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Poppies Are Also Flowers / A1 / Germany

21.09.15

Poster Poster

Five great portraits painted by Renato Casaro feature on this German re-release poster for Poppies Are Also Flowers (AKA Danger Grows Wild and several other titles). Made as an anti-drug trafficking film with the help of the United Nations, it was sponsored by corporate entities, including Xerox.  As this poster attests, it was based on a screenplay by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, was directed by Bond director Terence Young and had a seriously star-studded cast. The likes of Yul BrynnerAngie DickinsonTrevor Howard and Marcello Mastroianni all signed up and, so the story goes, worked for $1 each. Some serious favours must have been called in as I find it hard to believe they were all passionately anti-narcotics!

The story is described thusly on the film’s Wikipedia page:

In an attempt to stem the heroin trade at the Afghanistan–Iran border, a group of narcotics agents working for the United Nations inject a radioactive compound into a seized shipment of opium, in the hopes that it will lead them to the main heroin distributor in Europe.

Now largely forgotten, the film is apparently in the public domain and is available to watch on YouTube and elsewhere (although the quality of all copies out there is atrocious). Although originally intended for TV, the film was given a cinema release in several countries, including Japan, UK (as Danger Grows Wild) and Germany. This poster is apparently for a 1973 re-release (for what reason I’m not certain) and the original German release poster can be seen here. Casaro was clearly tasked with making the film appear as exciting as possible and added the action scenes in the bottom half of the poster. It’s safe to say that for all the effort that went it to making the film it wasn’t exactly successful in curtailing the activities of the international drug trade!

One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro is an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

Who Slew Auntie Roo? / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Who Slew Auntie Roo?
AKA
Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (UK)
Year of Film
1971
Director
Curtis Harrington
Starring
Shelley Winters, Mark Lester, Chloe Franks, Ralph Richardson, Lionel Jeffries, Hugh Griffith, Rosalie Crutchley, Pat Heywood, Judy Cornwell, Michael Gothard
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Shelley Winters, Mark Lester, Chloe Franks, Ralph Richardson, Lionel Jeffries, Hugh Griffith, Rosalie Crutchley, Pat Heywood, Judy Cornwell, Michael Gothard,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
71/370
Tagline
Say Goodnight to Auntie Roo, Kiddies... It's DEAD TIME

Legend of the Werewolf / one sheet / UK

30.01.12

Poster Poster

British designer and illustrator Vic Fair is responsible for the arresting poster for this 1975 horror film Legend of the Werewolf directed by Freddie Francis and produced by Tyburn Film Productions. Francis is probably best known as an Academy-Award winning cinematographer (Sons and Lovers, Glory), and he worked with David Lynch on The Elephant Man, Dune and The Straight Story. He’s also responsible for directing a slew of films for the British production companies Hammer, Amicus and Tigon, including Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors and Dracula has Risen from the Grave.

Tyburn was apparently set up by Freddie Francis’ son, Kevin, and was only active for a short period, producing three horror films in 1975, including this one, The Ghoul and Persecution. I wasn’t able to discover much more information about the company so please get in touch if you know anything of note.

The story is set in 19th century France and focuses on Etoile (David Rintoul) who is raised by wolves and is later found and adopted by a sideshow troupe traveling through the forrest. He eventually escapes to Paris and becomes infatuated with a prostitute (Lynn Dalby), but when her clients begin to be brutally murdered a police surgeon (Cushing) begins to suspect all is not quite right with Etoile.

Sim Branaghan, author of the excellent book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History is a fan of the film and sent this through to me shortly after I added the poster to the site:

I actually know a large amount about this film – and Tyburn – for the simple reason that a book was published by the BFI back in 1976, which exhaustively documented its production. The film happens to be one of my personal favourites and I think it is witty, thoughtful, and finally genuinely moving (if only in a small way). Tony Hinds’ script is classic dark-fairy-tale, the acting fine, Francis’s direction skilfully-unobtrusive and Harry Robinson’s score absolutely terrific. Cushing gives his usual model, controlled performance (rather more light-hearted than usual), Ron Moody is excellent, and David Rintoul fresh and sympathetic as the werewolf.

The supporting cast is a bit mixed, but nobody actively embarrasses themselves. Yes, the film is painfully low-budget and sometimes looks pretty threadbare, but it has HEART. Historically, it’s hugely significant as the last Costume Gothic produced in the UK (almost exactly eighteen years after the first, Curse of Frankenstein, back in autumn 1956). Hinds and Cushing worked on both of course, and the sense of fin-de-siecle here is palpable, and very poignant to a true fan of the genre.

Obviously all criticism is subjective, and you might well find plenty of other horror fans who’ll cheerfully tell you Legend is a pile of shite.  But they’d be wrong. 

The pictures of the poster don’t do the striking neon colours justice and I believe it was done with a type of screen-printing as they are particularly solid and bright in person.

Here’s a clip from the film featuring a red-tinted werewolf-vision attack.

Ben Hur / B2 / 1968 re-release / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Ben Hur
AKA
--
Year of Film
1959
Director
William Wyler
Starring
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1960
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 3/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--