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Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell / quad / UK

03.06.13

Poster Poster

Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell (1973) marked the end of an era for British film in more ways than one. It was the last gothic horror to be produced by the original incarnation of the British Hammer Films studio and followed on from a series of six feature films based around the character of Baron Frankenstein portrayed by the late, great British actor Peter Cushing (the less said about 1970s Horror of Frankenstein, with Ralph Bates in the lead role, the better). Director Terence Fisher had worked on many of Hammer’s best-loved horrors, including their first gothic feature, 1957s The Curse of Frankenstein (starring Cushing and Christopher Lee as the monster) as well as the original Dracula (1958), The Mummy (1959) and two other Frankenstein features for the studio. He was to effectively retire from film-making at the end of production on FATMFH, and he wasn’t the only one of the Hammer alumni to do so. This was also the last Hammer feature film that screenwriter Tony Hinds, who had worked on many of the studio’s most successful horrors, would supply a script for. Other crew members who had been instrumental in the production of dozens of Hammer horrors also called it a day once this film was released.

Originally produced and shot in 1972, it eventually limped into cinemas in 1974 well after the appeal of British gothic horror films had dissipated. Cinema-goers were keen to experience the visceral thrills of the new wave of films coming out of Hollywood, including William Friedkin’s 1973 masterpiece The Exorcist, which made British efforts like FATMFH seem positively antiquated. Because of the fall in demand from distribution companies who were previously happy to bankroll Hammer’s productions, the budget for this film was a tiny fraction of many of their previous horrors. It would be a lie to say that the lack of money doesn’t show on screen – most of the film takes place on what is clearly a single soundstage – but the skilled craftsmen at Hammer were still able to create a wonderful sense of atmosphere with the modest amount of funds at their disposal. The film is in many ways the perfect swan-song for Cushing’s Baron Frankenstein and his performance absolutely steals the show, from his brilliant crash-zoom entrance to the quiet madness of the denouement.

On the 29th of May, 2013 I was lucky enough to see the film at London’s British Film Institute in a special showing to both celebrate the centenary of Cushing’s birth and also preview a newly restored print of FATMFH. The reformed version of Hammer films have undertaken a series of restoration projects on many of the studio’s classic films, including the original Dracula and the original Curse of Frankenstein. I believe that the new print of FATMFH will see release on blu-ray at some point this year, as well as a new restoration of The Mummy. It was a real treat to see the film on the big screen and be able to revel in a classic Peter Cushing performance.

This British quad was created at the London-based Downtons Advertising agency by one of the principal designers, Eddie Paul, and painted by an artist named Bill Wiggins. Both men are featured in Sim Branaghan’s must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History and are each responsible for several iconic British posters. The designer Eddie Paul was born in Hackney in 1920 and attended Southend School of Art, later beginning his career at Temple Art Studios before moving on to Star Illustrations on Shoe Lane, where he gained a good reputation as a scrapboard artist. After serving in the RAF during the war, Paul joined Pulford Publicity in 1946 and started designing film posters using crayons and coloured pencils. He worked on several successful poster campaigns during the 1960s, including El Cid (1961), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and the famous quad for From Russia with Love (painted by Renato Fratini). He later joined four ex-Downton colleagues and formed the successful agency FEREF in 1968. As Sim notes in his book, ‘He was well liked and respected within the business as a gentleman’. Eddie Paul passed away from a heart attack whilst on his way to work in 1984, just shy of his retirement from FEREF.

Bill Wiggins was born in 1915 and worked installing large cinema displays (on the front of the buildings) during the 1930s and was a special constable during the second world war. He arrived at Downton’s Advertising agency at the same time as another principal designer, Fred Atkins (later a partner in FEREF), in 1951. Wiggins worked in the film department of the studio for 25 years, painting dozens of posters alongside the likes of Vic Fair and Brian Bysouth. Wiggins is mentioned several times during my interview with the latter. He worked on several of the early Hammer films, including Dracula (1958), The Mummy (1959), Curse of the Werewolf, as well as the sci-fi films The Lost World (1960) and Day of the Triffids (1962). He initially retired in 1975 ‘but rapidly found himself so bored that he returned within a couple of months and continued full time for another three years, eventually leaving to paint commissioned oil portraits for an art/photographic business in Bromley’. He passed away, aged 73, in 1988. Sim believes that this poster for FATMFH is likely to be one of, if not the, final cinema poster that Wiggins worked on.

In addition to this single feature quad, there is also a double-bill quad for when the film was released in a pairing with the long-forgotten kung-fu film The Fists of Vengeance. The artwork for FATMFH is actually coloured on the double-bill poster and is therefore arguably superior to this quad. Sim confirmed to me that there was a policy around this time that the single feature quad would usually be monochrome whilst the double-bill was typically printed in full colour.

Finally, this particular copy is rolled and in great condition, which is somewhat unusual for a poster from this era. I recall reading that it may have been one poster that Hammer printed in greater numbers to give away to fans who wrote in to the studio, as was the case with the quads for ‘Dracula Has Risen from the Grave’ and the ‘She/One Million Years BC’ quads (see the bottom of this page for more detail). I’m not certain that this is case though and I’d appreciate more details about it if anyone has them.

Robocop / B1 / Poland

31.07.13

Poster Poster
Title
Robocop
AKA
Robocop: O batsos robot (Greece)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Paul Verhoeven
Starring
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Jakub Erol
Artist
Jakub Erol
Size (inches)
26.5" x 37 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A stark design by Jakub Erol on this poster for the Polish release of Paul Verhoeven‘s sci-fi masterpiece, Robocop. Set in a dystopian future Detroit where organised crime is rampant and the city is close to financial ruin, the mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products enters into an agreement with the city to run the police force and plans to introduce a robotic enforcer to work alongside the human officers. When tests with a weaponised droid called ED-209 go awry and an OCP junior executive is killed, the chairman agrees to back the plans of Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer), another OCP executive with designs for a cyborg (half-man, half-machine) cop.

Shortly after, veteran officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is brutally attacked and effectively killed on his first patrol at a new precinct and Morton sees him as the perfect candidate for his Robocop program. OCP quickly goes about transforming his ravaged body into the future of law enforcement, but when he reawakens Murphy initially struggles with his transformation and loss of his family. Soon he sets about avenging his ‘death’ at the hands of crime boss Clarence Bodicker (an unforgettable performance from Kurtwood Smith) and attacks the corruption that is destroying Detroit, which leads all the way to the boardroom of OCP.

This poster uses a shot of Robocop that is similar to the pose seen on the iconic American one sheet, which was set up specifically for that poster. ‘Superglina’ literally translates as ‘Supercop’, with glina (clay) being a Polish slang term for police officer. I asked a Polish friend about the origins of the term and there are a few theories, including the fact that the badges that Polish police used to wear were made from a clay material, plus the common adage that when you were in trouble ‘the police would stick to you like clay’.

The designer and artist Jakub Erol was born in Zamość in 1941 and graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1968. He worked as a prolific poster artist for over 25 years and designed several iconic images for both Polish and American films. Some of his other poster highlights include the bizarre image he conjured up for Ridley Scott’s Alien, a striking design for James Cameron’s The Terminator and the excellent poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Polishposter.com website features many of his designs, several which are for sale, and the Polish cinemaposter.com website also features three pages of his work. This list of his designs on the same website gives you an idea of how prolific an artist he was.

Escape to Victory / quad / UK

13.06.14

Poster Poster

Something of a cult classic, Escape to Victory is arguably the most famous film to revolve around The Beautiful Game. Based on 1962 Hungarian film called Két félidő a pokolban by director Zoltán Fábri the film, which is set during WWII, tells the story of a football match played in Paris by a team of Prisoners of War against a German side, seen as a propaganda event. The team is led by John Colby (Michael Caine) who is determined to win the game despite the distraction of other POWs who want to use the cover of the game to escape. Sylvester Stallone plays Hatch, an American POW who is at the vanguard of the escape attempt and actually manages to get out of the camp prior to the game to meet up with resistance leaders in Paris. After planning the big breakout, Hatch must get recaptured and returned to the POW camp in order to communicate the plans to the others. When the big day arrives, Hatch is put into goal and Colby persuades the team to see the match through to the final whistle before they make their escape.

The film notoriously features a host of real life professional footballers who were involved in the game and doubled for the actors or played on the German team, including the Brazilian superstar PeléBobby MooreOsvaldo Ardiles and a whole host of players from the English team Ipswich Town, who were one of the most successful British sides at the time of the film’s release. English goalkeeping legend Gordon Banks, who played during the 1966 world cup that England won, worked behind the scenes and coached Stallone to ensure his scenes in goal were realistic enough for the film’s audience.

This UK quad takes the central figures from the US one sheet (where the film was titled simply Victory) that were painted by the artist David Jarvis and adds a montage that was illustrated by the British designer Vic Fair, who also designed the poster. Jarvis is perhaps best known for his illustration on the US one sheet for Walter Hill’s The Warriors. Having completed a degree in illustration at the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design, Jarvis went on to work as a freelance illustrator producing over thirty designs for film posters, as well as record sleeves, magazine covers and more. He also worked as an artist for Disney studios on the films Mulan and Tarzan. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

One of the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing, Vic Fair is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed the artist for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

Robocop / screen print / regular / Martin Ansin / USA

13.04.15

Poster Poster
Title
Robocop
AKA
Robocop: O batsos robot (Greece)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Paul Verhoeven
Starring
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Regular
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2014
Designer
Martin Ansin
Artist
Martin Ansin
Size (inches)
24" x 36"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Part man. Part machine. All cop.

A striking design by Martin Ansin on this screen print for Paul Verhoeven‘s sci-fi masterpiece, Robocop. Set in a dystopian future Detroit where organised crime is rampant and the city is close to financial ruin, the mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products enters into an agreement with the city to run the police force and plans to introduce a robotic enforcer to work alongside the human officers. When tests with a weaponised droid called ED-209 go awry and an OCP junior executive is killed, the chairman agrees to back the plans of Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer), another OCP executive with designs for a cyborg (half-man, half-machine) cop.

Shortly after, veteran officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is brutally attacked and effectively killed on his first patrol at a new precinct and Morton sees him as the perfect candidate for his Robocop program. OCP quickly goes about transforming his ravaged body into the future of law enforcement, but when he reawakens Murphy initially struggles with his transformation and loss of his family. Soon he sets about avenging his ‘death’ at the hands of crime boss Clarence Bodicker (an unforgettable performance from Kurtwood Smith) and attacks the corruption that is destroying Detroit, which leads all the way to the boardroom of OCP.

This print was one of several created by Martin Ansin for a joint show with fellow artist Kevin Tong held at the Mondo Austin gallery during March 2014. Tong also worked on a print for Robocop and other films covered included Flash Gordon and Alien. Badass Digest (now Birth Movies Death) went to the show and interviewed Ansin and Tong, which can be read here and Collider.com ran an article featuring loads of images from the show. There was a variant of this print available that was printed with metallic inks and has a different colour scheme, see here.

One of my favourite artists working today, Martin Ansin‘s work has graced many of the best posters released by Mondo, including several in the Universal Monsters series like this amazing Phantom of the Opera print and an excellent Dracula (1931) one. You only have to look at the gallery on his official site to see how talented an artist he is, with an eye for composition and detail unmatched by most of the artists in Mondo’s roster. To see the other posters I’ve collected so far that were designed by Ansin, click here.

Army of Shadows / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Army of Shadows
AKA
L'armée des ombres (France - original title)
Year of Film
1969
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring
Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet, Christian Barbier, Serge Reggiani, André Dewavrin, Alain Dekok
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet, Christian Barbier, Serge Reggiani, André Dewavrin, Alain Dekok,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1970
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 29 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Barbed Wire Dolls / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Barbed Wire Dolls
AKA
Frauengefängnis (Switzerland - original title) | Caged Women (UK) | Penitenziario femminile per reati sessuali [Female prison for sexual offences] (Italy)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Jesus Franco (aka Jess Franco and about 50 other names)
Starring
Lina Romay, Paul Muller (as Paul Müller), Monica Swinn(as Monika Swinn), Roger Darton, Ronald Weiss, Martine Stedil, Eric Falk, Peggy Markoff
Origin of Film
Switzerland
Genre(s) of Film
Lina Romay, Paul Muller (as Paul Müller), Monica Swinn(as Monika Swinn), Roger Darton, Ronald Weiss, Martine Stedil, Eric Falk, Peggy Markoff,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
26 7/8" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Dead Man’s Shoes / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dead Man's Shoes
AKA
Dead Man's Shoes - Cinque giorni di vendetta [Five days of revenge] (Italy)
Year of Film
2004
Director
Shane Meadows
Starring
Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, Jo Hartley, Seamus O'Neill, Stuart Wolfenden, Paul Sadot, Paul Hurstfield, Emily Aston
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, Jo Hartley, Seamus O'Neill, Stuart Wolfenden, Paul Sadot, Paul Hurstfield, Emily Aston,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2006
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Gangster Number One / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Gangster Number One
AKA
Gangster No. 1 (Alt. spelling)
Year of Film
2000
Director
Paul McGuigan
Starring
Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Kenneth Cranham, Jamie Foreman, Eddie Marsan, Andrew Lincoln, Doug Allen
Origin of Film
UK | Germany | Ireland
Genre(s) of Film
Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Kenneth Cranham, Jamie Foreman, Eddie Marsan, Andrew Lincoln, Doug Allen,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2000
Designer
Empire Design
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
It's not who you know, it's who you kill.

Gangster No. 1 / special / artwork advance / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Gangster No. 1
AKA
--
Year of Film
2000
Director
Paul McGuigan
Starring
Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Kenneth Cranham, Jamie Foreman, Eddie Marsan, Andrew Lincoln, Doug Allen
Origin of Film
UK | Germany | Ireland
Genre(s) of Film
Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Kenneth Cranham, Jamie Foreman, Eddie Marsan, Andrew Lincoln, Doug Allen,
Type of Poster
Special
Style of Poster
Artwork advance
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2000
Designer
Mike Kaplan
Artist
Philip Castle
Size (inches)
26 14/16" x 39 3/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Gangster No. 1 / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Gangster No. 1
AKA
--
Year of Film
2000
Director
Paul McGuigan
Starring
Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Kenneth Cranham, Jamie Foreman, Eddie Marsan, Andrew Lincoln, Doug Allen
Origin of Film
UK | Germany | Ireland
Genre(s) of Film
Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Kenneth Cranham, Jamie Foreman, Eddie Marsan, Andrew Lincoln, Doug Allen,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2003
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 7/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

House Of Wax / one sheet / 1981 3D re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
House Of Wax
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
André De Toth
Starring
Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Paul Picerni, Roy Roberts, Angela Clarke, Paul Cavanagh, Dabbs Greer, Charles Bronson
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Paul Picerni, Roy Roberts, Angela Clarke, Paul Cavanagh, Dabbs Greer, Charles Bronson,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Larry Salk
Size (inches)
27" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
R810812
Tagline
You've never been scared until you've been scared in 3-D.

House of Wax / quad / 1982 re-release / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
House of Wax
AKA
--
Year of Film
1953
Director
André De Toth
Starring
Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Paul Picerni, Roy Roberts, Angela Clarke, Paul Cavanagh, Dabbs Greer, Charles Bronson
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Paul Picerni, Roy Roberts, Angela Clarke, Paul Cavanagh, Dabbs Greer, Charles Bronson,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
29 7/8" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
You've never been scared 'til you've been scared in... | The classic 3-D horror movie of all time.

Never Give a Inch / one sheet / 1975 re-release / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Never Give a Inch
AKA
Sometimes a Great Notion (USA - original title) | Never Give An Inch (UK)
Year of Film
1970
Director
Paul Newman
Starring
Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, Michael Sarrazin, Richard Jaeckel, Linda Lawson, Cliff Potts, Sam Gilman, Lee de Broux
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, Michael Sarrazin, Richard Jaeckel, Linda Lawson, Cliff Potts, Sam Gilman, Lee de Broux,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27" x 40 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

The Funeral / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Funeral
AKA
--
Year of Film
1996
Director
Abel Ferrara
Starring
Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Annabella Sciorra, Isabella Rossellini, Vincent Gallo, Benicio del Toro, Gretchen Mol, Paul Hipp, Paul Perri, Robert Miano
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Walken, Chris Penn, Annabella Sciorra, Isabella Rossellini, Vincent Gallo, Benicio del Toro, Gretchen Mol, Paul Hipp, Paul Perri, Robert Miano,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
New York, 1930. Bound by the love of family. Obsessed by a vow of vengeance.

Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan / screen print / regular / Tyler Stout / USA

29.04.13

Poster Poster

The Wrath of Khan was the follow up to 1979s Star Trek – The Motion Picture, which was the first feature film to hit cinemas following the ending of the original series 10 years previously. Even though the show was cancelled by the network (NBC) after only three seasons, it had garnered a significant cult following and had made a major impact on popular culture, helped greatly by broadcast syndication on channels across the US during the 1970s. Despite earning significant box-office takings, many critics and fans of the original series were disappointed with the first feature film and reviews tended to criticise it as overlong, bereft of any significant action and, worst of all, boring.

A sequel was inevitable, but Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original series and executive producer of the first film, was removed from its production by Paramount after they claimed that Roddenberry had forced the first film over budget and had muddled the script with too many re-writes. His replacement was Harve Bennett, with Roddenberry given an ‘executive consultant’ role. Bennett studied the original series for inspiration having decided that the film should be more action-packed and regain some of the swashbuckling feel that had been lost in the first film. Deciding that the sequel needed a decent bad guy, Bennett settled on the character of Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered super solider, who had featured in the first series episode Space Seed, which had long been a fan favourite. At the end of that episode Khan and some of his comrades had been banished to the inhospitable planet of Ceti Alpha V so his return in the film would not be against the series’ canon.

Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban agreed to reprise his role as Khan and the story sees him escaping exile and seeking revenge against Captain Kirk, whom he blames for the death of his wife. After commandeering the USS Reliant, Khan learns of the Genesis Device, a torpedo which is intended to reorganise matter to create a hospitable world but can also destroy planets if used in the wrong way. The crew of the Starship Enterprise sets out to stop Khan but their intervention will not be without sacrifice and the ending of the film sees Leonard Nimoy’s Spock seemingly dead after sacrificing himself to save his comrades. This story arc would continue for two more films, concluding with The Voyage Home in 1986. Among several memorable scenes is the moment when Khan taunts Kirk with a threat against his wife, leading to this infamous outburst. KHAAAAAAAAAN!

When Mondo, the incomparable limited-edition screen print outfit, announced they were opening a gallery in their hometown of Austin, anticipation quickly reached fever pitch, with fans desperate to see what artwork would be on the walls when the doors opened for the first time. The answer was kept secret until the evening of March the 10th, 2012 when the opening night was held and the theme of their first show was revealed to be that of classic sci-fi. Most of Mondo’s premier artists turned in some incredible pieces for the show, as can be seen on this recap blog post on their website and on this SlashFilm post.

One of the highlights of the show was fan-favourite artist Tyler Stout’s print for The Wrath of Khan. A brilliantly composed image featuring Ricardo Montalban‘s unforgettable, titular bad guy, the poster was printed in two flavours; a red and gold regular and a silver and gold variant. Whilst adding the regular version to the Film on Paper collection I wanted to interview the man himself about the creation of the poster and that article can be read here.

Mr Ricco / 30×40 / USA

03.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Mr Ricco
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Paul Bogart
Starring
Dean Martin, Eugene Roche, Thalmus Rasulala, Denise Nicholas, Cindy Williams, Geraldine Brooks, Philip Michael Thomas, George Tyne, Robert Sampson, Michael Gregory, Joseph Hacker, Frank Puglia
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dean Martin, Eugene Roche, Thalmus Rasulala, Denise Nicholas, Cindy Williams, Geraldine Brooks, Philip Michael Thomas, George Tyne, Robert Sampson, Michael Gregory, Joseph Hacker, Frank Puglia,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Larry Salk
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/27
Tagline
The one thing people hate more than a cop killer... is the lawyer who gets him off!

Mr Ricco, a little-seen 1970s crime thriller, marked the last starring role in film for ‘The King of Cool’ Dean Martin (unless you count his cameos in the two Cannonball Run films). The Italian-American entertainer, who had seen great success in several of his earlier roles including Rio Bravo and Ocean’s Eleven (with his fellow Rat Pack members), would continue to make popular TV appearances and music recordings but never headline a film again. After reading the reviews on IMDb it appears he was probably getting too old to convincingly pull-off the action scenes that roles like this one required.

Martin appears in the title role as Joe Ricco, a San Francisco lawyer who successfully defends Frankie Steele (Thalmus Rasulala) a member of a black militant group charged with murdering a woman. Shortly afterwards two cops are gunned down and Steele is implicated in the crime after witnesses describe seeing him fleeing the scene. The detective in charge of the case, George Cronyn (Eugene Roche), is angered that Steele appears to have got away with it again and decides to kill one of the members of the Black Serpents (Steele’s group) and implicate another in the cops’ murder. Ricco agrees to defend the wrongly-accused man but soon after is targeted by a lone sniper who almost kills him. Once again, Steele is implicated in the attempted murder so Ricco sets out to discover why his former client is trying to kill him.

This US 30×40 features artwork by an American artist called Larry Salk about whom I’ve been able to discover very little. A now defunct gallery site described him as a freelance illustrator who worked on around 165 film posters, as well as painting for advertisements, video game covers, record sleeves and more. IMPAwards features a few of his posters (I have his one sheet for the 3D re-release of House of Wax and the advance for Superman III) and he was the artist who painted the famous portrait of Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. He apparently passed away in 2004.

Damnation Alley / one sheet / teaser / USA

01.12.14

Poster Poster
Title
Damnation Alley
AKA
Survival Run (International / Japan)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Jack Smight
Starring
Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda, Paul Winfield, Jackie Earle Haley, Kip Niven, Robert Donner, Seamon Glass, Trent Dolan, Mark L. Taylor, Bob Hackman, Erik Cord
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda, Paul Winfield, Jackie Earle Haley, Kip Niven, Robert Donner, Seamon Glass, Trent Dolan, Mark L. Taylor, Bob Hackman, Erik Cord,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser - printer's proof
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Paul Lehr
Size (inches)
28 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
77/152
Tagline
You have seen great adventures. You are about to live one. | More than a movie. An adventure you'll never forget.

Damnation Alley, released internationally as Survival Run, is a dystopian sci-fi adventure (set after the nuclear destruction of World War 3) that pretty much disappeared at the box office, but later gained something of a cult status. It’s interesting to note that the studio, 20th Century Fox, were making two sci-fi films in 1977 and saw this as their big hope for a box-office blockbuster. The studio suits didn’t have much faith in the other project, a little film called Star Wars…

The film features a couple of infamous scenes with mutated creatures, including ‘giant’ scorpions (terribly composited using the blue screen process) and killer cockroaches. It also featured an interesting vehicle known as The Landmaster.

In some cinemas the film was shown with something called Sound 360°. From IMDb:

20th Century-Fox developed a rival to Universal’s gimmicky ‘Sensurround’ sound process (popularized in the theatrical release of Earthquake (1974)) that was only used for the theatrical release of “Damnation Alley” called Sound 360°. This process was basically a variation of Magnetic-Optical Stereo sound. This technical advancement/gimmick in sound did not last past “Damnation Alley” although it was planned for Walter Hill‘s The Driver (1978) and Damien: Omen II (1978). If you look at the one sheet of “Damnation Alley” the “Sound 360°” declaration and logo are prominent at the bottom.

This teaser one sheet was painted by noted American sci-fi illustrator Paul Lehr who was born in 1930 and studied at the prestigious Pratt Institute before beginning a career that would last up until his death in 1998. He painted hundreds of celebrated book covers for authors including John Wyndham, HG Wells and Frank Herbert and also contributed to several notable specialist magazines including Omni and Weird Tales. In addition he worked on content for more mainstream publications such as Time, Fortune and Playboy. The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction has an entry on him which can be read here. Check out a gallery of his work here.

There’s an international style one sheet that can be seen on IMPAwards and was apparently also painted by Lehr. The Japanese poster was a repaint of the one sheet by the artist Seito. Lehr also worked on the one sheet for Prophecy (1979).

Note the colour bars on the left of the poster which indicate that this is an untrimmed printers proof one sheet. Proofs were used by the printing house to check that the colours and other details were correct. The final ready one sheets would have been trimmed down to the correct size. A handful of printers proofs have survived for a few different one sheets.

The film was recently released on blu-ray (in the correct aspect ratio) and a trailer for that can be watched here.

 

The Passage / quad / UK

06.06.16

Poster Poster

Colourful and typically dynamic artwork by Brian Bysouth features on this UK quad for the largely forgotten British war film The Passage (1979). Based on the novel Perilous Passage by Bruce Nicolaysen (who also wrote the screenplay), the film was directed by the British director J. Lee Thompson who was responsible for the classic war film The Guns of Navarone, as well as multiple films headlined by Charles Bronson.

Set during World War II, the story sees a Basque farmer (played by Anthony Quinn) escort a scientist (James Mason) and his family over the treacherous Pyrenees mountains to escape the sadistic clutches of a Nazi SS officer, Captain Von Berkow (Malcolm McDowell giving an impressively over the top performance). Christopher Lee appears as a character called The Gypsy who is sympathetic to the group’s plight. Apparently the film bombed spectacularly at the US box office and was critically drubbed on release.

This British quad was created at the London-based Downtons Advertising agency by one of the principal designers, Eddie Paul, and painted by Brian Bysouth who was working as a freelancer at the time. Both men are featured in Sim Branaghan’s must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History and are each responsible for several iconic British posters. The designer Eddie Paul was born in Hackney in 1920 and attended Southend School of Art, later beginning his career at Temple Art Studios before moving on to Star Illustrations on Shoe Lane, where he gained a good reputation as a scrapboard artist.

After serving in the RAF during the war, Eddie joined Pulford Publicity in 1946 and started designing film posters using crayons and coloured pencils. He worked on several successful poster campaigns during the 1960s, including El Cid (1961), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and the famous quad for From Russia with Love (painted by Renato Fratini). He later joined four ex-Downton colleagues and formed the successful agency FEREF in 1968. As Sim notes in his book, ‘He was well liked and respected within the business as a gentleman’. Eddie Paul passed away from a heart attack whilst on his way to work in 1984, just shy of his retirement from FEREF.

The artwork was painted by Brian Bysouth who is one of my favourite poster artists and was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights (1987). In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

Le Cercle Rouge / quad / 2003 re-release / UK

20.03.17

Poster Poster
Title
Le Cercle Rouge
AKA
The Red Circle (international English title)
Year of Film
1970
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring
Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand, Paul Crauchet, Paul Amiot, Pierre Collet, André Ekyan, Jean-Pierre Posier, François Périer
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand, Paul Crauchet, Paul Amiot, Pierre Collet, André Ekyan, Jean-Pierre Posier, François Périer,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
BFI Re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2003
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is a British quad poster for a 2003 re-release of the classic French crime-thriller Le Cercle Rouge, which was coordinated by the British Film Institute. The film was the penultimate release from the legendary French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville who was born in 1917 and worked as a fighter in the French resistance during World War II. Melville was infatuated with American cinema and in particular films in the crime and thriller genres. After failing to break into the established French film industry he decided to become an independent, even setting up his own studio in a suburb of Paris. He soon became known for his film noir crime dramas and saw great success with titles such as Bob le Flambeur (1956), Le Doulos (1962) and Le Samouraï (1967). 

Le Cercle Rouge saw Melville reunited with the French superstar actor Alain Delon, who had appeared in Le Samourai, and the cast also included the celebrated Italian-French actor Yves Montand. Other actors in the very male-heavy cast include Bourvil (known by a single moniker), best known for comedy features, and Italian actor Gian Maria Volontè, a collaborator with Sergio Leone during the 1960s. Delon plays Corey, a man with a criminal background who is released from prison, but not before a corrupt guard tells him about an ‘easy’ job that could net him big money. At the same time, the audience also sees a prisoner named Vogel escape from a moving train and evade recapture by Commissaire Mattei (Bourvil).

Eventually the two men are brought together when Vogel happens to climb into the boot of Corey’s car whilst on the run in the French countryside. The two establish a companionship of sorts and Corey details the possible heist. Vogel likes what he hears and suggests a sharpshooter who will be able to help them in the form of Jansen (Montand), a former police officer and noted crackshot. Once plans are in place, the trio pull off the heist in a famous 25 minute sequence in which not a word is spoken by any of the characters. Once the loot is secure the film then follows their attempts to sell it with Commissaire Mattei still in hot pursuit. The film was a critical success despite initially being released in some markets (such as the US) in a truncated version that saw over 40 minutes removed. Today the film is a cult favourite and celebrated as one of Melville’s best films. 

I’m unsure who is responsible for the design of this quad so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Any Which Way You Can / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Any Which Way You Can
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Buddy Van Horn
Starring
Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Ruth Gordon, William Smith
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Ruth Gordon, William Smith,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Bill Gold
Artist
Bob Peak
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
800173
Tagline
Faster, funnier and wilder | ... It'll knock you out.

Basket Case / quad / UK

27.01.12

Poster Poster
Title
Basket Case
AKA
¿Dónde te escondes, hermano? [Where are you hiding, brother?] (Spain)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Frank Henenlotter
Starring
Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel, Diana Browne, Lloyd Pace, Bill Freeman, Joe Clarke
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner, Robert Vogel, Diana Browne, Lloyd Pace, Bill Freeman, Joe Clarke,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The tenant in room 7 is very small, very twisted and very mad.

Frank Henenlotter’s marvellously sleazy Basket Case is a true cult classic and is a film that transcended it’s micro budget to become a mainstay of midnight movies across the globe. Technically the film shouldn’t work; the acting is terrible throughout and makes the cast of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room look like Oscar-winning legends, the special effects are laughable and the editing is seriously rough in places, but the film has a certain charm that allows you to forgive it’s faults and revel in its trashy delights.

The film is definitely a love letter to a New York City, specifically the area around Times Square and 42nd street, that has long since changed. On the film’s excellent audio commentary Henenlotter talks about how he could see the change coming and shot lots of footage of the area so he could capture what it was like before it was cleaned up and sanitised beyond all recognition. Times Square was once a haven of sleazy nightclubs, nude shows and sex shops, full of weird and wonderful characters, particularly once the sun went down. Basket Case was shot in and around the area and you can really feel the griminess in every scene, particularly the opening shots where Duane (poodle-haired Kevin Van Hentenryck) makes his way through these streets on his way to Hotel Broslin.

Like many low-budget ($35k apparently) films Basket Case had some trouble getting into cinemas in the form that the director had envisioned. This is talked about in the commentary and is mentioned on Hotelbroslin.com, the official website:

When Analysis Films first released “Basket Case,” they cut it. They removed most of the gore so the film would be “funnier.” Obviously, the gore is part of the punch line so their cut version was awful, few came to see it, and the film died almost the moment it was released in April of ’82. However, “Drive-In Movie Critic” Joe Bob Briggs wanted to host the Dallas premiere of the film in June but wouldn’t host a cut version. So Analysis sent it to Dallas uncut and let it play there. The film quickly started selling out. So Analysis quietly replaced the cut version with the uncut version everywhere else and the film suddenly became a hit. After three weeks of the uncut version playing in New York’s Waverly Theatre in Greenwich Village, Analysis finally put an ad in the Village Voice announcing that, yes, it’s finally uncut.

The film was recently released on blu-ray and it’s a revelation to see the film as the director intended. It was shot on 16mm and so was originally full frame (4:3). To be able to show it at cinemas the distributor blew it up to 1:85:1 widescreen and, as Henenlotter notes, it made everything look squashed and claustrophobic, whilst also seriously affecting the many night scenes. For the blu-ray transfer the original 16mm negatives were used and the film has never looked better, particularly if, like me, you first saw the film on murky VHS.

This British quad features a surreal background made up of images from the Times Square of the time. There are various genuine brands in there as well as what I assume are fictional ones. I’m pretty sure the unknown artist’s name is one of the signs too, but can’t be certain. Note the cinema hoarding showing the 1971 horror film ‘Let’s Scare Jessica to Death’. The character holding the basket doesn’t look massively like Van Hentenryck but I think this can be forgiven!

The tagline and logo are also undoubted classics and rank up there as some of the best ever to grace British horror posters.

The film’s original trailer is on YouTube.

Clash Of The Titans / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Clash Of The Titans
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Desmond Davis
Starring
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Bill Gold
Artist
Brothers Hildebrandt
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
810001
Tagline
Experience the fantastic

Clash Of The Titans / one sheet / advance / style B / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Clash Of The Titans
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Desmond Davis
Starring
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance - Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Dan Goozee
Size (inches)
27" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
An Epic Entertainment Spectacular!

Clash Of The Titans / B2 / style A / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Clash Of The Titans
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Desmond Davis
Starring
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style A - artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Dan Goozee | The Hildebrandt Brothers (partial)
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Clash Of The Titans / B2 / style B / Japan

29.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
Clash Of The Titans
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Desmond Davis
Starring
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A unique montage features on this Japanese style B poster for the release of the 1981 fantasy adventure Clash of the Titans, which features several characters from Greek mythology. The film is perhaps most notable for being the last feature film for which celebrated stop motion artist Ray Harryhausen provided creature effects, and he effectively retired following its release. The story follows the machinations of Greek gods and their charges on earth as Perseus (poodle-haired, square-jawed Harry Hamlin), son of Zeus (Laurence Olivier), triggers the wrath of the sea goddess Thetis (Maggie Smith) after he tries to woo the gorgeous Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker).

Unbeknownst to Perseus, Andromeda was in a relationship with Thetis’ son Calibos before Zeus had punished him for various corrupt deeds by turning him into a half-beast creature and banishing him from civilised society. Perseus must undergo a series of trials to successfully win the hand of Andromeda and things take a turn for the worse when he is able to successfully answer a riddle that had seen previous suitors burned at the steak. Thetis once again intervenes, demanding that Andromeda be sacrificed to the titan Kraken or risk the total destruction of the city of Joppa. Perseus sets out once again to discover a way to stop the Kraken and save Andromeda from certain death.

This B2 features elements from the two US one sheets printed for the film – the Kraken attack is from Dan Goozee’s style B one sheet, whilst the orange Pegasus is from the Brothers Hildebrandt’s awesome advance one sheet. The style A Japanese B2 is also in the Film on Paper collection and can be seen here.