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Another Earth / one sheet / advance / USA

15.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Another Earth
AKA
--
Year of Film
2011
Director
Mike Cahill
Starring
William Mapother, Brit Marling, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Jordan Baker, Robin Taylor, Rupert Reid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Mapother, Brit Marling, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Jordan Baker, Robin Taylor, Rupert Reid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
Ignition Print
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Another Earth, an excellent, haunting sci-fi drama released in 2011 marked the feature film debut of director Mike Cahill, who co-wrote and co-produced the film along with Brit Marling, the main actress in the film (and focus of this American one sheet). Marling stars as Rhoda Williams an enthusiastic astronomy student living in West Haven, Connecticut who discovers she’s been accepted to study at MIT and, after celebrating with friends, foolishly decides to drive home drunk. As she listens to a story on the news about a recently discovered Earth-like planet, her attention drifts long enough to cause her to smash into another car, instantly killing a woman and child and putting the driver, John Burroughs (William Mapother) into a coma.

Wracked with guilt, and having served four years in prison, Rhoda hides herself away from contact with much of the outside world and works as a janitor at a local school. She visits William, who has since emerged from his coma and has no knowledge of who killed his wife and child, at his home under the pretence of being a house maid offering her services and the pair spark up a relationship. All the time William is unaware that she was the person responsible for the death of his loved ones, but when the other Earth moves closer to ours Rhoda enters a competition to win a (potentially one-way) ticket to visit the new planet and their relationship is jeopardised, the truth is revealed and William struggles to cope. The film cleverly weaves the intriguing idea of a mirror Earth into a relationship drama, and the subtle ending hints at multiple possibilities for the characters’ journeys beyond the time which the audience shares with them.

This one sheet was designed by the hugely prolific Los Angeles (and London) design studio Ignition Print, who also appear to work on video advertising and film trailers for various big name brands.

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.

Księżniczka / B1 / Poland

21.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
Księżniczka
AKA
Adj Király Katonát [Give the King Troops] (Hungary - original title) | The Princess (English translation of Polish title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Pál Erdöss
Starring
Erika Ozsda, Andrea Szendrei, Denes Diczhazi, Árpád Tóth, Júlia Nyakó, Lajos Soltis
Origin of Film
Hungary
Genre(s) of Film
Erika Ozsda, Andrea Szendrei, Denes Diczhazi, Árpád Tóth, Júlia Nyakó, Lajos Soltis,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Maciej Woltman
Artist
Maciej Woltman
Size (inches)
26.5" x 38.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking image features on this Polish poster for the release of the obscure Hungarian drama Adj Király Katonát (literally ‘Give the King Troops’), which was titled as Księżniczka (Princess) for its Polish release. I’ve struggled to find out much about the film other than it was the directorial debut of Budapest-born Pál Erdöss who worked on 17 films right up to his death in 2007. The film is available to view in full on YouTube should you so wish.

The poster was designed by Maciej Woltman, a Polish artist who was born in 1952 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań under the professor (and artist in his own right) Waldemar Świerzy for posters and illustration and under John Świtki for painting. After graduating in 1982 he began to work with the film poster outfit Polfilm and worked on plenty of film posters as well as other illustrations for editorial content and commercial projects. The Polish encyclopaedia site Pomeranica lists a large number of exhibitions that he has held over the years. He also practices as a fine artist and some of his paintings can be seen on this page on Galeria Kapitanska and on this site.

Other film posters Woltman has worked on include those for Gandhi and Star 80.

At Your Own Request / B1 / Poland

11.07.16

Poster Poster
Title
At Your Own Request
AKA
Na wlasna prosbe (Poland - original title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Ewa Petelska, Czeslaw Petelski
Starring
Andrzej Zarnecki, Bogusz Bilewski, Krzysztof Chamiec, Andrzej Gawronski, Piotr Grabowski, Adam Gwara, Janusz Klosinski, Juliusz Lubicz-Lisowski
Origin of Film
Poland
Genre(s) of Film
Andrzej Zarnecki, Bogusz Bilewski, Krzysztof Chamiec, Andrzej Gawronski, Piotr Grabowski, Adam Gwara, Janusz Klosinski, Juliusz Lubicz-Lisowski,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Andrzej Pagowski
Artist
Andrzej Pagowski
Size (inches)
26 10/16" x 38 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking design features on this Polish poster for the domestic release of At Your Own Request (originally titled Na Wlasna Prosbe). The film was co-directed by husband and wife Ewa Petelska and Czeslaw Petelski, both of whom have since passed away. It must have been granted a release overseas, given that it has an English-language title, but I can find no evidence of which markets it appeared in. It’s fair to say that it’s a little-seen film, especially going by the lack of any user reviews on IMDb but it does have a plot description:

The story is of an engineer in conflict with his superior. He won’t go along with the usual corruption and conformity. He is left to himself amid indifference and ineptitude by his fellow workers and the management.

It doesn’t exactly sound like the most thrilling of dramas but at least this poster is interesting!

The 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 screenwriter. 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.

To see the other Pagowski-designed posters I’ve collected click here.

Life During Wartime / one sheet / USA

18.10.16

Poster Poster

Artwork by artist Akiko Stehrenberger features on this one sheet poster for the release of director Todd Solondz‘s Life During Wartime. The film is a sort of semi-sequel to Happiness which he directed 11 years earlier. It features the same characters but each one has been re-cast with new actors. The plot mainly revolves around the three Jordan sisters that appeared in Happiness and looks at where their lives are a decade later. Like the director’s other films it straddles a fine line between dark comedy and uncomfortable drama. The performances from the likes of Allison JanneyShirley Henderson and Michael Lerner are all excellent and, although perhaps not as memorable as Happiness, it’s still worth a watch.

Akiko Stehrenberger is one of my favourite poster artists working today and she’s created several memorable pieces of key poster art over the past few years. As detailed on her official website, Akiko began her career in New York City as an illustrator for various magazines, including SPIN and The Source. In 2004 she moved to Los Angeles and began working on illustrations for film posters as well as other freelance projects. She’s won multiple awards and has created poster designs for some of the most celebrated directors working today.

One of her most celebrated posters is the one sheet for Funny Games, Michael Haneke’s 2008 remake of his own film of the same name, released a decade earlier. When first released, many people assumed it was a manipulated photograph of the actress Naomi Watts but this excellent interview on Mubi confirms that it’s a digital illustration. The article is well worth a read to get an idea of how Akiko works and the process she went through for that poster. The gallery of posters on her website features a mixture of designs that were chosen by the distributor to be used as official campaign material as well as ones that didn’t get chosen but are nevertheless excellent. I particularly love this poster for Blue Ruin and the unused quad art for Under the Skin. You can see from her portfolio of work that she’s not afraid to experiment with new styles for each project.

There’s another gallery of her work on IMPawards.

Where the Green Ants Dream / quad / UK

12.09.16

Poster Poster
Title
Where the Green Ants Dream
AKA
Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen (Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Werner Herzog
Starring
Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Ray Barrett, Norman Kaye, Ralph Cotterill, Nick Lathouris, Basil Clarke, Ray Marshall
Origin of Film
West Germany | Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Bruce Spence, Wandjuk Marika, Roy Marika, Ray Barrett, Norman Kaye, Ralph Cotterill, Nick Lathouris, Basil Clarke, Ray Marshall,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Paul Derrick
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 4/16" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking image by the British designer Paul Derrick features on this UK quad for the release of maverick director Werner Herzog‘s 1984 drama Where the Green Ants Dream. The film was the directorial follow up to what many consider to be Herzog’s masterpiece, Fitzcarraldo, and is set in the Australian outback. Co-written with the Australian screenwriter Bob Ellis, the film deals with the contentious issue of aboriginal land rights that has existed ever since the British established a settlement there in the 18th Century. A mix of facts and fiction, the film features a number of aboriginal activists who had been involved in a real-life court case

Bruce Spence, who is best known as the Gyro Captain from Mad Max 2, plays Lance Hackett, a geologist working for a mining company that is carrying out a series of tests on some land that they intend to mine for Uranium. The title refers to the insects that the aborigines believe to be sacred and they fear will be disturbed by the blasting and drilling. One of the tribal elders, as featured on this poster, explains that this disturbance could bring about the end of the world. Lance is instructed to spend time with the activists and try and work out a deal with them so that the mining company can carry on their testing. When that eventually fails, even after they are given a large army plane as part of an attempted deal, the case goes to the courts. 

Paul Derrick’s official website can be viewed here and, according to the short biography on the site, he has been working for many years on publishing and visual identity projects for a wide range of clients, including arts and educational organisations as well as government clients. He also says that he is ‘experienced in undertaking, and art directing, documentary photography to create visual narratives and storytelling.’ There are a few examples of posters he worked on and the British distribution company Artificial Eye is listed in the projects section.

I Am Curious (Yellow) / B2 / white title style / Japan

03.08.16

Poster Poster
Title
I Am Curious (Yellow)
AKA
Jag är nyfiken - en film i gult (Sweden - original title)
Year of Film
1967
Director
Vilgot Sjöman
Starring
Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren, Chris Wahlström, Marie Göranzon, Magnus Nilsson, Ulla Lyttkens
Origin of Film
Sweden
Genre(s) of Film
Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt, Peter Lindgren, Chris Wahlström, Marie Göranzon, Magnus Nilsson, Ulla Lyttkens,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
White title style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters printed for the release (in 1971) of the landmark Swedish drama I Am Curious (Yellow) from the controversial director Vilgot Sjöman. Yellow is a companion film to I Am Curious (Blue) and the pair were originally meant to have been released as one 3.5 hour film. The colours in the titles refer to the Swedish flag. They were part of a series of left wing films that were made after the founding of the Swedish Film Institute in the early 1960s and the attempt, by prominent Swedish cultural figure Harry Schein, to start Sweden’s own flavour of New Wave cinema. 

Filmed in a pseudo-documentary, cinéma vérité style, the film sees Sjöman playing a version of himself, a director who decides to make a film starring his 22-year-old lover Lena Nyman (also playing herself) who is a theatre student interested in social issues. The film within the film is called ‘Lena on the Road’ and sees her leaving the flat she shares with her father and, when not getting involved in socio-political activism with a group of friends, she is shown traveling around Stockholm interviewing people she meets about issues including social classes and gender equality.

Later she meets another man called Börje who she begins a love-affair with but this becomes fraught when she discovers he has hidden the fact that he has another lover and a daughter. After traveling to a country retreat Lena begins meditating, practicing yoga and studying about non-violence, but her lover catches up with her and the pair continue their stormy relationship. Soon after the film within a film begins to break down as the ‘actors’ form a ‘real’ relationship that causes the ‘director’ to get jealous and wrap up shooting.

The film is most notable for its then ground-breaking use of full-frontal shots and scenes of (simulated) sexual intercourse that until then had been confined to sex films and not used in a dramatic context. The film was released in a cut form both in the US, UK and elsewhere but it was in the US that it attracted the most controversy with some states even going so far as banning the film outright on grounds of obscenity (Massachusetts in 1969, later overturned). As is the case with any censorship case brought against a film featuring sex and nudity, the box-office takings were helped greatly as punters flocked to see what the fuss was about. The film was the highest-grossing foreign film in the US for many years afterwards. This article on Vulture.com goes into more detail about the original release.

The other style of Japanese poster features a similarly colourful image but has black text down the side instead of white – see here.

Harakiri / B1 / Poland

27.07.16

Poster Poster

This is a Polish B1 poster for a 1987 re-release of the 1962 Japanese drama Harakiri (originally titled Seppuku) that was designed and illustrated by Waldemar Świerzy. Both titles refer to the grisly ritual suicide by slashing a sword across your own belly that was originally practiced by samurai swordsmen in medieval and early-modern Japan. The action formed part of the samurai code and was used by warriors who would rather die with honour than fall into the hands of the enemy, or by disgraced samurai who had committed gross offences or brought shame upon themselves.

The film was helmed by the celebrated Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi who directed a number of notable films, including the superb horror anthology Kwaidan (1964), before he passed away aged 80 in 1996. The story is set in 17th Century Japan and deals with an elder samurai without a master (known as a Ronin) called Hanshirō Tsugumo (Tatsuya Nakadai, star of multiple Akira Kurosawa films). The plot is described thusly on IMDb:

Peace in 17th-century Japan causes the Shogunate’s breakup of warrior clans, throwing thousands of samurai out of work and into poverty. An honorable end to such fate under the samurai code is ritual suicide, or hara-kiri (self-inflicted disembowelment). An elder warrior, Hanshiro Tsugumo seeks admittance to the house of a feudal lord to commit the act. There, he learns of the fate of his son-in-law, a young samurai who sought work at the house but was instead barbarically forced to commit traditional hara-kiri in an excruciating manner with a dull bamboo blade. In flashbacks the samurai tells the tragic story of his son-in-law, and how he was forced to sell his real sword to support his sick wife and child. Tsugumo thus sets in motion a tense showdown of revenge against the house.

The film won multiple awards upon its release in 1962, including the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and received excellent reviews when released around the world in the following years (1964 was its first release in the USA). Japanese director Takeshi Miike released a remake in 2011 with the title Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai.

The late Waldemar Świerzy is considered to be one of the most important Polish designers and artists and it’s estimated he’s worked on over 2500 posters during his career. He was born in Katowice in 1931 and graduated from the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts in 1952. He later became professor in the University of Fine Arts in Poznań from 1965 and Professor in the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1994. The artist was one of the key figures in the influential Polish School of Posters a movement to push the level of quality of Polish posters forward which was active for over 30 years, starting in the 1950s. Świerzy won multiple awards during his career and had several exhibitions of his work held over the years. He sadly passed away in 2003.

Polishposter.com has several pages of his work and this biography on culture.pl goes into great detail about his life and work. Poster.com.pl has another gallery of his work.

Lucky Lady / one sheet / USA

27.06.16

Poster Poster

Artwork by the late, great Richard Amsel features on this one sheet for the 1975 comedy-drama Lucky Lady. The film was helmed by Stanley Donen, an American director who’s best known for Singing in the Rain (1952) and Charade (1963). Gene Hackman appears alongside Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli, and the former apparently took some persuading to star. He eventually relented when producers offered him the then significant sum of $1.5m. The film is set in the American prohibition era during which the sale and production of alcohol was banned across the whole country. The plot is described like so:

During the Prohibition era, a young widow, Claire (Minelli), gets involved in liquor smuggling and romance with two men, Walker (Reynolds) and Kibby (Hackman), off the San Diego coast. Organized crime controls bootlegging back east and wants to do the same here, so a hit man named McTeague (John Hillerman) is sent to deal with these amateur crooks, as is the Coast Guard, leading to various battles at sea.

Richard Amsel was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and studied at the city’s College of Art. Whilst there he entered and won a nationwide artist competition to paint the poster for the film ‘Hello Dolly!’. Amsel was just 22 at the time and this win helped him quickly establish a career in New York where he worked on album covers (including one for Barry Manilow) as well as magazine covers and editorial art. In addition, he worked on posters some of the most important films of the 1970s, including Chinatown, Nashville and The Sting. During the 1970s he also worked on a series of covers for the American magazine TV Guide, which are still celebrated to this day.

In the 1980s Amsel worked on what is my favourite Indiana Jones poster, the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 re-release one sheet. He had also painted the original release version, featuring a much more serious looking Indy. The artist’s final film poster was the one sheet for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Amsel sadly died of AIDS-related complications that same year. He leaves behind a great legacy of unforgettable artwork, some of which I already have in the Film on Paper collection and which can be seen here.

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.

Le Gang / B2 / montage style / Japan

30.06.16

Poster Poster
Title
Le Gang
AKA
The Gang (USA - video title)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Jacques Deray
Starring
Alain Delon, Xavier Depraz, Roland Bertin, Adalberto Maria Merli, Maurice Barrier, Raymond Bussières, Giampiero Albertini, Laura Betti, Nicole Calfan
Origin of Film
Italy | France
Genre(s) of Film
Alain Delon, Xavier Depraz, Roland Bertin, Adalberto Maria Merli, Maurice Barrier, Raymond Bussières, Giampiero Albertini, Laura Betti, Nicole Calfan,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Montage style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is one of two Japanese B2 posters (that I’m aware of) for the release of the 1977 crime drama Le Gang. The film was an Italian-French co-production and was directed by Jacques Deray, a Frenchman who helmed a number of crime thrillers during his career. French superstar Alain Delon, who collaborated with Deray on a number of similar films, plays the leader of the titular gang of criminals. The story is set in France during the 1940s and the plot, apparently based on true events, is described thusly on IMDb:

In 1945, as World War Two comes to a close, five small time crooks unite to form a gang. After several bold robberies they become notorious as “the front-wheel drive gang”. The police attempt to stop their crime spree with little success, but how long will their luck last?

The other style B2 can be seen on emovieposter.com here.

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.

Submarine / one sheet / USA

15.02.13

Poster Poster
Title
Submarine
Year of Film
2010
Director
Richard Ayoade
Starring
Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Darren Evans, Osian Cai Dulais, Lily McCann, Otis Lloyd, Elinor Crawley
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Darren Evans, Osian Cai Dulais, Lily McCann, Otis Lloyd, Elinor Crawley,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2010
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A comedy that doesn't let principles stand in the way of progress

‘Underwater’ is simply but effectively conveyed using a single block of colour on this American one sheet for Richard Ayoade’s excellent British indie film, Submarine. It was the debut directorial effort from Ayoade, who was best known for his appearances on multiple British TV comedy shows, including The Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd. The film is a coming-of-age comedy-drama featuring breakout performances by its two young leads, Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige. Roberts plays Oliver Tate, a precocious and neurotic teenager who struggles to cope with life at home and school but when the sultry Jordana takes interest in him (initially as an act of revenge against another boy) Oliver’s world is turned upside down.

Not only must Oliver deal with swirling feelings of romance, excitement and anguish but his parents (played by Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor) are also struggling with their relationship, particularly when one of his mother’s old flames, a brilliantly nutty new-age guru played by Paddy Considine, moves back in next door. The film wears its influences proudly on its sleeve and the cinema of the French New Wave clearly informed many Submarine’s quirkier scenes, whilst Oliver’s neurosis calls to mind vintage Woody Allen. The film is set in Swansea and Ayoade and his cinematographer Erik Wilson make excellent use of locations, whilst the soundtrack is absolutely perfect and features several tracks from Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner. If you’re yet to see the film I highly recommend tracking it down.

I’m unsure who is responsible for this poster and if you look at the closeups you’ll notice that the image of Oliver appears to have actually been illustrated. I had assumed it was simply a photograph but if anyone knows anything more about who put this together I’d appreciate it if you’d get in touch.

The trailer is on YouTube.

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.

Weekend / one sheet / 2011 / USA

26.04.16

Poster Poster

This is the US one sheet for the release of the 2011 British drama Weekend, written and directed by Andrew Haigh. The film was shot on location in and around Nottingham on a micro budget. It follows gay man Russell (Tom Cullen) who goes to a house party with his straight friends and then onto a gay club alone afterwards looking for a hookup. There he meets Glen (Chris New), an art gallery employee and aspiring artist, and the pair head back to Russell’s flat for what they both assume will just be a one night stand.

Things don’t work out that way and the pair spend the next 48 hours (the titular period) getting to know each other in bars, clubs and bedrooms. Glen eventually reveals he’s hours away from moving to America to attend a two year art course and by the end of the weekend the pair have affected each other more than they could possibly have imagined. The film is a memorable and sensitive depiction of a budding relationship and the performances are wonderfully natural throughout. Haigh’s script is heartfelt but unsentimental and has a genuine emotional truth about it. In my opinion it’s one of the best romantic dramas of the past few decades.

This one sheet was created by Sam Ashby, a London-based graphic designer who has worked on a number of film posters, including quads for films like Beauty. According to this interview Sam used to work at the poster design firm AllCity as Head of Design before leaving to set up his own studio in 2010. His website hasn’t been updated in a number of months so I’m not sure if he’s still active as a film poster designer.

In addition to this one sheet, Ashby designed several other posters for the film, including the UK quad.

The Models / one sheet / USA

15.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
The Models
AKA
In Love with Sex (international title) | Donnez-nous notre amour quotidien [Give us our daily love] (French - original title)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Claude Pierson
Starring
Paola Senatore, Lucretia Love, Mauro Parenti, Jacques Buron, Yves Arcanel, Alice Arno, Jean-Michel Dhermay
Origin of Film
France | Canada | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Paola Senatore, Lucretia Love, Mauro Parenti, Jacques Buron, Yves Arcanel, Alice Arno, Jean-Michel Dhermay,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert McGinnis
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
What really goes on behind all the glitter and glamour | Banned in 36 countries. You can see it now without a single cut! | You'll never see this movie on TV!

The Models (AKA by the racier title ‘In Love with Sex’) was a French-Canadian-Italian co-production and a sexploitation drama directed by the Parisian Claude Pierson who seems to have made a living from helming these kind of films. I can find little information about the film itself but the various tag lines on this poster give you an idea of what you’re in for. The only synopsis I could find was on a now removed page on the BFI website for the film and simply said ‘About the problems of frigidity encountered by a young married woman and how they are overcome with help of her husband.’ The artwork on this poster is by the legendary artist Robert McGinnis and it’s a wonder that the production company were able to secure his talents (his services can’t have been cheap at this point in his career).

Robert McGinnis was responsible for some of the most iconic 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.

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were painted by McGinnis click here.

The Stone Killer / quad / UK

29.11.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Stone Killer
AKA
Le cercle noir [The black circle] (France) | América violenta [Violent America] (Spain)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Charles Bronson, Martin Balsam, Jack Colvin, Paul Koslo, Norman Fell, David Sheiner, Stuart Margolin, Ralph Waite, Alfred Ryder, Walter Burke, Kelley Miles
Origin of Film
Italy | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Bronson, Martin Balsam, Jack Colvin, Paul Koslo, Norman Fell, David Sheiner, Stuart Margolin, Ralph Waite, Alfred Ryder, Walter Burke, Kelley Miles,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
This cop plays dirty! | Take away his badge and he'd top the Ten Most Wanted list!

This is the British quad poster for the release of the 1973 crime drama The Stone Killer. The film was one of a number that starred action legend Charles Bronson and was directed by Michael Winner. Their most successful collaboration (in box-office terms), Death Wish, was released a year later. The film features a cop who bends the rules to crack a case and was made in the wake of the hugely successful Clint Eastwood film, Dirty Harry (1971). That film also focused on a detective willing to play dirty, as this poster’s tagline shouts.

Bronson plays detective Lou Torrey who has recently been transferred to a Los Angeles beat. After the murder of a former hitman, he uncovers a plot involving the local mafia. The don, Al Vescari (Martin Balsam) has instigated a number of murders in revenge for killings that took place in 1931. This spree saw Sicilian capos executed across the US (a real-life crime dubbed the Night of the Sicilian Vespers). Vescari has decided to use Vietnam vets to carry out the killings and Torrey must race against time to stop the hitmen before the revenge plot is complete.

The stark imagery on this quad also featured on the US one sheet (see here) and the title block and main tagline have also been recycled by the British designer.

Breach / B2 / Japan

18.09.15

Poster Poster
Title
Breach
AKA
--
Year of Film
2007
Director
Billy Ray
Starring
Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney, Caroline Dhavernas, Dennis Haysbert, Gary Cole, Kathleen Quinlan, Bruce Davison, Tom Barnett
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe, Laura Linney, Caroline Dhavernas, Dennis Haysbert, Gary Cole, Kathleen Quinlan, Bruce Davison, Tom Barnett,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2008
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking portrait of the underrated actor Chris Cooper features on this Japanese B2 for the release of the 2007 drama Breach. Based on a real incident, Cooper plays Robert Hanssen, a senior FBI agent who was discovered to have been an undercover spy for the Soviet Union and later Russia for over twenty years. Ryan Phillippe plays a somewhat fictionalised version of Eric O’Neill, another FBI employee who was tasked with going undercover as Hanssen’s clerk under the pretense of trying to bring to light certain ‘sexual deviances’.

Initially frosty, the older agent grows to like O’Neill and the pair become closer as the film progresses, despite the misgivings of O’Neill’s wife Erica (Caroline Dhavernas) who resents Hanssen’s intrusions into their life, including encouraging the pair to attend church with his family. Eventually O’Neill tells his handler (played by Laura Linney) that he can find no evidence of odd sexual activity, but then he is told of the real reason he has been tasked with getting close to Hanssen and agrees to help catch him passing secrets to the Russians. The tension escalates as Hanssen suspects that the net is closing in on him and O’Neill reassures his boss that nothing is wrong as he helps to orchestrate his downfall.

Cooper is probably best known for his role as the domineering, military neighbour of Kevin Spacey’s character in Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, but he has been acting for almost 30 years and is one of those classic ‘that guy’ character actors. He received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Hanssen and the film itself was well received upon its release.

Subway / B2 / Japan

30.01.17

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of Luc Besson‘s 1985 comedy drama Subway. It followed on from the director’s first film, The Last Battle, which was released two years earlier. Subway reunited him with several of the actors and crew from that film, including Jean Reno, who who would go on to feature in many of Besson’s directorial efforts. French-American actor Christopher Lambert appears in the lead role of Fred, a grifter who steals documents from a rich businessman and escapes into the Paris Metro.

Lambert stars alongside Isabelle Adjani who appears as Héléna, the frustrated wife of the businessman from whom Fred has stolen the documents. The film is set largely on location in the Metro and makes great use of the halls, concourses and even the areas usually off-limits to the public. After being locked in overnight, Fred begins to explore and eventually meets Le Roller (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a petty thief who has made a home in an abandoned storage room. Le Roller introduces Fred to the other characters who called the underground their home, including the musclebound Big Bill (Christian Gomba) and The Florist (Richard Bohringer). 

The admittedly slight plot sees Fred continue to evade a bunch of hired goons sent by the businessman, as well as the subway police. The commissioner (a great performance by Michel Galabru) gets increasingly frustrated as his men, including one he’s nicknamed Batman (Jean-Pierre Bacri) fail to catch Le Roller time and time again. Héléna becomes increasingly infatuated with Fred, eventually realising his carefree attitude is the perfect antidote the marriage she feels trapped in. The film features a typically great score by regular Besson collaborator Éric Serra who also appears in the film as a member of a band that Fred brings together. The film was a success with critics as well as the French box-office. A year later Lambert would star in Highlander, a film that shot him to international stardom and lead to him winning multiple Hollywood roles.

This Japanese poster features the same artwork that was used on the French poster. It appears that the Japanese designer simply took a copy of a French poster, including all the flaws which that particular copy had. If you look closely at some of the images you can see hairs, scratches and other blemishes that must have been present on the poster. The artwork is credited to an artist called Bernard Bernhardt about whom I’ve been able to discover very little. Some of his other film posters can be seen on Cinematerial. According to this translated interview he was born in Paris in 1950 and worked on posters for several famous directors, including Roman Polanski and Michael Mann, over a thirty year period.

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’).

 

Bronco Billy / one sheet / USA

27.02.12

Poster Poster

One of Clint Eastwood’s lesser known outings, Bronco Billy is nevertheless apparently one of the actor-director’s favourites amongst his myriad films. It was pitched firmly in the vein of his earlier Orangutan-featuring screwball comedy dramas, Every Which Way But Loose and its sequel. The studio presumably hoped to ape their success, but in the end the film failed to generate similar box-office numbers.

Eastwood stars as the titular Billy, the leader of a traveling Wild West show and so-called ‘fastest guns in the West’. Things aren’t looking too great for the show and go from bad to worse when they pick up Antoinette Lilly (Sondra Locke) a wealthy heiress who has been abandoned by her future husband. Antoinette must learn to cope without the luxuries she has become accustomed to whilst Billy struggles to keep the show afloat. Eventually the pair strike up a relationship, but it’s not long before Antoinette’s former life catches up with her.

This US one sheet features artwork by American Roger Huyssen, a commercial artist who has worked on advertising campaigns for some of the world’s largest brands, as well as magazine covers, packaging design and several movie posters. His website features plenty of samples of his work and this poster can be seen on there. He often partners with lettering designer Gerard Huerta (working as 2H studio) as is the case on this poster. You’ll notice both signatures are included on the poster.

It’s a brilliantly detailed and colourful design and works perfectly for the film it’s advertising. I particularly like the idea of using a billboard in the style of the Wild West show to display the film’s title.

The film’s trailer is on YouTube.

Nijinsky / one sheet / USA

27.02.17

Poster Poster
Title
Nijinsky
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Herbert Ross
Starring
Alan Bates, George De La Pena, Leslie Browne, Alan Badel, Carla Fracci, Colin Blakely, Ronald Pickup, Ronald Lacey, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jeremy Irons
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Alan Bates, George De La Pena, Leslie Browne, Alan Badel, Carla Fracci, Colin Blakely, Ronald Pickup, Ronald Lacey, Vernon Dobtcheff, Jeremy Irons,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Hamsel
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
800034
Tagline
Genius. Madman. Animal. God. Nijinsky. | A True Story.

Richard Amsel artwork features on this one sheet for the release of the biographical drama Nijinsky. The film tells the story of the celebrated Russian ballet dancer and choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky who was born in 1889 in what is now Kiev, Ukraine and died in 1950 in London, England. Often cited as the greatest dancer of the 20th Century he was celebrated for his virtuosity, his ability to dance en pointe and his gravity defying leaps. The film was based on the dancer’s personal diaries and the 1934 biography that was written by his wife Romola de Pulszky. It was directed by the late Herbert Ross, a sometime actor, choreographer, producer and director who is perhaps best known for Footloose (1984).

The plot is described thusly on IMDb:
Set in the early 1910s at a time of passionate artistic experimentalism, and based on biographical fact, this is the story of Vaslav Nijinsky, the young and brilliant but headstrong premier danseur and aspiring choreographer of the Ballets Russes. The company is managed by the famous Sergei Diaghilev, himself a controlling and fiercely possessive impresario. The increasing tension between these powerful egos, exacerbated by homosexual desire and jealousy, becomes triangular when the young ballerina Romola de Pulsky determinedly attempts to draw the increasingly mentally unstable Nijinsky away from Diaghilev.

Richard Amsel was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and studied at the city’s College of Art. Whilst there he entered and won a nationwide artist competition to paint the poster for the film ‘Hello Dolly!’. Amsel was just 22 at the time and this win helped him quickly establish a career in New York where he worked on album covers (including one for Barry Manilow) as well as magazine covers and editorial art. In addition, he worked on posters some of the most important films of the 1970s, including Chinatown, Nashville and The Sting. During the 1970s he also worked on a series of covers for the American magazine TV Guide, which are still celebrated to this day.

In the 1980s Amsel worked on what is my favourite Indiana Jones poster, the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 re-release one sheet. He had also painted the original release version, featuring a much more serious looking Indy. The artist’s final film poster was the one sheet for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Amsel sadly died of AIDS-related complications that same year. He leaves behind a great legacy of unforgettable artwork, some of which I already have in the Film on Paper collection and which can be seen here.

Veronika Voss / one sheet / USA

15.03.17

Poster Poster
Title
Veronika Voss
AKA
Die Sehnsucht der Veronika Voss [The Longing of Veronika Voss] (Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring
Rosel Zech, Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Froboess, Annemarie Düringer, Doris Schade, Erik Schumann, Peter Berling, Günther Kaufmann
Origin of Film
Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Rosel Zech, Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Froboess, Annemarie Düringer, Doris Schade, Erik Schumann, Peter Berling, Günther Kaufmann,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Vincent Topazio
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking portrait by the artist Vincent Topazio features on this one sheet for the US release of Veronika Voss. The film was the penultimate one by the legendary German director, screenwriter, producer and actor Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It was released the year of his untimely death (he was only 37) and his final film as director, Querelle, was released posthumously the following year.

The film was an entry in what Fassbinder named the BRD Trilogy; three films all focusing on a single female character and set in West Germany following World War II. BRD is an acronym for Bundesrepublik Deutschland, which was the official name of the country during that period. The first of the trilogy, The Marriage of Maria Braun, was released in 1979 and then, rather confusingly, Fassbinder named Lola (1981) as the third film in the trilogy before Veronika Voss was released in 1982. The films have no narrative connection but have thematic consistencies, with all three focusing on a particular woman in a post-war BRD during the ‘economic miracle’. All three of the stories were originated by Fassbinder but the screenplays were written by frequent collaborator Peter Märthesheimer and his then partner Pea Fröhlich.

Veronika Voss is loosely based on the ill-fated life of actress Sybille Schmitz and the titular lead is played by Rosel Zech. Set in Munich in 1955, the film finds Voss struggling to reclaim former glories and unable to win the kinds of roles she played whilst working for the UFA production company during the war. One night she bumps into sports journalist Robert Krohn (Hilmar Thate) who isn’t aware of her past. The pair strike up a romance, despite Krohn being in a relationship with girlfriend Henriette (Cornelia Froboess). Soon he realises that Voss is addicted to opiates that are being administered by a mysterious neurologist called Dr. Marianne Katz (Annemarie Düringer) who Voss believes is caring for her. When Krohn begins to investigate he realises that Katz is actually bleeding Voss of her finances and is keeping her doped up and under control.

The art on this one sheet is by Vincent Topazio and, although it doesn’t feature his unique signature, he is credited for it on the vinyl release of the film’s soundtrack. Very little is known about the artist and there’s barely any information about him online. He looks to have worked on only a handful of film posters, most of which were for independent/arthouse features. Perhaps his most famous poster is the one he worked on for Paul Verhoeven’s The 4th Man.

Adrian Curry highlighted some of Topazio’s work for his Movie Poster of the Week column on Mubi.com. Other titles include the sequel Zulu Dawn and the 1985 American drama Smooth Talk. Curry notes that he believes Topazio was working from the mid-1970s into the 1980s and also created art for magazine editorials. Emovieposter.com has a number of his posters in their archive. If anyone has any more details about him please get in touch.

Le Cercle Rouge / quad / 2003 re-release / UK

20.03.17

Poster Poster
Title
Le Cercle Rouge
AKA
The Red Circle (international English title)
Year of Film
1970
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring
Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand, Paul Crauchet, Paul Amiot, Pierre Collet, André Ekyan, Jean-Pierre Posier, François Périer
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand, Paul Crauchet, Paul Amiot, Pierre Collet, André Ekyan, Jean-Pierre Posier, François Périer,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
BFI Re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2003
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a British quad poster for a 2003 re-release of the classic French crime-thriller Le Cercle Rouge, which was coordinated by the British Film Institute. The film was the penultimate release from the legendary French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville who was born in 1917 and worked as a fighter in the French resistance during World War II. Melville was infatuated with American cinema and in particular films in the crime and thriller genres. After failing to break into the established French film industry he decided to become an independent, even setting up his own studio in a suburb of Paris. He soon became known for his film noir crime dramas and saw great success with titles such as Bob le Flambeur (1956), Le Doulos (1962) and Le Samouraï (1967). 

Le Cercle Rouge saw Melville reunited with the French superstar actor Alain Delon, who had appeared in Le Samourai, and the cast also included the celebrated Italian-French actor Yves Montand. Other actors in the very male-heavy cast include Bourvil (known by a single moniker), best known for comedy features, and Italian actor Gian Maria Volontè, a collaborator with Sergio Leone during the 1960s. Delon plays Corey, a man with a criminal background who is released from prison, but not before a corrupt guard tells him about an ‘easy’ job that could net him big money. At the same time, the audience also sees a prisoner named Vogel escape from a moving train and evade recapture by Commissaire Mattei (Bourvil).

Eventually the two men are brought together when Vogel happens to climb into the boot of Corey’s car whilst on the run in the French countryside. The two establish a companionship of sorts and Corey details the possible heist. Vogel likes what he hears and suggests a sharpshooter who will be able to help them in the form of Jansen (Montand), a former police officer and noted crackshot. Once plans are in place, the trio pull off the heist in a famous 25 minute sequence in which not a word is spoken by any of the characters. Once the loot is secure the film then follows their attempts to sell it with Commissaire Mattei still in hot pursuit. The film was a critical success despite initially being released in some markets (such as the US) in a truncated version that saw over 40 minutes removed. Today the film is a cult favourite and celebrated as one of Melville’s best films. 

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design of this quad so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.