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Hearts Of Darkness / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Apocalypse Now / one sheet / USA

12.08.13

Poster Poster

A classic painting by the late, great Bob Peak on this one sheet for the release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

Master movie poster artist Bob Peak was asked to create a series of paintings to sell the film and he worked in conjunction with art directors Murray Smith and Don Smolen from the boutique poster agency Smolen, Smith and Connolly, based in New York City. Two of Peak’s paintings were used in North America, with an image of the Nung River on the teaser poster and then this superb portrait of Brando as Kurtz with a menacing looking Sheen behind him was the final poster. Both of those images were used around the world to sell the film. German cinemas also saw this stunning image of Kurtz that was painted by Peak and used exclusively in that country.

Bob Peak was born in 1927 in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Wichita, Kansas before heading off to serve in the military during the Korean War. Upon his return Peak enrolled in the Los Angeles-based Art Center College of Design where he began to hone his craft as an artist, moving to New York after graduation where he began his career as a commercial illustrator, first working on a campaign for Old Hickory Whiskey. For the next few years the artist worked on a string of successful advertising campaigns, magazine editorials and more, but it was when United Artists hired Peak to work on their campaign for the release of West Side Story in 1961 that he began what would prove to be a fruitful and almost unrivalled career in film poster creation.

Peak’s immediately recognisable style was soon much in demand and his painting appeared on posters for films such as My Fair Lady (1964) and Camelot (1967), but it was his work in the area of sci-fi and fantasy for which Peak is perhaps best known, with the iconic design for the first Superman film (1978), the classic image he created for Rollerball (1975) and the colourful poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), amongst several classics of the genre he was responsible for. His paintings for Apocalypse Now, however, arguably saw the artist working at the top of his game and in the recently published must-own book The Art of Bob Peak (put together by one of his sons), he is quoted as saying, “Of all my movie work, it is my work on Apocalypse Now that I am most proud of.”

To see the other posters in the Film on Paper collection that were painted by Bob Peak click here.

Apocalypse Now / Thailand

23.09.15

Poster Poster

This is the very scarce original 2-sheet poster for the Thai release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.  Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

The film had several interesting posters printed for its release, including the great Bob Peak artwork used around the world, but this Thai 2-sheet is up there, in my mind, as one of the best posters ever painted full stop. The amount of detail, use of colour and expertly arranged montage all add up to a visual feast of a design and I find some new detail every time I look at it. I’ve added 70 photos for you to really get a sense of the poster.

This poster was painted by the artist Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) who was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s but I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947. If anyone has any more information please get in touch.

The two sides of the poster were printed separately and then joined together once they were displayed at cinemas. I tried my best to join them together with Photoshop but it’s not that easy to get them to match. Photos 2 and 3 show the two halves separately. It’s interesting to note that Tongdee actually painted the original art on two canvases as can be seen on this photograph showing him and the British collector Neil Pettigrew that was published in issue 168 of Dark Side magazine. This means that getting a totally seamless join between the two halves is impossible.

Note that there was a reprint made of this poster several years ago where someone in Thailand scanned the poster when the two halves were joined together and then printed it as a single sheet poster at the standard Thai film poster size of around 21″ x 31″. These have sometimes been sold as ‘commercial posters’ but are nothing more than unauthorised fakes and should be avoided at all costs. Permission was not sought from the distributor or the artist to make these copies and their sale should not be supported.

Apocalypse Now / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Bronco Billy / one sheet / USA

27.02.12

Poster Poster

One of Clint Eastwood’s lesser known outings, Bronco Billy is nevertheless apparently one of the actor-director’s favourites amongst his myriad films. It was pitched firmly in the vein of his earlier Orangutan-featuring screwball comedy dramas, Every Which Way But Loose and its sequel. The studio presumably hoped to ape their success, but in the end the film failed to generate similar box-office numbers.

Eastwood stars as the titular Billy, the leader of a traveling Wild West show and so-called ‘fastest guns in the West’. Things aren’t looking too great for the show and go from bad to worse when they pick up Antoinette Lilly (Sondra Locke) a wealthy heiress who has been abandoned by her future husband. Antoinette must learn to cope without the luxuries she has become accustomed to whilst Billy struggles to keep the show afloat. Eventually the pair strike up a relationship, but it’s not long before Antoinette’s former life catches up with her.

This US one sheet features artwork by American Roger Huyssen, a commercial artist who has worked on advertising campaigns for some of the world’s largest brands, as well as magazine covers, packaging design and several movie posters. His website features plenty of samples of his work and this poster can be seen on there. He often partners with lettering designer Gerard Huerta (working as 2H studio) as is the case on this poster. You’ll notice both signatures are included on the poster.

It’s a brilliantly detailed and colourful design and works perfectly for the film it’s advertising. I particularly like the idea of using a billboard in the style of the Wild West show to display the film’s title.

The film’s trailer is on YouTube.

Apocalypse Now Redux / B1 / Japan

04.09.14

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B1 poster for the 2001 re-release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. This release, known as ‘Redux’ was a new version prepared by the director and his editor and long-time collaborator Walter Murch that saw almost 50 minutes inserted back into the film with several sequences extended and the flow of the film altered as a result. Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

The Redux version, which involved re-recording several of the original actors’ dialogue 30 years since the original filming, plus the addition of newly recorded music, was met with generally positive reviews. Many critics felt that the revisions made the film an even richer, stranger experience, whilst some felt that the new cut was self-indulgent and that the new sequences, particularly one set in a French plantation, slowed the film down too much. Check out this wikipedia article for details of the changes. I personally prefer the original cut but the new additions are undoubtedly interesting to watch.

The Japanese title on this poster is made from a photographic image of burning wood and the explosion and helicopters are taken from the now iconic ‘Charlie don’t surf’ sequence.

 

The Outlaw Josey Wales / B2 / style A / Japan

12.07.13

Poster Poster

The Outlaw Josey Wales is widely considered to be one of the best Westerns of all time, and certainly one of Clint Eastwood‘s finest efforts. Inspired by the 1972 novel The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales by Forrest Carter, the film was originally to be helmed by Philip Kaufman who had written the script and been through pre-production before being fired from the set a few days into filming, with Eastwood himself taking the director’s chair for the remainder of the production. Set towards the end of the American Civil War, Josey Wales (Eastwood) is a peaceful Missouri farmer who is driven to revenge after his family is brutally murdered by a sadistic Union officer and his farm razed to the ground.

Wales joins a group of pro-Confederate rebels to fight and when the war ends his group is ordered to surrender peacefully, which Wales refuses to be part of. Following the massacre of most of his group, Wales attacks and kills several men and the Union captain places a bounty on his head as he flees. On his journey, Wales reluctantly picks up a diverse bunch of companions, including two Native American Indians, and he tries his best to evade the union troops and bounty hunters on their trail and start a new life for himself. This was the first film that paired Sondra Locke with Eastwood and was the beginning of their romance that lasted for fourteen years.

This Japanese B2 is the ‘style A’ poster for the film’s release there and there are three B2s in total, including the style C, which uses the same artwork as the US one sheet. This artwork is an adapted version of the alternative artwork as seen on the US 40×60 and half-sheet posters. All original American posters were designed by Eastwood’s long-time film marketing collaborator, the great Bill Gold, and this painting was by an American artist call Roy Andersen. According to this biography Andersen passed away last year but throughout his career he was known for his work depicting Native Americans and Old West images, including cowboys and related scenes. Artnet has an extensive gallery of his works here.

The Outlaw Josey Wales / B2 / style C / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster