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Mr Ricco / 30×40 / USA

03.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
Mr Ricco
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
Paul Bogart
Starring
Dean Martin, Eugene Roche, Thalmus Rasulala, Denise Nicholas, Cindy Williams, Geraldine Brooks, Philip Michael Thomas, George Tyne, Robert Sampson, Michael Gregory, Joseph Hacker, Frank Puglia
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dean Martin, Eugene Roche, Thalmus Rasulala, Denise Nicholas, Cindy Williams, Geraldine Brooks, Philip Michael Thomas, George Tyne, Robert Sampson, Michael Gregory, Joseph Hacker, Frank Puglia,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Larry Salk
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/27
Tagline
The one thing people hate more than a cop killer... is the lawyer who gets him off!

Mr Ricco, a little-seen 1970s crime thriller, marked the last starring role in film for ‘The King of Cool’ Dean Martin (unless you count his cameos in the two Cannonball Run films). The Italian-American entertainer, who had seen great success in several of his earlier roles including Rio Bravo and Ocean’s Eleven (with his fellow Rat Pack members), would continue to make popular TV appearances and music recordings but never headline a film again. After reading the reviews on IMDb it appears he was probably getting too old to convincingly pull-off the action scenes that roles like this one required.

Martin appears in the title role as Joe Ricco, a San Francisco lawyer who successfully defends Frankie Steele (Thalmus Rasulala) a member of a black militant group charged with murdering a woman. Shortly afterwards two cops are gunned down and Steele is implicated in the crime after witnesses describe seeing him fleeing the scene. The detective in charge of the case, George Cronyn (Eugene Roche), is angered that Steele appears to have got away with it again and decides to kill one of the members of the Black Serpents (Steele’s group) and implicate another in the cops’ murder. Ricco agrees to defend the wrongly-accused man but soon after is targeted by a lone sniper who almost kills him. Once again, Steele is implicated in the attempted murder so Ricco sets out to discover why his former client is trying to kill him.

This US 30×40 features artwork by 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 the advance for Superman III) and he was the artist who painted the famous portrait of Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld. He apparently passed away in 2004.

Mississippi Burning / B1 / Poland

26.05.16

Poster Poster

A striking illustration by Wieslaw Walkuski on this B1 poster for the first release in Poland (in 1990) for Alan Parker‘s 1988 crime thriller Mississippi Burning. The film was loosely based on the real life case of the murders of three civil rights workers in the titular American state in 1964. Screenwriter Chris Gerolmo based his script on an article and several books on the FBI investigation of the case that had been written in the intervening years. Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe play two FBI agents sent to the fictional town of Jessup County in order to investigate the disappearance of the three workers. Their investigation is met with suspicion and hostility by local residents, as well as the local police and the KKK. As attacks on African-American families intensify, the pair must use unorthodox methods to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Wieslaw Walkuski was born in 1956 and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Since 1981 Walkuski has worked as a graphic designer and artist for publishing houses and theaters, as well as for the Polish film organisations Polfilm and Film Polski. He’s worked freelance since 1987 and has painted over 200 film posters. He continues to live and work in Warsaw. Walkuski’s official website features galleries of many of his designs and images of his other work.

He’s responsible for some incredible designs and two of my favourites include those he painted for Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves and the Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie.

True Romance / B2 / Shotgun scream style / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Following the shocking death of British director Tony Scott in 2012 there was plenty of discussion amongst fans as to the film that defined his career, which included such films as the none-more-80s Top Gun and several excellent Denzel Washington-starring thrillers such as Crimson Tide. There was only one film that I reached for from my blu-ray collection when I wanted to pay tribute to Scott and that was True Romance, the 1993 crime thriller starring Christian SlaterPatricia Arquette and a whole host of acclaimed actors. Featuring a fantastic script by Quentin Tarantino, the film is arguably the apex of Tony Scott’s directing career and clearly benefits from his skill at injecting energy and verve into every scene. The film is also likely to be the defining role in the careers of both Slater and Arquette who were perfectly cast as Clarence and Alabama, the young lovers thrown together at the start of the film and who set off on a rollercoaster ride that leads them from Detroit to Los Angeles with murderous gangsters on their tail.

Clarence is a film-obsessed, lonely video store clerk who is at a cinema watching a triple-bill of Sonny Chiba films when he is approached by Alabama. The pair strike up a friendship and before the night is over are head over heels in love. The only issue is that Alabama is a hooker, hired by Clarence’s work colleagues as a birthday present, and her pimp Drexl (a memorable Gary Oldman) is a violent drug dealer who none too keen to let her leave his employ. After a violent confrontation which sees Drexl dead and Clarence escaping with a suitcase full of cocaine. The pair first head to see Clarence’s father (Dennis Hopper) and then travel across the country to Los Angeles to see Clarence’s friend Dick Ritchie (Michael Rapaport) who has a potential lead for selling the drugs. Hot on their heels are a bunch of mobsters, as well as a pair of police detectives.

This is one of two styles of Japanese B2 posters and I’ve called this one the shotgun scream style as it features Arquette clutching a shotgun in one of the more intense scenes of the film. The other style features photographs of the rest of the cast and can be seen here.

Memento / B2 / red title style / Japan

09.07.14

Poster Poster

The film that launched Christopher Nolan into the international cinematic limelight, the ingenious mystery thriller Memento was written and directed by the man who would go on to helm the phenomenally successful Dark Knight Trilogy. Based on a short story by Jonathan Nolan the story focuses on a man called Leonard, played by Guy Pearce (an important role for the actor), who has no short term memory and is obsessively trying to solve the murder of his wife. Using scribbled notes, polaroids and tattoos, Leonard attempts to make sense of discoveries he makes and the interactions he has with people along the way, which includes Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and Carrie-Anne Moss, two characters who shift and change throughout the film as Leonard, and the audience, try to understand who’s ultimately responsible.

What makes the film so memorable is the way that the story is told with two timelines being shown one after another, one in black and white and chronologically ordered, and the other in colour and in reverse chronological order. The film opens with Leonard shooting and killing Teddy, but as the film progresses we see Teddy alive and the reason for the shooting eventually becomes clear, with a devastating reveal at the end of the film. This diagram gives you an idea of the way the story is told and the film continues to be discussed almost 15 years since its release (see here and here, for example). Critics and audiences responded positively to a film that felt genuinely fresh and different, particularly compared against a glut of sequels and identikit plots that were flooding the cinema at the end of the 1990s.

This is the Japanese B2 (red style) from the original release there back in 2001 and the design is unique to this poster. The American one sheet is markedly different and includes Carrie-Anne Moss.

 

Timebomb / Thailand

18.05.16

Poster Poster

An action-packed and colourful montage by the artist Tongdee features on this Thai poster for the release of the 1991 sci-fi thriller Timebomb. Produced by Raffaella De Laurentiis, the daughter of the legendary Italian producer Dino, the film was helmed by Avi Nesher, an Israeli producer, screenwriter and director. American actor Michael Biehn was chosen for the lead role after the director saw his performance in James Cameron’s The Abyss (1989) and British actress Patsy Kensit (who’s now mostly retired from acting) also appears. The plot is described thusly on Wikipedia:

Mild-mannered watchmaker Eddy Kay (Biehn) runs into a burning building to save a trapped woman and is featured in the news as a result. Watching the news, Colonel Taylor (Richard Jordan) is shocked to see Eddy, whom he had assumed to be dead. A game of cat and mouse begins as Eddy, with the help of psychiatrist Dr. Anna Nolmar (Patsy Kensit), tries to discover his past and why they want him dead.Eddy and Dr. Nolmar discover that he was part of a secret government program to create assassins. Using various sensory deprivation and brainwashing techniques, the assassins could be sent to infiltrate other organisations and facilities undetected and carry out programmed missions. Eddy manages to capture and interrogate one of the female assassins (Tracy Scoggins), finding out the Colonel’s current assassination plan. He then plots to confront Colonel Taylor and put an end to the assassination program once and for all.

The excellent artwork on this Thai poster is by 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. 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.

Scorpio / B2 / Japan

16.01.17

Poster Poster
Title
Scorpio
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Michael Winner
Starring
Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Paul Scofield, John Colicos, Gayle Hunnicutt, J.D. Cannon
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Paul Scofield, John Colicos, Gayle Hunnicutt, J.D. Cannon,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Scorpio is a 1973 spy thriller directed by the late Michael Winner. It was one of the first films that Winner worked on for American producers and reunited him with Burt Lancaster. The actor had starred in Winner’s American directorial debut, Lawman, three years earlier. French-Swiss superstar Alain Delon also stars and the film was one of several attempts the actor made to break into Hollywood. Lancaster plays Cross, an aging CIA agent and assassin, who is tasked with training Delon’s younger Jean ‘Scorpio’ Laurier in order to be his replacement. The plot is described on IMDb:

Cross is an old hand at the CIA, in charge of assassinating high-ranking foreign personalities who are an obstacle to the policies of the USA. He often teams up with Frenchman Jean Laurier, alias “Scorpio”, a gifted free-lance operative. One day, the CIA orders Scorpio to eliminate Cross — and leaves him no choice but to obey. Scorpio is cold-blooded and very systematic; however, as a veteran agent, Cross knows many tricks. He can also rely upon a network of unusual personal contacts, some dating back to the troubled years preceding WWII. A lethal game of hide-and-seek is programmed, but what are the true motives of every single player?

By all accounts the film was only a moderate success at the box-office and is largely forgotten today.

This Japanese B2 features a unique design but note the stylised logo that also features on some of the items used for the American campaign.

Straw Dogs / B2 / Japan

13.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Straw Dogs
AKA
--
Year of Film
1971
Director
Sam Peckinpah
Starring
Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Ken Hutchison
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna, Del Henney, Jim Norton, Donald Webster, Ken Hutchison,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Legendary American director Sam Peckinpah‘s contract with Warner Bros had come to an acrimonious end after the The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) ended up $3 million over budget and 19 days late. The notoriously prickly director found further opportunities very limited in Hollywood and decided to travel to England to film Straw Dogs, a thriller based on the novel The Siege of Trencher’s Farm by Scottish author Gordon Williams.

Starring Dustin Hoffman in arguably one of his greatest screen roles, the film sees timid mathematician David Sumner (Hoffman) leaving America to live with his English wife Amy (Susan George), in a fictional Cornish village. Before long David’s patience and resolve is tested by a gang of local men who harass the couple and, in a particularly controversial sequence, two of the men take it in turns to rape Amy. As the title of the source novel suggests, the film ends with a violent confrontation, which sees David pushed beyond the limits. Like many of Peckinpah’s films, Straw Dogs was heavily criticised for its violence, although the director defended the film as an exploration of the subject and claimed Hoffman’s character showed his true side during the climax.

This Japanese poster chose to focus on Hoffman as the film’s main draw, likely due to the successes of The Graduate and Midnight Cowboy in Japan at the end of the 1960s. The film seems to have been given unique advertising campaigns in most of the countries it was released in and there were a few US one sheets, including this classic image of Hoffman and a rather strange alternative style featuring a literal straw dog!

The original trailer is on YouTube.

The Parallax View / 30×40 / USA

14.10.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Parallax View
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Alan J. Pakula
Starring
Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, William Daniels, Walter McGinn, Hume Cronyn, Kelly Thordsen, Chuck Waters, Earl Hindman, William Joyce
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, William Daniels, Walter McGinn, Hume Cronyn, Kelly Thordsen, Chuck Waters, Earl Hindman, William Joyce,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/204
Tagline
As American as apple pie.

1974 was a good year for fans of conspiracy theory thrillers as it saw the release of Francis Ford Coppola‘s masterful The Conversation as well as this lesser known, but no less great, flick directed by Alan J Pakula (All the Presidents Men). It stars a poodle-haired Warren Beatty as a reporter investigating a sinister organisation behind a political assassination and remains one of the definitive cat and mouse thrillers of all time.

I’d argue that this poster features one of the best taglines of all time, certainly of the 1970s; it chillingly suggests that the misconduct of corporations featured in the film is business as usual.

I’m not certain who designed the poster so please get in touch if you have an idea.

The film features this memorable line of dialogue: “They say a martini is like a woman’s breast: one ain’t enough and three is too many.”

Here’s the superb original trailer.

True Romance / B2 / cast style / Japan

07.04.14

Poster Poster

Following the shocking death of British director Tony Scott in 2012 there was plenty of discussion amongst fans as to the film that defined his career, which included such titles as the none-more-80s Top Gun and several excellent Denzel Washington-starring thrillers such as Crimson Tide. There was only one film that I reached for from my blu-ray collection when I wanted to pay tribute to Scott and that was True Romance, the 1993 crime thriller starring Christian SlaterPatricia Arquette and a whole host of acclaimed actors. Featuring a fantastic script by Quentin Tarantino, the film is arguably the apex of Tony Scott’s directing career and clearly benefits from his skill at injecting energy and verve into every scene. The film is also likely to be the defining role in the careers of both Slater and Arquette who were perfectly cast as Clarence and Alabama, the young lovers thrown together at the start of the film and who set off on a rollercoaster ride that leads them from Detroit to Los Angeles with murderous gangsters on their tail.

Clarence is a film-obsessed, lonely video store clerk who is at a cinema watching a triple-bill of Sonny Chiba films when he is approached by Alabama. The pair strike up a friendship and before the night is over are head over heels in love. The only issue is that Alabama is a hooker, hired by Clarence’s work colleagues as a birthday present, and her pimp Drexl (a memorable Gary Oldman) is a violent drug dealer who none too keen to let her leave his employ. After a violent confrontation which sees Drexl dead and Clarence escaping with a suitcase full of cocaine. The pair first head to see Clarence’s father (Dennis Hopper) and then travel across the country to Los Angeles to see Clarence’s friend Dick Ritchie (Michael Rapaport) who has a potential lead for selling the drugs. Hot on their heels are a bunch of mobsters, as well as a pair of police detectives.

This is one of two styles of Japanese B2 posters and I’ve called this one the cast style. The other features a photo of Arquette clutching a shotgun in one of the more intense scenes of the film. Note that one of the cast members shown at the top of the poster is not actually seen in the film and if you’ve watched it you’ll know which one!

Lady Ice / 30×40 / USA

22.02.12

Poster Poster
Title
Lady Ice
AKA
I diamanti dell'ispettore Klute [The diamonds of inspector Klute] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Tom Gries
Starring
Donald Sutherland, Jennifer O'Neill, Robert Duvall, Patrick Magee, Jon Cypher, Eric Braeden, Buffy Dee, Perry Lopez
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Donald Sutherland, Jennifer O'Neill, Robert Duvall, Patrick Magee, Jon Cypher, Eric Braeden, Buffy Dee, Perry Lopez,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Ron Lesser
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/199
Tagline
That "Klute" guy and that "Summer of '42" girl pull of the coolest caper of the year.

Ron Lesser artwork on this 30×40 for the American release of this 1973 crime thriller starring Donald Sutherland and the gorgeous Jennifer O’Neill. Sutherland plays an insurance investigator who begins romancing O’Neill’s character when he suspects her of being a diamond thief. It was apparently made following the success of other ‘romance and thievery’ films such as The Thomas Crown Affair.

Lesser studied as a fine artist and much of his output appears to have been in the area of Western and military paintings, with particular focus on the American Civil War. He also worked on a number of book covers and multiple film posters during the 1970s, including the fantastic one sheet for High Plain’s Drifter. This website features galleries of his work as well as a mini biography.

The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

I’m a big fan of the none-more-1970s typeface used for the title and top-billed names, and it can be seen on a number of posters from the era. You’ll notice an Aston Martin DB5 is featured inside the diamond, along with several other scenes from the film.

The tagline references the previous hits of the two stars and for some reason the Italian title of the film even has Klute in the title, despite Sutherland playing a completely different character.

Twisted Nerve / 30×40 / USA

28.10.11

Poster Poster
Title
Twisted Nerve
AKA
--
Year of Film
1968
Director
Roy Boulting
Starring
Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Billie Whitelaw, Phyllis Calvert, Frank Finlay, Barry Foster, Salmaan Peerzada, Christian Roberts, Gretchen Franklin, Thorley Walters
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Hayley Mills, Hywel Bennett, Billie Whitelaw, Phyllis Calvert, Frank Finlay, Barry Foster, Salmaan Peerzada, Christian Roberts, Gretchen Franklin, Thorley Walters,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1969
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
69/87
Tagline
Cleaver. Cleaver. Chop. Chop. First the mom and then the pop. Then we'll get the pretty girl. We'll get her right between the curl.

Wild artwork for this British psychological thriller about a disturbed young man who pretends to be mentally retarded in order to be near Susan, a girl he has become infatuated with, killing those who get in his way. According to IMDb, the film’s controversial nature led to a prologue being added during post-production, explaining that there was no connection between Down’s Syndrome, at that time called Mongolism, and psychopathic behaviour.

Quentin Tarantino used the theme tune, by the great composer Bernard Hermann, in both Kill Bill and Death Proof (as Rosario Dawson’s character’s ringtone).

Apparently the film was difficult to see after its cinema release, likely due to the controversy at the time, and was only released on DVD a few years ago.

The whole film is currently available to watch on YouTube.

Two Minute Warning / B2 / Japan

04.03.15

Poster Poster
Title
Two Minute Warning
AKA
Panico nello stadio [Panic in the stadium] (Italy)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Larry Peerce
Starring
Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam, Beau Bridges, Marilyn Hassett, David Janssen, Jack Klugman, Gena Rowlands, Walter Pidgeon, Brock Peters
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charlton Heston, John Cassavetes, Martin Balsam, Beau Bridges, Marilyn Hassett, David Janssen, Jack Klugman, Gena Rowlands, Walter Pidgeon, Brock Peters,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 poster for the release of Two Minute Warning, a 1976 thriller set during an American Football championship match in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Featuring an all-star cast, the film sees a psychotic sniper take position inside the stadium with plans to take random shots into the crowd as part of a diversionary tactic for a gang of thieves at a nearby museum. Charlton Heston plays a police sergeant who must work with a SWAT captain played by John Cassavetes to find and apprehend the sniper. The story also focuses on people in the crowd, which includes an argumentative couple played by David Janssen and Gena Rowlands and an elderly pickpocket played by Walter Pidgeon. After several failed attempts to capture the sniper, all hell breaks loose in the stadium and disaster beckons unless he can be stopped.

This Japanese poster features a montage of images from the film above an illustration of the stadium and a stylised film title inside it. I’m unsure who’s responsible for the artwork so if you have any ideas please get in touch.

eXistenZ / B2 / Japan

01.03.12

Poster Poster

David Cronenberg‘s 1999 sci-fi thriller eXistenZ is not one of the director’s best, in my opinion, but it does contain typically excellent future-thinking concepts and his trademark body horror. The film is set in the near future and is focused on the idea of virtual reality gaming, far in advance of the ridiculous headgear and black plastic stands that briefly appeared in gaming arcades towards the end of the 1980s.

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a revered game designer called Allegra Geller who is forced to flee an exhibition of her latest product when an assassin attempts to kill her using a bizarre organic gun that fires human teeth. Ted Pikul (Jude Law) works for the games company and is instructed to accompany Allegra as she escapes with her damaged product. The software is stored on a living organic pod and a connection between players is made by plugging into the system via a ‘bioport’ at the bottom of the spine (hello creepy body invasion!). Allegra and Ted must start a new game in order to determine how badly damaged the pod is and it’s not long before the line between reality and the game world blurs completely. Who is responsible for the failed assassination attempt and who can Allegra trust to save the game, and ultimately her life?

The ideas that Cronenberg explores are unquestionably interesting but the low budget nature of the film doesn’t always support them very well, particularly when it comes to the sets and environments, which are mostly all drab and uninteresting. Jude Law and Christopher Eccleston both have painfully bad American accents and some of the actors playing minor parts are terrible. You could argue that this is intentional and part of the ‘game world’ but I’m not sure they can be forgiven. The ending is also pretty cliched and frustrating. Some hail the film as a masterpiece but I’m hard-pressed to understand why.

This Japanese poster features a unique image and is significantly more interesting than the drab and misleading US one sheet (lick the light!) or the ugly UK quad. The flesh coloured shapes around the edge are organic and include human hands and other body parts. The little pink lizard in the credit area is featured in the film as a stop-motion creature.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

I Saw the Devil / one sheet / style A / USA

16.11.11

Poster Poster
Title
I Saw the Devil
AKA
Akmareul boatda (South Korea - original title)
Year of Film
2010
Director
Jee-woon Kim
Starring
Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Gook-hwan Jeon, Ho-jin Jeon, San-ha Oh, Yoon-seo Kim
Origin of Film
South Korea
Genre(s) of Film
Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Gook-hwan Jeon, Ho-jin Jeon, San-ha Oh, Yoon-seo Kim,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
Gravillis Inc.
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Evil lives inside

Not one for the faint of heart, Jee-woon Kim‘s ‘I Saw the Devil‘ is further proof that some of the most exciting, visceral and challenging cinema continues to come out of South Korea. The film sees a serial killer, played by Min-sik Choi [Oldboy], enter into a brutal game of cat and mouse with a secret agent (Byung-hun Lee ) after killing his pregnant fiance. To say it features some disturbing scenes would be an understatement – this is not a date movie – it’s still a must see for fans of crime thrillers and Korean cinema; if you enjoyed Chan-wook Park‘s Vengeance Trilogy you need to see this film.

This simple but effective one sheet was designed by Gravillis Inc. for the limited release in the US earlier this year. There is also a style B one sheet which is markedly different but just as good, IMO.

The trailer is on YouTube.

The Andromeda Strain / B2 / Japan

23.02.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Andromeda Strain
AKA
--
Year of Film
1971
Director
Robert Wise
Starring
Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson, Kate Reid, Paula Kelly, George Mitchell, Ramon Bieri, Peter Hobbs, Kermit Murdock, Richard O'Brien
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olson, Kate Reid, Paula Kelly, George Mitchell, Ramon Bieri, Peter Hobbs, Kermit Murdock, Richard O'Brien,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A unique design on this Japanese poster for the classic sci-fi thriller The Andromeda Strain, which was based on Michael Crichton’s book of the same name. Despite clearly being a product of the early 1970s the film still stands up today and the events depicted are no less terrifying than they were 41 years ago; the threat of an unknown and deadly disease hangs over us all.

The story focuses on the mysterious deaths of the inhabitants of a small town in Arizona after a satellite crashes back to earth nearby. It’s suspected that the satellite was carrying an unknown extraterrestrial organism and a specialist team of scientists is despatched to investigate. They recover the satellite and also discover there are two survivors in the town; a delirious elderly man and a baby.  The team then heads to the specially constructed ‘Wildfire’ underground bunker where they must race against time (and the threat of nuclear destruction) to neutralise the alien threat with the help of the two survivors.

The visual effects were designed by Douglas Trumbull who has worked his magic on multiple classic films over the years, including 2001, Blade Runner and recently on The Tree of Life. Using techniques he’d honed on 2001, Trumbull was able to create realistic looking (for the time) screen displays without the need for an actual computer. The production design by Boris Leven is also fantastic with the bunker interior being particularly notable.

The US one sheet features the same shot of James Olson in the hermetically sealed suit with the uninfected baby.

The original trailer is available on YouTube.

 

Inside Out / one sheet / USA

25.07.12

Poster Poster
Title
Inside Out
AKA
Operazione Siegfried (Italy) | Hitler's Gold (USA - TV title)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Peter Duffell
Starring
Telly Savalas, Robert Culp, James Mason, Aldo Ray, Günter Meisner, Adrian Hoven, Wolfgang Lukschy, Charles Korvin
Origin of Film
UK | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Telly Savalas, Robert Culp, James Mason, Aldo Ray, Günter Meisner, Adrian Hoven, Wolfgang Lukschy, Charles Korvin,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 4/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Stash: 6 millions dollars in hidden gold. Four desperate men turn Berlin inside out to find it!

A British action thriller directed by Peter Duffell, Inside Out sees the inimitable Telly Savalas star as conman Harry Morgan who teams up with James Mason and Robert Culp on the hunt for a stash of Nazi gold hidden since the end of the Second World War. Duffell is perhaps best known for his TV work, but he also directed the classic Amicus horror The House That Dripped Blood, starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this US one sheet so get in touch if you have an idea. You’ll notice that there is some foxing present on the bottom part of this particular copy.

 

Duel / A1 / Germany

26.10.12

Poster Poster
Title
Duel
AKA
--
Year of Film
1971
Director
Steven Spielberg
Starring
Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone, Lou Frizzell, Eugene Dynarski, Lucille Benson, Tim Herbert
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone, Lou Frizzell, Eugene Dynarski, Lucille Benson, Tim Herbert,
Type of Poster
A1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Germany
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
23 5/16" x 33"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Steven Spielberg‘s brilliant Duel was originally made for TV but was later expanded by 16 minutes and released in cinemas around the globe, making it technically the director’s second feature-length film. One of the best thrillers ever made, the story follows businessman David Mann (Dennis Weaver) who is traveling along a two-lane highway on the way to an important meeting. After getting stuck behind a series of slow moving vehicles he decides to overtake a rusty tanker truck and manages to enrage the driver, thus beginning an episode of road rage that escalates beyond Mann’s worst nightmares.

Brilliantly, the psychotic truck driver is never fully shown, thus making it seem like it’s the truck itself that’s in deadly pursuit of Mann. The film was based on a short story by the legendary sci-fi author and screenwriter Richard Matheson who has penned countless classic novels, short stories and screenplays, including the original ‘I Am Legend’, and one of the best Twilight Zone episodes ever, ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet‘ (a similar kind of ‘single man versus relentless evil’ story).

One of the original trucks used in the film survives to this day and is pictured here along with a similar Plymouth Valiant to the one driven by Mann in the film.

This is the stark German poster for the first release of the film there in 1973 and it features a mixture of artwork and manipulated photography. I’m unsure who’s responsible for the art so please get in touch if you have an idea.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Lady In White / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lady In White
AKA
Scarlatti, il thriller [Scarlatti, the thriller] (Italy)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Frank LaLoggia
Starring
Lukas Haas, Len Cariou, Alex Rocco, Katherine Helmond, Jason Presson, Renata Vanni, Angelo Bertolini
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lukas Haas, Len Cariou, Alex Rocco, Katherine Helmond, Jason Presson, Renata Vanni, Angelo Bertolini,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The year is 1962. The place is Willowpoint Falls. Nobody talks about what happened in the school cloakroom 10 years ago. Now, in the dead of night, Frankie Scarlatti is going to find out why.

Dressed To Kill / quad / UK

16.05.12

Poster Poster
Title
Dressed To Kill
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Brian De Palma
Starring
Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies, Ken Baker, Susanna Clemm, Brandon Maggart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies, Ken Baker, Susanna Clemm, Brandon Maggart,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Every Nightmare Has A Beginning...This One Never Ends

Brian De Palma‘s 1980 erotic crime thriller Dressed to Kill is frequently held up as a high-watermark in the career of the virtuoso director, and the film saw him perfecting the technical and stylistic flourishes he had been honing in the years before with films such as Sisters (1973) and Obsession (1976). Blending obvious homages to Hitchcock (Vertigo and Psycho for starters) with several hallmarks of the Italian Giallo genre, the film features multiple plot twists and outlandish sequences, including the murder of one of the main characters after 35 minutes.

The plot ostensibly focuses on the murder of a sexually frustrated housewife, and the subsequent investigation by her son and the high-class call girl who was the only witness to the crime. It features memorable turns from Angie DickinsonNancy Allen (De Palma’s wife at the time) and Michael Caine in one of his more atypical performances. The reveal of the identity of the killer is one of the film’s most infamous moments and certainly lingers long in the memory after the credits roll.

This British quad is as subdued as the US one sheet, sharing the same stylised image of the killer peeking through the bathroom door (if memory serves me correctly this particular image was created specifically for the poster). The American one sheet features the moniker that De Palma had been given at the time; ‘The Master of the Macabre’.

The trailer is on YouTube.

The Watcher in the Woods / quad / UK

13.03.13

Poster Poster
Title
The Watcher in the Woods
AKA
Obserwator (Poland)
Year of Film
1980
Director
John Hough
Starring
Bette Davis, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards, Carroll Baker, David McCallum, Benedict Taylor, Frances Cuka, Richard Pasco, Ian Bannen
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Bette Davis, Lynn-Holly Johnson, Kyle Richards, Carroll Baker, David McCallum, Benedict Taylor, Frances Cuka, Richard Pasco, Ian Bannen,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
it is not a fairy tale

Another of Disney’s forays into live-action filmmaking (this was actually the studio’s second PG-rated film after 1979’s The Black Hole), The Watcher in the Woods is an eerie mystery thriller that absolutely terrified me when I first watched it as a child in the 1980s. An Anglo-American co-production, the film was helmed by John Hough and English director who had proved his horror chops with the adults-only The Legend of Hell House (1973) and was chosen by the American producer Ron Miller to work on this film. Legendary Hollywood actress Bette Davis was lined up to star and the year of production coincided with her 50th in the business.

The story sees an Anglo-American family move to a manor house surrounded by thick woodland that is owned by Mrs. Aylwood (Davis). One of the daughters, Jan (played by Lynn-Holly Johnson, the real-life figure-skater who would appear in For Your Eyes Only soon after), is told she bears a striking resemblance to Mrs Aylwood’s daughter Karen who went missing 30 years earlier. Jan begins to see strange apparitions in the forest and suffers a series of unexplainable phenomena. After discovering an abandoned church in the middle of the woods, Jan finds that there’s more to Karen’s disappearance than she’s been told and it’s not long before the secret behind the ‘Watcher’ is revealed.

This British quad features an illustration of the scene that terrified me the most when I first saw the film, which is the moment that a ritual is carried out inside the church during a violent thunderstorm. It also features an image of the Watcher in the form seen in the final release, but as the Wikipedia article on the film details there had originally been an alternative ending to the film that showed it in a much different form. The first ending apparently went down disastrously with test audiences and critics because of the poor quality of the creature effects and the studio took the decision to reshoot a new one without the participation of John Hough. The original ending can be viewed on YouTube.

This poster was illustrated by one of my favourite British artists, Brian Bysouth, who worked on a number of posters for Disney during the 1970s and 1980s, including for several of their animated titles. You can read my extensive interview with the man himself by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen by clicking here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

 

Operation of the Gun / Thailand

29.03.17

Poster Poster
Title
Operation of the gun
AKA
ผ่าปืน (Thai - original title)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Chalong Pakdeevijit
Starring
Sombat Metanee, Naowarat Yuktanan, Manop Aswathep
Origin of Film
Thailand
Genre(s) of Film
Sombat Metanee, Naowarat Yuktanan, Manop Aswathep,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Tongdee Panumas
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 30 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Dramatic and detailed artwork by Tongdee Panumas features on this poster for the release of the Thai film ‘Operation of the Gun’ (AKA Gun Cut, AKA Rifle, AKA Gunpowder). The original title is ผ่าปืน and it is unlikely to have ever been officially released in markets like the US and UK so the English title is up for debate. If anyone knows for sure whether it was given an official international title, please get in touch.

I know very little about the film, other than that it stars the famous Thai actor Sombat Metanee, who at one point was in the Guinness Book of Records for the most appearances by an actor. It’s calculated that he has starred in over 2000 film and TV shows during his career. Western audiences may have seen him appear in the Thai film Tears of the Black Tiger (2000). It was directed by Chalong Pakdeevijit (ฉลอง ภักดีวิจิตร) – the actual Western spelling of his name varies considerably from what I can tell – who directed a number of action thrillers, as this Thai Wikipedia page indicates.

Tongdee Panumas 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.

Note that this particular copy of the poster has been hand-signed by Tongdee and I bought it from someone who had visited Thailand, met the artist and had him sign a few posters. I’ve seen photographic evidence that it’s a genuine signature.

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).

The Silence of the Lambs / Thailand

15.04.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Silence Of The Lambs
AKA
Il silenzio degli innocenti [The silence of the innocents] (Italy)
Year of Film
1991
Director
Jonathan Demme
Starring
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons, Frankie Faison, Diane Baker, Charles Napier
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Kasi Lemmons, Frankie Faison, Diane Baker, Charles Napier,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1991
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
23 15/16 x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for the release of the unforgettable thriller The Silence of the Lambs, a film that would win multiple awards across the globe following its release in 1991. Based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris which was the second to feature the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a sociopathic serial killer who was the focus of several of his novels (in fact all but one) and featured in multiple films and a TV series since his first appearance in the novel Red Dragon (later released as the 1986 film Manhunter). The Silence of the Lambs was directed by Jonathan Demme and based on a screenplay by Ted Tally who would later adapt Harris again with another version of Red Dragon in 2002.

Jodie Foster gives a deservedly award-winning performance as the young FBI recruit Clarice Starling who excels during her training and is given the task of interviewing the incarcerated Lecter (a mesmerising, against-type performance by Anthony Hopkins). The Bureau wants to see if Lecter can help them in their hunt for another serial killer, dubbed Buffalo Bill, who is on the loose and has been skinning the corpses of his female victims. Lecter decides to toy with Clarice and she must work to gain his trust, whilst the audience are shown Bill picking up his next victim. The tension rises as Clarice closes in on the killer through clues given by Lecter and the stage is set for a nerve-shredding finale. The film won the ‘big five’ at the 1991 Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Actress for Hopkins and Foster, as well as Best Film, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for Tally. It would prove to be a huge hit across the globe and enter the cultural lexicon in a significant way. The character of Lecter continues to fascinate and a recent TV series (called simply Hannibal) was a cult success.

This Thai poster features excellent artwork by 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. 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.

The faces of Foster and Hopkins of course feature on the classic American posters, including the Style C one sheet which merges the two, although this is more like the UK quad. At first glance I thought that Tongdee had painted the montage at the bottom over a reproduction of the photographic originals but on closer inspection it’s clear that he repainted the whole lot, including the intricate details on the infamous Deaths Head moths (featuring the freaky ‘skull’ image). The montage below is unique to this poster and features four depictions of Lecter at various points in the film.

Breakout / one sheet / style A / USA

11.03.16

Poster Poster
Title
Breakout
AKA
Dieci secondi per fuggire [Ten seconds to escape] (Italy)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Tom Gries
Starring
Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, Jill Ireland
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charles Bronson, Robert Duvall, Jill Ireland,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Weezer
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/8"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/52
Tagline
Sentenced to 28 years in prison for a crime he never committed. Only two things can get him out - A lot of money and Charles Bronson!

This one sheet for the 1975 action film Breakout features one of those classic taglines that manages to sum up the plot of the film in a couple of sentences. Charles Bronson, flush from the international success of the 1974 thriller Death Wish, leads a star-studded cast, including Robert Duvall, Bronson’s then wife Jill Ireland and a young Randy Quaid. It was helmed by Tom Gries who had started out in television and eventually moved into features, including several westerns such as ‘100 Rifles’. Gries sadly passed away from a heart attack in 1977 but not before he’d worked with Bronson again for Breakheart Pass (also in 1975). The film is loosely based on a real even that’s detailed on the film’s Wikipedia page.

Duvall plays Jay Wagner who is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit that happened in Mexico, 2000 miles away from where he was at the time. Tried by a kangaroo court he is thrown in a grim Mexican jail after being sentenced to 28 years. When his wife Ann (Ireland) learns what’s happened she vows to break him out of the prison and decides to hire wily bush pilot Nick Colton (Bronson) and his improbably named partner Hawk Hawkins (Quaid). The pair make one attempt involving Quad dressing in drag that fails and decide to return with a helicopter. Unfortunately Ann has told Jay’s grandfather, the wealthy businessman Harris Wagner (legendary actor John Huston), their plans without realising that he’s behind Jay’s imprisonment due to an issue with some business deals. Nick and Hawk have to work hard to pull off the escape and avoid being busted by an agent called Cable who Harris sends after them.

Bronson plays his character with an atypical comedic edge, very unlike the roles that had made him a star. The film was a box-office hit, largely due to Columbia trying the then new method of saturation booking where 1300 cinemas across the US were sent prints of the film simultaneously, coupled with plenty of advertising. After it proved a success, Universal then used the method with Jaws the same year and, after the incredible blockbusting results of that release, film releasing tactics were changed forever.

This one sheet is the style A one sheet for the film and features the signature of an artist called Weezer, about whom I’ve been able to discover no information. If anyone has any details about them please get in touch. There’s also a style B one sheet for the film which has similar artwork by a different artist that can be seen here. It’s strange that both posters are so similar in layout and I’m not sure why the studio bothered.

The Fuller Report / B2 / Japan

21.03.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Fuller Report
AKA
Rapporto Fuller, base Stoccolma (Italy - original title)
Year of Film
1968
Director
Sergio Grieco
Starring
Ken Clark, Beba Loncar, Lincoln Tate, Jess Hahn, Paolo Gozlino, Serge Marquand, Sarah Ross, Mirko Ellis, Claudio Biava, Gianni Brezza, Nicole Tessier
Origin of Film
Italy | France
Genre(s) of Film
Ken Clark, Beba Loncar, Lincoln Tate, Jess Hahn, Paolo Gozlino, Serge Marquand, Sarah Ross, Mirko Ellis, Claudio Biava, Gianni Brezza, Nicole Tessier,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1970
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 4/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A dynamic photographic montage features on this Japanese B2 for the obscure 1968 action thriller, The Fuller Report. One of a number of films in the Eurospy genre, which were European co-productions (this is Italian and French) of espionage thrillers intended to capitalise on the huge success of the Bond films that began with Dr No in 1962. It’s estimated that there were over 50 films in the genre, with productions from all over Europe, including the UK. Some of the more famous films include those starring Dean Martin as the spy Matt Helm (four films including ‘The Silencers’) and France’s OSS 117 (8 films plus two homage spoofs in 2006 and 2009).

This film stars the American actor Ken Clark (perhaps best known as the character Stewpot in South Pacific) as Dick Worth, a skilled race driver who gets involved in an espionage plot. It’s IMDb page describes the plot thusly:

Ken Clark is a race car driver and a good one. Somehow, he becomes entangled in espionage involving a Russian Ballerina and a secret document called the Fuller Report. Not being any kind of a secret agent, Dick Worth [Clark] has to rely on his quick thinking, catlike reflexes and most of all, his luck to see him through. After all, the powers involved play only one way … for keeps!

The film takes in Stockholm, Zurich and London. Given the paucity of reviews on IMDb it appears to have disappeared from public availability and there are no obvious DVD or blu-ray releases of the film. However, it does seem to be available to stream on the American Amazon Instant service, should you want to see it.