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Possession / quad / UK

22.03.13

Poster Poster
Title
Possession
AKA
The Night the Screaming Stops (USA - reissue title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Andrzej Zulawski
Starring
Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent, Johanna Hofer, Carl Duering, Shaun Lawton, Michael Hogben
Origin of Film
France | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent, Johanna Hofer, Carl Duering, Shaun Lawton, Michael Hogben,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell | Barbara Baranowska AKA 'Basha' (original French artwork)
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
She created a monster... as her secret lover!

Polish director Andrzej Zulawski‘s Possession is a definite marmite film; you’ll either love it or totally detest it. I’m firmly in the former camp but it’s not hard to see why it might rankle with certain viewers. A multinational production, the film was shot in West Berlin (whilst The Wall was still standing), financed largely by French money and stars Kiwi actor Sam Neill alongside the stunning French actress Isabelle Adjani. Possession begins as what seems like a straightforward relationship drama, depicting the breakdown of the marriage between husband and wife Mark (Neill) and Anna (Adjani) as it gets increasingly fraught. The audience witnesses several scenes of extreme shrieking, hysteria and mental breakdown from both parties as Mark comes to terms with his wife’s infidelity.

It’s when Mark decides to investigate who his wife has been seeing that the film takes a turn for the surreal and horrific. At first he discovers that she had been having an affair with a new-age sleaze-ball called Heinrich (Heinz Bennent) but after confronting him at his house they both realise that Anna has also been meeting a mysterious third party. Mark then hires a private detective to try and discover where his wife disappears to when she’s not at their apartment. As alluded to with this poster’s tagline, the audience soon discovers that what Anna is tending to in a dingy apartment in the Turkish district of Berlin is not altogether human. When the detective (and later his lover) go missing, both Heinrich and Mark uncover the horrifying truth. I won’t spoil the reveal except to say that Italian special effects maestro Carlo Rambaldi (of ‘Close Encounters…’ and ‘E.T.’ fame) was involved in the creation of several versions of a slimy, tentacled creature.

Isabelle Adjani won the best actress prize at Cannes for her dual performance as the hysterical, unhinged Anna and the ‘is she real-or-not?’ Helen, a kind and gentle teacher who works at the school where the couple’s son Bob is a pupil. As Anna, the actress turns everything up to 11 and at times the shrieking is almost unbearable. In perhaps the most infamous sequence in the film, the so-called ‘miscarriage’ scene, she has a full-on orgiastic meltdown in a dingy German subway that culminates with her oozing blood and a white liquid from her face and neck. Neill also gives an over-the-top performance throughout and it’s the level of hysteria that likely sees many viewers heading for the remote (or cinema exit if they were in attendance back in 1981).

For reasons which aren’t really clear, the film was embroiled in the Video Nasties debacle here in the UK and was banned outright in 1983, but not before having it’s cinema debut thanks to New Realm distributors two years earlier. It’s inclusion on the DPPs list is a complete mystery as it’s nowhere near as gruesome or brutal as some of the other titles on there and is unquestionably one of the best titles to fall foul of the whole thing.

This very scarce original UK quad was created by the brilliant British designer and artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful designs featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. The artwork is unquestionably based on the French poster artwork that was painted by the Polish artist Barbara Baranowska (AKA ‘Basha’). I’ve been unable to discover much about the artist, other than a short biography on the Horse Hospital website. It seems that her work for Possession is the poster for which she is most well-known.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Nosferatu the Vampyre / B2 / Japan

14.06.12

Poster Poster
Title
Nosferatu the Vampyre
AKA
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1979
Director
Werner Herzog
Starring
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland, Topor, Walter Ladengast, Dan van Husen, Jan Groth, Carsten Bodinus, Martje Grohmann, Rijk de Gooyer
Origin of Film
West Germany | France
Genre(s) of Film
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland, Topor, Walter Ladengast, Dan van Husen, Jan Groth, Carsten Bodinus, Martje Grohmann, Rijk de Gooyer,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
David Palladini (partial)
Size (inches)
20 7/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Legendary German film maker Werner Herzog wrote and directed this brilliant, stylish homage to the 1922 Dracula adaptation, ‘Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens’. F. W. Murnau‘s seminal silent classic was actually filmed without permission from Bram Stoker‘s estate and had a number of minor details changed in attempt to avoid infringing copyright. Their attempts were unsuccessful and Stoker’s widow filed a lawsuit that resulted in the film being withdrawn and most of the prints being destroyed. Luckily, a handful survived and the film was able to be properly restored and saved from total loss.

Frequent Herzog collaborator (and occasional adversary) Klaus Kinski stars as Count Dracula (changed from the Count Orlok of Murnau’s verison), the undead vampire who travels to Germany from Transylvania. He intends to prey upon Lucy (Isabelle Adjani), the wife of Jonathan Harker (Bruno Ganz) from whom the Count purchased real-estate deeds before locking him in his castle. Jonathan manages to escape and heads home in hot pursuit of the evil vampire to save Lucy from an undead fate. Herzog’s version is particularly notable for the way it portrays the classic Count as a weary, unloved character who is struggling with the idea of immortality and is disgusted with the predatory side of himself. This was in stark contrast to many of the Dracula adaptations that had been made since Murnau’s original.

Unusually, the studio (20th Century Fox) requested that Herzog film each scene with dialogue twice (in German and English, spoken by the same actors) so that two versions of the film could be constructed with the idea that the English one would appeal more to Western audiences. Today most fans prefer the German version as the actors are clearly more comfortable speaking in their native language and the acting is thus more natural.

This Japanese poster features elements of the fantastic American one sheet, which was painted by David Palladini, and is one of the best posters of the 1970s, in my opinion. In the place of the illustration of Count Dracula is a striking image of the gorgeous Adjani and two smaller photos featuring the Harkers and Dracula.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Subway / B2 / Japan

30.01.17

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of Luc Besson‘s 1985 comedy drama Subway. It followed on from the director’s first film, The Last Battle, which was released two years earlier. Subway reunited him with several of the actors and crew from that film, including Jean Reno, who who would go on to feature in many of Besson’s directorial efforts. French-American actor Christopher Lambert appears in the lead role of Fred, a grifter who steals documents from a rich businessman and escapes into the Paris Metro.

Lambert stars alongside Isabelle Adjani who appears as Héléna, the frustrated wife of the businessman from whom Fred has stolen the documents. The film is set largely on location in the Metro and makes great use of the halls, concourses and even the areas usually off-limits to the public. After being locked in overnight, Fred begins to explore and eventually meets Le Roller (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a petty thief who has made a home in an abandoned storage room. Le Roller introduces Fred to the other characters who called the underground their home, including the musclebound Big Bill (Christian Gomba) and The Florist (Richard Bohringer). 

The admittedly slight plot sees Fred continue to evade a bunch of hired goons sent by the businessman, as well as the subway police. The commissioner (a great performance by Michel Galabru) gets increasingly frustrated as his men, including one he’s nicknamed Batman (Jean-Pierre Bacri) fail to catch Le Roller time and time again. Héléna becomes increasingly infatuated with Fred, eventually realising his carefree attitude is the perfect antidote the marriage she feels trapped in. The film features a typically great score by regular Besson collaborator Éric Serra who also appears in the film as a member of a band that Fred brings together. The film was a success with critics as well as the French box-office. A year later Lambert would star in Highlander, a film that shot him to international stardom and lead to him winning multiple Hollywood roles.

 

This Japanese poster features the same artwork that was used on the French poster. It appears that the Japanese designer simply took a copy of a French poster, including all the flaws which that particular copy had. If you look closely at some of the images you can see hairs, scratches and other blemishes that must have been present on the poster. The artwork is credited to an artist called Bernard Bernhardt about whom I’ve been able to discover very little. Some of his other film posters can be seen on artmajeur.com, including ones for Amadeus. According to this translated interview he was born in Paris in 1950 and worked on posters for several famous directors, including Roman Polanski and Michael Mann, over a thirty year period.

The Driver / B2 / orange title style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Driver
AKA
O Profissional [The Professional] (Portugal)
Year of Film
1978
Director
Walter Hill
Starring
Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakley, Matt Clark, Felice Orlandi, Joseph Walsh, Rudy Ramos
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, Isabelle Adjani, Ronee Blakley, Matt Clark, Felice Orlandi, Joseph Walsh, Rudy Ramos,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Orange title style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Subway / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Subway / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster

Nosferatu the Vampyre / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Nosferatu the Vampyre
AKA
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1979
Director
Werner Herzog
Starring
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland, Topor, Walter Ladengast, Dan van Husen, Jan Groth, Carsten Bodinus, Martje Grohmann, Rijk de Gooyer
Origin of Film
West Germany | France
Genre(s) of Film
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland, Topor, Walter Ladengast, Dan van Husen, Jan Groth, Carsten Bodinus, Martje Grohmann, Rijk de Gooyer,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
David Palladini
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--