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Lucky Lady / one sheet / USA

27.06.16

Poster Poster

Artwork by the late, great Richard Amsel features on this one sheet for the 1975 comedy-drama Lucky Lady. The film was helmed by Stanley Donen, an American director who’s best known for Singing in the Rain (1952) and Charade (1963). Gene Hackman appears alongside Burt Reynolds and Liza Minnelli, and the former apparently took some persuading to star. He eventually relented when producers offered him the then significant sum of $1.5m. The film is set in the American prohibition era during which the sale and production of alcohol was banned across the whole country. The plot is described like so:

During the Prohibition era, a young widow, Claire (Minelli), gets involved in liquor smuggling and romance with two men, Walker (Reynolds) and Kibby (Hackman), off the San Diego coast. Organized crime controls bootlegging back east and wants to do the same here, so a hit man named McTeague (John Hillerman) is sent to deal with these amateur crooks, as is the Coast Guard, leading to various battles at sea.

Richard Amsel was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and studied at the city’s College of Art. Whilst there he entered and won a nationwide artist competition to paint the poster for the film ‘Hello Dolly!’. Amsel was just 22 at the time and this win helped him quickly establish a career in New York where he worked on album covers (including one for Barry Manilow) as well as magazine covers and editorial art. In addition, he worked on posters some of the most important films of the 1970s, including Chinatown, Nashville and The Sting. During the 1970s he also worked on a series of covers for the American magazine TV Guide, which are still celebrated to this day.

In the 1980s Amsel worked on what is my favourite Indiana Jones poster, the Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 re-release one sheet. He had also painted the original release version, featuring a much more serious looking Indy. The artist’s final film poster was the one sheet for Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. Amsel sadly died of AIDS-related complications that same year. He leaves behind a great legacy of unforgettable artwork, some of which I already have in the Film on Paper collection and which can be seen here.