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The Long Good Friday / one sheet / international

08.02.12

Poster Poster

Ron Fenton is the artist behind this exciting montage for the classic British gangster film, starring Bob Hoskins in arguably his best film role. The poster features Hoskins alongside great portraits of Helen Mirren, the late Eddie Constantine (perhaps most famous for his role in Alphaville) and P.H. Moriarty (as the psychotic Razors).

The film focuses on Harold Shand (Hoskins) an underworld kingpin whose grand plans to develop the London Docklands, with the backing of the American Mafia, start to go awry when a series of bombs kill his associates and undermine his credibility. Harold needs to discover who is behind the killings and exact revenge before the deal is lost. The film is notable for its use of real London locations and it’s a thrill to watch the film now and see how much of the capital has changed. It was only made 33 years ago but the city is barely recognisable compared to today.

The film had a fairly tumultuous time getting into cinemas and was saved from being cut to shreds and offloaded as a TV special after its original production company (ITC) weren’t happy with the results. Helen Mirren was friends with Eric Idle who saw the film and recommended it to George Harrison who had just started up Handmade Films. Harrison saw commercial potential and was able to purchase the rights for less than the original production cost. The film went on to be a solid success for Handmade.

I’ve had no luck finding any other poster art that can be attributed to Ron Fenton, but Sim Branaghan (British Film Posters) has confirmed that he did work on other posters around this time. I’ll update the article if any more information comes to light. The artwork was used as a DVD cover for certain releases of the film.

This international one sheet is vastly superior to the rather terrible quad. This particular copy is not in perfect condition, as is obvious from the pictures, but it’s one of those posters that hardly ever shows up so I was more than happy to add it to my collection.

The original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

Helsinki Napoli All Night Long / A1 / Germany

17.07.15

Poster Poster

Great artwork by Renato Casaro on this German A1 poster for the release of Mika Kaurismäki‘s (older brother of Aki) little-seen, comedy-thriller Helsinki Napoli All Night Long. A Finnish-German-Swiss production the film focuses on Alex (Kari Väänänen) a Finnish taxi driver working in Berlin who is married to an Italian woman called Stella (Roberta Manfredi). One night, he picks up a pair of French thugs who ask to hire his cab for the whole night. Unfortunately for Alex the pair are being chased by a pair of mobsters (Samuel Fuller and Eddie Constantine) and after the thugs are shot and killed, he is left with two bodies and a briefcase full of money. So begins the long distance trip alluded to in the title with plenty more violence and black comedy along the way.

One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro is 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.

The Long Good Friday / Thailand

16.12.15

Poster Poster

This is the original poster for the Thai release of the classic British gangster film The Long Good Friday, starring the late, great Bob Hoskins. The story focuses on Harold Shand (Hoskins), an underworld kingpin whose grand plans to develop the London Docklands, with the backing of the American Mafia, start to go awry when a series of bombs kill his associates and undermine his credibility. Harold needs to discover who is behind the killings and exact revenge before the deal is lost.

The film is notable for its use of real London locations and it’s a thrill to watch the film now and see how much of the capital has changed. It was only made 33 years ago but the city is barely recognisable compared to today.

The film had a fairly tumultuous time getting into cinemas and was saved from being cut to shreds and offloaded as a TV special after its original production company (ITC) weren’t happy with the results. Helen Mirren was friends with Eric Idle who saw the film and recommended it to George Harrison who had just started up Handmade Films. Harrison saw commercial potential and was able to purchase the rights for less than the original production cost. The film went on to be a solid success for Handmade.

There is a signature on this artwork, which is unique to the Thai poster, that apparently belongs to the artist Kwow. I’ve been able to discover very little about him so please get in touch if you have any details about him.

The original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

Raid on Entebbe / quad / UK

04.07.12

Poster Poster

Raid on Entebbe is based on the true story of Operation Thunderbolt a mission undertaken by Israeli commandos in 1976 with the aim of rescuing hostages from a hijacked Air France plane being held at Entebbe airport in Uganda. The plane and hostages were under control of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and, after landing in Uganda, almost all of the non-Israeli hostages had been released. After it became clear that the Ugandan president Idi Amin was actively helping the terrorists, a daring rescue was planned by the Israeli Defence Forces, which resulted in the rescue of all but four of the hostages and the death of only one commando,  Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the brother of Benjamin Netanyahu who would later serve as the Israeli prime minister.

There were actually three film versions of the events put into production within months of the rescue; two were US-produced including this film, which followed the hastily made-for-TV Victory at Entebbe, starring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor. Legendary director and producer Menahem Golan also put together an Israeli-made versions starring mostly Jewish actors called Mivtsa Yonatan (AKA Operation Thunderbolt). Raid on Entebbe was first shown on TV in the US but was given a theatrical release in other countries, including the UK.

Action legend Charles Bronson was obviously seen as the biggest draw for UK audiences over the likes of Peter Finch who actually passed away 10 days after the film first aired and would be given a posthumous Academy Award for his role in the film Network.

This UK quad features stylised artwork painted with large brushstrokes onto a canvas, the grain of which is clearly still visible. Sim Branaghan believes this to be the work of British artist Mike Vaughan, perhaps best known for his work on several Hammer Horror quads, including Twins of Evil.