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Shaft in Africa / 30×40 / USA

25.11.13

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft in Africa
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins, Willie Jonah
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins, Willie Jonah,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Solie
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
THE Brother Man in the Motherland. Shaft is stickin' it... all the way.

Shaft in Africa is the final entry in the trilogy of films featuring Blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree). This time the eponymous detective is kidnapped from his New York apartment and coerced into assuming the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker. His ’employer’ wants Shaft to smash a human trafficking ring, run by the dastardly Amafi (Frank Finlay), that’s bringing African workers into Europe to exploit them. Much more of an adventure film than the previous two entries, which were pretty much entirely set in urban areas, this film was actually shot on location in Ethiopia and has less of a blaxploitation feel and more of a James Bond-style action style. Gordon Parks, the director of the previous entries, was replaced by the British director John Guillermin who would helm the box-office smash The Towering Inferno the following year.

The all-action artwork on this 30×40 poster is by the American artist John Solie who has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Another gallery of his work can be viewed on Wrong Side of the Art. Solie also painted the art for the US poster for Shaft’s Big Score.

Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

Lifeforce / B2 / photo style / Japan

22.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Photo style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A suitably outlandish design on this Japanese B2 (style B) for the release of Tobe Hooper’s sci-fi curio Lifeforce. Based on the 1976 novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, the film’s screenplay was written by Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Total Recall) and Don Jakoby and was the first in a three film deal that Hooper had agreed with notorious production and distribution company Cannon Films (the others were Invaders from Mars and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). The film begins as the joint US-UK space shuttle Churchill heads towards Halley’s Comet on a research mission. After discovering a large dormant alien ship in the comet’s tail, a small team sets out to investigate and discovers a trio of naked humanoids in transparent stasis pods surrounded by the dried husks of hundreds of bat-like creatures.

The pods, which contain two males and a female (the stunning Mathilda May) are brought onboard the spaceship. Several weeks later, after losing contact with Churchill’s crew, a rescue team is sent out and finds the shuttle drifting in space having been crippled by a catastrophic fire with all crew presumed dead. The pods are discovered in the hold completely untouched and are returned to earth to the European Space Research Centre in London where Dr. Leonard Bukovsky (the late Michael Gothard) and Dr. Hans Fallada (Frank Finlay) oversee a planned autopsy on the humanoid figures. The female awakens during the procedure and attacks one of the doctors, draining the ‘lifeforce’ from him, leaving just a desiccated husk. She then escapes from the facility and sets in motion a chain of events that eventually sees the city of London besieged by hundreds of newly created space vampires.

The film gets increasingly bonkers as it continues and the acting from Steve Railsback (shuttle captain Carlsen) is absolutely bizarre, ranging from barely audible mumbles to wild-eyed shouting. Frank Finlay is also good value and appears to think he’s starring in a 1960s Hammer horror film. The special effects are notably good and were headed up by award-winning artist John Dykstra. The alien ship scenes are very well done, as are several of the scenes where lifeforce is extracted from victims.

The film rattles from one scene to another and barely manages to stay comprehensible, despite being undeniably enjoyable. Apparently budgetary issues meant several scenes were never shot and production had to be shut down at one point after financing had dried up. All of this clearly had an impact on the final cut and things were made worse for the US release when distributor Tristar decided to trim 12 minutes from the film. Lifeforce was a box-office failure and was unable to recoup its original bloated budget. The UK and other countries at least received the full uncut version and it’s now available for all on blu-ray.

Shaft in Africa / B2 / Japan

30.06.14

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft in Africa
AKA
Shaft e i mercanti di schiavi [Shaft and the slave merchants] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 for Shaft in Africa, the final entry in the trilogy of films featuring Blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree). This time the eponymous detective is kidnapped from his New York apartment and coerced into assuming the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker in an African country. His ‘employer’ wants Shaft to smash a human trafficking ring, run by the dastardly Amafi (Frank Finlay), that’s bringing African workers into Europe to exploit them.

Much more of an adventure film than the previous two entries, which were pretty much entirely set in urban areas, this film was actually shot on location in Ethiopia and has less of a blaxploitation feel and more of a James Bond-style action style. Gordon Parks, the director of the previous entries, was replaced by the British director John Guillermin who would helm the box-office smash The Towering Inferno the following year.

The photo montage is unique to Japan and the US poster features excellent artwork by John Solie. The fact that the designer chose to tint Shaft blue in the image of him kissing a white woman is more than a little strange and one can only guess at the motivations behind that decision.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

Twisted Nerve / 30×40 / USA

28.10.11

Poster Poster
Title
Twisted Nerve
AKA
--
Year of Film
1968
Director
Roy Boulting
Starring
Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Billie Whitelaw, Phyllis Calvert, Frank Finlay, Barry Foster, Salmaan Peerzada, Christian Roberts, Gretchen Franklin, Thorley Walters
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Billie Whitelaw, Phyllis Calvert, Frank Finlay, Barry Foster, Salmaan Peerzada, Christian Roberts, Gretchen Franklin, Thorley Walters,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1969
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
69/87
Tagline
Cleaver. Cleaver. Chop. Chop. First the mom and then the pop. Then we'll get the pretty girl. We'll get her right between the curl.

Wild artwork for this British psychological thriller about a disturbed young man who pretends to be mentally retarded in order to be near Susan, a girl he has become infatuated with, killing those who get in his way. According to IMDb, the film’s controversial nature led to a prologue being added during post-production, explaining that there was no connection between Down’s Syndrome, at that time called Mongolism, and psychopathic behaviour.

Quentin Tarantino used the theme tune, by the great composer Bernard Hermann, in both Kill Bill and Death Proof (as Rosario Dawson’s character’s ringtone).

Apparently the film was difficult to see after its cinema release, likely due to the controversy at the time, and was only released on DVD a few years ago.

The whole film is currently available to watch on YouTube.

The Wild Geese / B2 / style B / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

The Pianist / B2 / ruins style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Pianist
AKA
--
Year of Film
2002
Director
Roman Polanski
Starring
Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Michał Żebrowski
Origin of Film
France | Poland | Germany | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Maureen Lipman, Emilia Fox, Michał Żebrowski,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Ruins style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2002
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Lifeforce / B2 / artwork style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Artwork style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Lifeforce / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
In outer space they unleashed a force more evil than the world had ever imagined!

Lifeforce / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lifeforce
AKA
Vampires from Outer Space (working title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Tobe Hooper
Starring
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Railsback, Peter Firth, Frank Finlay, Mathilda May, Patrick Stewart,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Cinematic Sci-Fi event of the Eighties