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Frogs / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Frogs
AKA
Frogs - Killer aus dem Sumpf (West Germany)
Year of Film
1972
Director
George McCowan
Starring
Ray Milland, Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark, Adam Roarke, Judy Pace, Lynn Borden, Mae Mercer, David Gilliam
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Ray Milland, Sam Elliott, Joan Van Ark, Adam Roarke, Judy Pace, Lynn Borden, Mae Mercer, David Gilliam,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Starflight One / quad / UK

27.06.13

Poster Poster
Title
Starflight One
AKA
Starflight: The Plane That Couldn't Land (USA - original title) | Airport 85 (Philippines)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Jerry Jameson
Starring
Lee Majors, Hal Linden, Lauren Hutton, Ray Milland, Gail Strickland, George DiCenzo, Tess Harper, Terry Kiser, Heather McAdam, Michael Sacks, Gary Bayer, Pat Corley, Robert Webber
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lee Majors, Hal Linden, Lauren Hutton, Ray Milland, Gail Strickland, George DiCenzo, Tess Harper, Terry Kiser, Heather McAdam, Michael Sacks, Gary Bayer, Pat Corley, Robert Webber,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Eddie Paul
Artist
Josh Kirby
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The first hypersonic passenger plane marooned in outer space helpless... ready for certain death

Superb artwork by the British artist Josh Kirby (not to be confused with the American comic book artist Jack Kirby) on this UK quad for the release of Starflight One, which was originally shown as a TV movie in the US with the considerably clunkier title of Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land. Unquestionably the final hurrah for the ‘airplane in peril’ subgenre of the disaster movie that started with Airport in 1970 – Starflight’s director Jerry Jameson was actually at the helm of Airport ’77 – the film was unofficially dubbed Airport ’83. The world’s first ‘hypersonic’ passenger plane, which can make the flight from New York to Sydney in a mere four hours, sets off on its maiden voyage before an unexpected encounter with a rocket sends it up into space and on a decaying orbit around earth. The plane will burn up on atmospheric re-entry and the crew and a team from NASA must work out a way to rescue the passengers before time runs out. The film is, by all accounts, significantly less interesting than that premise makes it sound.

Josh Kirby was born Ronald William Kirby in the town of Waterloo, Lancashire in 1928 and went on to study at Liverpool City School of Art from 1943 to 1949. He gained the nickname Josh after a fellow pupil noticed how similar his early work was to the painting of Joshua Reynolds. As detailed in Sim Branaghan’s must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Kirby moved down to London soon after graduating and secured a job at Pulford Publicity, an agency that specialised in the creation of film marketing materials. Kirby worked on a number of quads for Pulford publicity during the 1950s whilst also painting posters for a film company in Paris.

He also began work on book jackets for the likes of Pan Publicity, which included the first paperback edition of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker in 1956, and eventually turned out over 400 of them. In the 1970s Kirby began freelancing for the film publicity agency FEREF, working with the likes of the designer Eddie Paul on a number of posters, including one for the 1972 film Henry VIII and his Six Wives. He worked on this superb illustration for Monty Python’s Life of Brian in 1979 but it was unused, apparently because several of the character illustrations were considered too risqué for cinema-goers.

Kirby’s preferred genres were unquestionably sci-fi and fantasy and much of his best-loved work was in this area, including the UK quads for The Beastmaster, Krull and probably most famously Return of the Jedi, for which he created a wonderfully colourful montage of characters and vehicles from the film. When the market for poster illustration dried up towards the middle of the 1980s, Kirby began what would prove to be a long relationship working on the brilliantly detailed book covers for author Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of novels. Josh Kirby passed away unexpectedly in his sleep at his home in Norfolk in October 2001 leaving behind an incredible body of work and a legion of fans.

The Uncanny / one sheet / UK

22.06.15

Poster Poster

A striking design on this poster for the 1977 British-Canadian horror anthology The Uncanny, which is based around the unlikely theme of malevolent cats. The film is often mistakenly credited as being an Amicus Productions anthology (like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror) but it was in fact a Rank release with the involvement of Milton Subotsky, one half of the Amicus team, which had disbanded in 1975.

The film features three stories told as part of an overarching framing tale that sees Peter Cushing as a British author visiting his agent in Montreal to present the idea for his next book, which is that all cats are inherently evil, supernatural creatures. To illustrate his reasoning he tells three separate tales, each from different eras and locations. The first is set in London and sees Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) a sick, wealthy widower leave her fortune to her houseful of cats, which angers her only nephew. He enlists the help of the housemaid Janet (Susan Penhaligon) who attempts to steal the copies of the will but disturbs the elderly woman as she’s doing so and kills her in the struggle that follows. Much to Janet’s surprise, the moggies then take their revenge on her and the nephew.

The second story is based in Quebec and sees Lucy (Katrina Holden Bronson) an orphaned girl, going to live with her Aunt and bringing her beloved cat Wellington with her. After being mistreated by the family who decide to try and dispose of Wellington, Lucy seeks help from her collection of witchcraft books and takes out her anger on her malicious cousin Angela. The final story is set in Hollywood during the 1930s and features Donald Pleasence giving it his all as an actor who rigs an onset accident that kills his wife so he can shack up with his mistress, a younger actress. Unfortunately, his wife’s cat is none too pleased with its owner being offed and sets out to get its revenge, which it does in a ridiculous finale.

The film features very little in the way of horror, with only some very fake looking blood in a few scenes and absolutely nothing in the way of suspense. The special effects are mostly awful and in the scenes where cats are supposedly attacking people you can practically see the hands of the animal handlers who’ve just thrown them at the victim. The middle story set in Canada is particularly poor, thanks to a woeful performance by the actress playing Lucy. The simple fact is that cats are not particularly scary and anyone who owns a cat knows that the worst that might happen is a bit of scratched skin. Apparently the film flopped at the box office and was never even given a release in American cinemas.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Vic Fair, who is one the most important designer/artists 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.

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