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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.

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes / quad / UK

01.02.17

Poster Poster
Title
Something Wicked This Way Comes
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Jack Clayton
Starring
Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, Royal Dano, Vidal Peterson, Shawn Carson, Mary Grace Canfield, Richard Davalos, Jake Dengel, Jack Dodson
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, Royal Dano, Vidal Peterson, Shawn Carson, Mary Grace Canfield, Richard Davalos, Jake Dengel, Jack Dodson,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
David Grove
Size (inches)
30" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Don't whisper your dreams, someone may be listening.

Something Wicked This Way Comes is a 1983 live-action Disney film that’s based on the Ray Bradbury horror novel of the same name. It was helmed by the late British director Jack Clayton (best known for the 1961 horror The Innocents) The film is notorious for its production woes and extensive reshoots that were done without the input of Clayton or Bradbury, who also wrote the screenplay. After production had wrapped, Disney were concerned about its length and commercial appeal and spent a year (and millions of dollars) replacing entire scenes and extensive special effects sequences with material shot by another director. The film’s Wikipedia page details the problems and also notes that the film was a commercial flop.

The plot is described thusly on IMDb:

In a small anywhere town in any state in America, two young boys- quiet Will Halloway and somewhat rebellious Jim Nightshade-enjoy the ever-shortening days of autumn. When the boys hear about a strange traveling carnival from a lightning rod salesman, they decide to see what it is all about-but Will is fearful, as most carnivals end their tours after Labor Day. When the ominous Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, rides into town on a dark midnight, setting up his massive carnival in a matter of seconds, the boys are both thrilled and terrified. It seems to be just another carnival at first, but it is not before long that the forces of darkness themselves are manifesting from the haunting melodies of the carousel-which can change your age depending on which way you ride it-and the glaring Mirror Maze. With his collection of freaks and oddities, such as the Fat Man, Mr. Electro, and the blind Dust Witch, Dark intends to take control of the town and seize more innocent souls to damn.

The artwork on this quad, which also featured on the American and French posters, is by the American illustrator David Grove who worked on several film posters, including the brilliant international one sheet for Pale Rider and the striking poster for Steven Seagal’s Nico. Grove had an incredible skill at using gouache and acrylic paints to create striking, stylised images of his subjects, which are full of energy and feature brilliant use of colour washes, shading and clever brush strokes.

Grove sadly passed away in October 2012 and the website of Artist Partners London (where he apparently worked for a while in the 1960s) features a gallery and information on him, including an obituary that was originally printed in the San Francisco Chronicle. Greg Newbold’s Life Needs Art blog features a great piece on Grove, which includes several images of his other film posters.

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.

Brazil / quad / UK

01.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Brazil
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Withdrawn 'dream cabinets' version
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

One of my favourite British posters of all time, this is the supposedly withdrawn quad for Terry Gilliam‘s 1985 masterpiece Brazil. A film that is near impossible to categorise, the story  is a heady mix of dystopian sci-fi, surreal dark fantasy and anarchic satirical comedy set in an alternative universe in which an overbearing government has practically strangled society with its mixture of paranoia, crippling bureaucracy and unreliable technology. That one of the film’s working titles was ‘1984 and 1/2’ gives you some idea of the Orwellian overtones that Gilliam and his fellow screenwriters Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown intended to evoke.

Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowry, a low-level employee at the ‘Ministry of Information’ who is seemingly content with his role as a cog in the giant machine, but at night he escapes in dreams where he is a knight is shining armour with giant wings strapped to his back, often rescuing the same damsel in distress from malicious forces. When a clerical error caused by a dead beetle falling into a printer causes the wrong man to be rounded up, tortured and killed by government forces (“we didn’t know he had a weak heart!”), Sam is given the task of correcting the error. Whilst visiting the wife of the deceased man, Sam meets Jill Layton (Kim Greist) a neighbour who bears a striking resemblance to the girl in his dreams.

Naturally he is instantly smitten and sets in motion a series of events that ends up with Sam and Jill pitched against his employer and on the run. The film features several memorable appearances from the likes of Ian Holm as Sam’s bumbling, inefficient boss, Michael Palin as an ambitious and ultimately ruthless friend within the Ministry, and Robert De Niro in a cameo role as Harry Tuttle, a rogue heating engineer who was meant to be the original target for the government round-up.

The film is visually stunning with some of the most incredible production design ever committed to celluloid. Gilliam and his skilled crew of technicians stretched every penny of the modest budget and created countless memorable sets, brilliantly realised props and entirely believable environmental details that all add up to something unforgettable. The special effects are also top notch, with the dream sequences deserving special mention, particularly Sam’s battle with a giant Samurai warrior and the literal flights of fantasy in his winged suit.

Infamously, Gilliam would end up in a bitter wrangle with the American distributors Universal after they decided his final cut was overlong, confusing and the ending was too depressing. The then Universal president Sid Sheinberg ordered a small team of editors to cut the film down from its original length of 2 hours and 20 minutes to just over 90 minutes for a version unofficially dubbed ‘The Love Conquers All’ cut. Most of the dream sequences were excised, the opening scenes completely chopped around and many scenes were horribly truncated. Worst of all, the original darker ending was replaced with a bizarre ‘happy’ denouement that completely ruined the tone of Gilliam’s film.

Understandably furious, the director refused to have anything to do with the new cut and actually began a campaign to get his original version seen by as many American film fans and critics as possible, much to the chagrin of Universal’s management. Eventually this culminated in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarding the original cut their prize for Best Film and this led to Universal relenting and agreeing to release a near complete version to cinemas (minus around 10 minutes from the European cut). The bastardised ‘Love Conquers All’ version never saw the inside of a cinema.

The image on this poster is actually a combination of imagery from the flying sequences and a deleted scene that was only ever storyboarded by Gilliam in which a dreaming Sam finds himself at a vast wall of filing cabinets. The title treatment is taken directly from the opening title of the film itself, which is an actual neon signage that falls away from the camera to the accompaniment of Michael Kamen’s excellent score.

I have heard from at least three independent sources that this particular quad was withdrawn from cinemas by the distributor 20th Century Fox because it was felt the image wasn’t the right one to sell the film to UK audiences and was replaced by this bizarre ‘flying bed’ quad that is a world away from this striking design. If anyone knows for sure that this quad was withdrawn or any more details about it, please get in touch.

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

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
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

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
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Bemis Balkind, Concept Arts
Artist
Lucinda Cowell
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
890028
Tagline
Remarkable. Unbelievable. Impossible. And true.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl / one sheet / advance / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

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.’

———————–