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Eight Million Ways To Die / video / UK

13.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
Eight Million Ways To Die
AKA
8 Million Ways to Die (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1986
Director
Hal Ashby
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul,
Type of Poster
Video
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
23 6/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Death comes to all except those that deserve it most

This is the UK video poster (note the 18-rating emblem) for the release of Eight Million Ways to Die, a crime drama that was to be the final film by the late Hal Ashby. The director was associated with the American New Wave that started in the 1960s, lasted until the 1980s and saw a younger generation of filmmakers invading tinseltown, forever changing the way films were shot, edited and released. The Wikipedia article on the period gives you a good idea of the kinds of directors that were part of the new wave, which included the likes of Woody Allen, John Cassavetes, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.

Ashby began his career as an editor, with credits including In the Heat of the Night and the original Thomas Crown Affair, but he was encouraged to begin directing in 1970 with The Landlord, a critical success that was largely ignored by audiences at the time. This was quickly followed by Harold and Maude , an offbeat comedy that has a sizeable cult following today. Ashby embraced the hippie lifestyle of the early 1970s and his films featured main characters that were on the edge of ‘normal’ society. His biggest hit would prove to be the 1978 romantic drama Coming Home that was set against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, and would see him garnering a Best Director nomination at the Oscars that year, whilst the two main stars, Jon Voight and Jane Fonda, both won the main Best Acting gongs.

Eight Million Ways to Die was based on a book by the prolific American author Lawrence Block whose most famous series of novels focused on the private investigator (and recovering alcoholic) Matthew Scudder. The screenplay was written by Oliver Stone with help from R. Lance Hill and an uncredited Robert Towne. The actor Jeff Bridges was given the part of Scudder (Ashby had previously directed his brother Beau Bridges in The Landlord) and Rosanna Arquette appears as Sarah, a call girl who is central to the story. The film’s plot is described thusly on IMDb:

Scudder is a detective with the Sheriff’s Department who is forced to shoot a violent suspect during a narcotics raid. The ensuing psychological aftermath of this shooting worsens his drinking problem and this alcoholism causes him to lose his job, as well as his marriage. During his recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous, he meets a mysterious stranger who draws him back into a world of vice. In trying to help this beautiful woman, he must enter a crime-world of prostitution and drugs to solve a murder, while resisting the temptation to return to his alcohol abuse.

Unfortunately for all concerned the film was a critical and commercial flop and was yet another disappointment for Ashby, who by then had garnered something of a reputation for prolific drug-taking and eccentric behaviour during the post-production of his films. He would never again direct a film, despite efforts to turn things around, and would sadly die of cancer in 1988, aged just 59.

The artwork on this UK video poster is by the British artist Brian Bysouth and the art has been trimmed somewhat for the poster as his truncated signature can be seen towards the bottom right-hand side. Bysouth is one of my favourite poster artists and he was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here.

The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

Being There / B1 / Japan

11.09.17

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Spend The Night Together / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Let's Spend The Night Together
AKA
Time Is on Our Side: The Rolling Stones (Italy)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Hal Ashby
Starring
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Ron Wood, Ian Stewart, Ian McLagan
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Ron Wood, Ian Stewart, Ian McLagan,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
830014
Tagline
Let's Spend the Night Together . . . live it!

8 Million Ways To Die / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
8 Million Ways To Die
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Hal Ashby
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Rosanna Arquette, Andy Garcia, Alexandra Paul,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Mahon
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
He's already failed as a cop. If he fails again, it's her life.