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Codename Wildgeese / quad / UK

05.01.15

Poster Poster
Title
Codename Wildgeese
AKA
Geheimcode: Wildgänse (Germany - original title) | Arcobaleno selvaggio [Wild Rainbow] (Italy) | Code name: Wild Geese (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Antonio Margheriti
Starring
Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski, Manfred Lehmann, Mimsy Farmer
Origin of Film
Italy | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski, Manfred Lehmann, Mimsy Farmer,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Enzo Sciotti (original artwork) | Tom Chantrell (quad adaptations)
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Codename Wildgeese is a 1984 entry in the ‘Macaroni Combat‘ genre of Italian-made action/war films that was helmed by the prolific director Antonio Margheriti (most often credited as Anthony M. Dawson) and is usually associated with the 1978 British film The Wild Geese. Both films are ensemble-cast action films in which Western mercenaries are sent into ‘wild’, lawless, dictator-ruled countries to carry out a mission and escape alive. Both films feature aging cast members who probably should have known better and I don’t doubt that Margheriti and his enterprising distributors chose the Wildgeese element of the title to capitalise on the success of the earlier film.

The late Lewis Collins, known for his leading man roles in action-fare such as TVs The Profressionals and the 1982 British action film Who Dares Wins, appears as the leader of a mercenary group which is employed covertly by the DEA (in the shape of Ernest Borgnine) and sent into the opium-producing area in Asia known as the Golden Triangle to attempt to stem the supply of illegal opium to the west. His team, which includes pilot China (Lee Van Cleef), make their way into the Triangle and engage an enemy base in a quarry before pushing onto the factories and a fiery showdown.

The film is largely a damp squib with very little in the way of memorable action sequences or an engaging script. The effects and gunplay are largely poor and the editing and soundtrack are notably bad. It’s certainly not a patch on The Wild Geese, which in itself was no masterpiece.

A reader of the site, Andrew Lamb, got in touch to confirm that the quad is an adaptation of artwork that was painted by the Italian artist Enzo Sciotti and originally intended for, I believe, the German poster. Andrew commented the following (the original can be seen at the bottom of the page):

It was later adapted for the UK quad using a photo duplicate of the original artwork, with paint applied around the edges to fill the quad size, then new titles applied over the top. This was done by Tom Chantrell. My guess is that he was commissioned to paint the artwork and liked Sciotti’s art so much that it was suggested by him and agreed upon to be used instead. I’m not 100% certain of this, however I own the original artwork layout for the UK quad and it came from a lot of Tom Chantrell’s work. So that’s my hunch.

For Your Eyes Only / quad / UK

08.10.12

Poster Poster

One of Roger Moore’s better outings as 007, For Your Eyes Only was intended to bring James Bond back down to earth with a more realistic and less sensational storyline following the lunacy of Moonraker. It marked the first time John Glen would helm a Bond film, having worked as an editor and second-unit director on three of the previous outings, and he would go on to direct the next four films in the series. The story sees the spy being sent to try and recover an ‘ATAC’ device capable of controlling the British Polaris submarine fleet, which is lost after a spy ship disguised as a trawler is sunk in neutral waters.

It becomes clear that the Soviets are also keen to get their hands on the device and Bond must discover who is aiding them, with suspicion falling on both Milos Columbo (Topol) and Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover). Bond also finds an ally in the form of Melina Havelock (the gorgeous Carole Bouquet) who is out for revenge after her parents are murdered by the same forces who retrieve the ATAC device. The film features several memorable chases and action sequences, including a climactic assault on a fortress on top of a sheer cliff. It also includes the infamous character of Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson) a gorgeous young ice-skating protégée who becomes infatuated with Bond, and in turn became the object of countless teenage boys’ fantasies, including yours truly.

This British quad features the ‘legs’ concept that was created by the American designer Bill Gold and was subsequently used for the film’s marketing campaign across the globe, including the US one sheet. Owing to the landscape format of the quad poster it was decided that a montage of scenes from the film should be added either side of the legs. The montage was designed by Eddie Paul at the British film marketing agency FEREF and the painting job was given to the talented illustrator Brian Bysouth, whose skill at accurately depicting vehicles, characters and dynamic action scenes was the perfect compliment for the design. The montage was also adapted (and somewhat crammed) onto an international one sheet used to market the film in countries such as Australia.

In 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and this poster was discussed during our meeting:

One Bond poster you worked on is the quad for For Your Eyes Only. It had the Bill Gold designed element of the long legs, but you modified the montage when doing the finished illustration?
Eric Pulford created the U.K. poster design that was approved. The inclusion of the very iconic Bill Gold legs concept was a must in any design that was submitted, so I suppose the scope for fresh designs was limited. In my opinion Eric’s original montage was not his best work and, although I tried to re-arrange some of the elements, the reference material supplied was not very exciting and I think the surrounding montage looks rather ordinary.

A similar difficulty arose with the design Eric had done for The Bounty (1984). His atmospheric colour rough was exciting, but when I began to sketch out the finished painting I realised the perspective of the ship was flawed. Eric’s exciting random montage of characters had initially disguised the shortcoming. I spent a day redrawing the ship and rigging to ensure it was reasonably correct, and then moved the characters to try to improve the composition. I was pleased with the final painting but was never happy with the montage, which I really thought needed recomposing. I didn’t think a confrontation with Eric was in my best interest.

Some weeks later I asked for the return of my painting only to be told, ‘it could not be found’.  Obviously, a light-fingered person took a fancy to it. Much of my work has been lost to me in that way, including my teaser art for A View to a Kill. Presently I am engaged in monitoring Film Memorabilia auction sales in order to reclaim art being offered for sale that legally belongs to me. I am glad to have been successful in recovering quite a number of paintings.  One case involving poster art I did for 20th. Century Fox is still ongoing as I speak.
Note that the article also features an image of the original artwork that has differences in the layout and details in comparison to this final quad.

Assault on Precinct 13 / quad / UK

27.01.14

Poster Poster

Director John Carpenter followed his debut sci-fi film Dark Star (1974) with the action thriller Assault on Precinct 13. Carpenter had originally hoped to create a Howard Hawks style western, but when the $100k budget organised by his producer friends Joseph Kaufman and J. Stein Kaplan prohibited the kinds of sets and production design needed, he retooled the script to work in a modern day setting. With strong echoes of Hawks’ Rio Bravo, Carpenter completed his script in just eight days and peppered it with multiple references to classic westerns.

Taking place over the course of one Saturday (a number of time and location cards are displayed throughout) the story is set in a crime-infested Los Angeles ghetto and begins at 3.00am as six members of a gang called Street Thunder are ambushed and killed by the LAPD. Soon afterwards the warlords of the gang swear a blood oath of revenge against the whole city. Later that day, Lieutenant Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker) arrives at the local Anderson police precinct in order to help the remaining skeleton staff, including Captain Chaney (Henry Brandon) and two secretaries, close the building for good.

A bus carrying three convicts, including Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston), makes an unscheduled stop at the precinct seeking medical help for one of the men. At the same time across town, a gang of the warlords shoot and kill a young girl and an ice cream seller (a shocking sequence that Carpenter almost had to remove at the request of the MPAA) and the girl’s father, Lawson (Martin West) immediately retaliates and kills one of the warlords. The rest of the gang chases Lawson through the streets and into the Anderson police precinct. Before they know it, the inhabitants of the station are under assault from the gang and must fight for their very survival.

The film failed to make much impact in terms of box office takings or critical reception on its original American release in 1976, but when the film was shown at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival it received very favourable reviews from several critics, particularly those from Britain. After being invited to show the film at the 1977 London Film Festival, Carpenter was delighted by the positive critical and audience reaction. Derek Malcolm, the then film critic of the Guardian newspaper (whose quote graces this poster), reported that the film’s screening was greeted with deafening applause. On the back of the strong reception, Michael Myers (a Carpenter coincidence!), the head of Miracle Films, purchased the British distribution rights. This quad was printed for the film’s UK release and features a stylised title laid over the top of an image from the scene in which one of the convicts attempts to escape through the sewers. The ‘award-winning’ line refers to the fact that Carpenter won the 1978 annual British Film Institute award for the “originality and achievement of his first two films”, Dark Star and Assault, at the 1977 London Film Festival.

Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back / double bill / quad / UK

02.09.14

Poster Poster

Following the unprecedented success of the original Star Wars, released in 1977 to worldwide audience acclaim, expectations were high for the sequel which was put into production a few months after its release. Three years later, The Empire Strikes Back arrived in cinemas and was met with huge audience and critical acclaim, firmly cementing the series’ place in the hearts of millions of fans across the globe. A less well-received third part of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, and a lacklustre set of prequel films failed to dampen audience enthusiasm for the franchise and a new film adventure is set to be released at the end of 2015.

To capitalise on the successful release of the films, particularly before home video was a reality, distributor 20th Century Fox decided to release a double-bill of both Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back in to cinemas towards the end of 1980. This event was repeated across the world but this British quad is unique to this country and is the result of the amalgamation of the original quads for both films, plus an extra photographic element not included on either in the figure of Jedi master Yoda, which was probably added due to the characters’ popularity.

The original Star Wars quad was designed and illustrated by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. The artist sadly passed away in 2001 but last year his widow Shirley launched his official website, which showcases his work and features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own book British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and he was also responsible for many other pieces of iconic poster artwork. I have a number of other designs by Chantrell on this site and you can read an exclusive interview with Shirley by clicking here.

The Empire Strikes Back quad features the artwork painted for the US style B one sheetwhich was by the American artist Tom Jung, perhaps best known for his iconic ‘style A’ one sheet that he painted for the release of the original Star Wars. Jung was a prolific designer and illustrator for film campaigns from the 1950s through to the 1980s. IMPAwards features a gallery of his work and his Wikipedia article has a selected list of the posters he worked on. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Another special quad was put together for a triple-bill event after the release of Return of the Jedi, which again featured elements of the artwork from all three separate release quads. Note that this poster can be found undersized at around 28″ x 40″ and this was because several hundred copies were machine trimmed to be used in special frames on the London Underground, a fate which befell a number of posters around the end of the 1970s and early 1980s.

 

City of Women / quad / UK

29.06.15

Poster Poster
Title
City of Women
AKA
La città delle donne (Italy - original title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Federico Fellini
Starring
Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Prucnal, Bernice Stegers, Jole Silvani, Donatella Damiani, Ettore Manni, Fiammetta Baralla
Origin of Film
Italy | France
Genre(s) of Film
Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Prucnal, Bernice Stegers, Jole Silvani, Donatella Damiani, Ettore Manni, Fiammetta Baralla,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Andrea Pazienza
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
'City of Women' is a film about a man who invents woman' - Fellini

A striking piece of art by the late Italian comic artist Andrea Pazienza on this UK quad poster for the release of the late Italian director Federico Fellini‘s City of Women. Often cited as being semi-autobiographical, the dream-like film sees Fellini’s frequent collaborator (and arguably alter-ego) Marcello Mastroianni (La Dolce Vita, 8 and a half) playing Snàporaz a businessman traveling on a train who becomes infatuated by a woman (Bernice Stegers) in the same carriage. When the train stops at a remote station he lets his lust get the better of him and follows her into a forrest. Eventually she leads him to a hotel in which a raucous feminist conference is taking place and Snàporaz moves from room to room in search of the woman. Each room contains a different event or discussion dealing with the different ways that women and men interact, with satirical displays of machismo and passionate arguments taking place. 

Eventually, growing impatient, Snàporaz manages to persuade an older woman to take him to the train station but she stops on the way and forces herself on him in a greenhouse. After escaping from her clutches he ends up getting a lift from a group of women in convertibles who drive him around all night until he runs away and ends up at the house of the pompous Dr. Xavier Katzone (a play on the Italian word for ‘big dick’) who is hosting a lavish party to celebrate his 10,000th conquest. A number of events occur and Snàporaz ends up sliding down a tunnel under a bed into an even more surreal world where he is forced to recall his previous sexual encounters and eventually ends up being judged by a kind of court for his masculinity. Although he is freed for his crimes, he ends up confronting the punishment and ends up in a boxing ring above a huge crowd of women.

During a making-of documentary on the recent blu-ray release Fellini collaborators explain that the film was definitely written by Fellini as a way of working out his own feelings around his infidelity and the relationship between the two sexes. Filled with typically Felliniesque surrealist sequences, the film is visually interesting throughout and is frequently funny. Mastroianni is clearly enjoying himself and despite some sluggish moments the film mostly works. Rather bizarrely, Ettore Manni, the actor playing Katzone, died during filming by shooting himself in the genitals and dying from blood loss. A large section of the end of the film had to be altered by Fellini because of the accident.

Sadly, Andrea Pazienza also died prematurely at the age of 32 from a heroin overdose. Born in 1956, he studied Art at the University of Bologna and went on to create comic strips for Italian magazines, with often surreal, satirical stories featuring several characters of his own creation. Arguably his most famous creation was Zanardi, a high-school student from Bologna, who appeared in several comic strips during the 1980s and was very popular with Italian comic fans. During this period he also worked on illustrations for advertising and editorial content, as well as a designs for theatrical productions and a handful of movie posters. This illustration also appeared on the Italian teaser poster but the UK quad is, I believe, the only other international poster to feature it.

Mean Streets / quad / 1993 re-release / UK

22.08.16

Poster Poster
Title
Mean Streets
AKA
Mean Streets - Domenica in chiesa, lunedì all'inferno [Sunday in church, Monday in hell] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Martin Scorsese
Starring
Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Victor Argo, George Memmoli, Lenny Scaletta, Jeannie Bell, Murray Moston, David Carradine, Robert Carradine
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Proval, Amy Robinson, Richard Romanus, Cesare Danova, Victor Argo, George Memmoli, Lenny Scaletta, Jeannie Bell, Murray Moston, David Carradine, Robert Carradine,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1993
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it on the streets..."

This is a British quad poster for a 1993 re-release of Martin Scorsese‘s 1973 film Mean Streets. Whilst not the director’s earliest full-length feature, it’s certainly the one that put him firmly on the map ahead of 1976’s global hit Taxi Driver. Co-written by Scorsese, Mean Streets is also a film that is very personal to the director because the film is set in and around the Manhattan neighbourhood he grew up in. The story was shaped by his experience of living in Little Italy and the encounters he had with the various types of characters that live there, including members of the New York Mafia, with whom his father had dealings.

Scorsese also peppered the film with the kind of music he’d been listening to as a youth, which included the likes of the Rolling Stones and The Ronettes. It’s reckoned that half of the film’s budget was spent on clearing these songs for use in the soundtrack, but their inclusion makes for some memorable moments. One such example is the entrance of Joey (Robert De Niro) into the club soundtracked to the Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

Harvey Keitel plays Charlie, a small-time member of the mafia who spends his days collecting protection money on behalf of his uncle, the local boss Giovanni (Cesare Danova). He’s also torn between his feelings of Catholic responsibility, and devotion to the church, with his desire to move up the chain in the outfit. Charlie is also hampered by his friendship with the unhinged Johnny Boy (De Niro), an inveterate gambler who owes money to various unsavoury loan sharks around the neighbourhood. Johnny’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and threatens Charlie’s position as a wiseguy and his secret relationship with Johnny’s cousin Teresa (Amy Robinson). As tension rises, the group try to escape to Brooklyn but the neighbourhood has other plans for them.

I’m not totally sure why this film was given a 1993 re-release but it could have had something to do with the success of his 1990 gangster film Goodfellas. It’s also possible that the distributor (Electric Pictures) decided to show the film as part of a particular season of films. Note that all the films mentioned along the bottom of the poster are all based in London so it’s possible it wasn’t a nationwide re-release. The film’s original quad, for the film’s release in the 1970s, is hugely uninspiring (see here) and nothing beats the classic artwork created for the US campaign (see here).

Inserts / quad / style A / UK

22.07.16

Poster Poster
Title
Inserts
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
John Byrum
Starring
Richard Dreyfuss, Jessica Harper, Bob Hoskins, Veronica Cartwright, Stephen Davies
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Dreyfuss, Jessica Harper, Bob Hoskins, Veronica Cartwright, Stephen Davies,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Vic Fair
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"Women in Love", "Last Tango in Paris" and "Emmanuelle" - Now...

Striking artwork by the British artist Vic Fair on this quad poster for the release of the 1975 film Inserts. The film was the debut film of writer/director John Byrum, an American who appears to have spent quite a lot of time writing, producing and directing TV shows, although his last credit was for Duets (2000). The film is set in Hollywood in the 1930s and deals with actors and directors who were struggling to make the transition from silent films into ‘talkies’ so instead turned to making pornography for a living. Rather unusually the film was shot in the style of a stage play, on one set and in real time, with only five actors in total. The cast is rather impressive and features Richard Dreyfuss (the same year that Jaws was released), Jessica Harper (Suspiria) and the late Bob Hoskins in one of his first major film roles. The plot is described thusly on IMDb:

A once-great silent film director, unable to make the transition to the new talkies, lives as a near-hermit in his Hollywood home, making cheap, silent sex films, and suffering in the knowledge of his sexual impotence, and apathetic about the plans to demolish his home to make way for a motorway. His producer and his producer’s girlfriend come by to see how he is doing (and to supply heroin to the actress as her payment). The girlfriend stays to watch them filming, and is deeply impressed by his methods. When the actress goes to the bathroom, and dies there of an overdose, the girlfriend takes her place in the film. Then the producer returns…

Sadly the film was a critical and commercial failure on its release, not helped by the fact that it was given a very prohibitive X certificate in the US, which was later downgraded to NC-17 after a battle with the sensors that Dreyfuss himself was involved in. The user reviews on IMDb are a little less damning than the professional critics were at the time of its cinema release.

This quad poster was both designed and painted by Vic Fair who is one the most important characters ever to work in British film marketing. He 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 Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

Note that there are also at least two other styles of British quads for the release of Inserts, including this style B one (image taken from Moviepostermem.com) which was based on Vic’s design but was painted by the celebrated Italian artist Arnaldo Putzu.

Something Wild / quad / UK

05.07.16

Poster Poster
Title
Something Wild
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
Jonathan Demme
Starring
Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta, George 'Red' Schwartz, Leib Lensky, Tracey Walter, Maggie T., Patricia Falkenhain, Sandy McLeod, Robert Ridgely
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, Ray Liotta, George 'Red' Schwartz, Leib Lensky, Tracey Walter, Maggie T., Patricia Falkenhain, Sandy McLeod, Robert Ridgely,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Something different, something daring, something dangerous

A colourful design features on this UK quad for the release of the 1986 cult flick Something Wild. Directed by Jonathan Demme (best known for Silence of the Lambs) the film is a difficult one to categorise as it has elements of comedy, action and also something of a road trip setup. The script was written by E. Max Frye whilst he was still at film school and made its way into Demme’s hands, with the director committing to filming it straight away.

Jeff Daniels stars as the straight-laced financier Charles Driggs who lives in a New York suburb and commutes every day into Manhattan. We first see him inside a greasy spoon diner from where he sneaks out without paying (in what he later calls a small act of rebellion) but not without attracting the attention of a sultry brunette who calls herself Lulu (a sexy turn from Melanie Griffith). Although reluctant at first, Charles is persuaded to accompany her on a spontaneous road trip out of the city.

Lulu first seduces him in a hotel room and then the pair continue on to her home town in Pennsylvania where she introduces Charles to her mother, saying that the pair have recently married. Lulu, who reveals her real name is Audrey, takes Charles along to a high school reunion. Whilst there Audrey’s ex-husband Ray Sinclair (an electrifying Ray Liotta), who she thought was still in prison for a string of robberies, appears and is initially friendly towards the couple. Things soon take a dark turn as Ray forces Charles to leave and drives off with Audrey. However, Charles realises how smitten he is with her and begins to tail them with a plan to prize her away from Ray.

The artwork on this UK quad is the same that is featured on the US one sheet and was clearly originally painted for that poster. I’ve struggled to identify who the artist is so if anyone has any ideas please get in touch. The colour schemes are similar on both posters but the logo is different and the quad has the additional photo of Ray Liotta.

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.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors / quad / video / UK

16.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Chuck Russell
Starring
Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Craig, Wasson, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Heather Langenkamp, Patricia Arquette, Craig, Wasson, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Video
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the UK video poster for the third entry in one of the most beloved horror franchises, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 (subtitled Dream Warriors). It’s a full-size quad (30″ x 40″) and the only way to tell that it’s a video poster is the ‘Warner Home Video’ logo (they handled the home video release) in the bottom right corner. As you can see on this image from emovieposter.com it’s otherwise identical to the Palace Pictures cinema release quad which has their logo in the bottom right.

The third film, whilst not as great as the original, was nevertheless a significant return to form following the very lacklustre part 2 that had been released a year earlier to reasonable box-office returns but poor critical reception. Both Wes Craven and Heather Langenkamp (Nancy) had been absent from the first sequel but were persuaded to return for Part 3, with Wes providing drafts of the screenplay and being instrumental in getting Langenkamp onboard. The story went through several iterations with Wes and Bruce Wagner both writing a series of initial drafts and then Frank Darabont (of Shawshank Redemption fame) and the film’s director Chuck Russell completing the screenplay.

Part of the film’s success is that they return to what made the original much scarier than part 2, which is the concept of the evil Freddy Krueger only having his power in the dreams of the kids he’s attacking. This is what made the first film so effective and allowed Freddy to be much more inventive with the way he attacks his victims. In part 2 there are several sequences where Freddy is in the ‘real world’ and he simply becomes a standard slasher antagonist, losing his uniqueness as a villain in the process. Aside from one sequence involving a Ray Harryhausen-esque skeleton, all of the Freddy scenes take place in the dream world of his teenage victims.

The concept for the third one, hinted at with the film’s subtitle, is that the characters are able to enter each other’s dreams in order to try and defeat Freddy. Patricia Arquette (in her film debut) plays Kirsten Walker, a teenager who has been suffering terrible nightmares at the hands of Freddy. After an attack that leaves her wrist slashed, her mother has Kirsten taken to a secure psychiatric hospital and there she meets a number of other teens all suffering from the same nightmares, with the adult carers at a loss to explain it. Dr Neil Gordon (Craig Wasson) is the only one who begins to believe the group and he’s helped when Nancy begins working at the hospital as an intern.

After two of the gang die following a Krueger attack, ruled as suicides by the hospital bosses, Gordon and Nancy realise the key to defeating him is using Kirsten’s gift of being able to bring other people into her own dreams. They also discover that each of the remaining kids has a particular gift when they’re in their dreams. Having multiple characters in one dream allows Chuck Russell and the special effects crew to stage a number of memorable sequences, filled with inventive gore coupled with a much more interesting script for Robert Englund (Freddy) to have fun with. There are a number of moments in the film that are ingrained in my memory from the first time I saw it almost 20 years ago and it’s definitely a fan favourite sequel. The film was a hit at the box-office and ensured Freddy’s return in part 4 only a year later.

The celebrated British designer and artist Graham Humphreys was chosen by Palace to work on the posters for the first five A Nightmare on Elm Street films. This poster for part 3 is notable for being the only one of the five that’s photographic, rather than illustrated, and when I interviewed Graham in 2011 for this site he explained how that came about:

——————

For A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 they went with a photographic image and you designed the poster. Was there a reason they didn’t have an illustration?
No idea at all. They might have been cheap-skating. I think they thought the photographs were quite good from the session they’d had so why not use one of them. I redid the logo and drew the number 3, which took ages!

How easy was it working with photographs at this time, before computers?
Well given a computer this poster would have been so different. I mean I would have used the same photograph but so much more could have been done to make it more sinister and far more exciting. In those days all I could do was play around with the lettering.

Did you actually ask if you could do an illustration or suggest an idea for one?
No, the decision was made that it would be a photo and that was that.

———–——

To see the other posters I’ve collected by Graham click here and read the exclusive interview with the artist here.

Black Joy / quad / UK

28.04.16

Poster Poster
Title
Black Joy
AKA
--
Year of Film
1977
Director
Anthony Simmons
Starring
Norman Beaton, Trevor Thomas, Floella Benjamin, Dawn Hope, Oscar James, Paul J. Medford, Shango Baku
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Norman Beaton, Trevor Thomas, Floella Benjamin, Dawn Hope, Oscar James, Paul J. Medford, Shango Baku,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
FEREF
Artist
Arnaldo Putzu
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Life is for living...

Excellent artwork by the Italian artist Arnaldo Putzu features on this quad poster for the release of the 1977 British film Black Joy. Based on a stage play called ‘Dark Days and Light Nights’ by Jamal Ali (who also wrote the screenplay) it was directed by the late Anthony Simmons. The film, something of a time capsule of a period in London’s history, is a culture-clash comedy about a Guyanese country boy called Ben Jones (Trevor Thomaswho arrives in the borough of Brixton. Ben had assumed life will be easier in the UK but after meeting several streetwise characters, including a wannabe hustler called Dave King (Norman Beaton), he soon learns that not everyone is out for his best interests.

The film notably stars Floella Benjamin a Trinidadian actress who is famous for her work as a presenter on children’s TV programmes in the 1970s and 80s, including Play School, and more recently for her extensive charity work and as the chancellor of the University of Exeter. In 2010 she was made a Baroness as a Liberal Democrat Life Peer and is a member of the House of Lords.

 

Arnaldo Putzu was born in Rome in 1927 and began painting from a very early age. In 1948 he began his relationship with the world of film publicity under the guidance of the famous artist Enrico De Seta. Eventually Putzu would gain enough confidence in his abilities to set up his own agency and it was this move that saw him getting involved in work for the British studio Rank. Eric Pulford was so impressed with his work that he brought him over to London to work at Downtons in 1967.

The artist worked on many quads whilst over here and also gained notoriety for lending his talents to the popular children’s magazine Look-in, for which he painted almost every cover during its publication lifetime. His best-known quad is undoubtedly the one he painted for the Michael Caine gangster classic Get Carter in 1971. My friend, and author of the must-own British Film Posters, Sim Branaghan met Putzu during the making of his book and describes it as a very memorable experience in the interview I published in 2012. Putzu sadly passed away the same year, aged 85, and Sim wrote an excellent obituary for The Guardian newspaper, which can be read here.

The Crying Game / quad / UK

14.03.16

Poster Poster

This UK quad poster for the release of Neil Jordan‘s 1992 drama The Crying Game is notable for marking the end of an era of British film posters featuring painted artwork. As Sim Branaghan writes in his must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, ‘By the time this [quad] appeared in 1992, illustration on British posters was effectively dead.’ After this time it was a rare exception that a film wasn’t advertised using a photographic montage, often with the same image being used around the globe to promote a film.

The production company behind the film, Palace Pictures, had worked with Jordan on other features, including Mona Lisa and The Company of Wolves and had regularly worked with artists and illustrators when it came to the posters for the films they released. Celebrated artist Graham Humphreys received his big break into working as an illustrator for film posters when he was asked to paint the artwork to be used on the quad for The Evil Dead, which Palace were distributing in the UK. For more details see the Film on Paper interview with Humphreys which can be read here.

The Crying Game was written by Jordan (he would later win an Academy Award for the screenplay) and stars Stephen Rea as a member of an IRA crew who kidnap a British soldier called Jody (Forest Whitaker) by luring him into a wood with the promise of sex from one of their squad, Jude (Miranda Richardson). The group demand the release of imprisoned IRA members and threaten to execute Jody if their requests are not met.

Fergus and the soldier strike up an uneasy friendship, despite their differences. When the hostage situation goes horribly wrong Fergus is forced into hiding and moves to London, assuming a new identity as ‘Jimmy’. There he looks up Jody’s girlfriend Dil (Jaye Davidson) whom Jody had spoken a lot about and eventually the pair form a tentative relationship. But there’s more to Dil than Fergus realises and the danger that his past life will be uncovered by her grows ever larger.

The film was met with critical praise and glowing reviews around the globe but failed to perform at the UK and Ireland box-office, something that is now felt to be due to its heavy political undertones and the public’s attitude towards the IRA. It was released in the US by Miramax and became a sleeper hit over the following weeks. As hinted at by one of the press quotes on the poster, it’s one of those films that has a plot twist so significant that it becomes the main reason people are aware of and discuss the film (see also ‘The Sixth Sense’).

 

Eaten Alive / quad / UK

19.02.16

Poster Poster
Title
Eaten Alive
AKA
Mangiati vivi! (Italy - original title) | Doomed to Die (USA) | The Emerald Jungle (USA - video)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Umberto Lenzi
Starring
Robert Kerman, Janet Agren, Ivan Rassimov, Paola Senatore, Me Me Lai, Fiamma Maglione, Franco Fantasia, Franco Coduti, Alfred Joseph Berry, Michele Schmiegelm, Mel Ferrer
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Robert Kerman, Janet Agren, Ivan Rassimov, Paola Senatore, Me Me Lai, Fiamma Maglione, Franco Fantasia, Franco Coduti, Alfred Joseph Berry, Michele Schmiegelm, Mel Ferrer,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30 5/16" x 39 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Trapped in a jungle of crazy flesh eaters! | The terrifying nightmare that became a reality!

Lurid artwork by the late, great Tom Chantrell on this UK quad for the release of Italian director Umberto Lenzi‘s 1980 entry into the then burgeoning cannibal subgenre of horror, Eaten Alive! (here just Eaten Alive). This is not to be confused with Tobe Hooper’s 1976 film of the same name about a redneck killer with a pet alligator. Eaten Alive wasn’t Lenzi’s first foray into the subgenre and the director is regularly credited with kickstarting it all with his film Deep River Savages (AKA Sacrifice!) in 1972. This film was released the same year as Cannibal Holocaust, directed by fellow countryman Ruggero Deodato, which is today considered to be the pinnacle of the genre and remains notorious to this day. Not to be outdone, Lenzi filmed one of the subgenre’s most unapologetically nasty entries, Cannibal Ferox, only a year after this film was released, but by that point the subgenre was beginning to fade and only a few more obscurities were made during the 1980s.

Unlike Ferox and Holocaust, Eaten Alive is more of a jungle adventure film and isn’t told in the pseudo-documentary, mondo style of the other films. Not only did Lenzi utilise stars from other cannibal films, including the American pornstar-turned-actor Robert Kerman (who appeared in Holocaust and Ferox) but he also borrowed footage from other films such as his own Deep River Savages and The Mountain of the Cannibal God. Like other entries it also depicts scenes of real animal torture and killings which have always proved controversial and are deeply uncomfortable to sit through today (at least for this viewer). Eaten Alive sees an American woman called Sheila (Swedish actress Janet Agren) who travels to remote New Guinea in search of her missing sister Diana (Paola Senatoreaccompanied by Vietnam veteran Mark (Kerman). They discover that Diana has joined a cult deep in the jungle which is being led by a Jim Jones-style guru called Jonas (cannibal flick regular Ivan Rassimov) who rules over his subjects and the local natives using physical and sexual abuse. Sheila, Mark and Diana attempt to escape from the cult’s clutches and there follows several scenes featuring all manner of barbarities.

Today Eaten Alive is considered one of the lesser cannibal films, certainly compared to Holocaust and Ferox, but it’s not without merit for gorehounds looking for a slice of sleazy entertainment. It’s arguably worth a watch as a curio of a film that would never be made today, not least because of the animal cruelty and breathtaking levels of misogyny on display.

Tom Chantrell was a celebrated British artist whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. His official website features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and was also responsible for the iconic Star Wars quad, the artwork of which ended up being used around the globe. I have a number of other designs by him on this site. The chunky title treatment is one of the artist’s specialties and features on several of his posters, which can be seen on his official site.

Buffalo 66 / quad / UK

01.10.15

Poster Poster
Title
Buffalo 66
AKA
--
Year of Film
1998
Director
Vincent Gallo
Starring
Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston, Ben Gazzara, Kevin Corrigan, Mickey Rourke, Rosanna Arquette, Jan-Michael Vincent
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Anjelica Huston, Ben Gazzara, Kevin Corrigan, Mickey Rourke, Rosanna Arquette, Jan-Michael Vincent,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1998
Designer
Empire Design
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is the UK quad for the release of actor/director/model/musician Vincent Gallo and was the first full-length feature film he directed. The film has an impressive cast with Gallo starring alongside Christina Ricci and supporting turns from the likes of Ben GazzaraMickey Rourke and Anjelica Huston. Gallo plays Billy Brown who has just been released from prison after serving a five year sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. On the way to visit his parents, who actually think he’s a successful (and married) businessman after he wrote them fictional letters from jail, he comes across a young tap-dancer called Layla (Ricci) and decides to kidnap her and force her to pretend to be his wife. Layla is clearly attracted to Billy and goes along with his plans but his own inner demons wrestle for his attention.

The film was well-reviewed on release and was a reasonable box-office success. It has since turned into a true cult film with many fans across the globe who are attracted to the offbeat romance between Billy and Layla, as well as the interesting way the film was shot by cinematographer Lance Acord. A gentle reminder that for a cool $1,000,000 you can actually purchase the main man’s little swimmers, should you want to birth the next generation Gallo, whilst $50,000 will net you a night with him (ladies only).

This quad, featuring a unique design, was put together by the British firm Empire Design who have been working on posters and other film marketing material for 18 years, including for the James Bond films since Casino Royale (2006). To see the other posters that were designed by Empire in the Film on Paper collection click here.

Swiss Family Robinson / quad / 1976 re-release / UK

10.08.15

Poster Poster

A typically detailed and action-packed illustration by Brian Byouth on this 1976 re-release poster for the 1960 Disney adaptation of the 1812 novel The Swiss Robinson by Johann David Wyss. The story had already been filmed once by RKO pictures in 1940 and was a commercial success so another adaptation was considered a sure bet. Filmed on location in Tobago as well as at Pinewood studios in the UK, the film was directed by the late British director Ken Annakin who worked with Disney on a number of pictures. Legendary Brit actor John Mills plays the father of a family that is shipwrecked on a remote tropical island whilst en-route to New Guinea and the film deals with their adventures as they make a new home and try to cope with marauding pirates who are roaming the waters around the island and are causing havoc for ships that enter its waters.

The film differs significantly from the novel and the changes are detailed on the Wikiepdia page for the film. Happily for all involved it was well received by critics and audiences and went on to be the highest earning film of 1960 (beating Hitchcock’s Psycho and Kubrick’s Spartacus). Adjusted for inflation the film made over $427 million which makes it one of the biggest hits of all time. 

British artist Brian Bysouth worked on many Disney posters during the 1970s and early 1980s, including several for re-releases of earlier films from the 1950s and 60s like this one. Brian is one of my favourite artists and worked on many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. 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.

Diva / quad / UK

23.03.15

Poster Poster

This is the UK quad for the release of Diva, which was the first full-length feature from Jean-Jacques Beineix, the French director whose most internationally famous film is Betty Blue (1986). Beineix is seen as the originator of the French film movement that became known as ‘cinéma du look‘, which was described as prioritising style over substance and spectacle over narrative. Luc Besson (Subway, Nikita) and Leos Carax (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf) were the other key directors and their films often featured doomed love affairs, scenes in the Paris Metro and plenty of contemporary pop-culture references.

Based on the novel of the same by Swiss author Daniel Odier the film is set in Paris and tells the story of a young mild-mannered postman called Jules (Frédéric Andréi) who has an obsession with a celebrated opera singer called Cynthia Hawkins. The singer has never had one of her performances officially recorded, believing that music like hers should only exist in the moment for the audience watching. Jules attends a performance and illicitly makes a perfect recording before meeting her backstage and stealing the dress she performed in. A few days later Jules inadvertently gets drawn into a criminal conspiracy after a desperate woman on the run from hitmen, including Dominique Pinon‘s Le curé (as seen on this poster), drops a cassette into his postbag. The tape implicates the local police chief in an international smuggling ring and soon Jules has not only the hitmen after him but also a shady pair of Taiwanese men who want the recording of the opera singer. Luckily, Jules has help in the form of a mysterious bohemian called Gorodish (Richard Bohringer) and his Vietnamese-French muse Alba (Thuy An Luu).

As progenitor of the ‘cinéma du look‘ movement the film is visually stunning throughout and features excellent use of several Paris locations, including a memorable chase sequence on the Metro and a great scene inside a giant abandoned factory. The story may come second to the visuals but it’s still an excellent watch and rightfully garnered plenty of critical plaudits on its release in France and then later in the US and the UK.

This UK quad was printed for the legendary British distribution (and later production) company Palace Pictures and, like their quad for Evil Dead, features a flash indicating that the film was available on video. I believe the first time this film was released in the UK was in 1982 and it’s likely that Palace gave the film a limited cinema release as well as making it available on VHS. Friend of the site John Costello confirmed that the film received a release on VHS on September 25th 1982.

The design and illustration of the poster, which is actually of a shot in the film where Jules’ bike helmet is seen on a mannequin, is credited on the poster to ‘Pens’, about whom I’ve been unable to find any details. If anyone knows more about the designer I’d appreciate the info.

The Sea Wolves / quad / UK

17.04.15

Poster Poster
Title
The Sea Wolves
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen
Origin of Film
Switzerland | UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Arnaldo Putzu
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The last charge of the Calcutta Light Horse.

Featuring great art by Arnaldo Putzu, this is the UK quad for the 1980 action film The Sea Wolves, which is based on real events that occurred during the Second World War. As mentioned on the poster, the story is based on the exploits of ex-members of the Calcutta Light Horse, a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army that was formed in 1872 and was disbanded a couple of years after the end of WWII. The plot sees British intelligence discovering that a Nazi radio ship is broadcasting the coordinates of allied ships from a harbour in Portuguese Goa, which was neutral during the war, so an all out assault cannot be launched by the Navy because of this.

British Intelligence officers Col. Lewis Pugh (Gregory Peck) and Capt. Gavin Stewart (Roger Moore) lead the operation and covertly enlist retired officer Col. Bill Grice (David Niven) of the Calcutta Light Horse & some of his former soldiers. The gang sneak into Goa and arrange a diversion on the evening of a planned raid, before making their way to the radio ship carrying enough explosives to sink it and put a stop any more transmissions. The film reunited much of the creative team behind an earlier OAPs on a mission film, 1978’s The Wild Geese, including director Andrew V. McLaglen, screenwriter Reginald Rose, producer Euan Lloyd and several of the stars.

Arnaldo Putzu was born in Rome in 1927 and began painting from a very early age and in 1948 he got involved with the world of film publicity under the guidance of the famous artist Enrico De Seta. Eventually Putzu would gain enough confidence in his abilities to set up his own agency and it was this move that saw him getting involved in work for the British studio Rank. Eric Pulford was so impressed with his work that he brought him over to London to work at Downtons in 1967.

The artist worked on many quads whilst over here and also gained notoriety for lending his talents to the popular children’s magazine Look-in, for which he painted almost every cover during its publication lifetime. His best-known quad is undoubtedly the one he painted for the Michael Caine gangster classic Get Carter in 1971. My friend, and author of the must-own British Film Posters, Sim Branaghan met Putzu during the making of his book and describes it as a very memorable experience in the interview I published in 2012. Putzu sadly passed away the same year, aged 85, and Sim wrote an excellent obituary for The Guardian newspaper, which can be read here.

The poster was designed by the British designer and artist Vic Fair who is one the most important people ever to work on British film marketing. He 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 Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

Nightbreed / quad / UK

22.02.17

Poster Poster
Title
Nightbreed
AKA
Cabal (France, Italy)
Year of Film
1990
Director
Clive Barker
Starring
Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley, Catherine Chevalier, Malcolm Smith, Bob Sessions, Oliver Parker
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby, David Cronenberg, Charles Haid, Hugh Quarshie, Hugh Ross, Doug Bradley, Catherine Chevalier, Malcolm Smith, Bob Sessions, Oliver Parker,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1990
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The masters of the macabre join forces... with the Nightbreed

This is the UK quad for the original release of ace British writer/director Clive Barker‘s 1990 film Nightbreed. Based on Barker’s own 1988 novel Cabal, which was the sixth and final entry in his celebrated series ‘Books of Blood‘, the film was notoriously a flop upon its original release. The director has been candid in the years following its release and maintains that studio interference and a lack of understanding of how to market the film ultimately hampered its release. Having scored a hit with Hellraiser (1986) on a budget of just under $1m, 20th Century Fox gave Barker over 10 times that for Nightbreed, but with it they took away the freedom he had on the previous film. Ultimately the studio made extensive cuts to the film just before release without Barker’s input and marketed it as a slasher film, which was far from accurate.

The story focuses on a man named Aaron Boone (Craig Sheffer) who has been having vivid dreams about a city called Midian where monsters are accepted and live peacefully with each other. We learn that his girlfriend Lori (Anne Bobby) has encouraged him to see a psychologist named Dr. Phillip Decker (the cult Canadian director David Cronenberg). Decker tells Boone that he’s been suffering from a type of psychosis, is responsible for multiple murders and that he should turn himself into the police. In reality, it’s Decker who is a serial killer and he’s attempting to use Boone as a shill to cover his crimes. After being hit by a truck on his way home, Boone wakes in hospital where he meets a man named Narcisse who talks about accessing Midian before mutilating himself with a pair of blades. 

Boone follows Narcisse’s instructions and makes his way to an old cemetery in the middle of nowhere (the film is set in Canada). Once there he is confronted by a pair of monsters, Peloquin (Oliver Parker) and Kinski (Nicholas Vince), who block his request to enter Midian. Peloquin attempts to eat Boone, biting his shoulder before the latter breaks free and escapes the cemetery. Outside he is confronted by Decker and a squad of police officers and when Decker falsely shouts that Boone has a gun, he is gunned down by the squad. After Lori visits the morgue to identify Boone’s body, the bite given by Peloquin causes him to reanimate. He returns to Midian where he meets a whole host of monsters who call the city home. This time he is accepted into the city after being touched by the blood of their deity Baphomet. Meanwhile, Lori wants to understand why Boone traveled to Midian. She is eventually allowed into the city and discovers that it is a refuge for monsters after centuries of them being hunted to near extinction by humans. Unfortunately Decker has tracked her down and he plans to destroy the city and the monsters within.

One of the things that the studio struggled with is that the monsters are ultimately depicted as being the ‘good guys’ and this was obviously something of a departure from standard horror film tropes. The film has incredible production design and make-up effects, particularly the look of the various monsters in Midian. Despite critical and commercial failure in 1990, Nightbreed quickly garnered a cult following and for many years fans had been calling for the release of the longer cut that Barker had promised existed. An unofficial ‘Cabal cut’ was compiled using VHS-quality material a few years ago but in 2015 the original film elements were found and a special director’s cut released by the American video label Scream Factory, much to the delight of horror fans around the world.

This British quad differs greatly from the disappointing American one sheet and includes several photographs of the Nightbreed and is dominated by an image of David Cronenberg. The minor spoiler (for those that were yet to view the film) that he is the masked killer obviously didn’t bother the distributors! The tagline also makes a deal of the fact that Cronenberg and Barker were working together, perhaps understandably.

The Man in the White Suit / quad / 1993 re-release / UK

11.02.15

Poster Poster

The Man in the White Suit is a satirical comedy that was made for the famous Ealing Studios in London and released in 1951. Directed by regular Ealing collaborator Alexander Mackendrick (who also helmed The Ladykillers and others), the film stars Alec Guinness as Sidney Stratton a frustrated chemist who is obsessed with creating an everlasting fibre. Sidney has been fired from several mills around Manchester because of his unauthorised use of expensive lab materials and his focusing on invention instead of the job he’s being paid to do. After starting at Alan Birnley’s (Cecil Parker) textile mill he manages to wangle an unpaid job as a researcher and is eventually afforded the space and materials to come up with his miracle fibre that resists all dirt and stays spotless.

Soon the management are aware of his invention, thanks to Birnley’s daughter Daphne (Joan Greenwood) spotting the potential, and are about to go public with the news when the trade unions and mill workers get involved. Both parties realise that such an invention will put them out of business since the public will never need to buy items made from the material again. They end up trying to bargain with Sidney but when he realises they just want to suppress the invention he tries to escape from their clutches, leading everyone on a chase around town. Unluckily for Sidney, it turns out his invention is not as robust as he’d hoped!

This British quad is from a BFI re-release of the film in 1993 (thanks to Sim Branaghan for confirmation of the exact year). It’s almost identical to the original 1950s quad but is missing the original distributor logo in the bottom left-hand corner, as well as the designer/artist credits. See this thread on the NSFGE poster forum for details and check out the image of a previous sale of the poster at Christies auction house.

The original 1951 quad was one of two that featured on the cover of Sim Branaghan‘s must-own British Film Posters, the definitive reference for those interested in the history of the subject. As detailed in the book, the poster was designed by man called Sydney John Woods who Sim notes was ‘more or less single-handedly responsible for the Ealing poster success’. Born in 1915, Woods trained as a graphic designer and painter and was also an art critic. He also design posters for theatres, including the Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells before starting to work for the film industry with a role in Fox’s publicity department.

Woods joined Ealing in 1943 and worked there until the studios’ demise in 1959. Sim notes that Woods ‘revealed perhaps his greatest skill as an impresario, marshalling, encouraging, and exploiting to best advantage the talents of other artists’. He built up an impressive stable of artists that he could call on to produce illustrations for the studios’ output. This included the cartoonist Nicolas Bentley (for Passport to Pimlico, 1949) and Ronald Searle, creator of the St. Trinian’s cartoons (for The Lavender Hill Mob, 1951). The same year he would commission the artist A. R. Thomson to paint this portrait of Alec Guinness.

Thomson was born deaf and dumb in India in 1894 to a civil servant father who later brought the family back to London where Alfred attended the Royal School for Deaf Children. He became known as the ‘deaf and dumb artist’ and would go on to work on commercial advertising for the likes of Daimler, and also became the RAF’s official war artist in 1940. Interestingly, he was also the last person to win a gold medal for painting at the 1948 Olympic games in London (the last year that artists were allowed to compete). Thomson passed away in 1979. The ArtUK site features a gallery of his work.

The Sword and the Sorcerer / quad / UK

30.01.15

Poster Poster

The Sword and the Sorcerer is a 1982 fantasy film directed by Albert Pyun (in his debut) and was one of several entries in the genre that were released the same year, including Conan the Barbarian and The Beastmaster. Lee Horsley appears in his first film role as Prince Talon the song of a King and Queen who are slain by the evil King Cromwell (Richard Lynch) after he uses the black magic of a sorcerer named Xusia (Richard Moll) to overthrow their kingdom.

Over a decade later, Talon returns to the kingdom as a mercenary leading a band of men on a mission to help rebels overthrow Cromwell. Talon is asked to help free Mikah (Simon MacCorkindale), Cromwell’s war chancellor, who is secretly a double agent and is captured and imprisoned. His sister Alana (Kathleen Beller) begs for help from Talon and the mercenary sets out to Cromwell’s castle where the final showdown with his parents’ murderer takes place.

The film was critically derided at the time but still proved a popular box-office draw, easily recouping its relatively low budget and ending up as the most profitable independent film of 1982.

This quad was painted by the British designer and artist Brian Bysouth who I interviewed for this site in 2012, There is also a quad for Willow featuring the same artwork. Brian is one of my favourite artists and worked on multiple classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

This poster takes elements from both the Style A US one sheet as well as the Style B one sheet, both credited to the artist Peter Andrew Jones.

Virgin Witch / quad / UK

19.01.15

Poster Poster
Title
Virgin Witch
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
Ray Austin
Starring
Ann Michelle, Vicki Michelle, Keith Buckley, Patricia Haines, James Chase, Paula Wright, Christopher Strain, Esme Smythe, Garth Watkins, Neil Hallett
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Ann Michelle, Vicki Michelle, Keith Buckley, Patricia Haines, James Chase, Paula Wright, Christopher Strain, Esme Smythe, Garth Watkins, Neil Hallett,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Fred Atkins
Artist
Arnaldo Putzu
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Her lust was innocence - her desires... evil.

A classic case of the poster being better than the film it’s advertising, this is the UK quad for the 1972 British sexploitation horror Virgin Witch, which was produced and released by Tigon, primarily known for their horror output. Directed by Ray Austin who spent most of his career directing TV shows, the film stars Ann Michelle and her sister Vicki (later to gain fame as Yvette Carte-Blanche in the TV series Allo ‘Allo!) as Betty and Christine, a pair of wannabe models.

Answering an advert in a shop window, the more confident Betty meets Sybil Waite, a lecherous modelling scout played by the late Patricia Haines (the first wife of Michael Caine), who invites her to a country manor on the pretense of being photographed for an advertising campaign. Sybil encourages Betty to invite Christine along and after arriving there the sisters soon discover that all is not as it seems on the outside. Before long, Betty is being inducted to a witches coven in a laughable sequence in which the coven’s leader Gerald (Neil Hallett) gets to have his way with her.

Later it appears that Christine is to be sacrificed in another ceremony but the script is so weak that it’s not clear why and the attempt at a shock ending falls totally flat. The story comes a distant second to the almost constant female nudity, clearly a requisite from producers keen to sell the film to as many international buyers looking to satisfy the punters of ‘adult’ cinemas. Virgin Witch is totally devoid of anything in the way of supernatural scares, or indeed horror of any kind, and any attempt is fumbled badly. Both leading ladies have apparently disowned the film since it was made and it’s not hard to see why!

This poster is the result of a collaboration between two key figures in the history of British poster design: Fred Atkins and Arnaldo Putzu. Atkins was born in Kent in 1928 and attended art school before joining an agency on Sloane Street in London as a junior. He moved around a few agencies before joining Pulford Publicity in 1951 where he designed multiple quad posters, staying with Eric Pulford through several mergers and acquisitions, eventually leaving what became Downtons in 1968 to help set up the FEREF agency (he’s one of the Fs in the name) from where he would eventually retire. Virgin Witch is one of the posters he designed whilst at FEREF.

Arnaldo Putzu was born in Rome in 1927 and began painting from a very early age and in 1948 he got involved with the world of film publicity under the guidance of the famous artist Enrico De Seta. Eventually Putzu would gain enough confidence in his abilities to set up his own agency and it was this move that saw him getting involved in work for the British studio Rank. Eric Pulford was so impressed with his work that he brought him over to London to work at Downtons in 1967.

The artist worked on many quads whilst over here and also gained notoriety for lending his talents to the popular children’s magazine Look-in, for which he painted almost every cover during its publication lifetime. His best-known quad is undoubtedly the one he painted for the Michael Caine gangster classic Get Carter in 1971. My friend, and author of the must-own British Film Posters, Sim Branaghan met Putzu during the making of his book and describes it as a very memorable experience in the interview I published in 2012. Putzu sadly passed away the same year, aged 85, and Sim wrote an excellent obituary for The Guardian newspaper, which can be read here.

Freaky Friday / quad / UK

15.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
Freaky Friday
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Gary Nelson
Starring
Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin, Patsy Kelly, Dick Van Patten, Vicki Schreck, Sorrell Booke, Alan Oppenheimer, Ruth Buzzi, Kaye Ballard, Marc McClure, Marie Windsor
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin, Patsy Kelly, Dick Van Patten, Vicki Schreck, Sorrell Booke, Alan Oppenheimer, Ruth Buzzi, Kaye Ballard, Marc McClure, Marie Windsor,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Annabel and her mother are not quite themselves today - in fact, they're each other!

Unique artwork features on this UK quad for the release of the 1976 version of the Disney comedy Freaky Friday. Based on the novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers (who also wrote the screenplay), the film focuses on the Andrews family in which the mother and daughter (played memorably by Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster) are constantly at odds with each other and struggle to understand why they behave the way they do to each other. On Friday the 13th they both happen to say “I wish I could switch places with her for just one day” at the same time and their wishes come true as their minds swap places. The pair then must cope with being in each other’s bodies as they realise the pressures and expectations they both have on them.

Mr Andrews (John Astin) is a real-estate developer preparing for an important launch in which mother and daughter are meant to be playing their different parts and hilarity ensues as the pair attempt to cope with the situation. The film is classic Disney family entertainment and definitely harkens back to a more innocent time. Both Harris and Foster bring a great energy to their parts and it’s easy to see why the latter would go on to catch the eye of many a Hollywood casting director.

This quad was created by the British designer and artist Brian Bysouth who I interviewed for this site in 2012. He is one of my favourite artists and worked on multiple classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The Evil That Men Do / quad / UK

12.09.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Evil That Men Do
AKA
Liquidator (West Germany) | L'enfer de la violence [The Hell of violence] (France)
Year of Film
1984
Director
J. Lee Thompson
Starring
Charles Bronson, Theresa Saldana, Joseph Maher, José Ferrer, René Enríquez, John Glover, Raymond St. Jacques, Antoinette Bower, Enrique Lucero
Origin of Film
Mexico | USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Bronson, Theresa Saldana, Joseph Maher, José Ferrer, René Enríquez, John Glover, Raymond St. Jacques, Antoinette Bower, Enrique Lucero,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Eric Pulford
Artist
Eric Pulford
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 39 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Bronson's out to stop...

An excellent portrait of action legend Charles Bronson by Eric Pulford features on this British quad for the 1984 thriller The Evil That Men Do. One of several collaborations between the star and director J. Lee Thompson, the film sees Bronson star as a retired hitman known as Holland who is living a relaxed life on a West Indies Island when he is approached by former associates who persuade him to take on one last job. The target is the sadistic torturer, Dr. Clement Molloch, a Welshman who is often hired by political regimes to help them keep dissidents in check and has consequently left a trail of enemies in his wake.

Holland discovers that Molloch has killed his old friend Jorge Hidalgo at the behest of the Surinamese regime and he agrees to set off to Guatemala, the last known location of his target, with Hidalgo’s wife and daughter agreeing to pose as his family to protect his cover. Holland uses his old skills to take out various criminal associates as he works his way up the chain to exact revenge against Molloch. The film was released to weak reviews and it’s definitely not Bronson’s finest hour, or the best collaboration with J Lee Thompson.

As Sim Branaghan notes in his must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Eric Pulford was one of the most important figures in the history of UK film marketing. Born in Leeds in 1915, Pulford was encouraged to develop his drawing abilities at school before he left, aged 14, to join a firm that manufactured electrical goods where he designed light fittings. After a year he left there to take up an apprenticeship at Gilchrists, a blockmakers in Leeds city centre, whilst also attending evening classes at Leeds Art College and painting in his spare time.

It was during his time at Gilchrists that Eric’s skills were spotted by Leslie Whitchurch, a partner in design firm who had an arrangement with the British film company Rank to produce film posters for Leeds cinemas. Pulford began working on illustrations for the posters around 1940 and eventually left Gilchrists to join Format (Whitchurch’s agency) in 1943. The most important move happened in 1943 when Pulford was invited by Rank to relocate to London and set up a design agency to specifically handle their marketing, which saw the birth of Pulford Publicity.

Over the next decade Eric designed and illustrated hundreds of posters for British and Hollywood films, and this meant him working with many of the most important producers and directors in the industry. As Downtons, the parent company to Pulford Publicity, grew Eric started to illustrate less and take on more of an executive role, dealing with clients and liaising with distributors but he still managed to keep his hand in designing posters, including for some of Rank’s most important film properties like the Carry On series.

Eventually he took over Downtons completely in 1965 and this is when he hired designers like Vic Fair and John Stockle who would often submit competing concepts for film campaigns that were then sifted and selected by the client. Pulford also hired a number of young artists that included Brian Bysouth and would often give them his own take on how to achieve the best illustration results. Eventually, at the start of the 1980s, Eric began to plan for his retirement and began handing over the reins of Downtons to a new management team before eventually moving to the south coast in 1984.

This quad for The Evil That Men Do marks a milestone as it’s the last printed quad that was both designed and illustrated by Pulford, but other design and layout jobs followed over the next few years. His last assignment was, rather aptly, The Last Emperor in 1987 after which he started to enjoy his retirement fully. In 2005 Pulford passed away shortly after suffering a fall at his home, just shy of his ninetieth birthday. Sim notes that Pulford is believed to have designed at least 500 posters over a 50 year period for some of the best British films and his contribution to the field cannot be underestimated.

A Nightmare On Elm Street / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Nightmare On Elm Street
AKA
Nightmare dal profondo della notte [Nightmare from the depths of the night] (Italy)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Wes Craven
Starring
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Graham Humphreys
Artist
Graham Humphreys
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Sleep kills

Iconic design and illustration on this UK quad for the film that started the successful Freddy Krueger franchise, featuring artwork by the British designer and artist Graham Humphreys. When I interviewed him about his career in 2011 I asked about the design for the poster and the excerpt from the interview is below:

I wanted to move onto another poster that’s many people’s favourite for the film, and that’s your design for A Nightmare on Elm Street. That was another one for Palace Pictures?
It was shortly after the Evil Dead. I wasn’t commissioned directly, it was through a couple of friends of mine who had set up a design company and they were working with Palace. The company was called Red Ranch. I’d been at college with one of the guys. They got on very well with Palace Pictures and they were given this project. They realised it was going to be an illustration and they were very happy to use me. I was able to do the logo for the poster as well.

Can you talk about the design of the poster?
There was an American flyer for the film that was essentially the street with four tears through it. I saw the film and knew what I was going to do. I’d actually gone along to a screening with my friend, Phil Nutman, who I’ve since given this to [Graham points at the Evil Dead artwork] so I’d already seen it at the cinema before I was given a VHS copy. Anyway, I paused the VHS and took a photograph of Nancy’s face so I could draw that easily.

Freddy [Krueger] himself is actually silhouetted in the background. In the later posters he’s more prominent but on this first quad you don’t see anything, just the shadow and his glove.
I think they wanted the poster to look fairly classy, in comparison to the Evil Dead quad which shows exactly the type of film it is. Obviously the glove became iconic but at the time people had no clue who Freddy was. To me, it was the glove and the whole dreaming thing that was the interesting thing about the film. You’ve got the pretty girl, the glove and the dream-like urban setting, you don’t need the big ugly face leering at you. I hand lettered the title too.

There’s also a second painting which is in portrait format and features Freddy’s other hand reaching down below Nancy’s face.
Yes, I think I prefer this one. This was used for fly posting and was the VHS cover too. For some reason at that time no one would think about the whole different format thing. Everyone was always focusing on quad posters for underground advertising and cinema fronts. The 40×60 inches or bus stop format was very much an American thing, but then when cinema became more commercial we found we had to start doing that size and format.

Brainstorm / quad / UK

22.09.14

Poster Poster
Title
Brainstorm
AKA
--
Year of Film
1983
Director
Douglas Trumbull
Starring
Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson, Jordan Christopher, Donald Hotton, Alan Fudge, Joe Dorsey, Bill Morey, Jason Lively
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson, Jordan Christopher, Donald Hotton, Alan Fudge, Joe Dorsey, Bill Morey, Jason Lively,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Marcus Silversides
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Imagine a machine that records feelings, emotions, even your dreams. And imagine that it can transfer these experiences from one mind to another...

This is the UK quad for the release of the science-fiction film Brainstorm, which was the second and final directorial effort from Douglas Trumbull who is best known for his pioneering work in the field of special effects. Trumbull had worked with Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey and created the iconic ‘Star Gate’ sequence at the end of the film. He would go on to create special effects sequences for films including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner. The first film he directed was the cult classic Silent Running (1974) which was a critical success but a box-office failure and it would be eight years before Trumbull would once again sit in the director’s chair.

The film stars Christopher Walken as Michael Brace, a scientist working as part of a pioneering research team that has discovered a method of recording the sensory and emotional feelings of a person onto tape, allowing them to be viewed by others. His estranged wife Karen (Natalie Wood) also works with him and Michael realises he can use the system to reconcile their feelings for each other and show her his true emotions. Unfortunately not all of the scientists use it for good with one recording a sexual encounter which he then shares with several of his colleagues, leading to his eventual dismissal. 

Lillian Reynolds (Louise Fletcher) one of the lead scientists is fiercely protective of the team’s work and is angry when the company forces the team to involve military advisors in their plans. When she suffers a heart attack in the lab and is unable to call for help, she records the experience of death into the system. The tape is viewed by another scientist and the sensory experience causes him to also have a heart attack so the company locks the tape away. Lillian’s fears about the nefarious plans of the military are borne out when Michael discovers they plan to use the system for torture and brainwashing but his protestations see him get fired from the program. He and Karen decide to shut down the system to prevent it being used for negative means but Michael is also determined to view Lillian’s ‘death’ tape, despite Karen’s protestations.

Trumbull used the production to work on a new effects process which he called Showscan that allowed for 70mm film to be projected at 60fps (standard film is 24fps) and create a hyperreal feeling to the footage. MGM backed out of plans to create prints in the new format but Trumbull did film the virtual reality sequences in the larger Super Panavision 70 format and the ‘normal’ sequences in the conventional 35mm format so that it changes throughout the film whenever the scientists use their machines. The film was shown at special 70mm cinemas during its initial run.

The film’s production was unfortunately overshadowed by the mysterious death of Natalie Wood who drowned whilst on a boat trip with Walken and her husband Robert Wagner. MGM shut down the production and were planning to write it off and claim insurance on the money already spent. Trumbull and others argued with the studio that Wood had already completed most of her key scenes and the insurers realised that the film was salvageable. They agreed to finance the completion of production for a cut of any profits but by then things were getting very acrimonious between the director and MGM.

Trumbull was allowed to finish the film by rewriting several scenes and using a body double for Wood in some scenes but the experience critically damaged his desire to work inside the Hollywood system again. In 1983 he stated, “I have no interest…in doing another Hollywood feature film…Absolutely none. The movie business is so totally screwed-up that I just don’t have the energy to invest three or four years in a feature film. Moviemaking is like waging war. It destroys your personal life, too.” Sadly Brainstorm under-performed in cinemas despite strong critical notices and failed to recoup most of its final budget.

This quad features unique artwork that was painted by the British artist Brian Bysouth, based on a design by fellow designer and artist Marcus Silversides. The figure is actually based on Silversides himself whose reference shot was provided to Bysouth as he painted the artwork. You can read my extensive interview with the artist by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen by clicking here.