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Juggernaut / 30×40 / USA

19.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Juggernaut
AKA
Terror on the Britannic (UK - DVD title / USA)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Richard Lester
Starring
Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley Knight, Ian Holm, Clifton James
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley Knight, Ian Holm, Clifton James,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert McCall
Size (inches)
29 14/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/273
Tagline
The greatest sea adventure in history has just begun!

Juggernaut was directed by Richard Lester, perhaps best known for his work with The Beatles on two of their early films (A Hard Days Night and Help!), and features an all-star cast in the style of other 1970s disaster movies such as Earthquake and The Towering Inferno (both released in the same year). The story sees a luxury cruise-liner targeted by the titular terrorist who has covertly planted barrels of high-explosive onboard and is making his ransom demands from a secret location on the mainland. Omar Sharif plays the captain of the ship who, along with the ship’s entertainer Roy Kinnear, attempt to keep the hundreds of passengers calm as a bomb squad led by Commander Fallon (Richard Harris) parachutes in to try and defuse the devices. Back on dry land Anthony Hopkins‘ police superintendent, whose wife and children are onboard the ship, leads the hunt for Juggernaut before the time runs out.

The production hired an actual cruise ship, the SS Hamburg, which had recently been sold by its German owners to the Soviet Union and renamed the SS Maxim Gorkiy. The livery on the side of the ship was temporarily painted over and the ship renamed as the Britannica. Hundreds of extras were then hired with the promise of a cruise around the North Sea, although they were warned that the ship was likely to head into high seas to increase the drama of the film’s external shots!

The artwork on this 30×40 is by the late American artist Robert McCall who is perhaps best known for his work as a conceptual artist for the likes of NASA and several Hollywood productions, including Tora, Tora, Tora and Star Trek. Born in 1919 in Columbus, Ohio McCall graduated from the city’s School of Fine Arts before heading off to join the Airforce at the outbreak of World War II. Upon his return from service McCall carved out a successful career as a cover artist for publications such as Life Magazine, and before long he was painting for the U.S. Air Force. Around this time the artist also began a successful cooperation with NASA, which lasted for decades and saw him painting giant murals in buildings such as the National Air and Space Museum. In the 1960s McCall also began working with the entertainment industry as a concept artist. He sadly passed away, aged 90, in 2010.

Arguably his most famous film poster work is the set of illustrations he painted for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Some of his NASA paintings can be seen on this website and many of his other sci-fi artworks can be viewed via this Tumblr link.

Superman III / one sheet / advance / USA

03.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Superman III
AKA
Superman vs. Superman (USA - original script title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Lester
Starring
Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Annette O'Toole, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, Robert Vaughn, Margot Kidder
Origin of Film
UK | Canada | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Annette O'Toole, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, Robert Vaughn, Margot Kidder,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Larry Salk
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Richard Pryor was clearly seen as a major draw for audiences who were contemplating going to watch the third entry in the Christopher Reeve series of Superman films, and the artwork on this US advance one sheet was reused for the final design. In the end, the inclusion of the infamous comedian proved one of the films biggest flaws since most of his scenes involved slapstick comedy, and his character’s daft antics serve to almost completely eradicate any of the gravitas the previous films had manage to establish. Pryor had appeared in a string of successful comedies during the early 1980s, including Stir Crazy (1980), but his casting in this film apparently came about after he mentioned on a US talk show how much he’d like to appear in a Superman film.

Richard Lester, the director who had completed work on the troubled Superman II after Richard Donner had been fired, took on directing duties for the sequel. The story sees Pryor’s computer ‘genius’ Gus Gorman blackmailed into using his skills for wealthy megalomaniac Ross Webster (Robert Vaughn), whose various plans for world domination are foiled by Superman. After attempting to cripple the superhero with synthesised kryptonite, the plan goes awry when a key ingredient is missed and, rather than stopping him, the material causes Superman to turn into an evil incarnation of his former self. This ends in a battle between the righteous Clark Kent and the malicious Superman and after successfully defeating his alter-ego, the good Superman heads to Webster’s lair in the grand canyon where a giant supercomputer built by Gorman almost succeeds in defeating the hero.

The film features a sequence that terrified me when I watched it as a child, which sees the supercomputer turning self-aware and forcefully changing Webster’s sister into a bizarre cyborg creature.

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

The late artist John Berkey painted a scene from the finale on the international one sheet.

Superman III / one sheet / international

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Superman III
AKA
Superman vs. Superman (USA - original script title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Lester
Starring
Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Annette O'Toole, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, Robert Vaughn, Margot Kidder
Origin of Film
UK | Canada | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Annette O'Toole, Annie Ross, Pamela Stephenson, Robert Vaughn, Margot Kidder,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Berkey
Size (inches)
27" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
If the world's most powerful computer can control even Superman...no one on earth is safe!

Juggernaut / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Juggernaut
AKA
Terror on the Britannic (UK - DVD title / USA)
Year of Film
1974
Director
Richard Lester
Starring
Richard Harris,, Omar Sharif,, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley Knight, Ian Holm, Clifton James
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Harris,, Omar Sharif,, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley Knight, Ian Holm, Clifton James,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Robert McCall (original ship exploding artwork)
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Superman II / Thailand

07.11.16

Poster Poster
Title
Superman II
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Richard Lester | Richard Donner
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Harris,, Omar Sharif,, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley Knight, Ian Holm, Clifton James,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 31"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for the release of Superman II, the sequel to 1978’s Superman the Movie. The artwork is partially based on the international one sheet painted by the American artist Dan Goozee (see here). Goozee’s artwork also appeared on the Japanese B2 poster. My belief is that the Thai artist, Tongdee Panumas, repainted the original artwork and then added new items to the montage.

Superman II is infamous for its troubled production which saw original director Richard Donner replaced part way through filming. The producers of the first film had decided to shoot the sequel at the same time. Donner had filmed multiple scenes, including those featuring Marlon Brando, but at a certain point a decision was made to pause filming the sequel to get the first film out of the door. Once Superman the Movie was released into cinemas, the production team returned to finish off the sequel. In the interim period, the producers had been sued by Brando for a slice of the first film’s profits so his filmed scenes were excised from the sequel.

Richard Lester, who was originally brought on as an uncredited line producer on the first film, was chosen to replace Donner. The latter had fallen out with the producer Pierre Spengler whilst filming the first movie and soon discovered that he wasn’t to be invited back to complete the sequel. Lester ended up refilming many of the scenes that Donner had completed but quite a lot of the latter’s work survived in the final cut, including scenes with Gene Hackman who was unable to return for the reshoots. Composer John Williams also had a scheduling conflict but he recommended Ken Thorne, a friend and fellow composer, to the production team.

The fairly simple storyline sees the villains teased at the start of the first film, Kryptonians General Zod (a memorable performance by Terence Stamp) and his two accomplices, escape from the Phantom Zone and descend to earth. There they cause havoc and eventually break into the White House, holding the president hostage. Meanwhile, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are on holiday cementing their romantic relationship. Lois has become convinced that her boyfriend is in fact Superman in disguise. Lex Luthor has also managed to escape from prison and agrees a tentative deal with the Zod that he will help them find Superman in exchange for him being given Australia to rule. The stage is set for a showdown between the four Kryptonians at the Fortress of Solitude.

Despite the behind the scenes woes, the film is actually a very strong sequel and was critically acclaimed on release. The box-office receipts were also very healthy and led to an inevitable sequel 3 years later (it was even teased at the start of the credits for part II).

Tongdee’s artwork features several key scenes from the film and I particularly love the floating Superman head in the bottom right. Note that there’s a Trebor advert on the left side and this is common for Thai posters of the era. I believe that companies paid to have their brand associated with a film’s release (as is common practice today) and these logos would often make it onto the poster. Pepsi is one brand logo that often appears on Thai posters.

Tongdee was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.