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Patton / B2 / Japan


Poster Poster
Patton - Rebell in Uniform (West Germany)
Year of Film
Franklin J. Schaffner
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong, Carey Loftin, Albert Dumortier, Frank Latimore, Morgan Paull, Karl Michael Vogler
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong, Carey Loftin, Albert Dumortier, Frank Latimore, Morgan Paull, Karl Michael Vogler,
Type of Poster
Style of Poster
Origin of Poster
Year of Poster
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS

This is the original Japanese poster for the award-winning biography of General George S. Patton, the celebrated US Army officer who led successful campaigns during World War II. The film, simply titled Patton, was in development for several years and was something of a passion project for producer Frank McCarthy who had worked at the United States Department of War during WWII. The film was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (arguably best known for Planet of the Apes, 1968) and starred the late actor George C. Scott in one of his most celebrated roles as the eponymous general. Karl Malden also appears as fellow senior officer, General Omar N. Bradley. The screenplay was written by Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North, with the pair (who never worked together in person) basing their screenplay on two biographies of Patton. 

The film opens with a famous monologue where Patton addresses unseen troops in front of a giant American flag. The rest of the film, which clocks in at over three hours and features an intermission, deals with incidents from Patton’s career during World War II, including his successful campaigns in North Africa and Sicily. This includes controversial incidents that had a severe effect on his standing with the military top brass, including Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower (later US President). One involved him berating and slapping a shell-shocked soldier, which saw him reprimanded and forced to apologise to the entire division. Patton is depicted as something of a glory chaser, wanting to be at the front of any campaign and pushing the soldiers under him to their limits, with punishing schedules and lack of rest and relaxation. The final third of the film depicts his legendary sweep through Europe and into Germany before the eventual surrender of the German forces.

The film’s production design is incredible and, although largely filmed in Spain, the locations feel very authentic and the numerous battle scenes are suitably epic with plenty of actual military hardware in use (as opposed to the CGI that would be employed today). The film would justly win the Academy Award for Best Art Direction. It was also the Best Picture and Best Director winner at the 1971 ceremony, winning seven awards in total. Infamously, Scott won for Best Actor but declined the award, saying the politics around the ceremony was “demeaning” and that the show amounted to nothing more than “a two-hour meat parade”. The film remains one of the best War films made to this day. Note the Dimension 150 logo on this Japanese B2 poster which refers to an ultra-widescreen format, similar to Cinerama, that was only employed by two productions (The Bible being the other).

Meteor / B2 / Japan


Poster Poster

Arriving at the tail-end of the 1970s, a decade that saw the release of a number of successful disaster movies like The Towering Inferno and Earthquake, Meteor ended up as an all-star clunker and is easily one of the worst entries in the genre. Helmed by the British filmmaker Ronald Neame, who had seen success with 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, the film focuses on the outcome of the eponymous lump of rock barrelling towards earth after being knocked off course by a comet. Sean Connery plays Paul Bradley, a scientist who masterminded the creation of a space-based weapon named Hercules that was originally intended to protect earth from such a threat, but was instead taken over by the military and aimed at the Soviet Union due to escalating Cold War tensions.

The plot sees the US and Russia agreeing to work together after much (dull) handwringing and Paul Bradley works with his opposite number from the CCCP Alexei Dubov (Brian Keith) to ensure the Russian’s own weapons platform can combine forces with Hercules and fire both payloads at the rock. Meanwhile, fragments of the asteroid begin hitting earth in some unconvincing sequences featuring uniformly awful special effects. Eventually, and improbably, a large chunk hits Manhattan, which just happens to be where Paul Bradley and most of the other characters are located, leading to some sequences of mild peril that end up with Connery covered in mud and a few dead background characters. The special effects are truly, inexcusably awful and I can’t think of one well-executed sequence. The rock hitting New York is mostly done with what is clearly red-tinted stock footage of buildings being knocked down by controlled demolition.

The biggest problem with the film is that most of the actors look bored and, with the exception of a crazy-eyed Martin Landau, like they’d rather be somewhere else. It doesn’t help that the Cold War machinations, whilst maybe more relevant in 1979, are totally boring today and way too much of the film is spent focused on discussions to try and resolve differences between the two nations.

Whilst the film is a stinker, the same can’t be said for this moody artwork showing an obliterated Manhattan that was illustrated by Noriyoshi Ohrai, my favourite Japanese artist and certainly in my top five greatest film poster illustrators of all time. He’s responsible for a number of other posters in the Godzilla franchise, some of which can be seen here. He also worked on a number of Star Wars related posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film. In March 2014 a retrospective exhibition was held in Japan of Ohrai’s work and I made the trip over to Miyazaki to see the exhibition. I’m very glad I did as it featured most of his original artwork and a whole array of posters and book covers. A full report will follow soon.

The posters I’ve managed to collect by Noriyoshi Ohrai can be seen by clicking here.