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Swiss Family Robinson / quad / 1976 re-release / UK

10.08.15

Poster Poster

A typically detailed and action-packed illustration by Brian Byouth on this 1976 re-release poster for the 1960 Disney adaptation of the 1812 novel The Swiss Robinson by Johann David Wyss. The story had already been filmed once by RKO pictures in 1940 and was a commercial success so another adaptation was considered a sure bet. Filmed on location in Tobago as well as at Pinewood studios in the UK, the film was directed by the late British director Ken Annakin who worked with Disney on a number of pictures. Legendary Brit actor John Mills plays the father of a family that is shipwrecked on a remote tropical island whilst en-route to New Guinea and the film deals with their adventures as they make a new home and try to cope with marauding pirates who are roaming the waters around the island and are causing havoc for ships that enter its waters.

The film differs significantly from the novel and the changes are detailed on the Wikiepdia page for the film. Happily for all involved it was well received by critics and audiences and went on to be the highest earning film of 1960 (beating Hitchcock’s Psycho and Kubrick’s Spartacus). Adjusted for inflation the film made over $427 million which makes it one of the biggest hits of all time. 

British artist Brian Bysouth worked on many Disney posters during the 1970s and early 1980s, including several for re-releases of earlier films from the 1950s and 60s like this one. Brian is one of my favourite artists and worked on many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

Ryan’s Daughter / one sheet / style B / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

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.