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Brazil / quad / UK

01.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Brazil
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Withdrawn 'dream cabinets' version
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

One of my favourite British posters of all time, this is the supposedly withdrawn quad for Terry Gilliam‘s 1985 masterpiece Brazil. A film that is near impossible to categorise, the story  is a heady mix of dystopian sci-fi, surreal dark fantasy and anarchic satirical comedy set in an alternative universe in which an overbearing government has practically strangled society with its mixture of paranoia, crippling bureaucracy and unreliable technology. That one of the film’s working titles was ‘1984 and 1/2’ gives you some idea of the Orwellian overtones that Gilliam and his fellow screenwriters Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown intended to evoke.

Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowry, a low-level employee at the ‘Ministry of Information’ who is seemingly content with his role as a cog in the giant machine, but at night he escapes in dreams where he is a knight is shining armour with giant wings strapped to his back, often rescuing the same damsel in distress from malicious forces. When a clerical error caused by a dead beetle falling into a printer causes the wrong man to be rounded up, tortured and killed by government forces (“we didn’t know he had a weak heart!”), Sam is given the task of correcting the error. Whilst visiting the wife of the deceased man, Sam meets Jill Layton (Kim Greist) a neighbour who bears a striking resemblance to the girl in his dreams.

Naturally he is instantly smitten and sets in motion a series of events that ends up with Sam and Jill pitched against his employer and on the run. The film features several memorable appearances from the likes of Ian Holm as Sam’s bumbling, inefficient boss, Michael Palin as an ambitious and ultimately ruthless friend within the Ministry, and Robert De Niro in a cameo role as Harry Tuttle, a rogue heating engineer who was meant to be the original target for the government round-up.

The film is visually stunning with some of the most incredible production design ever committed to celluloid. Gilliam and his skilled crew of technicians stretched every penny of the modest budget and created countless memorable sets, brilliantly realised props and entirely believable environmental details that all add up to something unforgettable. The special effects are also top notch, with the dream sequences deserving special mention, particularly Sam’s battle with a giant Samurai warrior and the literal flights of fantasy in his winged suit.

Infamously, Gilliam would end up in a bitter wrangle with the American distributors Universal after they decided his final cut was overlong, confusing and the ending was too depressing. The then Universal president Sid Sheinberg ordered a small team of editors to cut the film down from its original length of 2 hours and 20 minutes to just over 90 minutes for a version unofficially dubbed ‘The Love Conquers All’ cut. Most of the dream sequences were excised, the opening scenes completely chopped around and many scenes were horribly truncated. Worst of all, the original darker ending was replaced with a bizarre ‘happy’ denouement that completely ruined the tone of Gilliam’s film.

Understandably furious, the director refused to have anything to do with the new cut and actually began a campaign to get his original version seen by as many American film fans and critics as possible, much to the chagrin of Universal’s management. Eventually this culminated in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarding the original cut their prize for Best Film and this led to Universal relenting and agreeing to release a near complete version to cinemas (minus around 10 minutes from the European cut). The bastardised ‘Love Conquers All’ version never saw the inside of a cinema.

The image on this poster is actually a combination of imagery from the flying sequences and a deleted scene that was only ever storyboarded by Gilliam in which a dreaming Sam finds himself at a vast wall of filing cabinets. The title treatment is taken directly from the opening title of the film itself, which is an actual neon signage that falls away from the camera to the accompaniment of Michael Kamen’s excellent score.

I have heard from at least three independent sources that this particular quad was withdrawn from cinemas by the distributor 20th Century Fox because it was felt the image wasn’t the right one to sell the film to UK audiences and was replaced by this bizarre ‘flying bed’ quad that is a world away from this striking design. If anyone knows for sure that this quad was withdrawn or any more details about it, please get in touch.

Time Bandits / B2 / artwork style / Japan

17.05.13

Poster Poster

This Japanese B2 for Terry Gilliam‘s time-travelling fantasy Time Bandits features unique artwork exclusive to the poster. The 1981 film is one of the director’s best, in my opinion, and features typically brilliant imagery combined with a great cast, including a few surprising cameos.

The film follows 11-year-old Kevin (Craig Warnock) and his adventures with a troupe of time-travelling dwarves who are on the run from their master, the Supreme Being. As the gang use a special map to hop through holes in the universe and into different time periods they soon realise that their journey is being controlled by a sinister force. It’s not long before they are forced to confront Evil and save themselves from certain death. The ending of the film, which I won’t spoil, is brilliantly bonkers.

According to IMDb, in 1996 Terry Gilliam and [screenwriter and actor] Charles McKeown collaborated on a script for Time Bandits 2, bringing back most of the original cast, with the exceptions of David Rappaport and Tiny Ross who had passed away a few years before, and owing to Jack Purvis being paralysed from a car accident, his character was written to be in a similar state. But following the death of Purvis, the project was shelved indefinitely.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this poster and there are no signatures or any other identifying marks. If you have any ideas please get in touch.

The excellent, unusual trailer is on YouTube.

 

Dragonslayer / quad / UK

04.11.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dragonslayer
AKA
Il drago del lago di fuoco [The dragon from the lake of fire] (Italy)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Matthew Robbins
Starring
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Its talons tear. Its breath burns. It is terror. And only sorcery can destroy it.

Great artwork by Brian Bysouth, from a design by Vic Fair, for this wizard versus dragon fantasy tale, which was co-produced by Disney and Paramount and directed by Matthew Robbins (Batteries Not Included). Apparently the effects for Vermithrax the dragon were given 25% of the film’s budget and were realised by several different teams, including Phil Tippet at ILM (final design and model), Brian Johnson (special effects) and Ken Ralston (flying scenes).

‘Go-motion’, a variant of stop-motion animation using computer-controlled cameras and developed by ILM for The Empire Strikes Back, was used for the scenes showing the dragon flying and walking with the intention of making these scenes feel more realistic.

Whilst Guillermo Del Toro was preparing to film his ultimately doomed version of The Hobbit, he stated:

One of the best and one of the strongest landmarks that almost nobody can overcome is ‘Dragonslayer.’ The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made.

In 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and the resulting article can be read here.

The US one sheet is markedly different but is also something of a classic, with artwork by Jeffrey Catherine Jones.

Time Bandits / quad / UK

10.04.12

Poster Poster
Title
Time Bandits
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Terry Gilliam
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
All the dreams you've ever had and not just the good ones.

This British quad for Terry Gilliam‘s time-travelling fantasy features artwork by the director himself. His signature can be seen to the bottom right of the castle and a more scribbly ‘Gilliam’ is subtly hidden in the background hills (see photo 3). Time Bandits is one of the director’s best, in my opinion, and features typically brilliant imagery combined with a great cast, including a few surprising cameos.

The film follows 11-year-old Kevin (Craig Warnock) and his adventures with a troupe of time-travelling dwarves who are on the run from their master, the Supreme Being. As the gang use a special map to hop through holes in the universe and into different time periods they soon realise that their journey is being controlled by a sinister force. It’s not long before they are forced to confront Evil and save themselves from certain death. The ending of the film, which I won’t spoil, is brilliantly bonkers.

According to IMDb, in 1996 Terry Gilliam and [screenwriter and actor] Charles McKeown collaborated on a script for Time Bandits 2, bringing back most of the original cast, with the exceptions of David Rappaport and Tiny Ross who had passed away a few years before, and owing to Jack Purvis being paralysed from a car accident, his character was written to be in a similar state. But following the death of Purvis, the project was shelved indefinitely.

The excellent, unusual trailer is on YouTube.

 

Sleepy Hollow / one sheet / advance / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Dragonslayer / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dragonslayer
AKA
Il drago del lago di fuoco [The dragon from the lake of fire] (Italy)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Matthew Robbins
Starring
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Spiros Angelikas
Artist
Jeffrey Jones
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810075
Tagline
In the Dark Ages, Magic was a weapon. Love was a mystery. Adventure was everywhere... And Dragons were real.

Dark City / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dark City
AKA
--
Year of Film
1998
Director
Alex Proyas
Starring
Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Richard O'Brien, Ian Richardson, Bruce Spence
Origin of Film
Australia | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Richard O'Brien, Ian Richardson, Bruce Spence,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1998
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
970126
Tagline
They built the city to see what makes us tick. Last night one of us went off.