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The Great Train Robbery / one sheet / USA

03.04.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Great Train Robbery
AKA
The First Great Train Robbery (UK - full title)
Year of Film
1979
Director
Michael Crichton
Starring
Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, Lesley-Anne Down, Alan Webb, Malcolm Terris, Robert Lang, Michael Elphick, Wayne Sleep, Pamela Salem, Gabrielle Lloyd
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Sean Connery, Donald Sutherland, Lesley-Anne Down, Alan Webb, Malcolm Terris, Robert Lang, Michael Elphick, Wayne Sleep, Pamela Salem, Gabrielle Lloyd,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Roger Kastel
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
790007
Tagline
Never have so few taken so much from so many.

Roger Kastel artwork on this poster for the 1978 heist-caper starring Donald Sutherland and Sean Connery and directed by the late Michael Crichton. The film is based on his book of the same name, which is itself loosely based on an actual heist known as the Great Gold Robbery of 1855 in which a large quantity of gold was stolen from a train by a master thief and his accomplices. Pierce (Connery) works with Agar (Sutherland) to acquire the four keys that are required to break into the storage compartment on the moving train and must then attempt to escape with the loot.

The film is notable for the stunt-work, including walking on the roof of a moving train, that was apparently done by Connery himself. It’s also worth noting that the film was renamed to The First Great Train Robbery in the UK so it wouldn’t get confused with an infamous British train robbery in 1963 in which £2.6 million was stolen from a train in Buckinghamshire. The crime was dubbed The Great Train Robbery by the British press.

Roger Kastel’s website can be viewed here and it features plenty of great images of his brilliant work, including the iconic image that he originally drew for the paperback cover of Jaws, which was later used on movie posters for the film all over the world.. He’s also responsible for the excellent ‘Gone with the Wind’ style one sheet for The Empire Strikes Back.

The original trailer for the film is on YouTube.

The Empire Strikes Back / one sheet / style A / studio version / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Irvin Kershner
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A - studio version - AKA 'Gone With The Wind' style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Roger Kastel
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Star Wars saga continues

Jaws / program / Japan

26.01.18

Poster Poster
Title
Jaws
AKA
Les dents de la mer [The teeth of the sea] (France)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie,
Type of Poster
Program
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Roger Kastel (cover)
Size (inches)
8 4/16" x 11 10/16"
SS or DS
--
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is the original cinema program that was sold at Japanese screenings of Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 horror, Jaws. The instantly recognisable image was painted by the American artist Roger Kastel and was originally commissioned for the paperback cover of Peter Benchley’s novel, but when Universal saw the artwork they bought the rights to use it for the poster and following the worldwide success of the film it would go onto become one of the most imitated and parodied images of all time, as well as a merchandising product in its own right. Kastel also painted the ‘Gone with the Wind’ style one sheet for The Empire Strikes Back. Check out his official site here.

I also have the original US one sheet which can be seen on my site here.

Note that this program features images of and details about the production, the director and several of the actors. It also includes a hand-written message especially for Japanese ‘movie buffs’.

Jaws / one sheet / USA

17.10.14

Poster Poster
Title
Jaws
AKA
Les dents de la mer [The teeth of the sea] (France)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Seiniger Advertising | Magidell Agency | Universal in-house design
Artist
Roger Kastel
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/155
Tagline
The terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No.1 best seller

I’ve waited many years to add this iconic one sheet for Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece Jaws to the Film on Paper collection as I wanted to find a rolled copy, which is no meant feat considering the film’s popularity and the fact that it was released in the mid-1970s (rolled posters from this period are rare). I finally won this copy in an auction earlier this year and what’s notable is that when other rolled originals of Jaws appear they almost always have the same NSS information layout at the bottom as this one, which many dealers and collectors believe means they originate from the Cleveland, Ohio NSS office. CineMasterpieces have a number of Jaws one sheets in their inventory (many already sold) and you can compare the different layouts of the NSS information (here’s an example).

The instantly recognisable image was painted by the American artist Roger Kastel and was originally commissioned for the paperback cover of Peter Benchley’s novel, but when Universal saw the artwork they bought the rights to use it for the poster and following the worldwide success of the film it would go onto become one of the most imitated and parodied images of all time, as well as a merchandising product in its own right.

Collector’s Weekly published a fascinating article about the creation of the poster and the events that led up to Kastel being commissioned to work on the poster. The artist recalls the day the project dropped into his lap:

“I had just delivered a painting to Bantam’s art director, Len Leone,” he says. “Bantam was just loaded with great artists at that time, and Len really gave Bantam its look. I was sitting in Len’s office when Oscar Dystel, Bantam’s publisher, came in. He said, ‘Wait a minute. Don’t leave. I have a great book for you to read’. And he ran out and came back with ‘Jaws.’”

A cover had already been painted by the renowned book cover illustrator for the Doubleday hardback edition of the book but as Kastel remembers it Dystel wasn’t happy with the first cover:

“He wanted me to read the book to pick out a new part to illustrate. But, of course, the best part was the beginning, where Chrissie goes into the water nude.” Turns out the Doubleday concept, if not the execution, was not so bad after all. Kastel did a sketch for Dystel and Leone to critique. “The only direction Oscar and Len gave me was to make the shark bigger, and very realistic.”

Kastel visited his usual go-to source for reference material, the Museum of Natural History in New York, but came up short:

“They didn’t have anything I could use, so I asked if they had a shark exhibit. They said they did but that it was closed for cleaning. It was lunchtime, so I went upstairs anyway, and there were all these different stuffed sharks, just laying on boards. I had my camera with me so I took a few pictures. The shark in my painting developed from there. I just tried to paint a ferocious-looking shark that was still realistic.”

When the book was released the graphic nature of the image saw the paperback banned from shelves in Boston, Massachusetts, and St. Petersburg, Florida, but Bantam didn’t mind the publicity as it greatly boosted sales. The cover also caught the attention of the film studio who were developing the story for the big screen:

“Apparently Universal had tried other poster ideas, but in the end they picked mine. They changed the color of the ‘JAWS’ lettering, added the actor names and other credits, and blurred the girl’s breasts with some foam.”

Kastel is unsure what fate befell the original oil painting (which was approximately 20″ x 30″) and the last time he saw it was when the paperback was first released:

“It was hanging at the Society of Illustrators in New York,” he says. “It was framed because it was on a book tour, and then it went out to Hollywood for the movie. I expected it to come back, but it never did. Either someone has it or it’s lost in storage at Universal. They really should report it as stolen.”

I’ve credited the design of the poster to three parties, although Tony Seiniger (and his agency) is most often cited as the man behind it. This article on Posterwire features comments that also call out another agency called Magidell who apparently had input as well as Universal’s in-house marketing team. Kastel also painted the ‘Gone with the Wind’ style one sheet for The Empire Strikes Back. Check out his official site here.