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Silver Streak / one sheet / style A / USA

31.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
Silver Streak
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Arthur Hiller
Starring
Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan, Ned Beatty, Clifton James, Ray Walston, Stefan Gierasch, Len Birman, Valerie Curtin, Lucille Benson, Scatman Crothers, Richard Kiel, Fred Willard
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan, Ned Beatty, Clifton James, Ray Walston, Stefan Gierasch, Len Birman, Valerie Curtin, Lucille Benson, Scatman Crothers, Richard Kiel, Fred Willard,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
George Gross
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/200
Tagline
By plane, by train, by the edge of your seat, it's the most hilarious suspense ride of your life!

Silver Streak, a 1976 comedy thriller, marked the first time that the celebrated comic actors Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor would appear together in a film and there would be a further three pairings following this one. Directed by Arthur Hiller, who would helm See No Evil, Hear No Evil starring Wilder and Pryor 13 years later, the film is mostly set onboard the eponymous long distance train. Wilder plays George Caldwell a book editor who is traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago for his sister’s wedding. Whilst onboard he meets Hilly (Jill Clayburgh) and the pair strike up a romance, but soon George is battling to stay alive after he witnesses the murder of an art historian and attracts the attention of the killers.

The gang plan to impersonate the dead historian in order to pass of a pair of forged Rembrandt paintings as original. George is forcefully removed from the train several times and it’s during one of these escapades that he meets the criminal Grover T. Muldoon (Pryor) who he enlists in helping him reach the train to climb back onboard and bring the conspiracy to light. As this poster artwork suggests, the film ends in a spectacular train crash.

The artwork is by George Gross, an American who is best known as an artist of pulp book covers but, as this short biography details, he also worked on magazine illustrations and covers for popular novels. The artist was born in 1909 in Brooklyn and he followed his father into the area of commercial illustration, with both of his siblings eventually making it a proper family affair. This site has a gallery of his pulp covers. I’ve been unable to determine if he painted any other film posters so please get in touch if you know of any others.

It’s worth noting that the central figures have been rather crudely cut out and placed over the background scenes, which have also been cut up in places (see if you can spot the replicated policeman).

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!

The Mack / 30×40 / USA

02.12.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Mack
AKA
Mack - Il Marciapiede Della Violenza [Mack - The Sidewalk of Violence] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Michael Campus
Starring
Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor, Carol Speed, Roger E. Mosley, Dick Anthony Williams, William Watson, George Murdock, Juanita Moore
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor, Carol Speed, Roger E. Mosley, Dick Anthony Williams, William Watson, George Murdock, Juanita Moore,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Fred Pfeiffer
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/87
Tagline
Now that you've seen the rest... make way for... | the biggest and the best

One of the all-time-great pieces of Blaxploitation artwork for this 1973 flick starring Max Julien and Richard Pryor. The film is notorious for the ‘player’s ball’ scene, which birthed the idea of an annual meet-up for pimps in Chicago, Illinois.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the great artwork so please get in touch or leave a comment if you have an idea.

Here’s the original trailer on YouTube.

Wattstax / 30×40 / USA

18.09.13

Poster Poster
Title
Wattstax
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Mel Stuart
Starring
Isaac Hayes, Raymond Allen, Andre Edwards, Jesse Jackson, Erik Kilpatrick, Ted Lange, Richard Pryor
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Isaac Hayes, Raymond Allen, Andre Edwards, Jesse Jackson, Erik Kilpatrick, Ted Lange, Richard Pryor,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/23
Tagline
Laugh! Cry! Sing! Hear! Feel! Dance! Shout! | A soulful expression of the living world...

This is the US 30×40 poster for the release of Wattstax, the documentary dubbed ‘the African American Woodstock’ that was put together by Mel Stuart, a prolific director and producer who is perhaps best known for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). The concert was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots that had seen the worst social unrest in the city’s history. It was organised by Memphis’ Stax Records (hence the name) and featured performances from many of the top black artists of the time, including Isaac Hayes, the Staple SingersThe Bar-KaysRufus Thomas and Kim Weston.

Mel Stuart was reportedly unhappy with the quality of a lot of the concert footage and decided to intersperse the music with interviews and stand-up footage of the likes of Richard Pryor, Ted Lange and other African American comedians and actors who spoke about their experience of being black in America at the time.

The concert ends with Isaac Hayes performing the hit music he recorded for the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft, the poster of which is clearly referenced with the title treatment on this one for Wattstax.

Car Wash / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Car Wash
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Michael Schultz
Starring
Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/190
Tagline
--