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Apocalypse Now / one sheet / USA

12.08.13

Poster Poster

A classic painting by the late, great Bob Peak on this one sheet for the release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

Master movie poster artist Bob Peak was asked to create a series of paintings to sell the film and he worked in conjunction with art directors Murray Smith and Don Smolen from the boutique poster agency Smolen, Smith and Connolly, based in New York City. Two of Peak’s paintings were used in North America, with an image of the Nung River on the teaser poster and then this superb portrait of Brando as Kurtz with a menacing looking Sheen behind him was the final poster. Both of those images were used around the world to sell the film. German cinemas also saw this stunning image of Kurtz that was painted by Peak and used exclusively in that country.

Bob Peak was born in 1927 in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Wichita, Kansas before heading off to serve in the military during the Korean War. Upon his return Peak enrolled in the Los Angeles-based Art Center College of Design where he began to hone his craft as an artist, moving to New York after graduation where he began his career as a commercial illustrator, first working on a campaign for Old Hickory Whiskey. For the next few years the artist worked on a string of successful advertising campaigns, magazine editorials and more, but it was when United Artists hired Peak to work on their campaign for the release of West Side Story in 1961 that he began what would prove to be a fruitful and almost unrivalled career in film poster creation.

Peak’s immediately recognisable style was soon much in demand and his painting appeared on posters for films such as My Fair Lady (1964) and Camelot (1967), but it was his work in the area of sci-fi and fantasy for which Peak is perhaps best known, with the iconic design for the first Superman film (1978), the classic image he created for Rollerball (1975) and the colourful poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), amongst several classics of the genre he was responsible for. His paintings for Apocalypse Now, however, arguably saw the artist working at the top of his game and in the recently published must-own book The Art of Bob Peak (put together by one of his sons), he is quoted as saying, “Of all my movie work, it is my work on Apocalypse Now that I am most proud of.”

To see the other posters in the Film on Paper collection that were painted by Bob Peak click here.

Rollerball / one sheet / video release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Rollerball
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Norman Jewison
Starring
James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Moses Gunn,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
Unknown
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/20
Tagline
In the not-too-distant future, wars will no longer exist. But there will be Rollerball

Return Of The Jedi / one sheet / 1985 re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Return Of The Jedi
AKA
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title) | Revenge of the Jedi (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
R850025
Tagline
RETURN to a galaxy far, far away

Outland / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Outland
AKA
Atmosfera zero (Italy) | Outland - Comando Titânio (Brazil) | Rumstation Jupiter (Denmark) | Operation Outland (Sweden)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Peter Hyams
Starring
Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James Sikking, Kika Markham, Clarke Peters, Steven Berkoff
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Sean Connery, Peter Boyle, Frances Sternhagen, James Sikking, Kika Markham, Clarke Peters, Steven Berkoff,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810031
Tagline
On Jupiter's moon he's the only law.

Excalibur / one sheet / 80s re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Excalibur
AKA
The Knights (USA - working title)
Year of Film
1981
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicol Williamson, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, Clive Swift, Gabriel Byrne,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
80s re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810029
Tagline
Forged by a god. Foretold by a wizard. Found by a king.

Because of the presence of a GCIU logo, this is likely not from the 1981 original release but a re-release from later in the 1983. This note from an emovieposter.com auction explains why:

Note that there are two versions of this poster: one with a GAU printer logo and one with GCIU logo. We have been told that the GCIU logo wasn’t trademarked until July 1983, so the theory is that any poster that carries the GCIU logo must be from 1983 or later and are either theatrical re-release posters or possibly video store posters. We do not know for sure.

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
AKA
CE3K (USA - informal short title)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Terri Garr
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Terri Garr,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

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.

Taxi Driver / one sheet / reviews style / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Taxi Driver
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Martin Scorsese
Starring
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, Albert Brooks, Leonard Harris
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, Albert Brooks, Leonard Harris,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Reviews
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Murray Smith (Smolen, Smith and Connolly)
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is a ‘review’ one sheet and was originally meant to have local reviews printed into the blank space on the right side, as seen here.