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Blow Out / one sheet / USA

18.05.15

Poster Poster
Title
Blow Out
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May, John Aquino, John McMartin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May, John Aquino, John McMartin,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810132
Tagline
Murder has a sound all of its own

Following the poor reception of 1980’s Dressed to Kill, director Brian De Palma decided to develop an idea he’d had during production that was based on Antonioni’s 1966 thriller Blow Up, swapping photography for sound recording. The resultant film, with a screenplay by De Palma, was named Blow Out and released almost exactly a year after Dressed to Kill. John Travolta stars as Jack Terry, a sound technician who is working on a low-budget exploitation film and is tasked by a producer to set out and record a better scream for a pivotal scene as well as some ambient noises. Jack travels to a local park at night to record but whilst there he witnesses a limousine crash off a road and into a lake.

After diving in to see if there are any survivors Jack discovers the driver dead and a young woman alive but trapped in the back of the car. After rescuing her and pulling her to safety, Jack discovers that the driver was a governor and presidential candidate and the woman is Sally (De Palma’s then wife Nancy Allen), an escort. The governor’s associates persuade Jack to cover up the fact that Sally was in the car and whilst listening to the recordings he made that night he begins to suspect that the crash wasn’t an accident as people are being led to believe. When he discovers that an amateur cameraman was also recording in the park that night he works with Sally to get a copy of the film, and when spliced together it becomes clear that a single gunshot was fired before the car smashes into the lake. It soon becomes clear that Jack has inadvertently involved himself in a deepening conspiracy and that he and Sally are in grave danger, with the gunman Burke (John Lithgow) still at large and keen to tie up loose ends.

As expected, the film is visually stylish and features several of De Palma’s trademark bravura sequences, with one towards the end of the film featuring a parade and a fireworks display that is particularly memorable. The leads all give excellent performances, with Travolta’s low-key depiction of an ordinary man in over his head is in stark contrast to his breakout role in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever. The score by regular De Palma collaborator Pino Donaggio is also superb and serves the film perfectly.

Although it received several rave reviews from the likes of Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert, the film failed to take off at the box-office and only found cult success years after its initial release. The home video label Criterion released the film on blu-ray in 2011 and during a making-of documentary Nancy Allen mentions the marketing for the film, and this poster, as not helping the film’s box-office performance. It’s a very simple image and perhaps didn’t say enough about the film to entice potential film-goers. It’s also thought that word of mouth about the notoriously downbeat ending probably didn’t help either.

If anyone has any ideas who designed this poster please get in touch.

Pulp Fiction / quad / UK

08.01.14

Poster Poster

It’s hard to believe but Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Pulp Fiction celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and it’s easy to forget just what an impact it has had on cinema since its release. Whilst certainly not the first film to use a nonlinear, fractured narrative, Pulp Fiction arguably introduced the idea to a wide audience and did it with incredible bravado. Few films (pre-Reservoir Dogs) had characters speaking in such rapid-fire, pop culture-aware dialogue as Tarantino’s creations and few had mixed humour and violence as casually (and cleverly) as this. Blessed with deft editing and a killer soundtrack, all the ingredients combined together to make for a worldwide critical and commercial success, and cemented Tarantino’s reputation as an auteur filmmaker.

The film marked a watershed moment for independent cinema, particularly in the way it was financed and distributed. After Tarantino and screenwriting partner Roger Avary agreed a deal with Jersey Films (the production company part-owned by Danny DeVito) which was beneficial for all parties, the team initially attempted to produce the film with Columbia Tristar. After the script was eventually rejected by them for a litany of reasons, Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax, newly acquired by Disney, stepped in and agreed to finance it. Tarantino’s producing partner Lawrence Bender had the canny idea of paying each of the main actors the same amount per week, no matter their status. Part of the film’s success was in its superb casting of familiar faces playing against type, including Bruce Willis as an amoral boxer, John Travolta as an ageing hitman (Travolta’s career saw a huge boost on the back of this film) and Uma Thurman as a drug-taking wife of a mob boss.

It was an image of a sultry, raven-haired Uma Thurman that was used in (virtually) every market around the world and made for one of the most iconic one sheets of the 1990s (in both teaser and final style formats). For its hugely successful release in the UK, Miramax decided to use the same image of Thurman but adapted it to the landscape format, created a unique title design and also incorporated the dictionary definitions of Pulp and Fiction seen at the start of the film. Note that the packet of Lucky Strikes which had caused the teaser one sheet to be infamously withdrawn (after the cigarette manufacturer complained about its inclusion) has been digitally manipulated to obscure the logo as it was on the final one sheet.

Carrie / one sheet / Turkey

05.08.15

Poster Poster
Title
Carrie
AKA
Carrie, lo sguardo di Satana [The gaze of Satan] (Italy) | Keri (Serbia)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Turkey
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
26 14/16" x 39 4/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Brian De Palma‘s horror classic Carrie still stands up today as a perfectly paced thriller and a powerful portrait of the torment suffered by a social outcast on the receiving end of a bullying campaign. Sissy Spacek delivers a breakout performance as Carrie White, the teenager who is picked upon by her teachers, peers and her domineering, abusive mother Margaret (played brilliantly by Piper Laurie). What nobody knows is that Carrie has discovered that she has a latent telekinetic power that flares up when she’s upset or angry. The film also features memorable turns from several young actors who were relative unknowns at the time, including John TravoltaNancy Allen and William Katt as Tommy.

The unforgettable prom night sequence that sees Carrie’s destructive powers fully unleashed was clearly seen as the marketing cornerstone for the film, as evidenced by the images at the bottom of this Turkish one sheet. A still from the scene features on the brilliant Japanese B2. An image of Sissy Spacek drenched in blood is often used to promote the film and has been used for multiple DVD covers and other marketing materials. This artwork only appears on the Turkish poster but my friend Sim Branaghan confirmed that it was originally used by the UK publishing company NEL on the cover of the paperback reprint of Stephen King’s novel as early as 1975. Here’s a link to it on a later 1978 edition, also published by NEL. I’ve searched but am unable to find an artist to whom I can credit it.

Carrie / 30×40 / USA

12.12.12

Poster Poster
Title
Carrie
AKA
Carrie, lo sguardo di Satana [The gaze of Satan] (Italy) | Keri (Serbia)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/222
Tagline
If you've got a taste for terror... take Carrie to the prom. | If only they knew she had the power

Brian De Palma‘s mesmerising Carrie still stands up today as a perfectly paced thriller and a powerful portrait of the torment suffered by a social outcast on the receiving end of a bullying campaign. Sissy Spacek delivers a breakout performance as Carrie White, the teenager who is picked upon by her teachers, peers and her domineering, abusive mother Margaret (played brilliantly by Piper Laurie). What nobody knows is that Carrie has discovered that she has a latent telekinetic power that flares up when she’s upset or angry. The film also features memorable turns from several young actors who were relative unknowns at the time, including John TravoltaNancy Allen and William Katt as Tommy.

The unforgettable prom night sequence that sees Carrie’s destructive powers fully unleashed was clearly seen as the marketing cornerstone for the film, as evidenced by the images and tagline used on this 30×40 poster. A still from the scene features on the brilliant Japanese B2. The striking image of Sissy Spacek drenched in blood is often used to promote the film and has been used for multiple DVD covers and other marketing materials. A remake is being readied for release in 2013 and the teaser poster depicts star Chloe Moretz in a similarly bloody state.

Grease / one sheet / teaser / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Grease
AKA
Vaselina (Mexico)
Year of Film
1978
Director
Randal Kleiser
Starring
John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Spiros Angelikas
Artist
Linda Fennimore
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Pulp Fiction / B2 / white style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Carrie / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Carrie
AKA
Carrie, lo sguardo di Satana [The gaze of Satan] (Italy) | Keri (Serbia)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Betty Buckley, Amy Irving, William Katt, Nancy Allen, John Travolta,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Pulp Fiction / one sheet / final / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster