You Searched For: Drama

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.

Last Days / one sheet / USA

24.07.17

Poster Poster

A striking photographic image features on this one sheet for the release of Gus Van Sant‘s 2005 drama, Last Days. The film is a fictionalized account of the last few days in the life of a musician who is reminiscent of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana. Van Sant had been planning the project for over a decade and at one point had wanted to make a biography of the singer. After befriending Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, the director realised that doing so would cause too much pain for Love and the deceased singer’s family, so he decided to fictionalise the story.

Michael Pitt plays the main character Blake and Van Sant had cast him in the part seven years before filming commenced. The rest of the cast includes Lukas HaasAsia Argento and Nicole Vicius, with notorious director Harmony Korine appearing as a character in one scene set in a nightclub. The plot is thin and Van Sant uses a technique he’s employed in a few of his films where the same scene is shown from different view points but at different times throughout the film, with the audience not given clear indication that this has happened. Most of the scenes follow Blake and take place in and around a large house surrounded by trees. Several interactions between him and his housemates, as well as visitors to the house take place, all leading up to a fatal moment with Blake and a shotgun at the end of the film.

The film received mixed critical notices and failed to make much of a dent at the box-office in the US. It received limited releases in several territories, including the UK.

This American one sheet was designed by Shoolery Design which now appears to be defunct as a company but was responsible for a large number of film posters from the mid-1990s up to 2007. A gallery of these designs can be seen on IMPAwards. The man who started the company, Mark Shoolery, seems to still be active and he has a website on which a lot of his work, including film posters, can be seen. It looks like he continues to work as an independent art director and artist and his Instagram feed features logo design work. According to his resume Shoolery has worked on projects for the film industry, the music industry, packaging for various products including toys, and marketing strategy for several companies. The LinkedIn entry for Shoolery design notes the following:

Conceived, developed and executed creative advertising campaigns for major studios, network and cable television, home entertainment, music and live events. Oversaw all in and out of-home advertising, collateral and promotional materials. Directed staff of 80-90 employees producing high-end advertising campaigns. Consulted with studio marketing executives as well as producers and directors of major motion pictures. Supervised celebrity photo shoots worldwide.

The other posters I have that were created by Shoolery Design can be seen here.

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’).

 

Being There / B1 / Japan

11.09.17

Poster Poster
Title
Being There
AKA
--
Year of Film
1979
Director
Hal Ashby
Starring
Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart, Richard Basehart, Ruth Attaway, David Clennon
Origin of Film
USA | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart, Richard Basehart, Ruth Attaway, David Clennon,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40 9/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
a story of chance

This is the Japanese B1 poster for the release of Hal Ashby‘s 1979 comedy-drama Being There. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jerzy Kosiński, who was also involved in the initial effort to craft the screenplay, with an uncredited Robert C. Jones. Being There was the penultimate film for the legendary British comedy actor Peter Sellers who would pass away only a year after its release at the untimely age of 54.

Sellers plays Chance, a simple-minded gardener who has lived and worked in the same Washington DC house since he was a young boy. He has never left the house, is unable to read or write and everything he has learnt has come from the TV set in his bedroom. When the owner of the house passes away, Chance is forced to wander the streets wearing the tailored suit of his old employer, unsure what to do next. An accidental encounter with the Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), the wife of the elderly billionaire business mogul Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas), sees him transported in a limousine to the sprawling residence of the Rands. There he meets Ben who mistakenly assumes him to be Chauncey Gardener, a cultured and wise gentleman, who endears himself to the mogul. Rand mistakes his simple proclamations about gardening to be deep metaphors about the state of the economy. Chance even meets the President (Jack Warden), a friend of Rand’s, and influences a major speech he makes. Eventually people around Rand and the President begin to investigate Chauncey Gardener’s background, whilst Ben Rand’s health begins to fail and Eve becomes smitten with Chance.

The film was a critical success and was award-winning, with Sellers being given the Golden Globe for Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) and Melvyn Douglas snagging the Best Supporting Actor at the 1980 Academy Awards. The Rand’s home was the incredible Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.

The artwork on this Japanese B1 also featured on an international one sheet and the the German poster. I’m unsure who is responsible for the art so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Possession / quad / UK

22.03.13

Poster Poster
Title
Possession
AKA
The Night the Screaming Stops (USA - reissue title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Andrzej Zulawski
Starring
Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent, Johanna Hofer, Carl Duering, Shaun Lawton, Michael Hogben
Origin of Film
France | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent, Johanna Hofer, Carl Duering, Shaun Lawton, Michael Hogben,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell | Barbara Baranowska AKA 'Basha' (original French artwork)
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
She created a monster... as her secret lover!

Polish director Andrzej Zulawski‘s Possession is a definite marmite film; you’ll either love it or totally detest it. I’m firmly in the former camp but it’s not hard to see why it might rankle with certain viewers. A multinational production, the film was shot in West Berlin (whilst The Wall was still standing), financed largely by French money and stars Kiwi actor Sam Neill alongside the stunning French actress Isabelle Adjani. Possession begins as what seems like a straightforward relationship drama, depicting the breakdown of the marriage between husband and wife Mark (Neill) and Anna (Adjani) as it gets increasingly fraught. The audience witnesses several scenes of extreme shrieking, hysteria and mental breakdown from both parties as Mark comes to terms with his wife’s infidelity.

It’s when Mark decides to investigate who his wife has been seeing that the film takes a turn for the surreal and horrific. At first he discovers that she had been having an affair with a new-age sleaze-ball called Heinrich (Heinz Bennent) but after confronting him at his house they both realise that Anna has also been meeting a mysterious third party. Mark then hires a private detective to try and discover where his wife disappears to when she’s not at their apartment. As alluded to with this poster’s tagline, the audience soon discovers that what Anna is tending to in a dingy apartment in the Turkish district of Berlin is not altogether human. When the detective (and later his lover) go missing, both Heinrich and Mark uncover the horrifying truth. I won’t spoil the reveal except to say that Italian special effects maestro Carlo Rambaldi (of ‘Close Encounters…’ and ‘E.T.’ fame) was involved in the creation of several versions of a slimy, tentacled creature.

Isabelle Adjani won the best actress prize at Cannes for her dual performance as the hysterical, unhinged Anna and the ‘is she real-or-not?’ Helen, a kind and gentle teacher who works at the school where the couple’s son Bob is a pupil. As Anna, the actress turns everything up to 11 and at times the shrieking is almost unbearable. In perhaps the most infamous sequence in the film, the so-called ‘miscarriage’ scene, she has a full-on orgiastic meltdown in a dingy German subway that culminates with her oozing blood and a white liquid from her face and neck. Neill also gives an over-the-top performance throughout and it’s the level of hysteria that likely sees many viewers heading for the remote (or cinema exit if they were in attendance back in 1981).

For reasons which aren’t really clear, the film was embroiled in the Video Nasties debacle here in the UK and was banned outright in 1983, but not before having it’s cinema debut thanks to New Realm distributors two years earlier. It’s inclusion on the DPPs list is a complete mystery as it’s nowhere near as gruesome or brutal as some of the other titles on there and is unquestionably one of the best titles to fall foul of the whole thing.

This very scarce original UK quad was created by the brilliant British designer and artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful designs featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. The artwork is unquestionably based on the French poster artwork that was painted by the Polish artist Barbara Baranowska (AKA ‘Basha’). I’ve been unable to discover much about the artist, other than a short biography on the Horse Hospital website. It seems that her work for Possession is the poster for which she is most well-known.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Prime Cut / one sheet / style A / USA

27.06.17

Poster Poster
Title
Prime Cut
AKA
Carnage (France)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Michael Ritchie
Starring
Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Tom Jung
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/57
Tagline
Together They're Murder In...

A painting by the American artist Tom Jung, who is best known for his work on the style A poster for the release of the first Star Wars film, features on this one sheet for the 1972 crime-drama, Prime Cut. The film was directed by the late Michael Ritchie (Fletch, Downhill Racer) and stars two heavyweight actors of the time in Lee Marvin and Gene Hackman. The former had a string of box-office hits playing tough guys in films such as Point Blank and The Dirty Dozen, and the latter had just starred in the unforgettable The French Connection and was to appear in The Poseidon Adventure in the same year as Prime Cut. It also marked the acting debut of Sissy Spacek who would appear in her most famous role four years later in Brian De Palma’s Carrie.

The plot sees Nick Devlin (Marvin), a Chicago mob enforcer, sent with a crew of men to Kansas City to track down Mary Ann (Hackman) and recover a $500,000 debt. Previous men sent by the mob have disappeared and we witness one being ‘processed’ through Mary Ann’s meat factory, ending up as the filling in a string of sausages that are then sent to the mob boss as a taunt. After driving to Kansas, Devlin first attacks Mary Ann’s brother and warns him that the group are there to collect the debt. The following day they find Mary Ann in a barn where he is the ringleader of a white-slave auction in which young girls are being auctioned off to older men. The women are kept naked in pens like livestock and drugged up so they don’t try to escape. Devlin threatens Mary Ann and rescues one of the women called Poppy (Spacek) “on account”. The rest of the film sees him attempting to secure the missing money and avoiding Mary Ann’s gang of denim-wearing, shotgun-toting farm boys.

The film is fairly brisk at just under 90 minutes and both leads are entertaining to watch throughout. Spacek is also excellent as Poppy and it’s not hard to see why her career took off quickly following her appearance in Prime Cut. There are several memorable scenes in the film, including one faintly ridiculous one where Devlin and Poppy are chased through a wheatfield by a combine harvester, which then goes onto chew up an entire car!

As well as the iconic one sheet for Star Wars, Tom Jung is also known for the style B one sheet for The Empire Strikes Back. He 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 many posters he worked on. Rather unusually, at least in comparison to other film poster artists, Jung was also a designer of his posters as well as the artist. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Note that this is the Style A one sheet and style B is photographic. Rather unusually, the decision was taken to insert ‘A’ in next to the title at the bottom of the poster which makes it look like the title is ‘A Prime Cut’.

Inside Llewyn Davis / screen print / Telegramme / UK

19.08.16

Poster Poster

This is a screen print for the 2013 Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis that was created for an art exhibition held in early 2014, around the release of the film in the UK. Written, directed, produced and edited by the celebrated filmmakers, the film is a black comedy-drama based around the New York folk music revival scene of the early 1960s. Although largely fictional, the eponymous singer-songwriter is based on Dave Van Ronk, a now deceased folk singer who was an important character at the time and had the nickname ‘The Mayor of MacDougal Street’. The Coens found inspiration in his autobiography and certain elements of the film are based on it.

Oscar Isaac plays Davis and the film takes place over a week in February 1961. We follow the singer as he struggles to make a name for himself in the music scene and travels around with his guitar in tow. Due to a lack of money, Davis is forced to sleep on friends’ couches, including that of his long term friends the Gorfeins. In an early scene in the film, Davis accidentally allows their cat Ulysees to be locked out from their flat. He grabs the animal and heads to the house of  Jim (Justin Timberlake) and Jean (Carey Mulligan) Berkey, a couple who are also singers, asking if he can stay the night. During the stay, Jean tells Davis that she’s pregnant and believes the child to be his, asking him to pay for the abortion. The rest of the film see Davis trying to track down the funds to pay to Jean, wrangle with the constantly escaping cat, and try to kick start his struggling career.

The UK-based magazine Little White Lies created an event to celebrate the film’s release which saw it commission seven artists to create fake gig posters for seven different Coen brothers films, including The Big Lebowski and O’ Brother Where Art Thou? The event was called ‘One Night Only: A Coen Brothers Gig Poster Extravaganza’ and all of the other posters can be seen on the website of the UK Poster Association, who was responsible for the actual screen printing, here. Each poster was printed in a limited run of 50.

This poster for Inside Llewyn Davis, featuring Ulysees the cat, was designed and illustrated by a studio called Telegramme, which is run by Bobby and Kate and is based in Margate on the south coast. Their official website is here and features lots of items for sale. The about page details their work for other companies. They also have a page on Cargo Collective which can be viewed here and includes other examples of their work. Telegramme’s Instagram page is here.

Black Hooker / one sheet / USA

15.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Black Hooker
AKA
Streets Sisters (USA - alternative title) | Black Mama (USA - video title) | Don't Leave Go My Hand (USA - alternative title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Arthur Roberson
Starring
Sandra Alexandra, Jeff Burton, Kathryn Jackson, Teddy Quinn, Gioya Roberson, Durey Mason, Mary Reed, Alan Bass
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sandra Alexandra, Jeff Burton, Kathryn Jackson, Teddy Quinn, Gioya Roberson, Durey Mason, Mary Reed, Alan Bass,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Clyde Knudson
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
She was lovable... She Was Mean.... Damn mean! | What would you do if your mama was a hooker?

They sure don’t make, title or market them like this anymore! Black Hooker is an obscure 1974 drama that was written, produced and directed by a man named Arthur Roberson whose sole film credits are all for this film (according to IMDb he also did the production design, art direction and set decoration). Seemingly only released in the States, the reason for its obscurity is explained in the reviews section of its IMDb page. In 2004 a reviewer with the handle ‘spropes’ wrote the following:

‘When I worked with L.A. County, I knew Art Roberson fairly well, tho I have no idea of his current status or whereabouts. We were both social workers in the ghetto (really) in the 1970s. My impression was that being a social worker was his day job, that being a movie maker was his primary ambition…so what else is new? The movie, some interiors of which were shot at the legendary Joe Jost’s in Long Beach, premiered for friends and associates at Warner Bros. screening room in Burbank. At the end of the showing, it was greeted by dead silence, replacing excitement or applause. 

I think the viewers realized that the director had blown a pretty good chance to do something worthwhile after all his work, investment and attention to this film. Originally entitled something like “Don’t Leave Go My Hand” (or maybe “Don’t Let Go My Hand”), it was supposed to sensitively portray the horrible life of a neglected (or abused, I don’t recall which) black child, the son of a…you guessed it…black hooker! But that original intent didn’t play, so the title was changed to “Black Hooker,” presumably to piggyback on the blaxploitation movement at the time.’

This would explain why the film has several alternative titles and why it is often listed as a blaxploitation film despite the storyline having barely anything in common with other entries in the genre. Another reviewer sums up the film thusly:

‘Whatever the hell this is, it is quite the mean-spirited, uncomfortable little obscurity, which caters only to collectors of the most obscure B-cinema available. A hostile, impersonal story, with zero light at the end of the tunnel. none of the characters even have names. What kind of director makes a movie like this? A director who didn’t have a very happy childhood, that’s who. I mean, this isn’t exactly Cannibal Holocaust, or I Spit On Your Grave, or anything like that, but Black Hooker is just hateful.’

I have no clues as to who is responsible for the design or artwork of this one sheet and I doubt I’ll ever be able to discover who should be credited with it, but if you have any ideas please get in touch.

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.

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.

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.

Alabama / B1 / spider style / Poland

28.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Alabama
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Ryszard Rydzewski
Starring
Maria Probosz, Beata Maj-Dabal, Grzegorz Matysik, Wlodzimierz Adamski, Monika Alwasiak
Origin of Film
Poland
Genre(s) of Film
Maria Probosz, Beata Maj-Dabal, Grzegorz Matysik, Wlodzimierz Adamski, Monika Alwasiak,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Spider style
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Wieslaw Walkuski
Artist
Wieslaw Walkuski
Size (inches)
26.5" x 37 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Striking artwork by Wieslaw Walkuski features on this B1 format poster for the country of origin release of the 1984 drama, Alabama. Directed by Ryszard Rydzewski, the film went seemingly unreleased anywhere outside of Poland and the plot is described thusly on filmweb.pl (translated):

Peter (Grzegorz Matysik) and Bozena (Maria Probosz) study medicine.They love each other and plan a common future. Bozena relationships with family are very bad, they do not maintain contacts. Young remain with the small salary of Peter. With time Bozena convinced that the life of Peter is not easy. They share their differences characters and temperaments. On the downside girl catches Peter’s betrayal. Desperate escapes. In dramatic circumstances, he meets Joe (Włodzimierz Adamski).

Wieslaw Walkuski was born in 1956 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 1981 Walkuski has worked as a graphic designer and artist for publishing houses and theaters, as well as for the Polish film organisations Polfilm and Film Polski. He’s worked freelance since 1987 and has painted over 200 film posters. He continues to live and work in Warsaw. Walkuski’s official website features galleries of many of his designs and images of his other work.

He’s responsible for some incredible designs and two of my favourites include those he painted for Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and the Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie.

Note that this is one of two Polish posters for Alabama, and the other design can be seen here.

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.