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Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
Terry Hughes, Ian MacNaughton
Starring
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Marty Feldman
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Marty Feldman,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Terry Gilliam
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
820015
Tagline
Never before in the history of human civilization has there been a movie called "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl"

Life of Brian / one sheet / style A / USA

18.04.12

Poster Poster

Probably my favourite of the five cinematic outings by the Monty Python crew, Life of Brian is one of the funniest films ever made and the brilliant satirical humour hasn’t diminished at all in the thirty plus years since its release. Infamously causing an uproar with various religious groups, it also saw EMI, the original financial backers, pulling out during production claiming the script was blasphemous. Luckily, George Harrison stepped in with the finance, apparently after realising it may have been the last chance to see another Python film in cinemas. His company HandMade Films was formed as a result of this deal.

The film’s religion-baiting story sees a man called Brian (Graham Chapman) born at the same time as Jesus Christ and initially mistaken for the Messiah, who ends up living an unremarkable life under the Roman occupation of Judea. Things take a fateful turn when his infatuation with a young rebel called Judith (Sue Jones-Davies) leads him to join the People’s Front of Judea, a bickering group who have decided to take a stand against the emperor.

The film raised the ire of several religious groups who were outraged at the concept, despite most of them having never even seen the film, and it was only given a general release once several cuts had been made. Despite the edits, several local UK councils banned the film from being shown at cinemas within their boroughs. Apparently some of these bans lasted until very recently, with the Welsh town of Aberystwyth finally lifting its one in 2009, which then saw a screening of the film attended by Jones, Michael Palin and Sue Jones-Davies, who was the then mayor of the town.

One of the more infamous bans was carried out by the Norwegians who refused to allow the film to be screened at all, which lead some of the international marketing material for the film to be emblazoned with the proclamation ‘So funny it was banned in Norway!’

This is the American one sheet for the release of the film featuring illustration by an artist I have been unable to identify. William Stout had previously provided an illustration for an alternative one sheet, which can be seen here.

The original American trailer can be seen on YouTube.

Life of Brian / quad / 1988 re-release / UK

11.04.14

Poster Poster

Probably my favourite of the five cinematic outings by the Monty Python crew, Life of Brian is one of the funniest films ever made and the brilliant satirical humour hasn’t diminished at all in the thirty plus years since its release. Infamously causing an uproar with various religious groups, it also saw EMI, the original financial backers, pulling out during production claiming the script was blasphemous. Luckily, George Harrison stepped in with the finance, apparently after realising it may have been the last chance to see another Python film in cinemas. His company HandMade Films was formed as a result of this deal.

The film’s religion-baiting story sees a man called Brian (Graham Chapman) born at the same time as Jesus Christ and initially mistaken for the Messiah, who ends up living an unremarkable life under the Roman occupation of Judea. Things take a fateful turn when his infatuation with a young rebel called Judith (Sue Jones-Davies) leads him to join the People’s Front of Judea, a bickering group who have decided to take a stand against the emperor.

The film raised the ire of several religious groups who were outraged at the concept, despite most of them having never even seen the film, and it was only given a general release once several cuts had been made. Despite the edits, several local UK councils banned the film from being shown at cinemas within their boroughs. Apparently some of these bans lasted until very recently, with the Welsh town of Aberystwyth finally lifting its one in 2009, which then saw a screening of the film attended by Jones, Michael Palin and Sue Jones-Davies, who was the then mayor of the town.

One of the more infamous bans was carried out by the Norwegians who refused to allow the film to be screened at all, which lead some of the international marketing material for the film to be emblazoned with the proclamation ‘So funny it was banned in Norway!’

This is a scarce, alternate style UK quad which differs from the other somewhat confusing design, which is simply the logo doubled up. A reader of the site got in touch to confirm that this quad was designed in house at HandMade films. To quote their informative email:

HandMade and the Pythons decided to re-submit the film to Irish Film Board to have the original ban overturned. The submission was successful and with the censor certification under our belt plans to release the film moved ahead and the Life of Brian was finally released in Ireland  I recall in the summer of 1988 as I recall eight years after original release. One of the unsung heroes of HandMade was freelance artist/designer George Rowbottom.

George was closely involved in many HMF posters over the years along with Ray Cooper and it was George who re-worked Life of Brian poster and came up with the “tablet” design for the quad used for the Irish release and also the superior amended 1-sheet. In both cases these were printed by National Screen who printed all our posters for domestic and international.

The original American trailer can be seen on YouTube.

Erik the Viking / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Erik the Viking
AKA
--
Year of Film
1989
Director
Terry Jones
Starring
Tim Robbins, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Gary Cady, Eartha Kitt, Mickey Rooney, Imogen Stubbs, John Gordon Sinclair, Samantha Bond, Antony Sher, Tim McInnerny
Origin of Film
UK | Sweden
Genre(s) of Film
Tim Robbins, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Gary Cady, Eartha Kitt, Mickey Rooney, Imogen Stubbs, John Gordon Sinclair, Samantha Bond, Antony Sher, Tim McInnerny,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
890051
Tagline
A fun trip through the dark ages

Hawk the Slayer / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Hawk the Slayer
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Terry Marcel
Starring
Jack Palance, John Terry, Bernard Bresslaw, Ray Charleson, Peter O'Farrell, Morgan Sheppard
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Jack Palance, John Terry, Bernard Bresslaw, Ray Charleson, Peter O'Farrell, Morgan Sheppard,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Les Edwards
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Beyond The Edge Of Darkness There Is A World Of Sword And Sworcery

Erik the Viking / Thailand

17.07.17

Poster Poster

This Thai poster for Terry Jones’ 1989 fantasy film Erik the Viking features artwork by Tongdee Panumas. The prolific Jones (actor, director, author, screenwriter, poet, historian) is best known as a Monty Python member and director of the comedy group’s feature films. The film was inspired by Jones’ own 1983 children’s book The Saga of Erik the Viking but shares only character names; the plotline is completely different. Based largely on Norse mythology, Tim Robbins stars as the titular Viking who discovers in the opening scene that he has no taste for the usual Viking activities of raping and pillaging. He learns from a wise old woman that Fenrir the wolf has swallowed the sun and plunged the world into the chaotic age of Ragnarök. Erik resolves to gather a motley crew together to travel to Asgard and petition the gods to end Ragnarök and bring sunlight back to his people. First he must travel to Hy-Brasil and recover the ‘Horn Resounding’ and there he meets King Arnulf (Jones) and promptly falls in love with his daughter, Princess Aud (Imogen Stubbs).

The film was largely critically panned and didn’t fare too well at the box-office. Over the years Jones and his son Bill have made a few edits to the film, with a VHS release chopping 18 minutes from the runtime, before a 2006 “Director’s Son’s Cut” saw it reduced down to just 75 minutes (from the original theatrical running time of 107 minutes).

This Thai poster features a repainted take on the figures falling out of the viking boat, as seen on the German poster (and painted by Renato Casaro), but adds more colour and a montage of action scenes as was typical of the artist responsible. Tongdee Panumas was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that this particular copy of the poster has been hand-signed by Tongdee and I bought it from someone who had visited Thailand, met the artist and had him sign a few posters. I’ve seen photographic evidence that it’s a genuine signature.

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.

 

To Live and Die in LA / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
To Live and Die in LA
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
William Friedkin
Starring
William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Michael Greene, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Steve James, Robert Downey Sr., Jane Leeves
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Michael Greene, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Steve James, Robert Downey Sr., Jane Leeves,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Terry Lamb
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
850087
Tagline
A federal agent is dead. A killer is loose. And the City of Angels is about to explode.

To Live and Die in LA / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
To Live and Die in LA
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
William Friedkin
Starring
William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Michael Greene, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Steve James, Robert Downey Sr., Jane Leeves
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Petersen, Willem Dafoe, John Pankow, Michael Greene, Debra Feuer, John Turturro, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Steve James, Robert Downey Sr., Jane Leeves,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Terry Lamb
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A federal agent is dead. A killer is loose. And the City of Angels is about to explode.

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / one sheet / international

25.04.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey
Origin of Film
UK | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Renato Casaro | Vic Fair (main figure)
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Remarkable. Unbelievable. Impossible. And true.

This is the international one sheet for the release of the 1988 fantasy comedy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which was co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam. Based on the tall tales that the real-life 18th century German Baron Münchhausen allegedly told about his wartime dealings with the Ottoman Empire, the film is a riotous exploration of the power of storytelling and imagination. Gilliam plucked the veteran actor John Neville, in his early sixties at the time, from near obscurity to play the titular Baron who teams up with a young girl and a whole host of bizarre characters to save an unnamed European city from defeat by a besieging Turkish army. 

Actress (and recently director) Sarah Polley appears in her first screen role as Sally Salt, a member of a theatre troupe that has been touring the country showing farcical reconstructions of Munchausen’s supposed adventures. At one show the real Baron arrives into the theatre just as a Turkish army appears outside the city walls and begins to attack. What follows is a madcap mix of improbable, recollected tales and daring adventures as the Baron takes Sally on a journey to gather together his old gang of associates, including the fastest runner in the world (Eric Idle), a giant strongman and a dwarf able to expel powerful gusts of wind that can knock tens of people over. Their journey takes them to the moon where they encounter the eccentric King of the Moon (a memorable cameo from Robin Williams), into the crater of an active volcano where they meet the Roman God Vulcan (Oliver Reed) and his wife Venus (one of Uma Thurman‘s earliest film roles) and inside the belly of a giant sea monster, before they head back to the besieged city to rescue it from certain defeat.

Featuring a number of notable actors, often in dual roles that reflect the film’s clever play on the idea of fantasy and reality, the story is never anything less than entertaining and the action on screen completely belies the ridiculous behind the scenes travails that Gilliam went through to bring his vision to life. The film suffered a number of setbacks during its production, including a budget that more than doubled and a change of management at the studio that almost saw the film cancelled entirely (production was shut down for several weeks). The film was eventually practically dumped into cinemas in the States with a limited release that saw a corresponding lack of box office takings, and this was despite strong critical reception. It faired better in Europe but was unable to recoup its reported budget of over $45 million.

This poster’s creation saw the pairing of two not inconsiderable talents in the shape of the British designer and artist Vic Fair and the prolific designer/artist Renato Casaro. More details of each of them can be found in the two exclusive interviews I carried out with each for the website: Vic Fair interview and Renato Casaro interview.

In his interview Vic talks about working with Gilliam (and the interview also features a concept illustration by the artist):

———————–

What was it like working with Terry Gilliam?
‘It could be quite frustrating sometimes as he’d get me to do loads of work and then at the very last minute he’d change his mind and ask someone else to do it. He had this team of artists and designers always on call and often they’d end up taking over, so it often felt like a waste of time.

He was really good at making you feel like you’d solved all his marketing problems though. He used to say things like ‘That’s it! You’ve done it! It’s perfect!’ and he’d kick the bloke off the chair sitting next to him and usher you to take his place at the table. You’d have all these other chaps on his team looking enviously at you, but you knew that it wasn’t over and that there’d be more designs to come. A couple of days later you’d discover that he’d changed his mind and wanted to see some more ideas for the design.’

———————–

In his interview, Renato recalls working with Vic on this poster:

————————

‘One other thing that’s important to say is that I was generally not beholden to an art director and usually I was the designer and the artist on every film poster I worked on. One exception was a pleasant collaboration that I had with the British designer Vic Fair for a poster for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He had designed a one sheet intended for international use and I worked on the painting for it. I would always make sure to watch the film first, or if that wasn’t possible receive stills from the production, or in some cases even visit the set whilst they were filming, as I mentioned. But I was never working to someone else’s design direction – at Studio Casaro I always made sure I had complete creative control on movie jobs.’

———————–

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / A1 / Germany

03.11.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey
Origin of Film
UK | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Renato Casaro
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
23 4/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Alles ist wahr!

This is the original German poster for the release of the 1988 fantasy comedy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which was co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam. Based on the tall tales that the real-life 18th century German Baron Münchhausen allegedly told about his wartime dealings with the Ottoman Empire, the film is a riotous exploration of the power of storytelling and imagination. Gilliam plucked the veteran actor John Neville, in his early sixties at the time, from near obscurity to play the titular Baron who teams up with a young girl and a whole host of bizarre characters to save an unnamed European city from defeat by a besieging Turkish army. 

Actress (and recently director) Sarah Polley appears in her first screen role as Sally Salt, a member of a theatre troupe that has been touring the country showing farcical reconstructions of Munchausen’s supposed adventures. At one show the real Baron arrives into the theatre just as a Turkish army appears outside the city walls and begins to attack. What follows is a madcap mix of improbable, recollected tales and daring adventures as the Baron takes Sally on a journey to gather together his old gang of associates, including the fastest runner in the world (Eric Idle), a giant strongman and a dwarf able to expel powerful gusts of wind that can knock tens of people over. Their journey takes them to the moon where they encounter the eccentric King of the Moon (a memorable cameo from Robin Williams), into the crater of an active volcano where they meet the Roman God Vulcan (Oliver Reed) and his wife Venus (one of Uma Thurman‘s earliest film roles) and inside the belly of a giant sea monster, before they head back to the besieged city to rescue it from certain defeat.

Featuring a number of notable actors, often in dual roles that reflect the film’s clever play on the idea of fantasy and reality, the story is never anything less than entertaining and the action on screen completely belies the ridiculous behind the scenes travails that Gilliam went through to bring his vision to life. The film suffered a number of setbacks during its production, including a budget that more than doubled and a change of management at the studio that almost saw the film cancelled entirely (production was shut down for several weeks). The film was eventually practically dumped into cinemas in the States with a limited release that saw a corresponding lack of box office takings, and this was despite strong critical reception. It faired better in Europe but was unable to recoup its reported budget of over $45 million.

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, 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.

Casaro also worked on the international one sheet for Munchausen in collaboration with the British designer Vic Fair and that can be viewed here.

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.

 

The Return of the Living Dead / quad / UK

29.02.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Return of the Living Dead
AKA
Battalion (Japan - English title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Dan O'Bannon
Starring
Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, John Philbin, Jewel Shepard, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Brian Peck, Linnea Quigley, Mark Venturini, Jonathan Terry
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, John Philbin, Jewel Shepard, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Brian Peck, Linnea Quigley, Mark Venturini, Jonathan Terry,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
They're Back! .. And They're Hungry...

An extremely low-fi poster for the UK release of the excellent 1985 horror comedy The Return of the Living Dead. The image is of Jerome ‘Daniels’ Coleman who plays the rather terrifying legless zombie who chomps on a paramedic before chasing Don Calfa. A clip of him in action is on YouTube.

Apparently Coleman was an amputee who could run on his stumps and was discovered by one of the film’s producers living on the streets of L.A. The effect is extremely effective, particularly when coupled with his blood-curdling screams. It’s one of the few truly creepy moments in the whole film, in my opinion.

The US one sheet is markedly different and can be seen here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Paradise Alley / B2 / Japan

27.06.12

Poster Poster

The Italian Stallion‘s directorial debut, Paradise Alley was written by Stallone in the early 1970s and was given the green light following the success of Rocky (1976). The film focuses on three Italian-American brothers living in the tough neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen, New York in the 1940s and who are all yearning to escape to a better life. Stallone plays Cosmo, the eldest brother who realises that  Victor (Lee Canalito) could use his size and strength to make it big as a wrestler, and persuades him to enter a local contest. Lenny (Armand Assante) agrees to manage Victor’s career but it’s not long before the Cosmo realises that the life of a wrestler is more damaging than he imagined and the brothers’ relationship begins to suffer.

As well as writing, directing and acting in the film, Stallone was also responsible for singing the theme tune over the credits, which can be heard here.

The artwork on this Japanese poster is by the American artist John Solie who has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

The US one sheet is significantly different in style and can be seen here.

Prisoners of the Lost Universe / one sheet / UK

05.08.13

Poster Poster

A classic case of the poster being significantly more exciting than the film it was attempting to sell to the cinema-going public, this is the UK one sheet for the release of the low-budget sci-fi adventure Prisoners of the Lost Universe. Produced by Marcel/Robertson Productions Ltd, the short-lived company who were also responsible for Hawk the Slayer (1980), filming took place in South Africa with a largely American cast and, despite seeing a cinema release in several countries, the film was given its debut on cable TV in the States.

Scientist Dr. Hartmann (Kenneth Hendel) is testing out his revolutionary matter transporter when an earthquake strikes and accidentally beams him to an alternative universe, followed shortly after by Carrie (Kay Lenz), a TV reporter sent to meet him, and Dan, a handyman who also happens to be a kendo champion (Richard Hatch). The duo must cope with the hostile, prehistoric-seeming environment of the new universe, and as they search for the scientist they meet a host of strange characters, including a mute giant, a green-skinned warrior and a cheeky thief. Before long, Carrie has been kidnapped by a warlord named Kleel (played by genre stalwart John Saxon) who has strangely modern technology compared to the rest of the people he rules over, and Dan must battle to save her from his clutches.

Low-budget and with a clunker of a script, awful production design and unsurprisingly sloppy special effects, the film has very little going for it other than a series of unintentionally hilarious moments, which might explain why it has featured on several TV shows that make fun of bad films, including This Movie Sucks! and Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film is apparently in the public domain and has been released on DVD multiple times, usually as part of a compilation of other public domain clunkers, but it can also be watched on YouTube, if you want.

This one sheet was designed and illustrated by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful work 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. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a handful of other designs by him on this site.

 

Full Metal Jacket / one sheet / advance / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Full Metal Jacket
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Stanley Kubrick
Starring
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard, Arliss Howard, Ed O'Ross, John Terry
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard, Arliss Howard, Ed O'Ross, John Terry,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Philip Castle
Size (inches)
26 7/8" x 40 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
In Vietnam The Wind Doesn't Blow It Sucks

Battlestar Galactica / one sheet / teaser / USA

11.08.12

Poster Poster
Title
Battlestar Galactica
AKA
Saga of a Star World (original pilot title)
Year of Film
1978 (released in the US in 1979)
Director
Richard A. Colla
Starring
Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Lorne Greene, Herbert Jefferson Jr., John Colicos, Maren Jensen, Noah Hathaway, Laurette Spang, Tony Swartz, Terry Carter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, Lorne Greene, Herbert Jefferson Jr., John Colicos, Maren Jensen, Noah Hathaway, Laurette Spang, Tony Swartz, Terry Carter,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Ralph McQuarrie
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Before there was earth there was a great war

A rarely seen teaser one sheet for the theatrical release of the pilot of the original Battlestar Galactica TV series. Created by legendary producer Glen A. Larson, who would later go on to work on the likes of The Fall GuyMagnum, P.I. and Knight Rider, the decision was made by Universal Studios to cut the pilot down from its three hour running time and release it in cinemas to try and recoup some of the high production costs. It was first released in Canada, Australia and several European countries in 1978 and this poster dates from the domestic release in 1979. Universal would later repeat this idea with the Buck Rogers movie, also produced by Larson, in the same year.

Originally named Saga of a Star World, the pilot sets up the backstory of the 1,000 year war between a colony of humans living in a distant cosmos and the robotic race known as Cylons, who wish to wipe out the entire human race. The humans are betrayed by a traitor known as Baltar (John Colicos) who helps the Cylons launch a surprise attack during a supposed armistice between the two sides. The assault almost wipes out all 12 of the human colonies, with only the Galactaca surviving along with a bunch of smaller civilian ships. The fleet sets off on a journey across the galaxy in search of their long-lost sister civilisation, our planet Earth, with the Cylons in hot pursuit.

The original artwork was done by the late, legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie who was responsible for creating concept designs for the TV series. The site Sci-fi-o-Rama has an article that features several of his illustrations, including the image on this poster. It appears to have been redrawn (check the explosions, for example), but I’m going to give the artist credit to McQuarrie.

Excalibur / A0 / Germany

19.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
A0
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Based on Bob Beak artwork
Size (inches)
33" x 46 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

At first glance, the artwork on this large-format (A0) German poster for the 1981 fantasy film Excalibur seems to be the same Bob Peak artwork that appears on posters from around the world, including the US one sheet, but it is not. When viewed up close, and compared to the Peak art, it’s clear that the (German) artist was asked to replicate the original as closely as possible, but the quality is definitely lacking in comparison to Peak. The likely reason the distributor decided to have the art repainted, as opposed to cutting and recomposing Peak’s, is that the one sheet art’s composition is completely unsuited to the landscape format of this A0. I suspect a similar thing happened with the British quad, which features an image of the sword being held aloft that is not the same artwork as on the Peak one sheet. The sword appears alongside an image of Merlin that is the artist’s work.

Excalibur was a passion project for the director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank) who had been trying to kickstart a project based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table since 1969. After almost a decade he was able to pull together the financial backing to commence filming, with a script based on the 15th century tales of Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory. The film is notable for being entirely shot on location in Ireland and for featuring breakout performances from a number of notable actors, including Helen MirrenGabriel Byrne, and Liam Neeson. Set over several decades, the story follows the machinations of multiple characters, with the wizard Merlin (Nicol Williamson) acting as something of a constant (if deeply eccentric) figure who floats around the rulers of Britain. In one of the first scenes we see him retrieving the titular sword from the Lady of the Lake.

Beginning with a king called Uther Pendragon (Byrne), Merlin first assists him in first reaching a truce with Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall, before Uther sets his sights on the Duke’s wife Igrayne and war breaks out once more. Merlin reluctantly offers to help him defeat Gorlois and capture Igrayne on the condition that he can have ‘whatever results from this lust’. Without fully understanding the ramifications of the deal, Uther agrees, slays the Duke and has his way with Igrayne (albeit under a Merlin spell that makes him look like the Duke). Nine months later Merlin arrives to claim his agreed prize, a boy born of that night’s passion. The wizard leaves the castle with him, much to Igrayne’s horror, and eventually Uther decides to pursue and attempt to rescue his son. Unfortunately he is attacked in a forest by a group of Gorlois’ men and dies, but not before he thrusts Excalibur into a stone and proclaims, “He who draws the sword from the stone, he shall be king.”

The story then jumps forward several years and sees the boy, now grown into a teenager named Arthur, completely unaware of his origins (Merlin had given him to another couple to raise as their own). Whilst attending a jousting contest with his father and brother, a mixup with a stolen sword sees Arthur easily pulling Excalibur from the stone after hundreds of men have failed to do so in the past. Unaware of the significance of the event, it takes Arthur a while to understand that he is now the rightful king and only a visit from Merlin eventually convinces him. The rest of the film follows Arthur as he rallies knights around him, takes the throne and establishes the famous court and castle of Camelot. He also meets and falls in love with Guinevere (Cherie Lunghi) but eventually tensions rise when Lancelot, one of his trusted knights, becomes infatuated with her. Morgana, a budding sorceress and Arthur’s half-sister, also tricks Merlin into teaching her the Charm of Making, allowing her to take the form of others. When she tricks Arthur into sleeping with her (him believing it to be Guinevere) the resultant child threatens an end to the whole kingdom.

Apparently the film was originally completed to a length of around three hours before having 40 minutes trimmed and I can’t help but feel that allowing the film to breathe might have helped. There’s a lot of story to fit in and it’s fair to say that the cuts do show; I found some of the time jumps and scene to scene transitions pretty jarring, whilst the script doesn’t exactly help matters. Critics at the time also found the film’s story and exposition wanting but most agreed that Boorman had definitely succeeded in making the film visually stunning. The use of real locations along with some incredible costumes such as the shiny chrome armour worn by most of the male cast (Merlin even has a shiny cap) are accentuated by the use of coloured lighting. The film has developed something of a cult reputation over the years, largely thanks to the arresting visuals on display.

If anyone knows who the artist was that repainted the original Bob Peak art, please get in touch.

Return of the Living Dead / Thai

19.11.14

Poster Poster

Unique artwork by artist Tongdee on this Thai poster for the release of the 80s zombie classic Return of the Living Dead, featuring a depiction of the memorable character played by Linnea Quigley (represented here in undead form). When I first saw the film I was a little mystified by her ‘Barbie doll’ look (smooth bump) when she’s naked in the graveyard and only later found out that one of the producers made her wear prosthetics to cover up her privates. I can only imagine that it confused a lot of impressionable teenagers who were watching this back in the 1980s.

I recently bought the blu-ray and have to say the film still holds up really well – the creature designs and music are particular standouts. I’m definitely going to pick up ‘The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead’ book, which is meant to be excellent.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s but I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947. If anyone has any more information please get in touch. A knowledgeable collector of Thai posters told me that the artists would rarely if ever see the film they were creating the poster for and would instead paint images based on still photos or posters from other countries. This led to some wild designs and even some artwork with characters and elements that didn’t even appear in the actual film!

The US one sheet is markedly different and can be seen here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / B1 / Japan

11.07.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey
Origin of Film
UK | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40.5
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the scarce Japanese B1 for the release of the 1988 fantasy comedy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which was co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam. Based on the tall tales that the real-life 18th century German Baron Münchhausen allegedly told about his wartime dealings with the Ottoman Empire, the film is a riotous exploration of the power of storytelling and imagination. Gilliam plucked the veteran actor John Neville, in his early sixties at the time, from near obscurity to play the titular Baron who teams up with a young girl and a whole host of bizarre characters to save an unnamed European city from defeat by a besieging Turkish army. 

Actress (and recently director) Sarah Polley appears in her first screen role as Sally Salt, a member of a theatre troupe that has been touring the country showing farcical reconstructions of Munchausen’s supposed adventures. At one show the real Baron arrives into the theatre just as a Turkish army appears outside the city walls and begins to attack. What follows is a madcap mix of improbable, recollected tales and daring adventures as the Baron takes Sally on a journey to gather together his old gang of associates, including the fastest runner in the world (Eric Idle), a giant strongman and a dwarf able to expel powerful gusts of wind that can knock tens of people over. Their journey takes them to the moon where they encounter the eccentric King of the Moon (a memorable cameo from Robin Williams), into the crater of an active volcano where they meet the Roman God Vulcan (Oliver Reed) and his wife Venus (one of Uma Thurman‘s earliest film roles) and inside the belly of a giant sea monster, before they head back to the besieged city to rescue it from certain defeat.

Featuring a number of notable actors, often in dual roles that reflect the film’s clever play on the idea of fantasy and reality, the story is never anything less than entertaining and the action on screen completely belies the ridiculous behind the scenes travails that Gilliam went through to bring his vision to life. The film suffered a number of setbacks during its production, including a budget that more than doubled and a change of management at the studio that almost saw the film cancelled entirely (production was shut down for several weeks). The film was eventually practically dumped into cinemas in the States with a limited release that saw a corresponding lack of box office takings, and this was despite strong critical reception. It faired better in Europe but was unable to recoup its reported budget of over $45 million.

This psychedelic design is unique to this Japanese B1 and is markedly different to the equally trippy B2 poster.

 

Full Metal Jacket / Daybill / Australia

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Full Metal Jacket
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Stanley Kubrick
Starring
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard, Arliss Howard, Ed O'Ross, John Terry
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard, Arliss Howard, Ed O'Ross, John Terry,
Type of Poster
Daybill
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Australia
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
13 3/16" x 26 6/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
An epic story of the Vietnam war

Full Metal Jacket / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Full Metal Jacket
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Stanley Kubrick
Starring
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard, Arliss Howard, Ed O'Ross, John Terry
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Major Howard, Arliss Howard, Ed O'Ross, John Terry,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Philip Castle
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
In Vietnam The Wind Doesn't Blow It Sucks

Excalibur / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.

Excalibur / one sheet / teaser / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
--