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They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! / B2 / Japan

24.02.16

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of the first of two sequels to the 1967 drama In the Heat of the Night, starring Sidney Poitier as the eponymous police detective. The actor had made history in 1964 by becoming the first African American to win the Oscar for Best Actor (for Lilies of the Field), and 1967 saw him star in three hit films that all dealt with the issue of race and race relations. This included Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which tackled the controversial issue of interracial marriage that was still illegal in several states, and To Sir, with Love, a British drama that dealt with racial issues in an inner-city school. It was In the Heat… that was the biggest hit that year and the film would go on to win 5 Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Actor for Rod Steiger, who played alongside Poitier.

Three years later, the original film’s producer Walter Mirisch decided there was an opportunity to try and create a franchise around Virgil Tibbs. Without a source novel to base a screenplay on Mirsch hired to two successful screenwriters in Alan Trustman (Bullitt) and James R. Webb (the original 1962 Cape Fear), as well as the prolific director Gordon Douglas (Them!). They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (the capitalisation is intentional and part of the original title) was named after a famous line spoken by Poitier in the first film and saw the detective, now based in San Francisco, investigating the murder of a prostitute. The death has been pinned on Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau), a street preacher with whom we’re told Tibbs has a long-standing friendship. The film follows the detective as he attempts to prove Sharpe’s innocence whilst dealing with domestic family issues and ends on something of a down note, which I won’t spoil. 

The film was criticised for being a very routine police procedural and certainly had none of the cultural urgency that the first film was able to capitalise on. It was something of a damp squib both critically and at the box-office but that didn’t stop Mirisch producing another sequel called The Organization only a year later. Again that film failed to make an impact, even though it was able to capitalise on the then popular blaxploitation subgenre, but by then Poitier had started to field accusations of typecasting. Virgil Tibbs would thus hang up his badge for 17 years until the TV series In The Heat of the Night, based on the original film and novel and starring Howard E. Rollins Jr., which was aired between 1988 and 1992.

Meteor / B2 / Japan

01.06.15

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.

Black Gunn / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Black Gunn
AKA
Pistola nera - spara senza pietà [Black gun - shoot without mercy] (Italy)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Robert Hartford-Davis
Starring
Jim Brown, Martin Landau, Brenda Sykes, Luciana Paluzzi, Vida Blue, Stephen McNally, Keefe Brasselle
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jim Brown, Martin Landau, Brenda Sykes, Luciana Paluzzi, Vida Blue, Stephen McNally, Keefe Brasselle,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Ed Wood / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Ed Wood
AKA
--
Year of Film
1994
Director
Tim Burton
Starring
Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Patricia Arquette, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jeffrey Jones, Bill Murray
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Patricia Arquette, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jeffrey Jones, Bill Murray,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1994
Designer
BLT Communications
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness.

North By Northwest / quad / 2009 BFI re-release / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
North By Northwest
AKA
Intrigo internazionale [International intrigue] (Italy) | The Man in Lincoln's Nose (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1959
Director
Alfred Hitchcock
Starring
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll, Jessie Royce Landis, Martin Landau, Philip Ober, Josephine Hutchinson, Adam Williams, Patrick McVey, Ed Platt
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll, Jessie Royce Landis, Martin Landau, Philip Ober, Josephine Hutchinson, Adam Williams, Patrick McVey, Ed Platt,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
BFI re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2009
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Ed Wood / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Ed Wood
AKA
--
Year of Film
1994
Director
Tim Burton
Starring
Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Patricia Arquette, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jeffrey Jones, Bill Murray
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Patricia Arquette, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jeffrey Jones, Bill Murray,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1995
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Blazing Magnum / B2 / Japan

13.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Blazing Magnum
AKA
Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta [A Special Magnum for Tony Saitta] (Italy - original title) | Shadows in an Empty Room (USA) | Big Magnum 77 (Japan - English title)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Alberto De Martino
Starring
Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow, Carole Laure, Jean LeClerc, Gayle Hunnicutt
Origin of Film
Italy | Canada | Panama
Genre(s) of Film
Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow, Carole Laure, Jean LeClerc, Gayle Hunnicutt,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Filmed in Canada by an Italian director (Alberto De Martino under the pseudonym Martin Herbert), Blazing Magnum has multiple alternative titles, including Shadows in an Empty Room, and is an entry into the poliziottesco genre of cinema. The story sees tough Ottawan police captain Tony Saitta (Stuart Whitman) travel to Montreal to investigate the untimely death of his sister at a party. Before long more bodies start to appear, the list of suspects grows and Saitta teams up with Sergeant Ned Matthews (genre stalwart John Saxon) to crack the case.

The film is perhaps best known for it’s insane, nine minute car chase around the streets of Montreal, which was filmed without permits and staged by legendary stunt performer Rémy Julienne, whose work includes six James Bond films and the original Italian Job. The chase can be watched in all its glory on YouTube – it definitely rivals other legendary cinematic car pursuits! It also features a giallo-esque scene in which a murder is committed in the same room as a blind girl, Saitta fighting a bunch of drag queens and a dwarf gangster.

Check out this Motion Picture Purgatory entry on DreadCentral.com.

The artwork on this Japanese poster is by one of my favourite artists, the mysterious Seito. It appears on the Italian poster (image taken from emovieposter.com), as well as others, so it’s likely that Seito may have adapted another illustrator’s work for this B2, unless the other countries used his illustration? The American one sheet is markedly different and plays up the murder mystery side of the plot.

The trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

North By Northwest / screen print / Jeff Kleinsmith / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
North By Northwest
AKA
Intrigo internazionale [International intrigue] (Italy) | The Man in Lincoln's Nose (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1959
Director
Alfred Hitchcock
Starring
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll, Jessie Royce Landis, Martin Landau, Philip Ober, Josephine Hutchinson, Adam Williams, Patrick McVey, Ed Platt
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Leo G. Carroll, Jessie Royce Landis, Martin Landau, Philip Ober, Josephine Hutchinson, Adam Williams, Patrick McVey, Ed Platt,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2007
Designer
Jeff Kleinsmith
Artist
Jeff Kleinsmith
Size (inches)
23 5/16" x 32 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--