You Searched For: Fantasy

Highlander / B2 / style B / Japan

18.09.14

Poster Poster

This is one of three B2 posters printed for the Japanese release of the cult fantasy Highlander. The film started life as a story by Gregory Widen which he penned whilst studying screenwriting at UCLA and it was sold to the film’s producers for $200k before undergoing several re-writes. Directed by Australian Russell Mulcahy, who had made a name with a series of music videos, the film is set in two time periods and tells the story of a Connor Macleod (a career-making turn from Christopher Lambert) who is born in Scotland in 1518 and discovers he is immortal when he is seemingly killed in a battle with a rival clan, later waking with no injuries. Believing him to be cursed, he is banished by his fellow clans people and is forced to live in a remote castle.

Eventually, after marrying a woman called Heather (Beatie Edney), he is visited by another immortal called Ramirez (Sean Connery) who teaches him how to sword fight and explains that the only way to kill another immortal is to remove his head. Ramirez also urges Connor to leave Heather, explaining that immortals are sterile and always end up causing hurt to any mortals that they fall in love with. In present day, Connor is shown to be living and working as an antique dealer in New York City and dealing with attacks from other immortals who are taking part in ‘The Gathering’ in which the remaining immortals from around the world fight to be the last one alive (“There can be only one!”). The psychotic Kurgan (Clancy Brown in a memorable turn), who first met Connor on the battlefield in Scotland, is determined to win the prize and will stop at nothing to do so.

Mulcahy injects great energy into the film, clearly using many of the tricks he learned making music videos and the performances of the three main actors all help to elevate the film beyond what could have been a very schlocky fantasy. Some of the scenes involving Connor and Heather are genuinely touching and force the viewer to imagine the downsides of living as an immortal. Michael Kamen’s orchestral score is excellent and is embellished by several memorable songs by the British band Queen, including ‘A Kind of Magic‘. Although not initially a box-office success in the US, the film was an international hit and would gain a cult following, which later saw the release a series of iffy film sequels and a popular TV series that lasted for six seasons. The franchise also includes comic books, novels and animated shows.

This is the style B Japanese B2 but I also have the style C one too. The British quad, painted by Brian Bysouth is by far the best of the international Highlander posters.

The trailer for the film can be seen on YouTube.

Brazil / quad / UK

01.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Brazil
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Withdrawn 'dream cabinets' version
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

One of my favourite British posters of all time, this is the supposedly withdrawn quad for Terry Gilliam‘s 1985 masterpiece Brazil. A film that is near impossible to categorise, the story  is a heady mix of dystopian sci-fi, surreal dark fantasy and anarchic satirical comedy set in an alternative universe in which an overbearing government has practically strangled society with its mixture of paranoia, crippling bureaucracy and unreliable technology. That one of the film’s working titles was ‘1984 and 1/2’ gives you some idea of the Orwellian overtones that Gilliam and his fellow screenwriters Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown intended to evoke.

Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowry, a low-level employee at the ‘Ministry of Information’ who is seemingly content with his role as a cog in the giant machine, but at night he escapes in dreams where he is a knight is shining armour with giant wings strapped to his back, often rescuing the same damsel in distress from malicious forces. When a clerical error caused by a dead beetle falling into a printer causes the wrong man to be rounded up, tortured and killed by government forces (“we didn’t know he had a weak heart!”), Sam is given the task of correcting the error. Whilst visiting the wife of the deceased man, Sam meets Jill Layton (Kim Greist) a neighbour who bears a striking resemblance to the girl in his dreams.

Naturally he is instantly smitten and sets in motion a series of events that ends up with Sam and Jill pitched against his employer and on the run. The film features several memorable appearances from the likes of Ian Holm as Sam’s bumbling, inefficient boss, Michael Palin as an ambitious and ultimately ruthless friend within the Ministry, and Robert De Niro in a cameo role as Harry Tuttle, a rogue heating engineer who was meant to be the original target for the government round-up.

The film is visually stunning with some of the most incredible production design ever committed to celluloid. Gilliam and his skilled crew of technicians stretched every penny of the modest budget and created countless memorable sets, brilliantly realised props and entirely believable environmental details that all add up to something unforgettable. The special effects are also top notch, with the dream sequences deserving special mention, particularly Sam’s battle with a giant Samurai warrior and the literal flights of fantasy in his winged suit.

Infamously, Gilliam would end up in a bitter wrangle with the American distributors Universal after they decided his final cut was overlong, confusing and the ending was too depressing. The then Universal president Sid Sheinberg ordered a small team of editors to cut the film down from its original length of 2 hours and 20 minutes to just over 90 minutes for a version unofficially dubbed ‘The Love Conquers All’ cut. Most of the dream sequences were excised, the opening scenes completely chopped around and many scenes were horribly truncated. Worst of all, the original darker ending was replaced with a bizarre ‘happy’ denouement that completely ruined the tone of Gilliam’s film.

Understandably furious, the director refused to have anything to do with the new cut and actually began a campaign to get his original version seen by as many American film fans and critics as possible, much to the chagrin of Universal’s management. Eventually this culminated in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarding the original cut their prize for Best Film and this led to Universal relenting and agreeing to release a near complete version to cinemas (minus around 10 minutes from the European cut). The bastardised ‘Love Conquers All’ version never saw the inside of a cinema.

The image on this poster is actually a combination of imagery from the flying sequences and a deleted scene that was only ever storyboarded by Gilliam in which a dreaming Sam finds himself at a vast wall of filing cabinets. The title treatment is taken directly from the opening title of the film itself, which is an actual neon signage that falls away from the camera to the accompaniment of Michael Kamen’s excellent score.

I have heard from at least three independent sources that this particular quad was withdrawn from cinemas by the distributor 20th Century Fox because it was felt the image wasn’t the right one to sell the film to UK audiences and was replaced by this bizarre ‘flying bed’ quad that is a world away from this striking design. If anyone knows for sure that this quad was withdrawn or any more details about it, please get in touch.

Highlander / B2 / style C / Japan

18.09.14

Poster Poster

This is one of three B2 posters printed for the Japanese release of the cult fantasy Highlander. The film started life as a story by Gregory Widen which he penned whilst studying screenwriting at UCLA and it was sold to the film’s producers for $200k before undergoing several re-writes. Directed by Australian Russell Mulcahy, who had made a name with a series of music videos, the film is set in two time periods and tells the story of a Connor Macleod (a career-making turn from Christopher Lambert) who is born in Scotland in 1518 and discovers he is immortal when he is seemingly killed in a battle with a rival clan, later waking with no injuries. Believing him to be cursed, he is banished by his fellow clans people and is forced to live in a remote castle.

Eventually, after marrying a woman called Heather (Beatie Edney), he is visited by another immortal called Ramirez (Sean Connery) who teaches him how to sword fight and explains that the only way to kill another immortal is to remove his head. Ramirez also urges Connor to leave Heather, explaining that immortals are sterile and always end up causing hurt to any mortals that they fall in love with. In present day, Connor is shown to be living and working as an antique dealer in New York City and dealing with attacks from other immortals who are taking part in ‘The Gathering’ in which the remaining immortals from around the world fight to be the last one alive (“There can be only one!”). The psychotic Kurgan (Clancy Brown in a memorable turn), who first met Connor on the battlefield in Scotland, is determined to win the prize and will stop at nothing to do so.

Mulcahy injects great energy into the film, clearly using many of the tricks he learned making music videos and the performances of the three main actors all help to elevate the film beyond what could have been a very schlocky fantasy. Some of the scenes involving Connor and Heather are genuinely touching and force the viewer to imagine the downsides of living as an immortal. Michael Kamen’s orchestral score is excellent and is embellished by several memorable songs by the British band Queen, including ‘A Kind of Magic‘. Although not initially a box-office success in the US, the film was an international hit and would gain a cult following, which later saw the release a series of iffy film sequels and a popular TV series that lasted for six seasons. The franchise also includes comic books, novels and animated shows.

This is the style C Japanese B2 but I also have the style B one too. The British quad, painted by Brian Bysouth is by far the best of the international Highlander posters.

The trailer for the film can be seen on YouTube.

The Dark Crystal / one sheet / advance / USA

09.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Dark Crystal
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Starring
Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell, Billie Whitelaw: Aughra, Percy Edwards, Barry Dennen, Michael Kilgarriff, Jerry Nelson
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell, Billie Whitelaw: Aughra, Percy Edwards, Barry Dennen, Michael Kilgarriff, Jerry Nelson,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Jeff Kerns, Lili Lakich
Artist
Bob Lee Hickson
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Jim Henson and Frank Oz co-directed this 1982 fantasy, which is notable as being the first full-length, live-action film to feature no human characters at all; puppets play all major roles. It’s notably darker than anything the pair had worked on previously and apparently ended up suffering at the box office; parents were unsure about its suitability as a family film and it was also up against the mega-hit E.T.

The film features puppets and other creatures designed by the renowned English illustrator Brian Froud, whose fantasy artwork has brought him international acclaim. He worked directly with Jim Henson to concept, design and even help to build the complex puppets seen throughout the film. Froud would go on to collaborate with Henson on Labyrinth (1986) and his son Toby even played the baby of the same name who is kidnapped at the start of the film.

This particular poster is the advance US one sheet and the artwork is often wrongly credited to other artists, including Bob Peak and Richard Amsel. Bob Peak did do a poster featuring the titular crystal, but this wasn’t used in the US and can be seen on the Japanese B2. Richard Amsel did the final US one sheet and the artwork features on the UK quad (as well as posters from other countries).

After a bit of research I was able to determine that the designers of this poster were Jeff Kerns and Lili Lakich at the agency Calko, Kerns and Lakich. The latter is well known for her work as a sculptor of neon and has worked in various fields of design for over three decades. Lakich started her professional career designing for the entertainment industry at Seiniger Advertising in Los Angeles. In 1981 she left to form her own studio with two partners and continued to work on film posters and other marketing material until 1987. Her official site’s about page lists an impressive range of work, including logos, identity, brochures and annual reports, signage, packaging, websites and fundraising campaigns for corporations, nonprofits and individuals. Her neon artwork can be seen on the Lakich studio website.

I emailed Lili to ask her if she could recall who was responsible for the artwork on this poster and the following is an excerpt from one of her replies:

I’m afraid I can’t remember who the illustrator was for The Dark Crystal. Somewhere I have a framed poster which may have his name on it, but I can’t access it easily. It was not Bob Peak or Richard Amsel but a young guy that we hired to do comps and then the finished artwork. It was done for Calko, Kerns and Lakich which was my advertising agency from about 1980 to 1987.

UPDATE 05/06/2012
A reader of the site got in touch to confirm that the artist is Bob Lee Hickson and the Dark Crystal image can be seen on his website here.

The film’s original trailer can be seen on YouTube.

Willow / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Willow
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Ron Howard
Starring
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Alvin
Size (inches)
27" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Excellent artwork by John Alvin features on this US one sheet for the release of Ron Howard‘s 1988 fantasy film Willow, which was conceived of by George Lucas. British actor Warwick Davis features as the eponymous hero and the part had been written specifically with him in mind after he appeared as an Ewok in Lucas’ Return of the Jedi. The story begins as the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) hears of a prophecy that a newborn child will bring about her downfall and sets about imprisoning all pregnant women in her castle’s dungeon.

When a child is born and identified as the one in the prophecy, the child’s mother manages to convince the mid-wife to secret her daughter out of the castle. When Queen Bavmorda discovers what has happened she sends her daughter Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) and leader of her army General Kael in pursuit. Before being caught, the midwife manages to put the child on a raft on a river and the child ends up being found by Willow Ufgood (Davis) a a member of a race of hobbit-like people called the Nelwyns. Initially caring for the baby with his wife, Willow is persuaded to take it away from their village and back to the Daikinis (humans) when it becomes clear that there are people hunting for it. As the adventure begins, Willow and his companions soon realise they’re in for more than they bargained for.

Featuring a great performance by Val Kilmer as a selfish, reluctant hero the film still stands up today as a fun and engaging fantasy adventure with several memorable sequences and a brilliant score by James Horner. Despite being critically derided on release and not fairing too well at the box- office it has nevertheless grown something of a cult following and is notable for its use of ground-breaking special effects by Industrial Light and Magic that were used for a sequence involving a morph between several animals and a human.

The late American designer and artist John Alvin was responsible for over 135 film poster designs over a thirty year period. Alvin painted many unforgettable pieces of artwork, including Blade Runner and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. The gallery of his posters on IMPAwards gives you an idea of the range of his work. Alvin sadly passed away too early, just shy of his 60th birthday (in 2008), but his fantastic designs will live on for generations to come.

To see the posters I’ve collected by Alvin click here.

The Sword And The Sorcerer / one sheet / style A / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Sword And The Sorcerer
AKA
La spada a tre lame [The sword of three blades] (Italy)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Albert Pyun
Starring
Lee Horsley, Shelley Taylor Morgan, Kathleen Beller, Simon MacCorkindale, George Maharis, Richard Lynch, Richard Moll, Anthony De Longis, Robert Tessier, Nina Van Pallandt, Anna Bjorn, Jeff Corey, Joe Regalbuto, Christina Nigra, Earl Maynard, Russ Marin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lee Horsley, Shelley Taylor Morgan, Kathleen Beller, Simon MacCorkindale, George Maharis, Richard Lynch, Richard Moll, Anthony De Longis, Robert Tessier, Nina Van Pallandt, Anna Bjorn, Jeff Corey, Joe Regalbuto, Christina Nigra, Earl Maynard, Russ Marin,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Peter Andrew Jones
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A lusty epic of revenge and magic, dungeons and dragons, wizards and witches, damsels and desire, and a warrior caught between.

The Sword and the Sorcerer is a 1982 fantasy film directed by Albert Pyun (in his debut) and was one of several entries in the genre that were released the same year, including Conan the Barbarian and The Beastmaster. Lee Horsley appears in his first film role as Prince Talon the song of a King and Queen who are slain by the evil King Cromwell (Richard Lynch) after he uses the black magic of a sorcerer named Xusia (Richard Moll) to overthrow their kingdom.

Over a decade later, Talon returns to the kingdom as a mercenary leading a band of men on a mission to help rebels overthrow Cromwell. Talon is asked to help free Mikah (Simon MacCorkindale), Cromwell’s war chancellor, who is secretly a double agent and is captured and imprisoned. His sister Alana (Kathleen Beller) begs for help from Talon and the mercenary sets out to Cromwell’s castle where the final showdown with his parents’ murderer takes place.

The film was critically derided at the time but still proved a popular box-office draw, easily recouping its relatively low budget and ending up as the most profitable independent film of 1982.

The artwork on this style A one sheet features the signature PAJ and this belongs to Peter Andrew Jones, a British artist who was born in North London in 1951 and studied at Central St. Martins art school. After graduating in 1974 he began working on book covers for the likes of Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. He also painted artwork for the Fighting Fantasy series of books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, including the cover of the first one published in 1982, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Andrews created covers for video games published by the likes of US Gold and Psygnosis and also worked on magazine covers for Games Workshop that led to him to work on game art for several releases for the company. He only worked on a handful of film posters, which included one for Alligator II and the two one sheets for The Sword and the Sorcerer (style A and style B). These posters were adapted by the artist Brian Bysouth for the UK quad. Andrews continues to paint to this day from his home studio in Shropshire. His official site contains plenty of galleries of his work and links to buy books, prints and more.

Willow / B1 / Poland

18.12.15

Poster Poster
Title
Willow
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Ron Howard
Starring
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Wieslaw Walkuski
Artist
Wieslaw Walkuski
Size (inches)
26 5/16" x 37 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork features on this Polish B1 poster for the release of Ron Howard‘s 1988 fantasy film Willow, which was conceived of by George Lucas. British actor Warwick Davis features as the eponymous hero and the part had been written specifically with him in mind after he appeared as an Ewok in Lucas’ Return of the Jedi. The story begins as the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) hears of a prophecy that a newborn child will bring about her downfall and sets about imprisoning all pregnant women in her castle’s dungeon.

When a child is born and identified as the one in the prophecy, the child’s mother manages to convince the mid-wife to secret her daughter out of the castle. When Queen Bavmorda discovers what has happened she sends her daughter Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) and leader of her army General Kael in pursuit. Before being caught, the midwife manages to put the child on a raft on a river and the child ends up being found by Willow Ufgood (Davis) a a member of a race of hobbit-like people called the Nelwyns. Initially caring for the baby with his wife, Willow is persuaded to take it away from their village and back to the Daikinis (humans) when it becomes clear that there are people hunting for it. As the adventure begins, Willow and his companions soon realise they’re in for more than they bargained for.

Featuring a great performance by Val Kilmer as a selfish, reluctant hero the film still stands up today as a fun and engaging fantasy adventure with several memorable sequences and a brilliant score by James Horner. Despite being critically derided on release and not fairing too well at the box- office it has nevertheless grown something of a cult following and is notable for its use of ground-breaking special effects by Industrial Light and Magic that were used for a sequence involving a morph between several animals and a human.

The artwork on the poster is by Wieslaw Walkuski who 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.

The Sword And The Sorcerer / one sheet / style B / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Sword And The Sorcerer
AKA
La spada a tre lame [The sword of three blades] (Italy)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Albert Pyun
Starring
Lee Horsley, Shelley Taylor Morgan, Kathleen Beller, Simon MacCorkindale, George Maharis, Richard Lynch, Richard Moll, Anthony De Longis, Robert Tessier, Nina Van Pallandt, Anna Bjorn, Jeff Corey, Joe Regalbuto, Christina Nigra, Earl Maynard, Russ Marin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lee Horsley, Shelley Taylor Morgan, Kathleen Beller, Simon MacCorkindale, George Maharis, Richard Lynch, Richard Moll, Anthony De Longis, Robert Tessier, Nina Van Pallandt, Anna Bjorn, Jeff Corey, Joe Regalbuto, Christina Nigra, Earl Maynard, Russ Marin,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Peter Andrews
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A lusty epic of revenge and magic, dungeons and dragons, wizards and witches, damsels and desire, and a warrior caught between.

The Sword and the Sorcerer is a 1982 fantasy film directed by Albert Pyun (in his debut) and was one of several entries in the genre that were released the same year, including Conan the Barbarian and The Beastmaster. Lee Horsley appears in his first film role as Prince Talon the song of a King and Queen who are slain by the evil King Cromwell (Richard Lynch) after he uses the black magic of a sorcerer named Xusia (Richard Moll) to overthrow their kingdom.

Over a decade later, Talon returns to the kingdom as a mercenary leading a band of men on a mission to help rebels overthrow Cromwell. Talon is asked to help free Mikah (Simon MacCorkindale), Cromwell’s war chancellor, who is secretly a double agent and is captured and imprisoned. His sister Alana (Kathleen Beller) begs for help from Talon and the mercenary sets out to Cromwell’s castle where the final showdown with his parents’ murderer takes place.

The film was critically derided at the time but still proved a popular box-office draw, easily recouping its relatively low budget and ending up as the most profitable independent film of 1982.

The artwork on this style B one sheet features the signature Peter Andrew, which has actually been cut short as it belongs to Peter Andrew Jones, a British artist who was born in North London in 1951 and studied at Central St. Martins art school. After graduating in 1974 he began working on book covers for the likes of Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. He also painted artwork for the Fighting Fantasy series of books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, including the cover of the first one published in 1982, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Andrews created covers for video games published by the likes of US Gold and Psygnosis and also worked on magazine covers for Games Workshop that led to him to work on game art for several releases for the company. He only worked on a handful of film posters, which included one for Alligator II and the two one sheets for The Sword and the Sorcerer (style A and style B). These posters were adapted by the artist Brian Bysouth for the UK quad. Andrews continues to paint to this day from his home studio in Shropshire. His official site contains plenty of galleries of his work and links to buy books, prints and more.

 

Willow / one sheet / UK

14.01.15

Poster Poster
Title
Willow
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Ron Howard
Starring
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
27" x 39 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A world where heroes come in all sizes and adventure is the greatest magic of all.

Excellent artwork on this UK one sheet for the release of Ron Howard‘s 1988 fantasy film Willow, which was conceived of by George Lucas. British actor Warwick Davis features as the eponymous hero and the part had been written specifically with him in mind after he appeared as an Ewok in Lucas’ Return of the Jedi. The story begins as the evil Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) hears of a prophecy that a newborn child will bring about her downfall and sets about imprisoning all pregnant women in her castle’s dungeon.

When a child is born and identified as the one in the prophecy, the child’s mother manages to convince the mid-wife to secret her daughter out of the castle. When Queen Bavmorda discovers what has happened she sends her daughter Sorsha (Joanne Whalley) and leader of her army General Kael in pursuit. Before being caught, the midwife manages to put the child on a raft on a river and the child ends up being found by Willow Ufgood (Davis) a a member of a race of hobbit-like people called the Nelwyns. Initially caring for the baby with his wife, Willow is persuaded to take it away from their village and back to the Daikinis (humans) when it becomes clear that there are people hunting for it. As the adventure begins, Willow and his companions soon realise they’re in for more than they bargained for.

Featuring a great performance by Val Kilmer as a selfish, reluctant hero the film still stands up today as a fun and engaging fantasy adventure with several memorable sequences and a brilliant score by James Horner. Despite being critically derided on release and not fairing too well at the box- office it has nevertheless grown something of a cult following and is notable for its use of ground-breaking special effects by Industrial Light and Magic that were used for a sequence involving a morph between several animals and a human.

This one sheet was created by the British designer and artist Brian Bysouth who I interviewed for this site in 2012, There is also a quad for Willow featuring the same artwork. Brian is one of my favourite artists and worked on multiple classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

Barbarella / one sheet / 1977 re-release / International

23.05.14

Poster Poster
Title
Barbarella
AKA
Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy (alt. title)
Year of Film
1968
Director
Roger Vadim
Starring
Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin, David Hemmings, Ugo Tognazzi
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin, David Hemmings, Ugo Tognazzi,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Boris Vallejo
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
770161
Tagline
Who can save the universe?

There’s nothing quite like Barbarella! A French/Italian co-production, this kitsch sci-fi adventure is one of the downright silliest films ever committed to celluloid and was unquestionably the defining role for Jane Fondawho plays the titular ‘astronavigator’. Based on the landmark ‘adult’ comic by Frenchman Jean-Claude Forest, the film was helmed by Roger Vadim, the French director, screenwriter (and occasional actor), who was also Fonda’s husband at the time of production. Vadim would spend most of his life dating or being married to several of the most beautiful women in film, including Brigitte BardotAnnette Stroyberg and Catherine Deneuve.

You don’t watch Barbarella for the plot, especially since there’s not much of one to speak of, but the film is set in the 41st century and sees our heroine dispatched from an Earth without war and violence (only love) in search of the missing scientist Durand Durand (Milo O’Shea) who has apparently built a weapon called the Positronic Ray that threatens peace across the galaxy. After crash-landing on an icy planet, Barbarella is kidnapped by a pair of strange girls who subject her to an attack by evil dolls. She’s rescued by ‘The Catchman’ Mark Hand (Ugo Tognazzi) who she rewards with sex before he points her in the direction of Sogo City, the realm of The Great Tyrant (Anita Pallenberg).

The story and script may be nonsense but the film is never less than gorgeous to look at, with brilliant production and costume design throughout, whilst the music by Charles Fox is also memorable. The film also features several other cult actors, including Marcel MarceauJohn Phillip Law and David Hemmings (Suspiria). 

This poster is for the 1977 re-release of the film which saw the film edited to achieve a PG rating and re-released with the subtitle of ‘Queen of the Galaxy’, which was done to capitalise on the success of Star Wars. The original 1968 one sheet had been painted by Robert McGinnis and for this release the distributors turned to Boris Vallejo, a Peruvian painter who emigrated to the US in 1964 and was acclaimed primarily as a fantasy and erotica artist. Vallejo started out painting paperback covers for the likes of Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian and this work would lead to him being commissioned by various studios to paint the posters for films including Knightriders, Q (the Winged Serpent) and two posters for the National Lampoon series.

Vallejo continues to paint alongside his wife Julie Bell, also a fantasy artist, and the pair’s official website can be viewed here and features extensive galleries of work. To see the other posters I’ve collected by Vallejo click here.

Note that this is the international one sheet because it was printed without the PG-rating box seen on the US version.

Sorceress / one sheet / international

04.01.12

Poster Poster
Title
Sorceress
AKA
La Spada e la Magia (Italy)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Jack Hill
Starring
Leigh Harris, Lynette Harris, Bob Nelson, David Millbern, Bruno Rey, Ana De Sade, Roberto Ballesteros
Origin of Film
USA | Mexico
Genre(s) of Film
Leigh Harris, Lynette Harris, Bob Nelson, David Millbern, Bruno Rey, Ana De Sade, Roberto Ballesteros,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert Tanenbaum
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
An epic adventure of swords and sorcery when good and evil clash in the ultimate cosmic struggle!

The last film from Jack Hill, the director of several exploitation films such as Foxy Brown and The Swinging Cheerleaders, Sorceress was one of several fantasy films released in the wake of Conan the Barbarian. It currently sits on a meagre IMDb score of 3.7 out of 10 and sounds like something of a clunker:

Sorceress is bad. Astronomically bad. Not the kind of bad that we’re used to. No, not mediocre Hollywood bad. It’s so bad, it’s almost a religious experience.

To be fair, with a poster like this it’s not like the audience were expecting much, as another reviewer points out:

Tremendously fun if you approach it in the correct frame of mind (and probably even better when one is drunk). Oh, did I happen to mention the beautiful boobies on display in this?

This is the international one sheet featuring artwork by American artist Robert Tanenbaum. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

The US one sheet looks like this and the original trailer is on YouTube (contains bewbs).

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / one sheet / Drew Struzan version / USA

21.07.11

Poster Poster
Title
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
AKA
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (UK)
Year of Film
2001
Director
Chris Columbus
Starring
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2001
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Let The Magic Begin.

After eight films and close to 150 posters (according to the IMPAwards), this poster for the first film in the Harry Potter franchise is the only one I’m happy to add to my collection, and features art by the incomparable Drew Struzan. Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that it was originally intended to be the first in a series of Struzan designs; Drew was told he’d be doing a poster for each of the subsequent films. This design is featured in his must-buy book ‘The Art of Drew Struzan’ and he talks about the plans:

Hearkening back to Back to the Future and Indiana Jones, they wanted a consistent technique and style they could perpetuate through a series of posters. I watched the movie on a monitor, got the stills – it was everywhere. I’d never read the books, but fans felt the movie poster captured the spirit, the mystery and sense of adventure.

We were going to be treated to a new Struzan poster for every film release, but this was not to be and the studio changed its plans:

Warner Bros. got a new head of worldwide advertising. And whenever you get a new guy, he wants to flush everything approved by the prior regime.

A hugely disappointing move since Drew was (and is) the perfect artist to capture the magic and fantasy of the Harry Potter films, yet the studio felt photographic images were the only way to sell the films to the public. Drew was as disappointed as the rest of us:

I had been preparing to live with Harry Potter for six movies; I was really getting into it. At the point they killed me, I couldn’t let it go and went ahead and painted the finished version of the sequel for my own satisfaction. I had to complete it.

The Art of Drew Struzan features his design for the second film and it’s another superb poster, as expected. We can only imagine what the rest of the posters would have looked like, if only the studio had stuck with their plans…

British film website The Shiznit has collected all of the posters together and rightly awarded best poster of the series to this one.

Erik the Viking / Thailand

17.07.17

Poster Poster

This Thai poster for Terry Jones’ 1989 fantasy film Erik the Viking features artwork by Tongdee Panumas. The prolific Jones (actor, director, author, screenwriter, poet, historian) is best known as a Monty Python member and director of the comedy group’s feature films. The film was inspired by Jones’ own 1983 children’s book The Saga of Erik the Viking but shares only character names; the plotline is completely different. Based largely on Norse mythology, Tim Robbins stars as the titular Viking who discovers in the opening scene that he has no taste for the usual Viking activities of raping and pillaging. He learns from a wise old woman that Fenrir the wolf has swallowed the sun and plunged the world into the chaotic age of Ragnarök. Erik resolves to gather a motley crew together to travel to Asgard and petition the gods to end Ragnarök and bring sunlight back to his people. First he must travel to Hy-Brasil and recover the ‘Horn Resounding’ and there he meets King Arnulf (Jones) and promptly falls in love with his daughter, Princess Aud (Imogen Stubbs).

The film was largely critically panned and didn’t fare too well at the box-office. Over the years Jones and his son Bill have made a few edits to the film, with a VHS release chopping 18 minutes from the runtime, before a 2006 “Director’s Son’s Cut” saw it reduced down to just 75 minutes (from the original theatrical running time of 107 minutes).

This Thai poster features a repainted take on the figures falling out of the viking boat, as seen on the German poster (and painted by Renato Casaro), but adds more colour and a montage of action scenes as was typical of the artist responsible. Tongdee Panumas was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that this particular copy of the poster has been hand-signed by Tongdee and I bought it from someone who had visited Thailand, met the artist and had him sign a few posters. I’ve seen photographic evidence that it’s a genuine signature.

Excalibur / A0 / Germany

19.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
A0
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Based on Bob Beak artwork
Size (inches)
33" x 46 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

At first glance, the artwork on this large-format (A0) German poster for the 1981 fantasy film Excalibur seems to be the same Bob Peak artwork that appears on posters from around the world, including the US one sheet, but it is not. When viewed up close, and compared to the Peak art, it’s clear that the (German) artist was asked to replicate the original as closely as possible, but the quality is definitely lacking in comparison to Peak. The likely reason the distributor decided to have the art repainted, as opposed to cutting and recomposing Peak’s, is that the one sheet art’s composition is completely unsuited to the landscape format of this A0. I suspect a similar thing happened with the British quad, which features an image of the sword being held aloft that is not the same artwork as on the Peak one sheet. The sword appears alongside an image of Merlin that is the artist’s work.

Excalibur was a passion project for the director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank) who had been trying to kickstart a project based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table since 1969. After almost a decade he was able to pull together the financial backing to commence filming, with a script based on the 15th century tales of Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory. The film is notable for being entirely shot on location in Ireland and for featuring breakout performances from a number of notable actors, including Helen MirrenGabriel Byrne, and Liam Neeson. Set over several decades, the story follows the machinations of multiple characters, with the wizard Merlin (Nicol Williamson) acting as something of a constant (if deeply eccentric) figure who floats around the rulers of Britain. In one of the first scenes we see him retrieving the titular sword from the Lady of the Lake.

Beginning with a king called Uther Pendragon (Byrne), Merlin first assists him in first reaching a truce with Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, before Uther sets his sights on the Duke’s wife Igrayne and war breaks out once more. Merlin reluctantly offers to help him defeat Gorlois and capture Igrayne on the condition that he can have ‘whatever results from this lust’. Without fully understanding the ramifications of the deal, Uther agrees, slays the Duke and has his way with Igrayne (albeit under a Merlin spell that makes him look like the Duke). Nine months later Merlin arrives to claim his agreed prize, a boy born of that night’s passion. The wizard leaves the castle with him, much to Igrayne’s horror, and eventually Uther decides to pursue and attempt to rescue his son. Unfortunately he is attacked in a forest by a group of Gorlois’ men and dies, but not before he thrusts Excalibur into a stone and proclaims, “He who draws the sword from the stone, he shall be king.”

The story then jumps forward several years and sees the boy, now grown into a teenager named Arthur, completely unaware of his origins (Merlin had given him to another couple to raise as their own). Whilst attending a jousting contest with his father and brother, a mixup with a stolen sword sees Arthur easily pulling Excalibur from the stone after hundreds of men have failed to do so in the past. Unaware of the significance of the event, it takes Arthur a while to understand that he is now the rightful king and only a visit from Merlin eventually convinces him. The rest of the film follows Arthur as he rallies knights around him, takes the throne and establishes the famous court and castle of Camelot. He also meets and falls in love with Guinevere (Cherie Lunghi) but eventually tensions rise when Lancelot, one of his trusted knights, becomes infatuated with her. Morgana, a budding sorceress and Arthur’s half-sister, also tricks Merlin into teaching her the Charm of Making, allowing her to take the form of others. When she tricks Arthur into sleeping with her (him believing it to be Guinevere) the resultant child threatens an end to the whole kingdom.

Apparently the film was originally completed to a length of around three hours before having 40 minutes trimmed and I can’t help but feel that allowing the film to breathe might have helped. There’s a lot of story to fit in and it’s fair to say that the cuts do show; I found some of the time jumps and scene to scene transitions pretty jarring, whilst the script doesn’t exactly help matters. Critics at the time also found the film’s story and exposition wanting but most agreed that Boorman had definitely succeeded in making the film visually stunning. The use of real locations along with some incredible costumes such as the shiny chrome armour worn by most of the male cast (Merlin even has a shiny cap) are accentuated by the use of coloured lighting. The film has developed something of a cult reputation over the years, largely thanks to the arresting visuals on display.

If anyone knows who the artist was that repainted the original Bob Peak art, please get in touch.

Heart Condition / Thailand

01.03.17

Poster Poster
Title
Heart Condition
AKA
Black Ghost (Spain)
Year of Film
1990
Director
James D. Parriott
Starring
Bob Hoskins, Denzel Washington, Chloe Webb, Roger E. Mosley, Ja'net DuBois, Alan Rachins, Ray Baker, Jeffrey Meek, Eva LaRue
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bob Hoskins, Denzel Washington, Chloe Webb, Roger E. Mosley, Ja'net DuBois, Alan Rachins, Ray Baker, Jeffrey Meek, Eva LaRue,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
24" x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for the 1990 fantasy-comedy, Heart Condition, starring the late Bob Hoskins and Denzel Washington. The film was written and directed by James D. Parriott who appears to have spent most of his career working in TV (including shows like Grey’s Anatomy). It was one of only a handful of ‘racial’ comedies that Denzel starred in and he was apparently talked into doing it by his then agent. After the film was critically mauled and sank at the box-office he fired his agent and wasn’t to appear in another comedy film for over two decades.

IMDb describes the plot like this:

Jack Moony (Hoskins), a white cop, has it in for a black lawyer to the drug crowd, Napoleon Stone (Washington). That Stone is now dating his ex-girlfriend doesn’t help matters at all. Stone is shot after Moony suffers a heart attack and wakes to find that he not only has a new heart, but that it is Stone’s and that Stone’s ghost is now his constant companion. Stone is insistent that Moony not only take care of his heart now but that Moony solve his murder.

This Thai poster features a repainted take on the two leads as featured on the US one sheet but adds significantly more colour and a montage of action scenes as was typical of the artist responsible. Tongdee Panumas was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that this particular copy of the poster has been hand-signed by Tongdee and I bought it from someone who had visited Thailand, met the artist and had him sign a few posters. I’ve seen photographic evidence that it’s a genuine signature.

The Company Of Wolves / one sheet / UK

16.09.13

Poster Poster

A joint collaboration between two British production companies, Palace Pictures and Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment, The Company of Wolves was helmed by the Irish director Neil Jordan and based on a short story by the late English author Angela Carter, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Jordan. The film begins in the modern day with the  lead character Rosaleen (played by first-time actress Sarah Patterson) having moved with her parents to a large house in a forest. At night Rosaleen falls asleep and has a vivid dream in which she is a medieval peasant girl who lives with her grandma (played by Murder, She Wrote’s Angela Lansbury) in a woodland village. Sitting by the fire one evening her grandma begins to tell her a story and what follows is a series of surreal, fantasy tales, with multiple narratives and narrators, most of which feature wolves or werewolves, and all of which are ripe with hidden meanings and deeper significances (check out this page on IMDb to give you an idea).

Featuring elements of the classic Little Red Riding Hood fairytale (and indeed the film features a blood red shawl worn by a young girl) the film is a parable of the loss of innocence and the beginning of adolescence and sexual awakening – as the Grandma says at one point ‘Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle.’ Overcoming a slight budget The Company of Wolves has a dream-like, eerie atmosphere helped in no-small part by excellent production and costume design. There is also a werewolf transformation scene that challenges the famous one seen in American Werewolf in London. Palace Pictures would re-team several more times with Neil Jordan, including for Mona Lisa (1986) and Oscar-winning The Crying Game (1992)

This one sheet was printed for use in the UK alongside the quad, which is markedly different in its design and can be viewed here. The artwork was painted by the celebrated British artist George Underwood, who is perhaps best known for his work on album covers for the likes of David Bowie (Hunky Dory, Space Oddity and more), T.Rex and The Fixx. Born in Bromley, Kent in 1947, Underwood went on to study at the nearby Beckenham Art School and then afterwards at Ravensbourne College of Art. After a brief flirtation with the music industry (Bowie being a lifelong friend of his), he decided to concentrate on his design and illustration, beginning his career by working on LP covers and book covers.

Later on, Underwood would start work as a freelance illustrator, which is when he would have painted this poster for Palace Pictures. In the 1970s he began painting in oils, creating wonderful surrealist portraits and his official website features galleries of these and his other work, including album covers. I’m unsure whether he worked on any other film posters but I intend to contact the artist to find out.

Legend / quad / UK

10.10.16

Poster Poster
Title
Legend
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Alvin
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
"I am Darkness"

John Alvin artwork features on this British quad for the release of director Ridley Scott‘s 1985 fantasy oddity, Legend. It’s a film that is often scrubbed from both Scott and star Tom Cruise’s filmography whenever their previous films are discussed. There are a number of reasons for this, not least the fact that it had a troubled production as well as a fairly brutal critical mauling. Cruise’s performance is a shadow of what the actor brought to Tony Scott’s seminal Top Gun only a year later. part of the blame for this has to be down to the way the film was extensively edited by both Scott and the studio prior to release. Scott’s first version ran 125 minutes and this was then cut down to 113 minutes following some test screenings. The final UK (European?) release was 95 minutes and US audiences had another 6 minutes removed for their version.

There are things to admire about the film, including the production and set design which created some memorable environments in which the action takes place. Tim Curry is near unrecognisable as the evil Darkness (as featured on this poster) and the make-up effects, created by Rob Bottin and his team, are incredible. Mia Sara also impresses as Lili and it’s hard to believe she was just 16 at the time of filming. Whilst it failed to recoup its budget on initial release, the film has definitely gained something of a cult following in the years since, particularly with those coming of age around the time of its release on home video. 

The late American designer and artist John Alvin was responsible for over 135 film poster designs over a thirty year period. Alvin painted many unforgettable pieces of artwork, including Blade Runner and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, and this image he created for Legend was used around the globe to promote the film, including in multiple European countries and on the international one sheet. Alvin sadly passed away too early, just shy of his 6oth birthday (in 2008), but his fantastic designs will live on for generations to come.

To see the posters I’ve collected by Alvin click here.

Superman / Thailand

01.08.16

Poster Poster

Unique artwork by the Thai artist Tongdee Panumas features on this Thai poster for the release of Superman in 1978 (although the release date in Thailand was likely later). Whilst there had been several other superhero films released over the preceding decades, including three Superman ones, this is often considered to presage the hugely popular franchises of today, including Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and DC’s new crop of films. The Superman character had been invented in 1933 by two high school students, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who would go on to sell their creation to the original incarnation of DC Comics (then called Action Comics) in 1938.

The first Superman film appeared exactly 30 years before this one and was actually a 15 chapter serial that dealt with the character’s origin story, from his birth on the dying planet of Krypton to his eventual assumption of the guise of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent in the city of Metropolis. The 1978 film tackled the same origin story and was in development for around four years after Alexander and Ilya Salkind, a father and son producing team, negotiated the rights from DC in 1974. The Godfather scribe Mario Puzo was hired to write the script and the hunt for a suitable director took almost three years before Richard Donner was eventually selected. The producers decided to film Superman and its sequel back-to-back, but tensions during the production saw the latter’s production put on hold to focus on the first film. Puzo’s script was apparently completely retooled by Donner and an uncredited Tom Mankiewicz.

The casting of Superman was as protracted as the hunt for a director and several A-list actors were offered the part before the production team decided to instead go with the relatively unknown Christopher Reeve. The choice would be richly rewarded, both in financial terms but also in the amounts of critical praise Reeve would garner over the months following the films release. Any doubts about the film being a schlocky retread of previous superhero films were put to bed by the casting of the likes of Marlon Brando (taking a then record salary with profits percentage totalling $19m) as Superman’s father Jor-El, Gene Hackman as the villainous Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. 

The film begins with the destruction of Krypton and Kal-El’s (Superman) parents sending their infant son off into space to land on Earth in the fictional town of Smallville in Kansas. The boy is found and raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent as their own son (whom they name Clark) and the couple vow to keep his burgeoning powers a secret. When he reaches 18, following the death of Jonathan, Clark hears a psychic call and travels to the Arctic with a crystal he finds in the craft that took him to earth. There the crystal builds the Fortress of Solitude where a hologram of Jor-El teaches his son about his origins and the extent of his powers. After 12 years of training Clark heads to Metropolis and takes a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper where he meets Lois Lane, a fellow reporter. Soon after he begins using his powers in public for the first time with heroic rescues and acts of crime prevention proving to Metropolis that there is a superhero in their midst.

The nefarious plans of Lex Luthor threaten the lives of everyone on the West Coast of America and Superman must act to stop him, however the master criminal learns of Superman’s weakness when it comes to the radioactive element Kryptonite which, as the name suggests, comes from his home planet. At the time the film was the most expensive made, with a budget of $55 million, but it ended up as a huge box-office success and earned over $300m during its cinema run.The then groundbreaking special effects were particularly praised and the film was able to capitalise on cinema audiences’ appetite for science-fiction and fantasy following the release of films such as Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind a year earlier. Critics lavished the film with praise and the sequel was quickly put into turnaround by the producers, although things didn’t exactly work out smoothly for most involved.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that the scenes from the film depicted towards the bottom of the poster also appear in much more detail on a series of Thai lobby posters that I plan to add to the site in the near future. Elements of this poster are of course based on the classic US poster by Bob Peak that features the Superman logo against blue sky and clouds.

Time Bandits / quad / UK

10.04.12

Poster Poster
Title
Time Bandits
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Terry Gilliam
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
All the dreams you've ever had and not just the good ones.

This British quad for Terry Gilliam‘s time-travelling fantasy features artwork by the director himself. His signature can be seen to the bottom right of the castle and a more scribbly ‘Gilliam’ is subtly hidden in the background hills (see photo 3). Time Bandits is one of the director’s best, in my opinion, and features typically brilliant imagery combined with a great cast, including a few surprising cameos.

The film follows 11-year-old Kevin (Craig Warnock) and his adventures with a troupe of time-travelling dwarves who are on the run from their master, the Supreme Being. As the gang use a special map to hop through holes in the universe and into different time periods they soon realise that their journey is being controlled by a sinister force. It’s not long before they are forced to confront Evil and save themselves from certain death. The ending of the film, which I won’t spoil, is brilliantly bonkers.

According to IMDb, in 1996 Terry Gilliam and [screenwriter and actor] Charles McKeown collaborated on a script for Time Bandits 2, bringing back most of the original cast, with the exceptions of David Rappaport and Tiny Ross who had passed away a few years before, and owing to Jack Purvis being paralysed from a car accident, his character was written to be in a similar state. But following the death of Purvis, the project was shelved indefinitely.

The excellent, unusual trailer is on YouTube.

 

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad / one sheet / teaser / USA

15.06.16

Poster Poster

A very unusual teaser one sheet for the release of the 1973 fantasy film The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. The poster is dominated by a Zodiac chart and the best I can figure is that this was due to the films links to Greek myths and legends (with the Zodiac having origins in Greek astronomy). The film is notable for being the second of three Sinbad films that feature work from the stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen. The first was released in 1958 and was called The 7th Voyage of Sinbad whilst the third film was released in 1977 and named Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. The ‘Dynarama’ mentioned on this poster was a marketing term that was coined by Harryhausen’s producer and partner and simply refers to the full-colour animation style (it started out as ‘Dynamation’).

Directed by the late Gordon Hessler, the film features the late American actor John Phillip Law as Sinbad and the lovely Caroline Munro as a slave girl who joins the adventure. Former Doctor Who Tom Baker appears as the evil prince Koura. The plot is described thusly:

Sinbad and his crew intercept a homunculus carrying a golden tablet. Koura, the creator of the homunculus and practitioner of evil magic, wants the tablet back and pursues Sinbad. Meanwhile Sinbad meets the Vizier who has another part of the interlocking golden map, and they mount a quest across the seas to solve the riddle of the map, accompanied by a slave girl with a mysterious tattoo of an eye on her palm. They encounter strange beasts, tempests, and the dark interference of Koura along the way.

The film was critically well-received at the time of release and made good at the box-office, which no doubt contributed to the short gap between this film and the sequel.

The standard one sheet features most of the images seen around the edges of this poster and can be seen here.

The Land That Time Forgot / quad / UK

24.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Land That Time Forgot
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Kevin Connor
Starring
Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron, Anthony Ainley, Godfrey James, Bobby Parr
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Doug McClure, John McEnery, Susan Penhaligon, Keith Barron, Anthony Ainley, Godfrey James, Bobby Parr,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
From the author of Tarzan

The Land That Time Forgot was the first entry in a series of British sci-fi/fantasy b-movies that were directed by Kevin Connor and starred the prolific American actor Doug McClure, known for his hammy leading man performances (McClure was one of the inspirations for The Simpsons’ Troy ‘You may remember me from…’ McClure). The series continued with At the Earth’s Core (1976) and The People That Time Forgot (1977), and ended with Warlords of Atlantis (1978). The initial three were shepherded through production by Max Rosenberg and Milton Subotsky’s Amicus Productions, which was based at Shepperton studios and is perhaps best remembered for its series of portmanteau horror films. By the time Warlords of Atlantis was released the company was almost defunct and so EMI Films stepped in and produced it, utilising many of the same cast and crew as the previous films.

The Land That Time Forgot starts with the torpedoing of a passenger ship by a German U-boat crew. The few remaining survivors, including Bowen Tyler (McClure) and Lisa Clayton (Penhaligon), manage to overcome the U-boat’s crew when it surfaces and they force the captain to pilot the craft back to allied waters. The crew decide to sabotage their plans and the craft ends up completely lost in unknown waters. They happen across a strange island and find an underwater cave through which they pilot the U-boat. When they surface in the islands interior they are immediately set upon by a dinosaur-like creature that eats one of the crew before Tyler manages to decapitate it. The crew then venture through the strange land and come across more giant beasts and a tribe of primitive cavemen before discovering oil, which they hope will allow them to escape back to civilisation.

The film is never less than entertaining and McClure definitely gives it all he’s got. The creature effects have really dated badly, however, and are definitely not up to the standard set by Ray Harryhausen. There’s one excruciatingly bad sequence where the crew blast away at a pair of T-Rex like creatures and the second one takes an age to fall over unconvincingly (explained away by saying that the creature’s brains are slow to send signals). There are some decent special effects like the U-boat scenes underwater but it’s one film that hasn’t stood the test of time as well as some of its contemporaries.

The brilliant artwork on this quad, featuring a cheeky image of a T-Rex underwater (which is definitely not in the film itself), is by Tom Chantrell, the celebrated British artist whose dynamic and colourful work 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. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a number of other designs by him on this site.

Highlander / quad / UK

07.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
Highlander
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Russell Mulcahy
Starring
Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart, Clancy Brown, Sean Connery, Beatie Edney, Alan North, Jon Polito, Sheila Gish, Hugh Quarshie, Christopher Malcolm
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart, Clancy Brown, Sean Connery, Beatie Edney, Alan North, Jon Polito, Sheila Gish, Hugh Quarshie, Christopher Malcolm,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
From another time comes a man of great power. A man of incredible strength. An immortal about to face his greatest challenge... | There can be only one

British artist Brian Bysouth is responsible for this great design for the classic fantasy film Highlander that spawned several sequels and TV series. It’s significantly more interesting than the dull US poster. This Bysouth design can also be found in a one sheet format.

During my interview with Brian this poster was discussed:

I like it because of the amount of detail you can see, much like your painting for Highlander.
Thank you, I was pleased with that one. It was an enjoyable job and, fortunately, when asked to do a design for that type of film I was usually quick to identify what the key image should be. Phil Howard-Jones, the advertising director at EMI, who I did the work for, liked it very much and eventually he kindly returned it to me.

The trailer for the film can be seen on YouTube.

Dragonslayer / quad / UK

04.11.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dragonslayer
AKA
Il drago del lago di fuoco [The dragon from the lake of fire] (Italy)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Matthew Robbins
Starring
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Its talons tear. Its breath burns. It is terror. And only sorcery can destroy it.

Great artwork by Brian Bysouth, from a design by Vic Fair, for this wizard versus dragon fantasy tale, which was co-produced by Disney and Paramount and directed by Matthew Robbins (Batteries Not Included). Apparently the effects for Vermithrax the dragon were given 25% of the film’s budget and were realised by several different teams, including Phil Tippet at ILM (final design and model), Brian Johnson (special effects) and Ken Ralston (flying scenes).

‘Go-motion’, a variant of stop-motion animation using computer-controlled cameras and developed by ILM for The Empire Strikes Back, was used for the scenes showing the dragon flying and walking with the intention of making these scenes feel more realistic.

Whilst Guillermo Del Toro was preparing to film his ultimately doomed version of The Hobbit, he stated:

One of the best and one of the strongest landmarks that almost nobody can overcome is ‘Dragonslayer.’ The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made.

In 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and the resulting article can be read here.

The US one sheet is markedly different but is also something of a classic, with artwork by Jeffrey Catherine Jones.

Clash Of The Titans / B2 / style B / Japan

29.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
Clash Of The Titans
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Desmond Davis
Starring
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A unique montage features on this Japanese style B poster for the release of the 1981 fantasy adventure Clash of the Titans, which features several characters from Greek mythology. The film is perhaps most notable for being the last feature film for which celebrated stop motion artist Ray Harryhausen provided creature effects, and he effectively retired following its release. The story follows the machinations of Greek gods and their charges on earth as Perseus (poodle-haired, square-jawed Harry Hamlin), son of Zeus (Laurence Olivier), triggers the wrath of the sea goddess Thetis (Maggie Smith) after he tries to woo the gorgeous Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker).

Unbeknownst to Perseus, Andromeda was in a relationship with Thetis’ son Calibos before Zeus had punished him for various corrupt deeds by turning him into a half-beast creature and banishing him from civilised society. Perseus must undergo a series of trials to successfully win the hand of Andromeda and things take a turn for the worse when he is able to successfully answer a riddle that had seen previous suitors burned at the steak. Thetis once again intervenes, demanding that Andromeda be sacrificed to the titan Kraken or risk the total destruction of the city of Joppa. Perseus sets out once again to discover a way to stop the Kraken and save Andromeda from certain death.

This B2 features elements from the two US one sheets printed for the film – the Kraken attack is from Dan Goozee’s style B one sheet, whilst the orange Pegasus is from the Brothers Hildebrandt’s awesome advance one sheet. The style A Japanese B2 is also in the Film on Paper collection and can be seen here.