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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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Frightmare / quad / UK

10.04.17

Poster Poster
Title
Frightmare
AKA
Cover Up (USA)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Pete Walker
Starring
Rupert Davies, Sheila Keith, Deborah Fairfax, Paul Greenwood, Kim Butcher, Fiona Curzon, John Yule, Trisha Mortimer
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Rupert Davies, Sheila Keith, Deborah Fairfax, Paul Greenwood, Kim Butcher, Fiona Curzon, John Yule, Trisha Mortimer,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
What terrifying craving made her kill... and kill... and kill...?

This is the original UK quad for the release of Frightmare, a 1974 film by the British director, producer and writer Pete Walker, who specialised in exploitation pictures during the 1960s and 1970s. Walker started out making shoestring budget sexploitation pictures, including School for Sex that were often relative hits in the UK. This worked out well for him since his films were almost always self-financed and thus most of the profits were his to keep and plough into the next feature. In the early 1970s, Walker grew tired of feeding the ‘dirty mack brigade’ and turned his hand to horror.

Frightmare, released in the US as Cover Up, was one of two horror films that Walker directed in 1974, with the other being the private-prison set House of Whipcord. Both films saw Walker reuniting with his regular screenwriting partner David McGillivray, and both feature memorable appearances by Sheila Keith, who would become another regular. In this film she plays Dorothy Yates, a cannibalistic killer who at the start of the film is sentenced to 15 years in prison. She is sent down along with her husband Edmund (Rupert Davies) who chose to take the punishment with her, even though he had nothing to do with the killings. The film picks up after their release and we find that their adopted daughter Jackie (Deborah Fairfax) is living in London and struggling to care for their biological daughter Debbie (Kim Butcher) a wayward 15-year-old who doesn’t realise her parents are still alive.

We follow Jackie as she leaves London to visit her parents, now living in a remote farmhouse. There she delivers a mysterious package to her mother who appears frail and innocent. Edmund fears that his wife is up to her old tricks but Jackie isn’t convinced and returns back to London. Soon we discover that Dorothy has put an advert in a magazine offering Tarot Card readings and willing customers are visiting the farmhouse. When she begins by checking that they have no close family or friends, or indeed anyone that would miss them, it’s fair to say that things aren’t looking up for her clueless customers. At the same time, Jackie struggles to control Debbie who is beginning to show signs that she has inherited her mother’s habits.

Arguably the best of Walker’s feature films, Frightmare is a masterclass in building tension and working towards a shocking final act. The film makes great use of various locations, including several in a London which looks barely recognisable today. Sheila Keith’s performance, in particular, is hugely memorable and her ability to portray frail innocence in one scene followed by genuinely disturbing menace in another has to be seen. In this Guardian article about Walker and his films, he describes his working relationship with Keith and how her on screen presence definitely didn’t match her off screen one; “Sheila Keith was a lady who lived a quiet life with her dogs and her cats and came into work to do, brilliantly, whatever was asked of her,” says Walker. “She was like your nice old aunt who would serve you cucumber sandwiches before ripping into a dismembered limb – without complaining.”

This British quad, which features crude artwork of a menacing Sheila Keith, was clearly designed by the team responsible for the quad for House of Whipcord (see here) and I feel fairly certain that the same artist or artists were involved too. If anyone knows who was responsible please get in touch.

Videodrome / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Videodrome
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
David Cronenberg
Starring
James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley
Origin of Film
Canada
Genre(s) of Film
James Woods, Deborah Harry, Sonja Smits, Peter Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Jack Creley,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Red Square
Artist
Harry Wilson
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
First it controlled her mind, then it destroyed her body

This is the British quad for the release of cult Canadian director David Cronenberg’s Videodrome. Like much of the director’s output, Videodrome is definitely not for the faint of heart and contains some utterly unforgettable moments of Cronenberg’s patented body-horror mutations. James Woods stars as Max Renn the sleazy CEO of a minor cable TV station who is constantly on the lookout for cheap exploitation fare to broadcast. Renn is told about Videodrome, a new and mysterious signal apparently being broadcast out of Malaysia which purports to depict real ‘snuff’ movies of victims being tortured and killed.

Renn decides to start pirating the show and broadcasting it to his audience. This soon attracts widespread attention that puts him into contact with sadomasochistic psychiatrist Nicki Brand (Debby Harry) and Professor Brian O’Blivion (Jack Creley). When he discovers that the signal is actually being broadcast out of Pittsburgh, Renn decides to investigate further and he plunges into a nightmarish conspiracy that goes deeper than he ever imagined. As the American tagline says ‘First it controls your mind. Then it destroys your body’. Fans of Cronenberg’s proclivity for unnatural cavities and the melding of flesh with inorganic substances are not left disappointed, and the gun on this poster hints towards the finale.

This British quad features artwork unique to this poster by Harry Wilson, about whom I’ve been able to discover very little. The designer is credited as Red Square, again something of a mystery so if you have any further details about either party please get in touch.

In addition to the quad I also have the American one sheet and the Japanese B2.

High Spirits / quad / UK

06.06.17

Poster Poster
Title
High Spirits
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Neil Jordan
Starring
Peter O'Toole, Liz Smith, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, Martin Ferrero, Connie Booth, Daryl Hannah, Liam Neeson
Origin of Film
Ireland | UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter O'Toole, Liz Smith, Steve Guttenberg, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Tilly, Peter Gallagher, Martin Ferrero, Connie Booth, Daryl Hannah, Liam Neeson,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Jack's American, married and looking for romance. Mary's beautiful, Irish and 200 years old... Does their love stand a ghost of a chance? | A supernatural comedy

This is the UK quad for the release of Irish director Neil Jordan‘s (The Crying Game) 1988 comedy High Spirits. Filmed on location and in a studio in Ireland, the story was written by Jordan and focuses on an old, run-down castle/hotel that is home to the Plunkett family, which only consists of Peter (Peter O’Toole) and his mother (Liz Smith) and a motley group of staff. Peter owes money to an American financier and is struggling to work out how to stop the castle defaulting into his hands. After half-heartedly attempting to hang himself, he hits on the idea of selling the hotel as the most haunted in Ireland after his mother reminds him about all the ghosts that supposedly haunt the place. Following a montage of the staff setting up various haunting gags around the castle, the first group of all-American guests arrive at the castle.

Jack Crawford (Steve Guttenberg) is joined by his wife Sharon (Beverly D’Angelo, best known for National Lampoon’s Vacation films) and it’s clear that their marriage is under some strain. Also there is a sceptical paranormal investigator and his family, plus a wannabe priest on a ‘final hurrah’ and a kooky dancer (Jennifer Tilly). The staff soon stage several attempts at convincing the guests that they are surrounded by ghosts but all fall flat. Jack, despondent with how unimpressed his wife is, stumbles into an old area of the castle whilst drunk and witnesses the apparition of two real ghosts, Mary Plunkett Brogan (Daryl Hannah) and Martin Brogan (Liam Neeson). The husband and wife have been stuck in a loop, enacting the moment that Martin fatally stabbed Mary in a fit of jealous rage. Somehow Jack interrupts the ghostly murder and Mary is able to see him.

The rest of the the film sees the pair fall in love, whilst Sharon also falls for Martin. Meanwhile, the other real ghosts stage paranormal events after getting fed up of Peter’s half-hearted efforts to scare. The film is energetic for sure but fairly nonsensical in places and the acting varies wildly across the cast. Apparently Jordan claims the film was taken out of his hands during the editing stage and the version released in cinemas doesn’t match his vision for the film. It’s clear that several scenes have been cut and truncated and it barely hangs together towards the end. On a positive note, the location work is excellent and the production design is solid. O’Toole works well as the eccentric Peter and D’Angelo and Tilly are fun to watch.

I’m not sure who is responsible for the artwork which is unique to this UK quad and there’s no obvious signature on it. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

Flesh and Blood / quad / UK

29.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Flesh and Blood
AKA
Flesh+Blood (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Paul Verhoeven
Starring
Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson, Jack Thompson, Fernando Hilbeck, Susan Tyrrell, Ronald Lacey, Brion James
Origin of Film
Spain | USA | Netherlands
Genre(s) of Film
Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson, Jack Thompson, Fernando Hilbeck, Susan Tyrrell, Ronald Lacey, Brion James,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown artist - based on artwork by Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A timeless adventure, a passion for wealth and power. Only the strongest will survive.

This is the British quad for the release of Dutch director Paul Verhoeven‘s first English language film, Flesh and Blood (sometimes referred to as Flesh+Blood). Verhoeven had been making films with subsidies from the Dutch government but things had been proving difficult due to the controversial subject matter of his stories so he decided to seek financial backing from a Hollywood studio. The now defunct Orion Pictures stumped up most of the budget for Flesh and Blood and had asked the director for a war film after seeing the celebrated Soldier of Orange. Verhoeven had nothing prepared in that genre so he worked hastily with a regular collaborator, the screenwriter Gerard Soeteman, to adapt some unused material from their TV series Floris, which was set during the Middle-Ages. Verhoeven would later rue the decision to allow Orion to insist on script changes that added a romantic interest to the story.

Set in Italy in 1501, the film features the Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, who had worked with Verhoeven several times before (including on Floris), as Martin, the leader of a band of mercenaries who are asked to help Lord Arnolfini (Fernando Hilbeck) retake his city that was captured whilst he was away. After successfully storming and recapturing it the mercenaries are initially told they can ransack the houses of the richest inhabitants of the city, but Arnolfini then changes his mind and orders his army to march the mercenaries from the city without the bounty that was agreed. The group vow to take their revenge and when Arnolfini’s son Steven (Tom Burlinson) leaves the castle to meet Agnes (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a noblewoman who has been betrothed to him, the mercenaries strike. After attacking the caravan and badly wounding Arnolfini, they kidnap Agnes and ride away with her. Eventually they end up at a castle where they hole-up and attempt to see off any attempts to rescue Agnes, who is seemingly falling in love with Martin.

Although it features moments of humour, Verhoeven’s intention was to show that the Middle-Ages weren’t as glamorous and pleasant as had been depicted in previous films, so he doesn’t shy away from casual violence, filth and degradation. Agnes in particular is subjected to a humiliating ordeal at the hands of the mercenaries, effectively ending up as their plaything later in the film. There’s plenty of blood-letting too with some battle scenes that are not for the faint hearted. Apparently the production was beset with problems, including an uncooperative international crew who were often drunk or under the influence of drugs, as well as a giant rift that opened up between Verhoeven and Hauer because the actor wanted to build a career as a heroic leading man, but the director wanted his character to be more ambiguous and at times unpleasant. The resulting film is definitely uneven and at times confusing, but is nevertheless engaging. Hauer in particular injects his scenes with plenty of wild energy and Jennifer Jason Leigh is memorable as the sensuous Agnes. Unfortunately Orion botched the American release and the film apparently flopped quickly. Verhoeven would later say he felt that he’d probably made the film too cynical and downbeat for audiences to take.

This artwork was adapted by an unknown British artist from an original piece of art by the Italian artist Renato Casaro, which was originally painted for the German poster. Notable changes include the position of the characters, which widened for this quad, plus the smaller figure of Hauer is also markedly different. One of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro had a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.

Beauty / quad / advance / UK

20.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Beauty
AKA
Skoonheid (South Africa)
Year of Film
2011
Director
Oliver Hermanus
Starring
Deon Lotz, Charlie Keegan, Michelle Scott, Albert Maritz, Sue Diepeveen, Roeline Daneel, Drikus Volschenk
Origin of Film
South Africa | France | Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Deon Lotz, Charlie Keegan, Michelle Scott, Albert Maritz, Sue Diepeveen, Roeline Daneel, Drikus Volschenk,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Sam Ashby
Artist
Sam Ashby
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Love - Envy - Obsession

This is the advance quad poster for the UK release of the first Afrikaans-language film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, 2011’s Beauty, which was directed by Oliver Hermanus. Set in Bloemfontein and Cape Town, the film is a drama that is intended to highlight the bigoted attitudes towards homosexuality in South Africa, which forces men like François van Heerden (Deon Lotz) to lead a closeted life. François has become bored with his marriage to wife Elena Michelle Scott, is frustrated with his daughter’s behaviour, and is bored of his job at a local sawmill. He is shown to be regularly meeting a group of gay men at a remote farm where they engage in sexual activities and then return to their families.

After meeting Christian Roodt (Charlie Keegan), the handsome son of an old friend, at a wedding he becomes obsessed with him and begins to fake reasons to travel to Cape Town where Christian lives with his family. When he sees his daughter relaxing on the beach with Christian, François starts to descend even deeper into his dangerous obsession. After spending a drunken evening out in Cape Town, he calls Christian asking him to pick him up and when the pair drive back to François’ hotel an incident occurs that neither are prepared for. The ending is fairly ambiguous but we’re led to believe that life will be no happier for the married man.

This fantastic UK quad was created by Sam Ashby, a London-based graphic designer who has worked on a number of film posters, including quads for films like Weekend (2011). According to this interview, Sam used to work at the poster design firm AllCity as Head of Design before leaving to set up his own studio in 2010. His website hasn’t been updated in a number of months so I’m not sure if he’s still active as a film poster designer.

It’s worth noting that I bought this poster directly from the UK distributor Pecadillo Pictures and it’s printed on thicker paper than standard quads. The printing quality is not as high as would usually be expected.

Black Emanuelle / quad / UK

26.03.14

Poster Poster
Title
Black Emanuelle
AKA
Emanuelle nera (original title)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Bitto Albertini
Starring
Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert, Angelo Infanti, Isabelle Marchall, Gabriele Tinti, Don Powell, Venantino Venantini
Origin of Film
Spain | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert, Angelo Infanti, Isabelle Marchall, Gabriele Tinti, Don Powell, Venantino Venantini,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Vic Fair
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A new experience in sensuality.

A striking design by British artist Vic Fair features on this UK quad for the release of Black Emanuelle, an Italian-Spanish softcore sexploitation by cinematographer turned director Bitto Albertini. One of the first films to cash in on the success of the internationally successful French softcore film Emmanuelle (note the dropped ‘m’), which had been released a year earlier.

Indonesian-born actress Laura Gemser stars as the journalist Mae Jordan, known to her readers as Emanuelle, who travels to Africa on an assignment. Whilst staying at the house of a married couple Emanuelle begins an affair with both of them leading her to question both her sexuality and racial identity. The film was successful enough to spawn several sequels and quasi-sequels, several of which were directed by prolific Italian schlockmeister Joe D’Amato and featured Gemser.

One of the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing, Vic Fair is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. Despite working on all of the posters for the British ‘Confessions…’ series of comedy softcore films, this quad for Black Emanuelle was one of a tiny handful of sexploitation posters that Fair worked on during his career. In 2013 I published an interview with Vic Fair and this poster was mentioned:

————————-

The poster you designed for Black Emanuelle is really striking.
Thanks, I came up with the idea of using the arch of her back as the mountain and the final touch was using the title treatment to cover her modesty. The softcore porn posters were always served quite well by working with pastels.

————————–

The interview also features an image of an early sketch painting for the poster that can be viewed here.

Raiders of the Lost Ark / quad / style B / UK

06.01.12

Poster Poster
Title
Raiders of the Lost Ark
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A superb montage by the great British artist Brian Bysouth for the first film in Steven Spielberg‘s legendary Indiana Jones series. This is technically the Style B quad because, as I understand it, the British distributors (Paramount UK?) decided that the artwork on the first quad (Style A) was too dark and Indy looks too dour and thus commissioned a second poster to be designed and printed.

The artwork on this replacement quad is definitely more exciting and leaves no question that the film contains plenty of action and adventure. It does ditch the now classic Indiana Jones logo, and some balk at the fact that Indy is depicted without his fedora and leather jacket, but it does a much better job of selling the film than the first poster, in my opinion.

In my 2012 interview with Brian this poster was discussed:

What about the Raiders of the Lost Ark quad? You must have done that whilst still with Ken [Hayter]?
Yes, that was done for the Lonsdale Advertising agency. They showed me their revised pencil visual and the first poster that had been done by Richard Amsel. They said that they didn’t like it because it didn’t show anything of what the film was about; it was a very dark poster, and the film isn’t like that, is it? It’s an absolutely classic, boys-own thriller and a very colourful film. Whilst the Amsel version is a great piece of art I think my painting does a better job of showing what the film is really about.

Were you given any directions for the re-design?
No. I knew I had to make it more exciting and if you look at the poster you’ll notice that the free brushwork helps to give it movement. I had to paint it quickly because the first quad was already up on the Underground and all over the country. Lonsdales wanted the new poster to replace the Amsel one as quickly as possible.

One thing that people often remark about in your Raiders quad is that Indy is missing his Fedora and leather jacket, which later became his trademarks.
I was given a headshot of Harrison Ford with no body reference to paint from. I struck the likeness from the reference I was given. I didn’t think the original reference photo was the best image of Harrison Ford but I did my best with what I was given. At that time the jacket and fedora had not become iconic and were not considered a requirement.

It’s interesting to note that the decision was taken to drop the text referencing two previous hit films from Spielberg (Jaws) and George Lucas (Star Wars). This artwork was later re-used when the film was re-released at cinemas (the press-quote was replaced) and was also printed as a UK one sheet.

My overall favourite Indiana Jones poster is by Richard Amsel and was for the 1982 re-release of the film in the US. It can be seen here.

Other posters by Brian Bysouth I’ve collected can be seen by clicking here.

 

The Man Who Fell to Earth / quad / UK

18.08.11

Poster Poster

An absolutely superb design by British artist Vic Fair for Nic Roeg’s seminal sci-fi film The Man Who Fell to Earth. The typography alone is a thing of beauty, particularly that of the main title – I’m not sure who designed it but it’s an undoubted classic. The rock band Iron Maiden later used it for their own band logo.

This is perhaps the best known of Vic Fair’s designs, though he is responsible for many other great posters from the sixties, seventies and eighties, including several for Hammer Horror, Lisztomania and quads for the infamous ‘Confessions…’ series of films. I plan to post another of his best designs in the next few weeks.

This poster is featured in Sim Branaghan’s superb ‘British Film Posters: An Illustrated History’ and he notes:

Probably the best known of Fair’s posters, and the only one regularly credited to him, since he liked it so much at the time he actually signed it.

I personally think this is David Bowie’s finest starring role and no one else could have portrayed the oddity that is Thomas Newton quite as well as him. It’s not my favourite of Nic Roeg’s films though (that would be Don’t Look Now).

The brilliantly nuts original US trailer can be seen on YouTube.

 

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave / quad / UK

20.09.13

Poster Poster

A classic painting of an enraged Count Dracula dominates this quad for Hammer studios’ Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, the third film featuring the legendary British actor Christopher Lee as the titular bloodsucker. The story, which follows on from Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), sees a Catholic Monsignor (played by Rupert Davies) travel to the Eastern European village of Keinenburg where he discovers a populace too afraid to attend church mass because they live in the shadow of Count Dracula’s castle.

Despite the fact that the vampire was seemingly destroyed a year earlier, the Monsignor decides to hike up to the castle with a local priest to perform an exorcism and then seals the front door with a giant holy cross. An accident sees the priest falling onto a frozen river and the blood from his head wound seeps through the ice, resurrecting the Count who is trapped below. Dracula then follows the Monsignor’s trail back to the town and sets his sights on the holy man’s daughter-in-law Maria, played by the gorgeous Veronica Carlson.

Originally intended to be directed by Hammer stalwart Terence Fisher, the man at the helm of the original Dracula (1958), a freak road accident saw Fisher temporarily out of action and regular Hammer cinematographer (and director) Freddie Francis stepped in shortly before production began. This was the first of the studio’s pictures under their newly arranged co-production deal with Warner Bros-Seven Arts, following a split with previous partners Twentieth Century Fox.

As was typical at the time, a pre-sales marketing brochure had been prepared before the screenwriter Anthony Hinds had even finished the script and this was used to secure the required financing from the American partners. Unfortunately, no one had yet informed Christopher Lee that the deal was entirely dependent on him reprising his role as the Count, something the actor was more than a little reluctant to do at the time. There thus followed a sustained campaign of persuasion from Francis and studio boss James Carreras to entice the actor back into the cape. Lee eventually capitulated and the production was on, but it was not to be the last time that Lee would need to be harangued into stepping back onto a Hammer soundstage.

This British poster was designed and painted by arguably the UK’s most famous poster artist, the late, great Tom Chantrell. From 1965 to 1969 Chantrell effectively worked as Hammer’s ‘House Artist’ and produced artwork for the studio’s film posters as well as all of the aforementioned marketing material used to sell the film to potential investors and distribution partners. This particular poster holds particular significance in terms of the Chantrell/Hammer partnership since the depiction of Dracula is actually taken from a slightly modified portrait of the artist himself.

The official Chantrell website, launched last year by Tom’s widow Shirley and memorabilia dealer Michael Bloomfield, features a superb biography of the artist written by his friend and British poster expert Sim Branaghan (who I interviewed here). At the end of the must-read article there is Tom’s own account of the creation of this poster, which is as follows:

“With only a title to go on, I painted a poster with a head of Count Dracula, snarling away with extended teeth, surmounting a montage of characters warding off vampires with a cross, a lady vampire drooling over another, and a female victim with a decolletage having her neck bitten. I used models as there were no stills provided, and later photographed a colleague with suitable under-chin lighting, then similarly posed while he took photographs of me. Denis was too benevolent-looking, so I used one of the photographs of myself to paint from, and added a busted grave to the montage.

Later some stills arrived, and it was possible to start on a third version. This poster had the neck-biting scene with Christopher Lee, and retained the open grave and malevolent self-portrait of Tom Chantrell. Then the distributor Warner Pathe said the film was going on in two weeks, and they wanted a poster right away. No still of Christopher Lee was available, so (what the heck!) the design was printed as it was. Nobody ever questioned the poster. They all think it’s Christopher Lee, but it isn’t, it’s nasty ole’ Count Chantrell!”

The reference photograph of Chantrell as Dracula can be seen here and the two earlier versions can be seen here (both images courtesy of chantrellposter.com). It’s worth noting that this is a Hammer quad that was printed in greater numbers than others because it was used to give away to fans who wrote in to the studio, along with the ‘She/One Million Years BC’ quad (see the bottom of this page for more detail).

Zombie Creeping Flesh / quad / UK

30.10.11

Poster Poster
Title
Zombie Creeping Flesh
AKA
Virus (Italy - original title) | Hell of the Living Dead (International - English title / USA) | Night of the Zombies (USA) | Apocalipsis caníbal (Spain)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn), Claudio Fragasso (uncredited)
Starring
Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, Selan Karay, José Gras, Gabriel Renom, Josep Lluís Fonoll, Pietro Fumelli, Bruno Boni, Patrizia Costa, Cesare Di Vito, Sergio Pislar, Bernard Seray, Víctor Israel
Origin of Film
Italy | Spain
Genre(s) of Film
Margit Evelyn Newton, Franco Garofalo, Selan Karay, José Gras, Gabriel Renom, Josep Lluís Fonoll, Pietro Fumelli, Bruno Boni, Patrizia Costa, Cesare Di Vito, Sergio Pislar, Bernard Seray, Víctor Israel,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Ted Baldwin (UK adaptation of Italian artwork - unconfirmed)
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
When the Creeping Dead devour the living flesh...

One of several copycat zombie films made following the success of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Lucio Fulci’s Zombie, this effort by Italian director Bruno Mattei (under the pseudonym Vincent Dawn) shamelessly features many of the same types of characters and situations seen in the earlier films (SWAT team, zombie kids, hostages), and even uses sections of Goblin‘s score for DotD.

It sounds like the production was something of a nightmare, with botched filming and script-altering that rendered much of the film’s plot incomprehensible. The film features several sections of documentary footage taken from other productions and the original script apparently had a much grander scope:

In the first draft, Claudio Fragasso had followed the idea of an entire Third World made up of an army of zombies against whom the armed forces of the industrialized nations would have had to fight. However, the script had to be altered considerably due to budget limitations.

This quad features artwork which Sim Branaghan, author of the great book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, believes to have been adapted from the original Italian poster. Ted Baldwin, who was the regular illustrator used by distributor Mircale Films, is likely to have made several changes to adapt it to the quad format.

Here’s the original trailer.

Death Wish 3 / quad / UK

28.12.11

Poster Poster
Title
Death Wish 3
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Charles Bronson, Deborah Raffin, Ed Lauter, Martin Balsam, Gavan O'Herlihy
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Bronson, Deborah Raffin, Ed Lauter, Martin Balsam, Gavan O'Herlihy,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Stan Watts
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
He's back in New York bringing justice to the streets...

The legendary Charles Bronson in full effect on this British quad for director Michael Winner’s final Death Wish film (Bronson would go on to star in two more). Today, the film has a cult following despite being critically panned upon release. Although it’s set in New York the majority of filming took place in London and the British actors later had their voice dubbed over by American airmen based in the UK.

The film features a lot of memorably over-the-top action – a prime example would be the ‘Giggler’ scene – and several spectacularly cheesy lines of dialogue; “It’s like killing roaches – you have to kill ’em all, otherwise what’s the use?”

The quad is an adaptation of the American one sheet featuring artwork by Stan Watts that can be seen here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Raiders of the Lost Ark / quad / style A / UK

06.01.12

Poster Poster
Title
Raiders of the Lost Ark
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Richard Amsel
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The creators of Jaws and Star Wars now bring you the Ultimate Hero in the Ultimate Adventure

This was the first British poster released for the first film in Steven Spielberg‘s legendary Indiana Jones series. The poster uses artwork by American artist Richard Amsel, as featured on the US one sheet. Both posters had the task of selling the new character to cinema-goers and you’ll notice that they emphasise two previous hit films from Spielberg (Jaws) and George Lucas (Star Wars).

This is technically the style A quad because, as I understand it, the British distributors (Paramount UK?) decided that the artwork was too dark and Indy looks too dour and thus commissioned a second poster to be designed and printed. This resulted in the Style B quad with artwork by the great British artist Brian Bysouth. The montage on that poster leaves no doubt that the film contains plenty of action and adventure. It also ditches the now classic Indiana Jones logo and some folks balk at the fact that Indy is depicted without his fedora and leather jacket.

I believe this poster was then withdrawn once the Style B was available. I do like Richard Amsel’s artwork but I feel that Brian Bysouth’s portrait of Indy and the great composition of the other characters means the replacement is the better of the two posters.

My overall favourite Indiana Jones poster is by Richard Amsel and was for the 1982 re-release of the film in the US. It can be seen here.

Other posters by Richard Amsel I’ve collected can be seen by clicking here.

Exit Through the Gift Shop / quad / unused style / UK

27.02.15

Poster Poster
Title
Exit Through the Gift Shop
AKA
--
Year of Film
2010
Director
Banksy
Starring
Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Thierry Guetta, Rhys Ifans, Space Invader
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Thierry Guetta, Rhys Ifans, Space Invader,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Unused - shopping cart
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2010
Designer
Banksy
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

This is a rare, unused British quad poster for the 2010 documentary (or possibly mockumentary) Exit Through the Gift Shop, directed by the famous street artist Banksy. The film tells the story of Thierry Guetta an eccentric Frenchman living in Los Angeles who obsessively carries a video camera around recording practically his every move. Whilst on holiday he discovers his cousin is street artist Invader and thus begins an obsession that sees him tracking down and interviewing various other artists, including Shepard Fairey.

Eventually Guetta forms an obsession with tracking down and meeting the elusive and mysterious British artist Banksy, which is eventually possible thanks to a situation where Banksy is stuck in LA without his usual guide and Guetta happily steps in. Banksy later invites him back to the UK and allows him to film him in action as he recognises the importance of documenting street art with its short lifespan. A series of events see Banksy eventually taking over the editing of the documentary whilst Guetta devises an alter-ego artist called Mr Brainwash and sets up a near disastrous gallery show that is saved by friends of Banksy before going on to earn Guetta in excess of a million dollars. When asked subsequently if the events of the film are real, Banksy continues to say ‘yes’.

I purchased this quad from a gallery in London called Pictures on Walls that has an affiliation with Banksy and was given a stash of the quads to sell (for £15 each) at the end of 2011. I was told at the time that the artist was unhappy with the design and decided to go with an alternate monkey mask image. A number of this shopping cart style had been printed but were never sent to cinemas, but I’m not sure how many actually exist. The shopping cart appears on the US final one sheet but the actual image is slightly different. The BanksyForum features a picture of the quad in the racks at POW from 2011.

 

Saigon / quad / UK

28.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Saigon
AKA
Off Limits (original title)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Christopher Crowe
Starring
Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward, Amanda Pays, Kay Tong Lim, Scott Glenn, David Alan Grier, Keith David, Raymond O'Connor, Richard Brooks
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward, Amanda Pays, Kay Tong Lim, Scott Glenn, David Alan Grier, Keith David, Raymond O'Connor, Richard Brooks,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
They're the only law and order on the streets.

Artwork by Brian Bysouth on this quad for the UK release of Saigon, which is also known as Off Limits in the USA. As the international title suggests, the film is set during the Vietnam war and sees two military policemen played by Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines investigating the deaths of several prostitutes in Saigon’s red light district. It soon becomes clear that the prime suspect is a high-ranking US Army officer and that the two cops are in for more than they bargained for.

Despite a strong supporting cast, including Scott GlennKeith David and Fred Ward, the film appears to have failed to make much of a box-office or critical impact. It certainly saw none of the success of Dafoe’s previous Vietnam-based film, the oscar-winning Platoon. The film features some brilliantly odd character names, such as Buck McGriff (Dafoe) and Albaby Perkins (Hines).

Bysouth’s artwork has similar star portraits to the ones seen on the US one sheet, but the street scene and other characters are unique to the quad. In 2012 I met and interviewed the artist and the resulting article can be read here.

To see the other posters I’ve collected by the artist click here.

The trailer for the film can be seen on YouTube.

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

20.03.17

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

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

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

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

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

Life of Brian / quad / 1988 re-release / UK

11.04.14

Poster Poster

Probably my favourite of the five cinematic outings by the Monty Python crew, Life of Brian is one of the funniest films ever made and the brilliant satirical humour hasn’t diminished at all in the thirty plus years since its release. Infamously causing an uproar with various religious groups, it also saw EMI, the original financial backers, pulling out during production claiming the script was blasphemous. Luckily, George Harrison stepped in with the finance, apparently after realising it may have been the last chance to see another Python film in cinemas. His company HandMade Films was formed as a result of this deal.

The film’s religion-baiting story sees a man called Brian (Graham Chapman) born at the same time as Jesus Christ and initially mistaken for the Messiah, who ends up living an unremarkable life under the Roman occupation of Judea. Things take a fateful turn when his infatuation with a young rebel called Judith (Sue Jones-Davies) leads him to join the People’s Front of Judea, a bickering group who have decided to take a stand against the emperor.

The film raised the ire of several religious groups who were outraged at the concept, despite most of them having never even seen the film, and it was only given a general release once several cuts had been made. Despite the edits, several local UK councils banned the film from being shown at cinemas within their boroughs. Apparently some of these bans lasted until very recently, with the Welsh town of Aberystwyth finally lifting its one in 2009, which then saw a screening of the film attended by Jones, Michael Palin and Sue Jones-Davies, who was the then mayor of the town.

One of the more infamous bans was carried out by the Norwegians who refused to allow the film to be screened at all, which lead some of the international marketing material for the film to be emblazoned with the proclamation ‘So funny it was banned in Norway!’

This is a scarce, alternate style UK quad which differs from the other somewhat confusing design, which is simply the logo doubled up. A reader of the site got in touch to confirm that this quad was designed in house at HandMade films. To quote their informative email:

HandMade and the Pythons decided to re-submit the film to Irish Film Board to have the original ban overturned. The submission was successful and with the censor certification under our belt plans to release the film moved ahead and the Life of Brian was finally released in Ireland  I recall in the summer of 1988 as I recall eight years after original release. One of the unsung heroes of HandMade was freelance artist/designer George Rowbottom.

George was closely involved in many HMF posters over the years along with Ray Cooper and it was George who re-worked Life of Brian poster and came up with the “tablet” design for the quad used for the Irish release and also the superior amended 1-sheet. In both cases these were printed by National Screen who printed all our posters for domestic and international.

The original American trailer can be seen on YouTube.

The Terminator / quad / UK

29.08.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Terminator
AKA
O Exterminador do Futuro (Brazil)
Year of Film
1984
Director
James Cameron
Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Rick Rossovich, Dick Miller, Shawn Schepps, Bruce M. Kerner, Franco Columbu,, Bill Paxton, Brad Rearden, Brian Thompson
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Rick Rossovich, Dick Miller, Shawn Schepps, Bruce M. Kerner, Franco Columbu,, Bill Paxton, Brad Rearden, Brian Thompson,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985 (UK release date)
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Mike Francis
Size (inches)
30 2/16 x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
In the Year of Darkness, 2029, the rulers of this planet devised the ultimate plan. They would reshape the Future by changing the Past. The plan required something that felt no pity. No pain. No fear. Something unstoppable. They created 'THE TERMINATOR'

James Cameron’s seminal sci-fi classic The Terminator was given a unique poster design when it was released on these shores in January 1985. The US poster had featured the iconic photograph of Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside the lengthy tagline (that also appears on this quad), but the decision was taken to go with a painted portrait of the actor, which also features a depiction of the robotic endoskeleton underneath the Arnie exterior.

The person responsible for the image on this quad was the British artist Mike Francis. Whilst putting together the must-own book British Film Posters, Sim Branaghan met and spoke to Francis about his life and career and, as always, I heartily recommend picking up the book to read the section in full. Born in Surrey in 1938, Francis got his first job in commerical art in the early 1950s at the Rome Studios in Soho, London. Starting out as a messenger boy he began to be given illustration jobs and after a stint as a National Serviceman he returned to the studio in 1958 to a welcome pay raise and an increase in illustration work.

Mike stayed with Rome Studios until 1970 when he left to join Illustrators of London on Great Marlborough Street and this is where he was given his first film posters to work on. His first quad was for the 1971 version of Black Beauty and he also worked on posters for Hammer and other independent companies. In 1974 Francis won the National Gallery’s 150th Anniversary Award, and with the prize money he took the decision to go freelance. Although film posters were only a small part of his overall output (he estimates he was doing a couple per year) he continued to paint for film-related studios such as Downtons and some of his other quads include The Karate Kid (1984), Not Quite Jerusalem (1985) and The Holocroft Covenant (1985).

By about 1990 the illustration work had dried up completely but Francis had been painting highly finished photorealist work for many years and this side of his career had taken off significantly with high-profile exhibitions and celebrity clients. However, in terms of film work there’s no question that this painting for The Terminator is the artist’s most iconic work.

Bronx Warriors / quad / UK

13.09.12

Poster Poster
Title
Bronx Warriors
AKA
1990: I guerrieri del Bronx (Italy - original title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Enzo G. Castellari
Starring
Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Mark Gregory, Stefania Girolami Goodwin, Ennio Girolami, George Eastman, Joshua Sinclair, Betty Dessy, Rocco Lerro
Origin of Film
Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Mark Gregory, Stefania Girolami Goodwin, Ennio Girolami, George Eastman, Joshua Sinclair, Betty Dessy, Rocco Lerro,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 2/16 x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The lucky ones were the first to die!

Prolific Italian director Enzo G Castellari was behind a string of low-budget rip-offs homages of successful American productions during the 1980s. Having directed Great White in 1980 (pulled from release after a successful lawsuit by Universal Pictures), there’s no question that his 1983 post-apocalyptic film Bronx Warriors owes a lot to John Carpenter’s classic Escape From New York, with a generous dash of Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979)

To be fair to Castellari he was a pioneer in the Poliziotteschi (Italian crime film) genre in the 1970s, with La Polizia Incrimina la Legge Assolve (AKA High Crimes – 1973) and Il Grande Racket (The Big Racket – 1976) being particular standouts. He was also behind the war films La battaglia d’Inghilterra (Eagles over London – 1969) and the original Inglorious Bastards (Quel maledetto treno blindato – 1978). By the 1980s the director was churning out a series of B-movies, including Bronx Warriors and The New Barbarians (1983) and would eventually move into directing TV movies during the 1990s and 2000s.

Bronx Warriors follows the plight of 17-year-old Ann (Stefania Girolami Goodwin), the heiress to a questionable arms company (The Manhattan Corporation) who runs away into the lawless wasteland of a post-apocalyptic Bronx and is attacked by a gang of roller skaters (!) called The Zombies. She’s rescued by The Riders, another gang who are led by Trash – played by Mark Gregory (actually Marco de Gregorio, a non-actor Castellari had met in the gym) – who take Ann under their protection. The corporation dispatches the ruthless psychopath Hammer (Vic Morrow in his penultimate role before his untimely death during the filming of Twilight Zone the Movie) to disrupt the gangs and return Ann safely.

The artwork on this quad is by the brilliant British artist Brian Bysouth, whose wonderfully detailed illustrations featured on hundreds of posters over three decades. His most famous designs and artwork include the withdrawn one sheet for A View to a Kill, Highlander, Big Trouble in Little China and The Living Daylights. Bysouth would work on the quad for the sequel to this film, Escape 2000 (AKA Fuga Dal Bronx), one year later.

In 2012 I interviewed Brian Bysouth and the resulting article can be read here.

The international trailer is on YouTube.

The Stone Killer / quad / UK

29.11.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Stone Killer
AKA
Le cercle noir [The black circle] (France) | América violenta [Violent America] (Spain)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Charles Bronson, Martin Balsam, Jack Colvin, Paul Koslo, Norman Fell, David Sheiner, Stuart Margolin, Ralph Waite, Alfred Ryder, Walter Burke, Kelley Miles
Origin of Film
Italy | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Bronson, Martin Balsam, Jack Colvin, Paul Koslo, Norman Fell, David Sheiner, Stuart Margolin, Ralph Waite, Alfred Ryder, Walter Burke, Kelley Miles,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
This cop plays dirty! | Take away his badge and he'd top the Ten Most Wanted list!

This is the British quad poster for the release of the 1973 crime drama The Stone Killer. The film was one of a number that starred action legend Charles Bronson and was directed by Michael Winner. Their most successful collaboration (in box-office terms), Death Wish, was released a year later. The film features a cop who bends the rules to crack a case and was made in the wake of the hugely successful Clint Eastwood film, Dirty Harry (1971). That film also focused on a detective willing to play dirty, as this poster’s tagline shouts.

Bronson plays detective Lou Torrey who has recently been transferred to a Los Angeles beat. After the murder of a former hitman, he uncovers a plot involving the local mafia. The don, Al Vescari (Martin Balsam) has instigated a number of murders in revenge for killings that took place in 1931. This spree saw Sicilian capos executed across the US (a real-life crime dubbed the Night of the Sicilian Vespers). Vescari has decided to use Vietnam vets to carry out the killings and Torrey must race against time to stop the hitmen before the revenge plot is complete.

The stark imagery on this quad also featured on the US one sheet (see here) and the title block and main tagline have also been recycled by the British designer.