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Leviathan / A1 / Germany

04.02.15

Poster Poster

Leviathan was one of multiple ‘aliens in the deep’ films released in 1989, with James Cameron’s The Abyss being by far the most successful and memorable of the lot (which also included Deep Star Six and The Evil Below). I have absolutely no idea what made Hollywood decide that underwater peril was the situation du jour at that time, but it wasn’t to last as most of the films performed badly at the box-office and made little critical impact. Only Cameron’s film would go on to gather any kind of cult following and the release of a Director’s Cut of the film certainly helped.

Leviathan is set on a deep-sea mining platform with a crew of eight, including geologist Steven Beck (Peter Weller) a new recruit brought in by the Tri-Oceanic Corp to manage the team. During a routine dive one of the crew slips, falling down a ravine and when they land they discover the wreck of a Soviet submarine called Leviathan hidden in a trench. The team manage to salvage a safe from within the ship and bring it back onto the rig.

After opening it up they discover records relating to the death of crew members of the Leviathan as well as what appears to be a bottle of Vodka. Beck and the crew doctor investigate the fate of the submarine whilst some of the other crew members decide to partake in some of the booze. Unbeknownst to them it contains an alien pathogen which causes the pair who drink it to develop severe rashes and then perish before reanimating as a hideously twisted creature (very much in the vein of the creations seen in John Carpenter’s The Thing). Although Beck and the others manage to expel the creature from the rig, part of it remains onboard and mutates into a multi-tentacled beast which stalks the rest of the crew forcing them to fight for their lives and ultimately abandon the platform.

Unfortunately the film fails to generate much in the way of horror or tension and, though the set designs are top notch, the creature effects are largely woeful, particularly the painfully obviously man in bad rubber suit final version of the creature. Weller gives it his best shot but fails to convince as a hero. Apparently the film was originally going to have more in the way of creature effects and there are clearly whole scenes missing, which all points to studio interference.

This German A1 was designed and painted by Renato Casaro, an Italian-born artist who was working prolifically on German posters during the 1970s and 1980s. I interviewed him for this site in 2013 and he talked about his work for the market:

‘You worked on many posters for the German market. Was there a reason for that?
Yes, Germany didn’t really have many posters designers and artists working during the 1970s and 1980s and I certainly didn’t have much in the way of competition. In the 1950s and 60s they had several good artists working on film posters but after that they all retired or died, so there was a gap. I was really fortunate with that whole situation because I was able to work with most of the distributors over there and I was able to choose to work on some really great projects. My work was in demand so Studio Casaro was very busy, especially in the 1980s. Even when some other markets might have been quiet, there was always a project to do for a German client.’

The poster has some similarities with the US one sheet, designed and painted by John Alvin.

The Taking of Pelham 123 / quad / UK

23.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Taking of Pelham 123
AKA
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (alternative title) | Il colpo della metropolitana - un ostaggio al minuto [The underground hit - one hostage a minute] (Italy)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Joseph Sargent
Starring
Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, Hector Elizondo, Dick O'Neill, Earl Hindman
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, Hector Elizondo, Dick O'Neill, Earl Hindman,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
29 14/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Before this train reaches the next station it will become the scene of the most spectacular hijack ever attempted

A really striking design on this British quad for the release of the original New York subway-based action thriller, The Taking of Pelham 123. Directed by Joseph Sargent, whose career seems to have consisted mostly of TV movies, the film stars the late Robert Shaw as the psychotic leader of a gang of criminals who board and hijack a subway train. The gang demand a ransom of $1million and threaten to execute a passenger for every minute over the deadline.

Walter Matthau plays a world-weary New York City Transit Authority police lieutenant who ends up being the chief negotiator between the gang, working to try and foil their plans. Famously the gang have colour-based nicknames, which they use instead of their real names (Robert Shaw is blue, for example). Director Quentin Tarantino would later use this idea for his film debut Reservoir Dogs. This film was remade by the late Tony Scott in 2009

This design is unique to the British quad and brilliantly uses the colourful lines of the real New York subway map designed by Massimo Vignelli as the background to the sweeping train made from the title of the film. The front element of the shadowy figure standing in the door is actually taken from the American advance one sheet, which can be seen here. I’m unsure who is responsible for the design of the quad so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

I had been hunting for a rolled copy of this quad for over a decade after seeing it in the book ‘Film Posters of the 1970s’ and I was thrilled to finally track down a copy as I consider it to be one of the best British posters ever printed.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
AKA
Il colpo della metropolitana - un ostaggio al minuto [The underground hit - one hostage a minute] (Italy)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Joseph Sargent
Starring
Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, Hector Elizondo, Dick O'Neill, Earl Hindman
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, Hector Elizondo, Dick O'Neill, Earl Hindman,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Mort Kunstler
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Filofax / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Filofax
AKA
Taking Care of Business (USA - original title)
Year of Film
1990
Director
Arthur Hiller
Starring
James Belushi, Charles Grodin, Anne De Salvo, Loryn Locklin, Stephen Elliott, Hector Elizondo, Veronica Hamel, Mako, Gates McFadden, John de Lancie, hom Sharp, Ken Foree
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
James Belushi, Charles Grodin, Anne De Salvo, Loryn Locklin, Stephen Elliott, Hector Elizondo, Veronica Hamel, Mako, Gates McFadden, John de Lancie, hom Sharp, Ken Foree,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
International
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Steven Chorney
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Jimmy's finally got a life, the trouble is, it's someone else's! | Lose it and you're lost.