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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.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World / screen print / regular / Martin Ansin / USA

12.10.12

Poster Poster

Ace director Edgar Wright‘s Scott Pilgrim vs The World was my favourite film of 2010 and is one of the most carefully crafted, brilliantly realised and wonderfully energetic films ever released. Based on a series of graphic stories created by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley, the film tells the story of the eponymous character, played in the film by Michael Cera, who falls for the alluring Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and must then battle her seven evil exes in order to win her heart. The actors playing the exes are perfectly cast and include Brandon RouthChris Evans and Jason Schwartzman.

The film is a visual treat and rewards multiple viewings thanks to the brilliant script, kinetic editing and careful inclusion of hidden elements (look out for the many ‘X’s secreted throughout the film, for example). Some of the effects have to be seen to be believed, including an amazing battle of the bands sequence featuring two building-sized dragons and one angry gorilla beast. Much was made of the fact that the film was a critical success but was unable to make much of a box-office impact on release, but there’s no question that the film has found, and will continue to find, an appreciative audience on home video.

The official film posters for the film were slightly disappointing considering the level of craft put into the film itself and I felt at the time that, despite an interesting advance poster, so much more could have been done.

This screen print was commissioned by the limited edition poster outfit Mondo for the Alamo Drafthouse premiere of the film. It was created by the incredibly talented Uruguayan designer and artist Martin Ansin, whose work has graced many of the best posters released by Mondo, including several in the Universal Monsters series, like this amazing Phantom of the Opera one. He perfectly captures the kinetic energy of the film and the title treatment is absolutely spot on, echoing as it does the use of type in the film itself. The artist also worked on a variant of the poster that features Nega Scott, seen briefly at the end of the film.

The other posters I’ve collected by Ansin can be seen here. His official website is well worth a browse.

Man of Steel / screen print / Martin Ansin / USA

03.07.15

Poster Poster

It’s fair to say that Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot Man of Steel divided both critics and audiences upon its release in 2013. Following Bryan Singer’s failed attempt to rekindle the franchise with the disappointment that was 2006’s Superman Returns, expectations were high for this film, coming as it did with production backing from Christopher Nolan who’d struck gold with his Batman trilogy. British actor Henry Cavill stepped into the role of Clark Kent / Kal-El and was joined by a number of notable actors, including Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent, his adoptive father, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. The film is effectively an origin story and opens with the destruction of Superman’s home planet of Krypton, resulting in the death of his father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and mother Faora-Ul (Antje Traue). The rest of the film deals with his arrival on earth and adoption by the Kent family, whose attempts to conceal their adopted son’s identity are threatened by the arrival of the evil Kryptonian General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his gang of miscreants.

The film is undoubtedly visually stunning with state of the art special effects but is lacking something in the storytelling department, certainly not helped by a fairly clunky script. A lot of the criticism about the film was levelled at the final quarter of the film that sees Superman face off against Zod in the middle of a Metropolis that is smashed to pieces by the two Kryptonians with seemingly no thought for the potential loss of life in the city. Additionally, the climactic scene is often cited as being very un-Superman. It also served as a prelude to 2016’s Batman vs Superman and the much anticipated Justice League film due the year after.

This screen print by the Uruguayan artist Martin Ansin was released by the incomparable Mondo, the Austin-based purveyors of limited edition posters and film merchandise. There is a variant that was printed onto a sheet of steel and only 130 of those were released. The regular edition was a timed-release and was available to purchase over a period of three days (standard Mondo releases are done at a random time on a first-come, first-served basis). This meant that the edition of the regular print ended up being 5585.

The pose of Superman was apparently inspired by a painting by the celebrated artist Alex Ross, which is itself a homage to the first issue of the Superman comic that was printed in 1939.

One of my favourite artists active today, Martin Ansin‘s work has graced many of the best posters released by Mondo, including several in the Universal Monsters series like this amazing Phantom of the Opera print and an excellent Dracula (1931) one. You only have to look at the gallery on his official site to see how talented an artist he is, with an eye for composition and detail unmatched by most of the artists in Mondo’s roster. To see the other posters I’ve collected so far that were designed by Ansin, click here.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World / screen print / Kevin Tong / USA

11.05.15

Poster Poster

Ace director Edgar Wright‘s Scott Pilgrim vs The World was my favourite film of 2010 and is one of the most carefully crafted, brilliantly realised and wonderfully energetic films ever released. Based on a series of graphic stories created by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley, the film tells the story of the eponymous character, played in the film by Michael Cera, who falls for the alluring Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and must then battle her seven evil exes in order to win her heart. The actors playing the exes are perfectly cast and include Brandon RouthChris Evans and Jason Schwartzman.

The film is a visual treat and rewards multiple viewings thanks to the brilliant script, kinetic editing and careful inclusion of hidden elements (look out for the many ‘X’s secreted throughout the film, for example). Some of the effects have to be seen to be believed, including an amazing battle of the bands sequence featuring two building-sized dragons and one angry gorilla beast. Much was made of the fact that the film was a critical success but was unable to make much of a box-office impact on release, but there’s no question that the film has found, and will continue to find, an appreciative audience on home video.

The official film posters for the film were slightly disappointing considering the level of craft put into the film itself and I felt at the time that, despite an interesting advance poster, so much more could have been done.

This screen print was commissioned by the limited edition poster outfit Mondo for a joint show with fellow artist Martin Ansin held at the Mondo Austin gallery during March 2014. Other films covered included Robocop, Flash Gordon and Alien. Badass Digest went to the show and interviewed Ansin and Tong, which can be read here and Collider.com ran an article featuring loads of images from the show.

Tong, who lives and works in Austin has collaborated with Mondo for a number of years, producing some fantastic pieces for a whole variety of films, including Bride of Frankenstein and Gravity. As well as film illustration he’s also worked on band posters and his official site has galleries of his work. EvilTender has an excellent interview with Tong that’s well worth a read.

 

Requiem For A Dream / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster

Pretty In Pink / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Pretty In Pink
AKA
Rose bonbon (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1986
Director
Howard Deutch
Starring
Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, James Spader
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, Annie Potts, James Spader,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
He's crazy about her. She's crazy about him. He's just crazy.

The Gate / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Gate
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Tibor Takács
Starring
Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp, Kelly Rowan, Jennifer Irwin
Origin of Film
Canada | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp, Kelly Rowan, Jennifer Irwin,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Renato Casaro
Size (inches)
29 15/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
There's a Passageway - A Gate Behind Which the Demons Wait to Take Back What Was Once Theirs. | ... pray it's not too late!

Star Wars / quad / Special Edition re-release / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Special Edition re-release
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
30 1/8" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
--

Raising Arizona / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Raising Arizona
AKA
Arizona Junior (Canada / France / Greece / Hungary / Italy / Sweden)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Joel Coen
Starring
Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, Frances McDormand, Randall 'Tex' Cobb, T.J. Kuhn
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson, John Goodman, William Forsythe, Sam McMurray, Frances McDormand, Randall 'Tex' Cobb, T.J. Kuhn,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A comedy beyond belief.

Dawn Of The Dead / 2004 / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dawn Of The Dead
AKA
--
Year of Film
2004
Director
Zack Snyder
Starring
Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Lindy Booth
Origin of Film
USA | Canada | Japan | France
Genre(s) of Film
Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Lindy Booth,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
2004
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
Tagline
When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.

Star Wars / quad / Oscars version / UK

12.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Oscars version
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977 (this version printed 1978)
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
May the force be with you

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market on the quad, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for this style C one sheet, as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

This particular style of the poster is known as the ‘Oscars version’, so called because it was printed once the film had won a handful of Academy Awards a few months after the original UK release. Whilst it would be nice to have the non-Oscar version I’m certainly not complaining, especially since this one is rolled and in fantastic condition.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and poster historian Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but his classic designs have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

Star Wars / quad / UK

25.11.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
First printing
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Tom Chantrell
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
May the force be with you

Not only is this probably the best poster artwork for the film that started the biggest sci-fi franchise of all, it’s also considered by many to be the greatest work by the late, great British artist Tom Chantrell. Declaring it so is not an easy decision to make since Chantrell illustrated thousands of posters during his long career and there are many classic designs to choose from, including several Hammer posters and a brilliant design for ‘One Million Years B.C.’. I have a number of other posters by him on this site for you to peruse.

In 2013 I interviewed Chantrell’s widow Shirley about their life together and she recalled how Tom would often ask her to pose so he could capture the correct stance for female characters appearing on his posters. Shirley recalls how the project came about for Tom:

Tom was given an invite to the premier showing and we all went along as a family. As soon as he’d seen the film he had the synopsis, the 10” x 8” press stills and then he started to think about how he was going to tackle the project. From beginning to end it took one month, which is a lot of work for one poster. He’d never taken that long before and I don’t think he did again.

Shirley once again posed for Tom and this time she was his Princess Leia. She not only still has the reference photos taken that day but also still has the same dress she wore.

This poster perfectly captures the excitement and adventure of the seminal sci-fi blockbuster and, although originally intended just to be used for the UK market, the art was liked so much by Lucasfilm that the decision was made to use it for a style C one sheet as well as for other posters around the world. George Lucas himself would later purchase the original artwork for his archives and I like to imagine it’s hanging on a wall in Skywalker Ranch.

This particular style of the poster is the first printing of the poster for the initial 1977 release in cinemas and this can be distinguished from the later printing known as the ‘Oscars version’, so called because it was printed once the film had won a handful of Academy Awards a few months after the original UK release. The ongoing success and phenomenon of the film meant that many more copies of the second version were printed as it was shown around the UK. The Oscars version is also in the Film on Paper collection and can be viewed here.

During the time I spent with Shirley we browsed through several boxes of the plentiful material she has kept from the days that Tom was working on film posters. I was amazed to see that he had retained the original invoice that he had sent to 20th Century Fox (Star Wars’ UK distributors) and some letters from Fox relating to the invoice, which confirmed that he had been paid the sum of £1000 for his original work on the art. These can be viewed by accessing picture thumbnails 28 and 29.

Sadly, Tom Chantrell passed away in 2001 and my friend, and author of the must own British Film Posters: An Illustrated History, Sim Branaghan wrote his obituary for the Guardian. He may no longer be with us but Tom Chantrell’s classic artworks have stood the test of time and continue to impress decades later.

Naked Lunch / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Naked Lunch
AKA
Hadaka no lunch (Japan)
Year of Film
1991
Director
David Cronenberg
Starring
Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider, Monique Mercure, Nicholas Campbell, Michael Zelniker
Origin of Film
Canada | UK | Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider, Monique Mercure, Nicholas Campbell, Michael Zelniker,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1991
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
26 6/8" x 39 11/16"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Exterminate all rational thought

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!

Angel Heart / A1 / Germany

24.09.14

Poster Poster

This is the original German poster for the release of Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, featuring excellent portraits of its two main stars, Robert De Niro and Mickey Rourke, that were painted by Renato Casaro. An occult mystery thriller, the film was adapted by Parker, a British screen writer, producer and director, from the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. Set in 1955, the story follows private detective Harry Angel (Rourke) after he is hired by a law firm to find a missing pre-war singer called Johnny Favorite on behalf of their enigmatic client Louis Cyphre (De Niro). The trail leads Angel to a hospital where Favorite was last seen and he discovers that the singer was taken away by a mysterious benefactor whilst suffering from dementia caused by war injuries. He next travels to New Orleans in search of his ex-wife and then one of Favorite’s former band mates, but as the witnesses he meets all end up murdered Angel suspects that all is not what it seems with Cyphre and finding the truth about the singer’s disappearance becomes more than just another job.

The poster was designed and painted by one of my favourite artists, Renato Casaro, an Italian with a prolific movie poster output that lasted over 35 years. He began his career in 1953, aged 19, at the famous Studio Favalli in Rome and would go on to design and paint posters for many of the biggest directors in the world. His skill at accurately portraying actors and his brilliant use of colour and composition saw him much in demand from studios and actors alike. His artwork has featured on posters used in multiple countries, including Japan, Germany, USA as well as in his native Italy.

Check out the incredible amount of work on his official website here, which also features a biography of the artist. In March 2014 I published an exclusive interview with Renato and it can be read by clicking here. The other posters I’ve collected by Renato Casaro are here.