You searched for: Legend

Legend of the Werewolf / one sheet / UK

30.01.12

Poster Poster

British designer and illustrator Vic Fair is responsible for the arresting poster for this 1975 horror film Legend of the Werewolf directed by Freddie Francis and produced by Tyburn Film Productions. Francis is probably best known as an Academy-Award winning cinematographer (Sons and Lovers, Glory), and he worked with David Lynch on The Elephant Man, Dune and The Straight Story. He’s also responsible for directing a slew of films for the British production companies Hammer, Amicus and Tigon, including Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors and Dracula has Risen from the Grave.

Tyburn was apparently set up by Freddie Francis’ son, Kevin, and was only active for a short period, producing three horror films in 1975, including this one, The Ghoul and Persecution. I wasn’t able to discover much more information about the company so please get in touch if you know anything of note.

The story is set in 19th century France and focuses on Etoile (David Rintoul) who is raised by wolves and is later found and adopted by a sideshow troupe traveling through the forrest. He eventually escapes to Paris and becomes infatuated with a prostitute (Lynn Dalby), but when her clients begin to be brutally murdered a police surgeon (Cushing) begins to suspect all is not quite right with Etoile.

Sim Branaghan, author of the excellent book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History is a fan of the film and sent this through to me shortly after I added the poster to the site:

I actually know a large amount about this film – and Tyburn – for the simple reason that a book was published by the BFI back in 1976, which exhaustively documented its production. The film happens to be one of my personal favourites and I think it is witty, thoughtful, and finally genuinely moving (if only in a small way). Tony Hinds’ script is classic dark-fairy-tale, the acting fine, Francis’s direction skilfully-unobtrusive and Harry Robinson’s score absolutely terrific. Cushing gives his usual model, controlled performance (rather more light-hearted than usual), Ron Moody is excellent, and David Rintoul fresh and sympathetic as the werewolf.

The supporting cast is a bit mixed, but nobody actively embarrasses themselves. Yes, the film is painfully low-budget and sometimes looks pretty threadbare, but it has HEART. Historically, it’s hugely significant as the last Costume Gothic produced in the UK (almost exactly eighteen years after the first, Curse of Frankenstein, back in autumn 1956). Hinds and Cushing worked on both of course, and the sense of fin-de-siecle here is palpable, and very poignant to a true fan of the genre.

Obviously all criticism is subjective, and you might well find plenty of other horror fans who’ll cheerfully tell you Legend is a pile of shite.  But they’d be wrong. 

The pictures of the poster don’t do the striking neon colours justice and I believe it was done with a type of screen-printing as they are particularly solid and bright in person.

Here’s a clip from the film featuring a red-tinted werewolf-vision attack.

Legend / quad / UK

10.10.16

Poster Poster
Title
Legend
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Alvin
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
"I am Darkness"

John Alvin artwork features on this British quad for the release of director Ridley Scott‘s 1985 fantasy oddity, Legend. It’s a film that is often scrubbed from both Scott and star Tom Cruise’s filmography whenever their previous films are discussed. There are a number of reasons for this, not least the fact that it had a troubled production as well as a fairly brutal critical mauling. Cruise’s performance is a shadow of what the actor brought to Tony Scott’s seminal Top Gun only a year later. part of the blame for this has to be down to the way the film was extensively edited by both Scott and the studio prior to release. Scott’s first version ran 125 minutes and this was then cut down to 113 minutes following some test screenings. The final UK (European?) release was 95 minutes and US audiences had another 6 minutes removed for their version.

There are things to admire about the film, including the production and set design which created some memorable environments in which the action takes place. Tim Curry is near unrecognisable as the evil Darkness (as featured on this poster) and the make-up effects, created by Rob Bottin and his team, are incredible. Mia Sara also impresses as Lili and it’s hard to believe she was just 16 at the time of filming. Whilst it failed to recoup its budget on initial release, the film has definitely gained something of a cult following in the years since, particularly with those coming of age around the time of its release on home video. 

The late American designer and artist John Alvin was responsible for over 135 film poster designs over a thirty year period. Alvin painted many unforgettable pieces of artwork, including Blade Runner and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, and this image he created for Legend was used around the globe to promote the film, including in multiple European countries and on the international one sheet. Alvin sadly passed away too early, just shy of his 6oth birthday (in 2008), but his fantastic designs will live on for generations to come.

To see the posters I’ve collected by Alvin click here.

The Legend of Hell House / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Legend of Hell House
AKA
Dopo la vita [After life] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
John Hough
Starring
Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowall, Clive Revill, Gayle Hunnicutt, Roland Culver, Peter Bowles
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Pamela Franklin, Roddy McDowall, Clive Revill, Gayle Hunnicutt, Roland Culver, Peter Bowles,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Legend / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Legend
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Peter O'Farrell, Kiran Shah, Annabelle Lanyon, Robert Picardo,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
International
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Intralink Film Graphic Design
Artist
John Alvin
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
"No Good without Evil. No Love without Hate. No Innocence without Lust. I am Darkness."

Sword of the Valiant / quad / UK

19.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
Sword of the Valiant
AKA
Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (full title - USA)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Stephen Weeks
Starring
Miles O'Keeffe, Cyrielle Clair, Leigh Lawson, Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Peter Cushing, Ronald Lacey, Lila Kedrova, John Rhys-Davies
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Miles O'Keeffe, Cyrielle Clair, Leigh Lawson, Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Peter Cushing, Ronald Lacey, Lila Kedrova, John Rhys-Davies,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Men of Iron... Blades of Steel

British director Stephen Weeks had already made a film loosely based on the Arthurian poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that was released in 1973 as Gawain and the Green Knight and starred the singer Murray Head as Gawain. Unfortunately, a falling out between producer and studio meant that the film was not properly distributed and pretty much disappeared without trace. 10 years later the notorious producers in charge of Cannon Films, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, were casting around for a new project and Weeks managed to persuade them to remake his original story with just a handful of tweaks. Quite frankly, everyone involved should have stayed away as the result is a risible mess.

Practically the only thing of note are the actors that the producers managed to persuade to join the cast, which includes the late Peter Cushing (in one of his final appearances) and Trevor Howard, as well as star of the Indiana Jones series John Rhys-Davies. Unquestionably their biggest coup was securing Sean Connery to play the Green Knight, a performance he managed to squeeze around his role in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again, a task made easy by the fact that he only appears in a few scenes. But what an appearance! If you thought his costume in Zardoz was bizarre, just wait until you see him covered in bright green armour, glitter, bare-chested, covered in fake tan and wearing small antlers on his head! He certainly gives it some gusto and seems to enjoy prancing around the sets swinging his giant axe.

The story begins inside a great banqueting hall with an unhappy king (Howard) stopping a planned feast because he’s fed up with the nobles who he feels don’t have much worth. He challenges them all to prove that they’re worthy of eating from his table. Just at that moment Connery’s Green Knight bursts through the door on horseback and proceeds to taunt the people in the hall with a challenge to cut off his head in order to prove their courage. At first no one accepts, but then a plucky young squire called Gawain (a Barbie-haired Miles O’Keeffe) who was delivering the king’s new suit of armour decides to take up the challenge. Gawain swings the axe and the Green Knight’s head is removed but the whole thing is a strange ruse and only a minute later the Knight is whole again and turning the axe on Gawain.

Just before delivering the final blow he decides to spare the squire and offers him a year to solve an odd rhyming riddle. When the Green Knight has gone, the king is thrilled with Gawain’s bravery and immediately knights him and sends him off on a quest to solve the riddle. The rest of the film moves from scene to scene without much urgency and features some dreadful battle scenes and sword-fighting that make it look like an amateur production. The script is truly terrible and it’s clear that whole scenes were truncated heavily as half of it doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps worst of all is the abysmal synthesiser score that warbles in the background of every scene.

In the end, this film would also fall foul of producer and distributor problems and wasn’t given a proper release and poor reviews didn’t help much at all. Weeks would never direct again. This poster features artwork that I believe to be unique to the British quad and I’ve been unable to find out who is responsible. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Check out the ridiculous trailer on YouTube.