star Wars / B2 / artwork style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Return of the Jedi / B1 / Vader style / Poland

22.04.14

Poster Poster
Title
Return of the Jedi
AKA
Revenge of the Jedi (pre-release title) | Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Vader
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Witold Dybowski
Artist
Witold Dybowski
Size (inches)
26 6/16" x 38 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two posters printed for the original Polish release of Return of the Jedi in 1984. Although ROTJ, the third in the original trilogy of Star Wars films, was often maligned by fans who complained it was a weak end to the series and derided for featuring the child-friendly Ewoks, all was forgiven with the release of the 1999’s The Phantom Menace and its ‘galactic trade disputes’ and the risible Jar-Jar Binks. Now, although certainly not as highly acclaimed as the original 1977 film or the classic The Empire Strikes Back, ROTJ is still beloved by fans of the series. In 2015, director JJ Abrams will release Episode VII into cinemas, mooted as a direct sequel to this film and much anticipated by fans worldwide. JJ is seen as a much safer pair of hands than George Lucas after his shepherding of a well-received reboot of the Star Trek franchise.

Even if the Ewoks are loved and hated in equal measure, ROTJ still features many memorable, fan favourite characters, locations and scenes, including the attempted rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hut’s palace leading to a memorable showdown above a Sarlacc pit monster (which features the ignominious exit of fan favourite Boba Fett). Later the film sees the passing of Yoda along with more revelations about the Skywalker family, and an excellent scene that sees Luke Skywalker confront the evil Emperor Palpatine with Vader standing by. Meanwhile, the Ewoks (essentially child-sized teddy bears) join forces to defeat the ground forces of the Empire on the surface of the planet Endor.

This poster, depicting the exploding head of Darth Vader (featuring real-life camera parts), was designed and illustrated by Witold Dybowski who, according to the short biography on his official website, was born in Sopot, Poland and went on to study at the College of Design in Gdansk. After graduating he worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, art director and creative director in Poland, Germany and Austria. During the 1980s he worked on a number of Polish film posters advertising both native and Hollywood productions, which include this and one other poster for Return of the Jedi (to be added to Film on Paper later this year), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the ‘bubbles’ style poster for Aliens. Since 2010 he has been working as a freelance photographer and his official site features galleries of his work.

Star Wars / B2 / montage style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Montage
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The Empire Strikes Back / quad / 1997 re-release / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
30 1/8" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Star Wars / quad / Special Edition re-release / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Special Edition re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
30 1/8" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

The Empire Strikes Back / B1 / advance / Japan

04.11.13

Poster Poster

This is the B1 advance poster for the Japanese release of The Empire Strikes Back, which by 1980 was one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of cinema following the continuing international success of George Lucas’ original Star Wars (1977). This image of bad guy Darth Vader’s helmet was also used for the North American advance one sheet and is a photograph of a prop helmet created to be worn by Dave Prowse in the original trilogy. The photo shoot for this poster was apparently done by the respected poster designer and artist Bob Peak, who was responsible for many classic 70s and 80s posters, including Apocalypse Now, The Spy Who Loved Me and Superman.

This image was only used for the B1 size Japanese poster, with a photographic montage being used for the standard B2 whilst Noriyoshi Ohrai was responsible for the artwork on the superb alternative style B2, which was also printed as a B1 size poster.

To see more posters by Bob Peak in the Film on Paper collection click here.

 

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell / quad / UK

03.06.13

Poster Poster

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1973) marked the end of an era for British film in more ways than one. It was the last gothic horror to be produced by the original incarnation of the British Hammer Films studio and followed on from a series of six feature films based around the character of Baron Frankenstein portrayed by the late, great British actor Peter Cushing (the less said about 1970s Horror of Frankenstein, with Ralph Bates in the lead role, the better). Director Terence Fisher had worked on many of Hammer’s best-loved horrors, including their first gothic feature, 1957s The Curse of Frankenstein (starring Cushing and Christopher Lee as the monster) as well as the original Dracula (1958), The Mummy (1959) and two other Frankenstein features for the studio. He was to effectively retire from film-making at the end of production on FATMFH, and he wasn’t the only one of the Hammer alumni to do so. This was also the last Hammer feature film that screenwriter Tony Hinds, who had worked on many of the studio’s most successful horrors, would supply a script for. Other crew members who had been instrumental in the production of dozens of Hammer horrors also called it a day once this film was released.

Originally produced and shot in 1972, it eventually limped into cinemas in 1974 well after the appeal of British gothic horror films had dissipated. Cinema-goers were keen to experience the visceral thrills of the new wave of films coming out of Hollywood, including William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece The Exorcist, which made British efforts like FATMFH seem positively antiquated. Because of the fall in demand from distribution companies who were previously happy to bankroll Hammer’s productions, the budget for this film was a tiny fraction of many of their previous horrors. It would be a lie to say that the lack of money doesn’t show on screen – most of the film takes place on what is clearly a single soundstage – but the skilled craftsmen at Hammer were still able to create a wonderful sense of atmosphere with the modest amount of funds at their disposal. The film is in many ways the perfect swan-song for Cushing’s Baron Frankenstein and his performance absolutely steals the show, from his brilliant crash-zoom entrance to the quiet madness of the denouement.

On the 29th of May, 2013 I was lucky enough to see the film at London’s British Film Institute in a special showing to both celebrate the centenary of Cushing’s birth and also preview a newly restored print of FATMFH. The reformed version of Hammer films have undertaken a series of restoration projects on many of the studio’s classic films, including the original Dracula and the original Curse of Frankenstein. I believe that the new print of FATMFH will see release on blu-ray at some point this year, as well as a new restoration of The Mummy. It was a real treat to see the film on the big screen and be able to revel in a classic Peter Cushing performance.

This British quad was created at the London-based Downtons Advertising agency by one of the principal designers, Eddie Paul, and painted by an artist named Bill Wiggins. Both men are featured in Sim Branaghan’s must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History and are each responsible for several iconic British posters. The designer Eddie Paul was born in Hackney in 1920 and attended Southend School of Art, later beginning his career at Temple Art Studios before moving on to Star Illustrations on Shoe Lane, where he gained a good reputation as a scrapboard artist. After serving in the RAF during the war, Paul joined Pulford Publicity in 1946 and started designing film posters using crayons and coloured pencils. He worked on several successful poster campaigns during the 1960s, including El Cid (1961), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and the famous quad for From Russia with Love (painted by Renato Fratini). He later joined four ex-Downton colleagues and formed the successful agency FEREF in 1968. As Sim notes in his book, ‘He was well liked and respected within the business as a gentleman’. Eddie Paul passed away from a heart attack whilst on his way to work in 1984, just shy of his retirement from FEREF.

Bill Wiggins was born in 1915 and worked installing large cinema displays (on the front of the buildings) during the 1930s and was a special constable during the second world war. He arrived at Downton’s Advertising agency at the same time as another principal designer, Fred Atkins (later a partner in FEREF), in 1951. Wiggins worked in the film department of the studio for 25 years, painting dozens of posters alongside the likes of Vic Fair and Brian Bysouth. Wiggins is mentioned several times during my interview with the latter. He worked on several of the early Hammer films, including Dracula (1958), The Mummy (1959), Curse of the Werewolf, as well as the sci-fi films The Lost World (1960) and Day of the Triffids (1962). He initially retired in 1975 ‘but rapidly found himself so bored that he returned within a couple of months and continued full time for another three years, eventually leaving to paint commissioned oil portraits for an art/photographic business in Bromley’. He passed away, aged 73, in 1988. Sim believes that this poster for FATMFH is likely to be one of, if not the, final cinema poster that Wiggins worked on.

In addition to this single feature quad, there is also a double-bill quad for when the film was released in a pairing with the long-forgotten kung-fu film The Fists of Vengeance. The artwork for FATMFH is actually coloured on the double-bill poster and is therefore arguably superior to this quad. Sim confirmed to me that there was a policy around this time that the single feature quad would usually be monochrome whilst the double-bill was typically printed in full colour.

Finally, this particular copy is rolled and in great condition, which is somewhat unusual for a poster from this era. I recall reading that it may have been one poster that Hammer printed in greater numbers to give away to fans who wrote in to the studio, as was the case with the quads for ‘Dracula Has Risen from the Grave’ and the ‘She/One Million Years BC’ quads (see the bottom of this page for more detail). I’m not certain that this is case though and I’d appreciate more details about it if anyone has them.

Star Wars / B1 / artwork style / Japan

23.09.12

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
28 13/16" x 40 8/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The enigmatic artist Seito is responsible for the artwork on this Japanese B1 poster for the original release of the sci-fi classic Star Wars in Japan. The design has clear echoes of the American one sheet artwork by Tom Jung but features several additions and the unusual choice of having the Death Star upside down (the weapon crater at least). Both designs depict an overly muscled Luke Skywalker and a tight-clothed, voluptuous Princess Leia, which, if you’ve seen the film (who hasn’t!), you’ll know doesn’t quite match up with the actual characters.

This is one of three posters printed for the original release of Star Wars in Japan, which included a simple advance and this photo montage style.

Seito is one of my favourite Japanese artists and is responsible for some wonderful illustrated posters, although little is known about him even in his native Japan. To see the other posters I’ve collected by him click here.

Return Of The Jedi / B2 / Sano style / Japan

11.08.14

Poster Poster
Title
Return Of The Jedi
AKA
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title) | Revenge of the Jedi (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Sano
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Kazuhiko Sano
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is one of four B2 posters printed for the original Japanese release of Return of the Jedi in 1983. Although ROTJ, the third in the original trilogy of Star Wars films, was often maligned by fans who complained it was a weak end to the series and derided for featuring the child-friendly Ewoks, all was forgiven with the release of the 1999′s The Phantom Menace and its ‘galactic trade disputes’ and the risible Jar-Jar Binks. Now, although certainly not as highly acclaimed as the original 1977 film or the classic The Empire Strikes Back, ROTJ is still beloved by fans of the series. In 2015, director JJ Abrams will release Episode VIIinto cinemas, mooted as a direct sequel to this film and much anticipated by fans worldwide. JJ is seen as a much safer pair of hands than George Lucas after his shepherding of a well-received reboot of the Star Trek franchise.

Even if the Ewoks are loved and hated in equal measure, ROTJ still features many memorable, fan favourite characters, locations and scenes, including the attempted rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hut’s palace leading to a memorable showdown above a Sarlacc pit monster (which features the ignominious exit of fan favourite Boba Fett). Later the film sees the passing of Yoda along with more revelations about the Skywalker family, and an excellent scene that sees Luke Skywalker confront the evil Emperor Palpatine with Vader standing by. Meanwhile, the Ewoks (essentially child-sized teddy bears) join forces to defeat the ground forces of the Empire on the surface of the planet Endor.

The artwork on this poster was painted by the late Japanese-American artist Kazuhiko Sano and also appeared on a US one sheet and multiple other posters around the world. As detailed in the notes for the one sheet, I discovered the following information about the artwork from an ebay auction description:

‘The art is by Kazuhiko (Kazo) Sano. The art direction and design were by Christopher Werner. There was some resizing of Lando’s head on this poster, which needed to match the general size of the other actors. Because Sano was in Japan when this decision was made, they had another artist come in to do it. This retouch artist may have been Vincent Malizia, an airbrush artist in Los Angeles. I have an old newspaper clipping with him standing in front of the Jedi B poster and a caption that reads he was an airbrush artist for this poster.’

Kazuhiko Sano was born in Toyko in 1952 and studied oil painting before moving to Los Angeles in 1975 and majoring in illustration at the Academy of Art College. He graduated in 1980 with a Master in Fine Art qualification and soon began working in commercial illustration, working on book covers, editorial illustrations and film posters for a whole range of internationally famous clients. He also returned to the Academy of Art College in 1986 to teach and worked there until his death in 2011. Unquestionably his most famous film poster work was this one for Return of the Jedi but there are a handful of others too.