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The Big Lebowski / one sheet / international

17.04.14

Poster Poster

This is the scarce international one sheet for the original release of the much-loved Coen Brothers classic, The Big LebowskiJeff Bridges stars as The Dude, a lifelong slacker who also happens to share his name with a millionaire philanthropist with a trophy wife who owes money to a shady pornographer. A pair of hired goons break into his place, rough him up and urinate on his rug (as reflected in the sunglasses on this poster). When the goons realise they have the wrong man they leave The Dude alone but, after consulting with his friends Walter (a memorable turn by John Goodmanand Donny (Steve Buscemi), he decides to seek out the real Lebowski to seek compensation for the rug, but things start to spiral out of control when the wife is kidnapped and he agrees to help secure her return.

To say the film has become something of a cultural phenomenon since its release in 1998 would be an understatement. As well as a worldwide legion of fans, there’s the annual Lebowski-Fest, which started in 2002 in Louisville, Kentucky and has since been held in several other cities. Jeff Bridges iconic ‘The Dude’ character is even the focus behind a form of religion called Dudeism.

I’d have a hard time choosing between this and Fargo as my favourite Coen Brothers film, although Raising Arizona and Barton Fink are also strong contenders.

I recently spotted this rather excellent GIF.

The Harder They Come / quad / 1977 re-release / UK

30.03.13

Poster Poster

Jamaica’s first feature film They Harder They Come is often credited with introducing the rest of the world to reggae music, released as it was before Jamaican artists like Bob Marley had achieved much recognition outside of the country. The film was directed by Jamaican native Perry Henzell, who also produced and co-wrote the script, and is partially based on the true story of Ivanhoe ‘Rhyging‘ Martin. Often called the ‘original rude boy’, Martin was a Jamaican outlaw who escaped from prison and managed to evade the police for several years with the help of the Jamaican public, before a final showdown on Lime Cay in 1948. The soundtrack to the film is absolutely integral to its success and features tracks from some of Jamaica’s best reggae artists, including Desmond Dekker, Toots & the Maytals and singer Jimmy Cliff. Released on Jamaica’s own Island Records, the album went on to sell millions of copies and continues to be one of the label’s biggest sellers.

Jimmy Cliff stars as Ivan Martin and was chosen for the role after Perry Henzell saw photos of him on the packaging for one of his earlier albums. Ivan is a country boy who travels to Kingston with empty pockets and a dream of becoming a singer. After being taken in by a preacher he meets a ruthless music studio owner who eventually allows him to record a tune (the titular The Harder They Come), but is then persuaded to sign away the rights for a pittance. Realising that his dream may be over, Ivan accepts an offer from a friend to begin dealing marijuana and, although things go smoothly for a while, it’s not long before he is betrayed and set on a path of destruction after killing a policeman sent to arrest him. Ivan ends up as an outlaw on the run, helped by the people he lived amongst, but a failed attempt to escape by boat to Cuba sees him washed up on a sandy beach with the police hard on his tail.

The Harder They Come depicts the kind of life that many Jamaicans experienced in the sprawling migrant settlements of Kingston and it made no attempt to try and romanticise life on the island. In addition, little concession was made to those not used to hearing the unique Jamaican Patois spoken by the majority of the characters in the film and prints were often subtitled when projected in other countries. The film was phenomenally successful in Jamaica with the premiere at the old Carib theatre in Kingston attracting thousands of locals eager to get into the auditorium. Its popularity soon spread to other countries such as the UK and eventually to the USA. The distribution over there was eventually handled by Perry Henzell himself who personally sold the film to cinema managers in several big cities and it apparently ended up playing in one Boston cinema for eight years straight.

This quad is actually for the 1977 re-release of the film but I have never seen an original 1973 release quad of the film. It features the same artwork as seen on the soundtrack album, which is by a designer and artist called John Bryant about whom I’ve been unable to discover any details. The classic image of Jimmy Cliff with the two guns also features in a great sequence in the film when Ivan has his photo taken to send to newspapers in an attempt to cement his image as a bad boy outlaw. It appears that Bryant himself got in touch with the US auction house emovieposter.com to let them know a bit more about the poster and this information has been included in the auction details when this quad has been sold in the past:

‘Note that the person who originally designed this poster tells us that it was made for the late 1970s re-release of the film (the designer says likely between 1977 and 1979, and the BBFC states 1977) from the original British quad’s design, adding their company logo of “Lagoon” and the tagline at left, “Now-Original Uncut Version.’

The first release quad is unquestionably scarce but, as per the information above, must look almost identical to this poster.

Magnolia / one sheet / advance / flower style / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Executive Action / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Executive Action
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
David Miller
Starring
Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer, Gilbert Green, John Anderson, Paul Carr, Colby Chester, Ed Lauter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, Will Geer, Gilbert Green, John Anderson, Paul Carr, Colby Chester, Ed Lauter,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Boogie Nights / screen print / Aesthetic Apparatus / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Boogie Nights
AKA
Pushing Thirteen (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1997
Director
Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring
Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2007
Designer
Aesthetic Apparatus
Artist
Aesthetic Apparatus
Size (inches)
24" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Cotton Comes to Harlem / B2 / Japan

30.08.16

Poster Poster

Cotton Comes to Harlem is often considered to be one of the first films in the so-called blaxploitation sub-genre of exploitation that was popular during the 1970s. The film was the second film to be directed by the late Ossie Davis, who was one of a handful of African-American actors to achieve commercial success in films without being stereotyped in films prior to 1970. Although best known as an actor, with roles in films like The Hill (1965) and The Scalphunters (1968), Davis tried his hand at directing, starting with the little-seen Kongi’s Harvest in 1970. The same year, ‘Cotton…’ proved to be a huge hit and saw him helm two other blaxploitation pictures, with Black Girl following in 1972 and then another hit with Gordon’s War a year later.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Chester Himes and is set in the eponymous neighbourhood of Manhattan. Two detectives, Grave Digger Jones (Godfrey Cambridge, who died tragically aged 43) and Coffin Ed Johnson (Raymond St. Jacques) are assigned to investigate the apparent armed robbery of $87000 during a public rally. The gathering was being led by Reverend Deke O’Malley (Calvin Lockhart) who is fundraising for a Back-to-Africa movement ship to be called Black Beauty. A gang of thieves wearing masks appear at the event and steal the money from an armoured truck before making off. A chase ensues and the titular bale of cotton falls from the getaway van. The detectives soon realise that the stolen money was apparently stashed inside the bale and the hunt is on after it disappears from the street. O’Malley must fend off the angry mob of locals looking for their money, as well as a jealous girlfriend (Judy Pace) and the partner who he was in cahoots with to stage the robbery.

The film was a huge hit in cinemas, grossing over $5 million on a $1 million budget and triggering a rush to produce films in a similar vein. Arguably the sub-genre’s most famous film, Shaft, would follow a year later. ‘Cotton…’ was given a sequel called Come Back, Charleston Blue in 1972, but the second film wasn’t met with as much critical or audience adulation.

This Japanese B2 is a photo montage but at least part of it is inspired by the US theatrical poster, which had been painted by the artist Robert McGinnis and can be seen here.

Firewalker / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Firewalker
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
J. Lee Thompson
Starring
Chuck Norris, Louis Gossett Jr., Melody Anderson, Will Sampson, Sonny Landham, John Rhys-Davies, Ian Abercrombie
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Chuck Norris, Louis Gossett Jr., Melody Anderson, Will Sampson, Sonny Landham, John Rhys-Davies, Ian Abercrombie,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
J.D.
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

The Thirty-Nine Steps / 1978 / one sheet / UK

03.11.17

Poster Poster

This is the UK one sheet (sometimes referred to as English one sheet) for the 1978 version of The Thirty-Nine Steps, based on the 1915 magazine serial-turned-book of the same name by the Scottish author John Buchan. The story has been turned into a film a number of times, including a 1935 version by Alfred Hitchcock that was later remade in 1959. This version, directed by the late Don Sharp (Psychomania, a couple of Hammer horror films), is considered to be the most faithful to Buchan’s original book. The film is set in the UK in 1914 and focuses on the character of Richard Hannay (whom Buchan would return to for five other novels) who becomes embroiled in a nefarious plot by German sleeper agents to start a war by assassinating a visiting foreign minister. Robert Powell plays Hannay and a host of notable British actors also feature, including John MillsDavid Warner and Eric Porter

The film makes great use of real locations all over the UK, including in Scotland where the bulk of the film takes place. It’s most known for a climactic sequence that occurs on the clock face of London’s Big Ben tower (in reality a large scale model on a set) that aped a sequence from Harold Lloyd’s 1923 film Safety Last. The film was a box-office success and would later spawn a TV series featuring the same character and starring Powell, called simply Hannay.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Vic Fair, who was one the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing. He was responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here. He sadly passed away in early 2017 but his great legacy lives on.

It shares some similarities with another poster Fair designed and illustrated for Rank (the production company and distributor), the 1977 horror anthology The Uncanny.

Note also that there’s another version of this one sheet which has a stylised title logo in the space on the right and can be seen here. I’m not sure why some have it and others don’t but I suspect the one without was a printing error, or a first printing.

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were designed and/or illustrated by Vic Fair click here.

Magnolia / one sheet / advance / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Hard Eight / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Hard Eight
AKA
Sydney (USA - original title) | Last Exit Reno (Germany - video title)
Year of Film
1996
Director
Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring
Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel Jackson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Ridgely, Melora Walters
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel Jackson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Ridgely, Melora Walters,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
If you stay in this game long enough, you'll see everything, win everything, and lose everything.

It / ‘They All Float’ / screen print / regular / Mark Englert / USA

20.10.17

Poster Poster

This is a screen print by the American artist Mark Englert for the 1990 TV version of Stephen King’s classic novel ‘It’, which was recently remade to great critical acclaim (and box office success). Originally shown as a two-part mini series, then later released on DVD and blu-ray as an edited single movie, the film is set in the fictional Maine town of Derry during two time periods (1960 and 1990). The story focuses on a group of children who are menaced by a shapeshifting creature that preys on their worst fears in order to attack and eat them. The creature appears once every 30 years and over the previous century many of the town’s children have disappeared. The group (nicknamed by themselves as The Losers Club) decide to take on It who most often appears as the malevolent clown Pennywise (Tim Curry). After driving it back underground in 1960, the group make a promise to return and put a stop to It once and for all 30 years later.

Note that this is the regular edition and it glows in the dark which reveals hidden details, including Pennywise’s face in a hidden moon, and the spider form of It in the top left corner glows too.

This print was created in 2012. Englert, whose official website is here, first appeared on collectors’ radars with his print for The Thing that was released earlier in 2012. Since then he has worked on a number of landscape format prints (typically 12″ x 36″) featuring scenes from cult films and TV shows. One of his most popular releases was one for The Walking Dead that was released around the same time as this print. Each is given a name that relates to the property in some way. In this case ‘They All Float’ is part of the famous line spoken by Pennywise.

Check out this interview with Englert on Collider.com which was carried out at the 2012 Comic Con and they also featured him in their first ever ‘Limited Paper’ column. Englert’s own site features the posters and other items he’s worked on so far, which includes vinyl sleeves and more. There’s a short biography on his website which mentions he was born in 1979. There’s an excellent interview with Mark on 411posters.com here.

He has a store here and you can follow him on Twitter here.