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Gothic / quad / UK

03.11.16

Poster Poster
Title
Gothic
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Ken Russell
Starring
Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Andreas Wisniewski, Dexter Fletcher, Pascal King
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Andreas Wisniewski, Dexter Fletcher, Pascal King,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Paul Dufficey
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"Conjure up your deepest darkest fear. Then call that fear to life."

This British quad for Ken Russell‘s 1986 horror film Gothic features artwork by Paul Dufficey. From what I can gather the artist was a long-time collaborator with the late director and had worked on four of his previous films, including Tommy. It appears from his IMDb profile that he worked as a production and set designer and for Gothic he created ‘portraits’, which presumably included the work on this posters.

Russell’s film was written by Stephen Volk and is a fictionalised retelling of the visit by Percy Shelley (Julian Sands) and his later wife Mary (Natasha Richardson in her first film role) to the Swiss villa of Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne). There they also meet Byron’s friend, the physician Dr. John Polidori (Timothy Spall) One evening, whilst a storm rages outside, the group tell each other horror stories and reveal intimate secrets about themselves. This meeting was apparently the inspiration for Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein and for Polidori to pen The Vampyre, both of which were groundbreaking novels in the horror genre.

The images on this poster are clearly inspired by classic gothic artwork, particularly the woman splayed across a bed. This references a painting called The Nightmare by the Anglo-Swiss artist Henry Fuseli which was painted in 1781. It depicts a creepy imp sitting on top of a sleeping woman and this same imagery features in Gothic. The imp is played by Kiran Shah, a dwarf actor and stuntman who has featured in several blockbusters such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and was a stuntman on all three of the Hobbit films.

Apparently the film was not much of a success at the box office but was popular on home video. I’m certain it has something to do with the distributor using a creepy photo of Shah on top of a woman, which must have enticed a fair few punters to rent the film. I doubt it met the expectations of all out horror that the cover suggested for many though!

The Usual Suspects / B2 / Japan

01.10.14

Poster Poster

About to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects continues to sit at the top of many film fans’ lists of best crime thrillers and has been in the IMDb top 25 of all time (currently 23) since its release. Having won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival with his debut film, Public Access, Singer once again collaborated with high school friend and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie with the spark of the story coming from the title of an article in the satirical Spy magazine which the director had read. The idea of a bunch of criminals meeting in a police line-up and embarking on a new job came to Singer and the visual motif for the poster was one of the first concepts he and McQuarrie had, with the director asking “What would possibly bring these five felons together in one line-up?”

Actor Kevin Spacey had seen Public Access at Sundance and told Singer that he wanted to be involved in whatever his next project was so when the screenplay, which went through several rewrites, eventually attracted financing from a European company Spacey was cast as Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint. With a complex narrative structure, the film starts in the aftermath of a deadly attack on a container ship in San Pedro Bay which has left 27 people dead and two survivors, a badly burned Hungarian criminal and small-time con-artist Verbal Kint.

During questioning by a US customs agent, Kint explains how the massacre was the culmination of a series of events that began with a police line-up of ‘the usual suspects’ (Spacey, Gabriel ByrneBenicio Del ToroStephen Baldwin and Kevin Pollak) a ragtag bunch of criminals and followed their interactions with an underworld legend known as Keyser Söze. The film ends with one of the greatest twists in the history of cinema.

This is the Japanese B2 which features the same line-up shot seen on the UK quad and the international one sheet, but there were barely any posters for the film that didn’t feature the image in some form.

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.

The Usual Suspects / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Usual Suspects
AKA
--
Year of Film
1995
Director
Bryan Singer
Starring
Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis
Origin of Film
USA | Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1995
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
Five Criminals. One Line Up. No Coincidence.

Excalibur / quad / UK

18.05.11

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
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.

Miller’s Crossing / one sheet / advance / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Miller's Crossing
AKA
História de Gangsters (Portugal)
Year of Film
1990
Director
Joel Coen
Starring
Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, Steve Buscemi
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, Steve Buscemi,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Concept Arts
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Excalibur / one sheet / teaser / USA

17.05.11

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
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
--

Excalibur / one sheet / 80s re-release / USA

17.05.11

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
One sheet
Style of Poster
80s re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.

Because of the presence of a GCIU logo, this is likely not from the 1981 original release but a re-release from later in the 1983. This note from an emovieposter.com auction explains why:

Note that there are two versions of this poster: one with a GAU printer logo and one with GCIU logo. We have been told that the GCIU logo wasn’t trademarked until July 1983, so the theory is that any poster that carries the GCIU logo must be from 1983 or later and are either theatrical re-release posters or possibly video store posters. We do not know for sure.

Dead Man / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Dead Man / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dead Man
AKA
--
Year of Film
1995
Director
Jim Jarmusch
Starring
Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | Germany | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
No one can survive becoming a legend

Dead Man / one sheet / boat style / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dead Man
AKA
--
Year of Film
1995
Director
Jim Jarmusch
Starring
Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | Germany | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Boat style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 38 9/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Dead Man / one sheet / gun style / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dead Man
AKA
--
Year of Film
1995
Director
Jim Jarmusch
Starring
Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | Germany | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen, Michael Wincott, Eugene Byrd, John Hurt, Robert Mitchum, Iggy Pop, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Gun style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

The Usual Suspects / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Usual Suspects
AKA
--
Year of Film
1995
Director
Bryan Singer
Starring
Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis
Origin of Film
USA | Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1995
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
26 6/8" x 39 6/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Five Criminals. One Line Up. No Coincidence.