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Brazil / quad / UK

01.05.13

Poster Poster
Title
Brazil
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Withdrawn 'dream cabinets' version
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

One of my favourite British posters of all time, this is the supposedly withdrawn quad for Terry Gilliam‘s 1985 masterpiece Brazil. A film that is near impossible to categorise, the story  is a heady mix of dystopian sci-fi, surreal dark fantasy and anarchic satirical comedy set in an alternative universe in which an overbearing government has practically strangled society with its mixture of paranoia, crippling bureaucracy and unreliable technology. That one of the film’s working titles was ‘1984 and 1/2’ gives you some idea of the Orwellian overtones that Gilliam and his fellow screenwriters Tom Stoppard and Charles McKeown intended to evoke.

Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowry, a low-level employee at the ‘Ministry of Information’ who is seemingly content with his role as a cog in the giant machine, but at night he escapes in dreams where he is a knight is shining armour with giant wings strapped to his back, often rescuing the same damsel in distress from malicious forces. When a clerical error caused by a dead beetle falling into a printer causes the wrong man to be rounded up, tortured and killed by government forces (“we didn’t know he had a weak heart!”), Sam is given the task of correcting the error. Whilst visiting the wife of the deceased man, Sam meets Jill Layton (Kim Greist) a neighbour who bears a striking resemblance to the girl in his dreams.

Naturally he is instantly smitten and sets in motion a series of events that ends up with Sam and Jill pitched against his employer and on the run. The film features several memorable appearances from the likes of Ian Holm as Sam’s bumbling, inefficient boss, Michael Palin as an ambitious and ultimately ruthless friend within the Ministry, and Robert De Niro in a cameo role as Harry Tuttle, a rogue heating engineer who was meant to be the original target for the government round-up.

The film is visually stunning with some of the most incredible production design ever committed to celluloid. Gilliam and his skilled crew of technicians stretched every penny of the modest budget and created countless memorable sets, brilliantly realised props and entirely believable environmental details that all add up to something unforgettable. The special effects are also top notch, with the dream sequences deserving special mention, particularly Sam’s battle with a giant Samurai warrior and the literal flights of fantasy in his winged suit.

Infamously, Gilliam would end up in a bitter wrangle with the American distributors Universal after they decided his final cut was overlong, confusing and the ending was too depressing. The then Universal president Sid Sheinberg ordered a small team of editors to cut the film down from its original length of 2 hours and 20 minutes to just over 90 minutes for a version unofficially dubbed ‘The Love Conquers All’ cut. Most of the dream sequences were excised, the opening scenes completely chopped around and many scenes were horribly truncated. Worst of all, the original darker ending was replaced with a bizarre ‘happy’ denouement that completely ruined the tone of Gilliam’s film.

Understandably furious, the director refused to have anything to do with the new cut and actually began a campaign to get his original version seen by as many American film fans and critics as possible, much to the chagrin of Universal’s management. Eventually this culminated in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awarding the original cut their prize for Best Film and this led to Universal relenting and agreeing to release a near complete version to cinemas (minus around 10 minutes from the European cut). The bastardised ‘Love Conquers All’ version never saw the inside of a cinema.

The image on this poster is actually a combination of imagery from the flying sequences and a deleted scene that was only ever storyboarded by Gilliam in which a dreaming Sam finds himself at a vast wall of filing cabinets. The title treatment is taken directly from the opening title of the film itself, which is an actual neon signage that falls away from the camera to the accompaniment of Michael Kamen’s excellent score.

I have heard from at least three independent sources that this particular quad was withdrawn from cinemas by the distributor 20th Century Fox because it was felt the image wasn’t the right one to sell the film to UK audiences and was replaced by this bizarre ‘flying bed’ quad that is a world away from this striking design. If anyone knows for sure that this quad was withdrawn or any more details about it, please get in touch.

11 Harrowhouse / 30×40 / USA

03.12.12

Poster Poster
Title
11 Harrowhouse
AKA
Anything for Love (USA - TV title)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Aram Avakian
Starring
Charles Grodin, Candice Bergen, James Mason, Trevor Howard, John Gielgud, Helen Cherry, Peter Vaughan, Cyril Shaps, Leon Greene
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Grodin, Candice Bergen, James Mason, Trevor Howard, John Gielgud, Helen Cherry, Peter Vaughan, Cyril Shaps, Leon Greene,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
FMA (full details unknown)
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/190
Tagline
This is like no robbery you've ever imagined. Two amateurs armed only with a common insect, ingenuity, a thin cord, guts and a household appliance... how could they penetrate a steel fortress and rob 12 billion dollars of uncut diamonds? IMPOSSIBLE? They didn't think so.

An unusual design on this poster for 11 Harrowhouse, a British heist thriller from 1974 that was helmed by Aram Avakian. The American director had gained notoriety for the ground-breaking indie film End of the Road (1970), which was given an X-rating for its graphic depiction of an abortion and other scenes considered shocking for the time. 11 Harrowhouse stars Charles Grodin as a diamond merchant who is blackmailed into pulling a heist at a London jewel-exchange known as The System, which is located at the titular address. Candice Bergen features as his girlfriend who joins him on the heist, along with various ingenious ‘tools’ that include the cockroach depicted on this poster.

The initials FMA can be seen on the right of the poster (see picture 8) but I’m unsure who they belong to. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch and I’ll add the credit.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Raid on Entebbe / quad / UK

04.07.12

Poster Poster

Raid on Entebbe is based on the true story of Operation Thunderbolt a mission undertaken by Israeli commandos in 1976 with the aim of rescuing hostages from a hijacked Air France plane being held at Entebbe airport in Uganda. The plane and hostages were under control of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and, after landing in Uganda, almost all of the non-Israeli hostages had been released. After it became clear that the Ugandan president Idi Amin was actively helping the terrorists, a daring rescue was planned by the Israeli Defence Forces, which resulted in the rescue of all but four of the hostages and the death of only one commando,  Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the brother of Benjamin Netanyahu who would later serve as the Israeli prime minister.

There were actually three film versions of the events put into production within months of the rescue; two were US-produced including this film, which followed the hastily made-for-TV Victory at Entebbe, starring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor. Legendary director and producer Menahem Golan also put together an Israeli-made versions starring mostly Jewish actors called Mivtsa Yonatan (AKA Operation Thunderbolt). Raid on Entebbe was first shown on TV in the US but was given a theatrical release in other countries, including the UK.

Action legend Charles Bronson was obviously seen as the biggest draw for UK audiences over the likes of Peter Finch who actually passed away 10 days after the film first aired and would be given a posthumous Academy Award for his role in the film Network.

This UK quad features stylised artwork painted with large brushstrokes onto a canvas, the grain of which is clearly still visible. Sim Branaghan believes this to be the work of British artist Mike Vaughan, perhaps best known for his work on several Hammer Horror quads, including Twins of Evil.

Time Bandits / quad / UK

10.04.12

Poster Poster
Title
Time Bandits
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Ralph Richardson, Peter Vaughan, David Warner, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Terry Gilliam
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
All the dreams you've ever had and not just the good ones.

This British quad for Terry Gilliam‘s time-travelling fantasy features artwork by the director himself. His signature can be seen to the bottom right of the castle and a more scribbly ‘Gilliam’ is subtly hidden in the background hills (see photo 3). Time Bandits is one of the director’s best, in my opinion, and features typically brilliant imagery combined with a great cast, including a few surprising cameos.

The film follows 11-year-old Kevin (Craig Warnock) and his adventures with a troupe of time-travelling dwarves who are on the run from their master, the Supreme Being. As the gang use a special map to hop through holes in the universe and into different time periods they soon realise that their journey is being controlled by a sinister force. It’s not long before they are forced to confront Evil and save themselves from certain death. The ending of the film, which I won’t spoil, is brilliantly bonkers.

According to IMDb, in 1996 Terry Gilliam and [screenwriter and actor] Charles McKeown collaborated on a script for Time Bandits 2, bringing back most of the original cast, with the exceptions of David Rappaport and Tiny Ross who had passed away a few years before, and owing to Jack Purvis being paralysed from a car accident, his character was written to be in a similar state. But following the death of Purvis, the project was shelved indefinitely.

The excellent, unusual trailer is on YouTube.

 

The Mackintosh Man / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Straw Dogs / B2 / Japan

13.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Straw Dogs
AKA
--
Year of Film
1971
Director
Sam Peckinpah
Starring
Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Ken Hutchison
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Ken Hutchison,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Legendary American director Sam Peckinpah‘s contract with Warner Bros had come to an acrimonious end after the The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) ended up $3 million over budget and 19 days late. The notoriously prickly director found further opportunities very limited in Hollywood and decided to travel to England to film Straw Dogs, a thriller based on the novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm by Scottish author Gordon Williams.

Starring Dustin Hoffman in arguably one of his greatest screen roles, the film sees timid mathematician David Sumner (Hoffman) leaving America to live with his English wife Amy (Susan George), in a fictional Cornish village. Before long David’s patience and resolve is tested by a gang of local men who harass the couple and, in a particularly controversial sequence, two of the men take it in turns to rape Amy. As the title of the source novel suggests, the film ends with a violent confrontation, which sees David pushed beyond the limits. Like many of Peckinpah’s films, Straw Dogs was heavily criticised for its violence, although the director defended the film as an exploration of the subject and claimed Hoffman’s character showed his true side during the climax.

This Japanese poster chose to focus on Hoffman as the film’s main draw, likely due to the successes of The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy in Japan at the end of the 1960s. The film seems to have been given unique advertising campaigns in most of the countries it was released in and there were a few US one sheets, including this classic image of Hoffman and a rather strange alternative style featuring a literal straw dog!

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Welcome to Blood City / one sheet / UK

12.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Welcome to Blood City
AKA
Blood City (US)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Peter Sasdy
Starring
Jack Palance, Keir Dullea, Samantha Eggar, Barry Morse, Hollis McLaren, Chris Wiggins, Henry Ramer, Allan Royal, John Evans
Origin of Film
UK | Canada
Genre(s) of Film
Jack Palance, Keir Dullea, Samantha Eggar, Barry Morse, Hollis McLaren, Chris Wiggins, Henry Ramer, Allan Royal, John Evans,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Mike Vaughan (unconfirmed)
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Unique artwork features on this scarce UK one sheet for the release of the 1977 sci-fi-western, Welcome to Blood City. A British-Canadian co-production, there’s no doubt it was created in the wake of the very successful Westworld that was released a few years earlier. With that said, this film uses the different construct of events taking place in virtual reality, with scientists working for an unnamed organisation watching the events unfold on screens. The film was directed by Peter Sasdy, a Hungarian director who is best known for helming a number of British films during the 1970s, including a few Hammer horrors. It has a few notable stars in the cast, including the late Jack PalanceKeir Dullea (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) and Samantha Eggar (Cronenberg’s The Brood).

The film begins during some kind of worldwide event (exactly what isn’t made clear) during which Dullea’s character is seemingly abducted by soldiers at gunpoint. He then awakes in a strange wilderness with no memory of what happened to him, along with a group of others all wearing overalls. As they begin to walk into a forest they are accosted by two strangers with shotguns. Whilst they are attacked, a mysterious man (Palance) wearing an outfit that resembles a sheriff’s uniform watches the situation, apparently unmoved. Eventually he greets them and leads them to the titular settlement. Once there they have the rules of the town explained to them. I’ve got to admit, the plot isn’t the easiest to follow – a situation not helped by the only available copy of the film being a terrible VHS-level pan and scan one, which also appears to be zoomed to cap it off. The sound is equally as bad.

Eventually we learn that in order to survive and escape being slaves, the captives must kill others in the town and once they reach twenty kills they are considered ‘immortal’. The purpose for the scientists watching is to seemingly satisfy their military benefactors who want to find out which of the people (in the real world, not Blood City) will make the best soldiers that can be sent off to some unexplained conflict. Samantha Eggar plays one of the two scientists tasked with following events in the simulation. She becomes infatuated with Dullea’s character and begins inserting herself into the simulation and manipulating events so that he will survive. The film is little-seen and the quality of the only copy available probably points to both a lack of demand but also potential rights-issues (it was apparently made as some kind of tax-shelter deal).

The artwork on this UK one sheet, which features different art to the UK quad, is, I believe, by the British artist Mike Vaughan. He also worked on a handful of posters for Hammer horrors, as well as posters like this one for Raid on Entebbe. If anyone knows for sure who painted this art please get in touch.

Time Bandits / B2 / Japan

17.05.13

Poster Poster

This Japanese B2 for Terry Gilliam‘s time-travelling fantasy Time Bandits features unique artwork exclusive to the poster. The 1981 film is one of the director’s best, in my opinion, and features typically brilliant imagery combined with a great cast, including a few surprising cameos.

The film follows 11-year-old Kevin (Craig Warnock) and his adventures with a troupe of time-travelling dwarves who are on the run from their master, the Supreme Being. As the gang use a special map to hop through holes in the universe and into different time periods they soon realise that their journey is being controlled by a sinister force. It’s not long before they are forced to confront Evil and save themselves from certain death. The ending of the film, which I won’t spoil, is brilliantly bonkers.

According to IMDb, in 1996 Terry Gilliam and [screenwriter and actor] Charles McKeown collaborated on a script for Time Bandits 2, bringing back most of the original cast, with the exceptions of David Rappaport and Tiny Ross who had passed away a few years before, and owing to Jack Purvis being paralysed from a car accident, his character was written to be in a similar state. But following the death of Purvis, the project was shelved indefinitely.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this poster and there are no signatures or any other identifying marks. If you have any ideas please get in touch.

The excellent, unusual trailer is on YouTube.