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Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back / double bill / quad / UK

02.09.14

Poster Poster

Following the unprecedented success of the original Star Wars, released in 1977 to worldwide audience acclaim, expectations were high for the sequel which was put into production a few months after its release. Three years later, The Empire Strikes Back arrived in cinemas and was met with huge audience and critical acclaim, firmly cementing the series’ place in the hearts of millions of fans across the globe. A less well-received third part of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi, and a lacklustre set of prequel films failed to dampen audience enthusiasm for the franchise and a new film adventure is set to be released at the end of 2015.

To capitalise on the successful release of the films, particularly before home video was a reality, distributor 20th Century Fox decided to release a double-bill of both Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back in to cinemas towards the end of 1980. This event was repeated across the world but this British quad is unique to this country and is the result of the amalgamation of the original quads for both films, plus an extra photographic element not included on either in the figure of Jedi master Yoda, which was probably added due to the characters’ popularity.

The original Star Wars quad was designed and illustrated by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell whose dynamic and colourful work featured on hundreds of posters over a forty year period. The artist sadly passed away in 2001 but last year his widow Shirley launched his official website, which showcases his work and features a great biography written by Sim Branaghan, author of the must-own book British Film Posters. Chantrell illustrated many classic poster designs, including several Hammer posters such as the brilliant quad for ‘One Million Years B.C.’, and he was also responsible for many other pieces of iconic poster artwork. I have a number of other designs by Chantrell on this site and you can read an exclusive interview with Shirley by clicking here.

The Empire Strikes Back quad features the artwork painted for the US style B one sheetwhich was by the American artist Tom Jung, perhaps best known for his iconic ‘style A’ one sheet that he painted for the release of the original Star Wars. Jung was a prolific designer and illustrator for film campaigns from the 1950s through to the 1980s. IMPAwards features a gallery of his work and his Wikipedia article has a selected list of the posters he worked on. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Another special quad was put together for a triple-bill event after the release of Return of the Jedi, which again featured elements of the artwork from all three separate release quads. Note that this poster can be found undersized at around 28″ x 40″ and this was because several hundred copies were machine trimmed to be used in special frames on the London Underground, a fate which befell a number of posters around the end of the 1970s and early 1980s.

 

The Empire Strikes Back / Turkey

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Empire Strikes Back
AKA
Imparator (Turkey)
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
Turkish
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Turkey
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Omer Muz
Size (inches)
26 15/16" x 39 9/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The Empire Strikes Back / B1 / advance / Japan

04.11.13

Poster Poster

This is the B1 advance poster for the Japanese release of The Empire Strikes Back, which by 1980 was one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of cinema following the continuing international success of George Lucas’ original Star Wars (1977). This image of bad guy Darth Vader’s helmet was also used for the North American advance one sheet and is a photograph of a prop helmet created to be worn by Dave Prowse in the original trilogy. The photo shoot for this poster was apparently done by the respected poster designer and artist Bob Peak, who was responsible for many classic 70s and 80s posters, including Apocalypse Now, The Spy Who Loved Me and Superman.

This image was only used for the B1 size Japanese poster, with a photographic montage being used for the standard B2 whilst Noriyoshi Ohrai was responsible for the artwork on the superb alternative style B2, which was also printed as a B1 size poster.

To see more posters by Bob Peak in the Film on Paper collection click here.

 

The Empire Strikes Back / B2 / photo style / Japan

27.08.12

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
B2
Style of Poster
Photo style
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the photo montage style Japanese poster for the second (and best, IMO) film in the original Star Wars trilogy. Noriyoshi Ohrai was responsible for the artwork on the superb alternative style Japanese poster.

This version prominently features Cloud City, an outpost and gas mining colony floating above the planet Bespin, and the place to which Han Solo and Princess Leia flee after the battle of Hoth. Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is the administrator of the city and an old friend of Han Solo who, unbeknownst to the crew of the Millennium Falcon, has cut a deal with Darth Vader to allow the rebels to be captured in return for continued autonomy from the Empire.

Rather brilliantly the character line-up features a Tauntaun, the bipedal reptomammal used by the rebel alliance as patrol mounts on their native planet of Hoth. Also in the line-up is the bounty hunter Boba Fett, many fans’ favourite character in the entire Star Wars universe.