You Searched For: Vic%2BFair

The Thirty-Nine Steps / 1978 / one sheet / UK

03.11.17

Poster Poster

This is the UK one sheet (sometimes referred to as English one sheet) for the 1978 version of The Thirty-Nine Steps, based on the 1915 magazine serial-turned-book of the same name by the Scottish author John Buchan. The story has been turned into a film a number of times, including a 1935 version by Alfred Hitchcock that was later remade in 1959. This version, directed by the late Don Sharp (Psychomania, a couple of Hammer horror films), is considered to be the most faithful to Buchan’s original book. The film is set in the UK in 1914 and focuses on the character of Richard Hannay (whom Buchan would return to for five other novels) who becomes embroiled in a nefarious plot by German sleeper agents to start a war by assassinating a visiting foreign minister. Robert Powell plays Hannay and a host of notable British actors also feature, including John MillsDavid Warner and Eric Porter

The film makes great use of real locations all over the UK, including in Scotland where the bulk of the film takes place. It’s most known for a climactic sequence that occurs on the clock face of London’s Big Ben tower (in reality a large scale model on a set) that aped a sequence from Harold Lloyd’s 1923 film Safety Last. The film was a box-office success and would later spawn a TV series featuring the same character and starring Powell, called simply Hannay.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Vic Fair, who was one the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing. He was responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here. He sadly passed away in early 2017 but his great legacy lives on.

It shares some similarities with another poster Fair designed and illustrated for Rank (the production company and distributor), the 1977 horror anthology The Uncanny.

Note also that there’s another version of this one sheet which has a stylised title logo in the space on the right and can be seen here. I’m not sure why some have it and others don’t but I suspect the one without was a printing error, or a first printing.

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were designed and/or illustrated by Vic Fair click here.

Inserts / quad / style A / UK

22.07.16

Poster Poster
Title
Inserts
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
John Byrum
Starring
Richard Dreyfuss, Jessica Harper, Bob Hoskins, Veronica Cartwright, Stephen Davies
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Dreyfuss, Jessica Harper, Bob Hoskins, Veronica Cartwright, Stephen Davies,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Vic Fair
Size (inches)
30" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
"Women in Love", "Last Tango in Paris" and "Emmanuelle" - Now...

Striking artwork by the British artist Vic Fair on this quad poster for the release of the 1975 film Inserts. The film was the debut film of writer/director John Byrum, an American who appears to have spent quite a lot of time writing, producing and directing TV shows, although his last credit was for Duets (2000). The film is set in Hollywood in the 1930s and deals with actors and directors who were struggling to make the transition from silent films into ‘talkies’ so instead turned to making pornography for a living. Rather unusually the film was shot in the style of a stage play, on one set and in real time, with only five actors in total. The cast is rather impressive and features Richard Dreyfuss (the same year that Jaws was released), Jessica Harper (Suspiria) and the late Bob Hoskins in one of his first major film roles. The plot is described thusly on IMDb:

A once-great silent film director, unable to make the transition to the new talkies, lives as a near-hermit in his Hollywood home, making cheap, silent sex films, and suffering in the knowledge of his sexual impotence, and apathetic about the plans to demolish his home to make way for a motorway. His producer and his producer’s girlfriend come by to see how he is doing (and to supply heroin to the actress as her payment). The girlfriend stays to watch them filming, and is deeply impressed by his methods. When the actress goes to the bathroom, and dies there of an overdose, the girlfriend takes her place in the film. Then the producer returns…

Sadly the film was a critical and commercial failure on its release, not helped by the fact that it was given a very prohibitive X certificate in the US, which was later downgraded to NC-17 after a battle with the sensors that Dreyfuss himself was involved in. The user reviews on IMDb are a little less damning than the professional critics were at the time of its cinema release.

This quad poster was both designed and painted by Vic Fair who is one the most important characters ever to work in British film marketing. He is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

Note that there are also at least two other styles of British quads for the release of Inserts, including this style B one (image taken from Moviepostermem.com) which was based on Vic’s design but was painted by the celebrated Italian artist Arnaldo Putzu.

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen / one sheet / international

25.04.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1988
Director
Terry Gilliam
Starring
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey
Origin of Film
UK | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurman, Robin Williams, Peter Jeffrey,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Renato Casaro | Vic Fair (main figure)
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Remarkable. Unbelievable. Impossible. And true.

This is the international one sheet for the release of the 1988 fantasy comedy The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which was co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam. Based on the tall tales that the real-life 18th century German Baron Münchhausen allegedly told about his wartime dealings with the Ottoman Empire, the film is a riotous exploration of the power of storytelling and imagination. Gilliam plucked the veteran actor John Neville, in his early sixties at the time, from near obscurity to play the titular Baron who teams up with a young girl and a whole host of bizarre characters to save an unnamed European city from defeat by a besieging Turkish army. 

Actress (and recently director) Sarah Polley appears in her first screen role as Sally Salt, a member of a theatre troupe that has been touring the country showing farcical reconstructions of Munchausen’s supposed adventures. At one show the real Baron arrives into the theatre just as a Turkish army appears outside the city walls and begins to attack. What follows is a madcap mix of improbable, recollected tales and daring adventures as the Baron takes Sally on a journey to gather together his old gang of associates, including the fastest runner in the world (Eric Idle), a giant strongman and a dwarf able to expel powerful gusts of wind that can knock tens of people over. Their journey takes them to the moon where they encounter the eccentric King of the Moon (a memorable cameo from Robin Williams), into the crater of an active volcano where they meet the Roman God Vulcan (Oliver Reed) and his wife Venus (one of Uma Thurman‘s earliest film roles) and inside the belly of a giant sea monster, before they head back to the besieged city to rescue it from certain defeat.

Featuring a number of notable actors, often in dual roles that reflect the film’s clever play on the idea of fantasy and reality, the story is never anything less than entertaining and the action on screen completely belies the ridiculous behind the scenes travails that Gilliam went through to bring his vision to life. The film suffered a number of setbacks during its production, including a budget that more than doubled and a change of management at the studio that almost saw the film cancelled entirely (production was shut down for several weeks). The film was eventually practically dumped into cinemas in the States with a limited release that saw a corresponding lack of box office takings, and this was despite strong critical reception. It faired better in Europe but was unable to recoup its reported budget of over $45 million.

This poster’s creation saw the pairing of two not inconsiderable talents in the shape of the British designer and artist Vic Fair and the prolific designer/artist Renato Casaro. More details of each of them can be found in the two exclusive interviews I carried out with each for the website: Vic Fair interview and Renato Casaro interview.

In his interview Vic talks about working with Gilliam (and the interview also features a concept illustration by the artist):

———————–

What was it like working with Terry Gilliam?
‘It could be quite frustrating sometimes as he’d get me to do loads of work and then at the very last minute he’d change his mind and ask someone else to do it. He had this team of artists and designers always on call and often they’d end up taking over, so it often felt like a waste of time.

He was really good at making you feel like you’d solved all his marketing problems though. He used to say things like ‘That’s it! You’ve done it! It’s perfect!’ and he’d kick the bloke off the chair sitting next to him and usher you to take his place at the table. You’d have all these other chaps on his team looking enviously at you, but you knew that it wasn’t over and that there’d be more designs to come. A couple of days later you’d discover that he’d changed his mind and wanted to see some more ideas for the design.’

———————–

In his interview, Renato recalls working with Vic on this poster:

————————

‘One other thing that’s important to say is that I was generally not beholden to an art director and usually I was the designer and the artist on every film poster I worked on. One exception was a pleasant collaboration that I had with the British designer Vic Fair for a poster for The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. He had designed a one sheet intended for international use and I worked on the painting for it. I would always make sure to watch the film first, or if that wasn’t possible receive stills from the production, or in some cases even visit the set whilst they were filming, as I mentioned. But I was never working to someone else’s design direction – at Studio Casaro I always made sure I had complete creative control on movie jobs.’

———————–

Vampire Circus / quad / UK

06.02.14

Poster Poster

Iconic Vic Fair artwork graces this UK quad for the release of Hammer Films‘ 1972 horror Vampire Circus. Released at a time when the popularity of British gothic horror tales was on the wane, particularly when compared against the more explicit, contemporary horrors coming out of Hollywood (Rosemary’s Baby and later The Exorcist), the film nevertheless managed to stand out from a glut of other films produced by the studio around the same time. A decent script, typically excellent production design and a raft of quality British thespians all help to make Vampire Circus one of the more memorable films to be produced by the House of Horror before its first demise picked up pace a couple of years later

Set in a small village in the studio’s customary ‘mittel-Europe’ sometime in the 19th century, a lengthy pre-credits sequence shows a young girl being led into the castle of vampire Count Mitterhaus by Anna (Domini Blythe), the wife of local schoolmaster Albert Müller (Laurence Payne). Soon after the girl is murdered by the vampire, a group of villagers led by Müller storm the castle, stake the Count and burn the castle to the ground. Anna manages to drag the dying vampire to the crypt beneath the castle and before he perishes he curses the villagers and promises that their children will die to give him back his life. Fast-forward fifteen years, the village is beset by a plague and blockaded by the authorities with the miserable villagers fearing that this is the Count’s doing.

One day the eponymous travelling troupe arrives, having apparently snuck past the blockades, led by a mysterious gypsy woman (Adrienne Corri) and containing a ragtag bunch of performers, including a mischievous clown dwarf, a set of flying twins, an erotic tiger dancer (as depicted on this poster) and Emil, a shape-shifting artiste. At first the villagers are happy to be entertained by the circus as it gives them a reprieve from their misery, but it soon becomes clear that the gang have an ulterior motive for being there. Before long the Count’s dying promise is being kept by Emil, who it turns out is a ‘kinsman’ of Mitterhaus, and the leaders of the village must battle to try to stop the murder of their children and the resurrection of the cursed Count. It’s a well-paced film and certainly a stand-out feature in Hammer’s output of the early 1970s, only let down by some dodgy special effects, which can be explained by a curtailed production period and the dwindling budgets of the time.

During my interview with Vic Fair that was published at the end of 2013 I asked the artist about his work on the poster and this is an excerpt from that article (which also features an image of the original sketch created for the poster):

‘I enjoyed working on the quad I designed for Vampire Circus. I’d wanted to design something that might have been used to advertise an actual circus. The animals on there were pretty much copied directly from a children’s book, as I really didn’t have that much time to work on it. I thought they looked quite amusing, since they’re not exactly anatomically correct portraits of tigers and lions! I also had fun sneaking in the hidden male members, which was really just meant as a bit of a tease towards certain people behind the scenes. I can’t believe I got away with it really.’

To see the other posters I’ve collected that were designed by Vic click here.

Note that this copy came from Vic’s personal archive and it is signed in the bottom right-hand corner.

Castaway / 1986 / quad / UK

18.11.13

Poster Poster

An excellent use of a classic optical illusion graces this British quad for the release of Castaway, a film based on the true story of a British man called Gerald Kingsland who decided to try living as a modern day Robinson Crusoe on a remote island near Australia in 1980. Kinglsand put an advertisement in London’s Timeout magazine looking for a woman to share a year with him on the island and, surprisingly, a woman named Lucy Irvine, who was less than half his age, agreed to join him. The pair lived on Tuin Island for close to a year and almost perished from malnutrition before being rescued by natives from another island. The pair returned to the UK and both wrote a book about their experiences. Lucy Irvine’s Castaway was published in 1983 and was the basis for this film.

British director Nic Roeg (Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth) took on the project and a hirsute, portly Oliver Reed was cast as Kingsland, whilst a then relatively unknown Amanda Donohoe was hired to play Irvine. Filming took place in the Seychelles and Roeg changed several elements of the original book but most of the major events were kept in place. Donohoe certainly puts in a brave performance (read: she’s naked for a vast majority of the running time) and Reed was arguably perfect casting as Kingsland.

This quad was created by the British designer and artist Vic Fair who had worked with Roeg on a number of his posters, including the iconic one he designed and illustrated for The Man Who Fell to Earth. Originally the artist Brian Bysouth, a frequent collaborator with Vic, was asked to paint a ‘final’ version of the artwork based on Fair’s rough, but Roeg apparently liked the original version so much that they decided to print it instead. The use of optical illusions and juxtaposition of elements was a common theme with Vic Fair’s work.

The Uncanny / one sheet / UK

22.06.15

Poster Poster

A striking design on this poster for the 1977 British-Canadian horror anthology The Uncanny, which is based around the unlikely theme of malevolent cats. The film is often mistakenly credited as being an Amicus Productions anthology (like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror) but it was in fact a Rank release with the involvement of Milton Subotsky, one half of the Amicus team, which had disbanded in 1975.

The film features three stories told as part of an overarching framing tale that sees Peter Cushing as a British author visiting his agent in Montreal to present the idea for his next book, which is that all cats are inherently evil, supernatural creatures. To illustrate his reasoning he tells three separate tales, each from different eras and locations. The first is set in London and sees Miss Malkin (Joan Greenwood) a sick, wealthy widower leave her fortune to her houseful of cats, which angers her only nephew. He enlists the help of the housemaid Janet (Susan Penhaligon) who attempts to steal the copies of the will but disturbs the elderly woman as she’s doing so and kills her in the struggle that follows. Much to Janet’s surprise, the moggies then take their revenge on her and the nephew.

The second story is based in Quebec and sees Lucy (Katrina Holden Bronson) an orphaned girl, going to live with her Aunt and bringing her beloved cat Wellington with her. After being mistreated by the family who decide to try and dispose of Wellington, Lucy seeks help from her collection of witchcraft books and takes out her anger on her malicious cousin Angela. The final story is set in Hollywood during the 1930s and features Donald Pleasence giving it his all as an actor who rigs an onset accident that kills his wife so he can shack up with his mistress, a younger actress. Unfortunately, his wife’s cat is none too pleased with its owner being offed and sets out to get its revenge, which it does in a ridiculous finale.

The film features very little in the way of horror, with only some very fake looking blood in a few scenes and absolutely nothing in the way of suspense. The special effects are mostly awful and in the scenes where cats are supposedly attacking people you can practically see the hands of the animal handlers who’ve just thrown them at the victim. The middle story set in Canada is particularly poor, thanks to a woeful performance by the actress playing Lucy. The simple fact is that cats are not particularly scary and anyone who owns a cat knows that the worst that might happen is a bit of scratched skin. Apparently the film flopped at the box office and was never even given a release in American cinemas.

This poster was designed and illustrated by Vic Fair, who is one the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing. He is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

To see the other posters I’ve collected by him click here.

Black Emanuelle / quad / UK

26.03.14

Poster Poster
Title
Black Emanuelle
AKA
Emanuelle nera (original title)
Year of Film
1975
Director
Bitto Albertini
Starring
Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert, Angelo Infanti, Isabelle Marchall, Gabriele Tinti, Don Powell, Venantino Venantini
Origin of Film
Spain | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert, Angelo Infanti, Isabelle Marchall, Gabriele Tinti, Don Powell, Venantino Venantini,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Vic Fair
Size (inches)
30" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
A new experience in sensuality.

A striking design by British artist Vic Fair features on this UK quad for the release of Black Emanuelle, an Italian-Spanish softcore sexploitation by cinematographer turned director Bitto Albertini. One of the first films to cash in on the success of the internationally successful French softcore film Emmanuelle (note the dropped ‘m’), which had been released a year earlier.

Indonesian-born actress Laura Gemser stars as the journalist Mae Jordan, known to her readers as Emanuelle, who travels to Africa on an assignment. Whilst staying at the house of a married couple Emanuelle begins an affair with both of them leading her to question both her sexuality and racial identity. The film was successful enough to spawn several sequels and quasi-sequels, several of which were directed by prolific Italian schlockmeister Joe D’Amato and featured Gemser.

One of the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing, Vic Fair is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. Despite working on all of the posters for the British ‘Confessions…’ series of comedy softcore films, this quad for Black Emanuelle was one of a tiny handful of sexploitation posters that Fair worked on during his career. In 2013 I published an interview with Vic Fair and this poster was mentioned:

————————-

The poster you designed for Black Emanuelle is really striking.
Thanks, I came up with the idea of using the arch of her back as the mountain and the final touch was using the title treatment to cover her modesty. The softcore porn posters were always served quite well by working with pastels.

————————–

The interview also features an image of an early sketch painting for the poster that can be viewed here.

Legend of the Werewolf / one sheet / UK

30.01.12

Poster Poster

British designer and illustrator Vic Fair is responsible for the arresting poster for this 1975 horror film Legend of the Werewolf directed by Freddie Francis and produced by Tyburn Film Productions. Francis is probably best known as an Academy-Award winning cinematographer (Sons and Lovers, Glory), and he worked with David Lynch on The Elephant Man, Dune and The Straight Story. He’s also responsible for directing a slew of films for the British production companies Hammer, Amicus and Tigon, including Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors and Dracula has Risen from the Grave.

Tyburn was apparently set up by Freddie Francis’ son, Kevin, and was only active for a short period, producing three horror films in 1975, including this one, The Ghoul and Persecution. I wasn’t able to discover much more information about the company so please get in touch if you know anything of note.

The story is set in 19th century France and focuses on Etoile (David Rintoul) who is raised by wolves and is later found and adopted by a sideshow troupe traveling through the forrest. He eventually escapes to Paris and becomes infatuated with a prostitute (Lynn Dalby), but when her clients begin to be brutally murdered a police surgeon (Cushing) begins to suspect all is not quite right with Etoile.

Sim Branaghan, author of the excellent book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History is a fan of the film and sent this through to me shortly after I added the poster to the site:

I actually know a large amount about this film – and Tyburn – for the simple reason that a book was published by the BFI back in 1976, which exhaustively documented its production. The film happens to be one of my personal favourites and I think it is witty, thoughtful, and finally genuinely moving (if only in a small way). Tony Hinds’ script is classic dark-fairy-tale, the acting fine, Francis’s direction skilfully-unobtrusive and Harry Robinson’s score absolutely terrific. Cushing gives his usual model, controlled performance (rather more light-hearted than usual), Ron Moody is excellent, and David Rintoul fresh and sympathetic as the werewolf.

The supporting cast is a bit mixed, but nobody actively embarrasses themselves. Yes, the film is painfully low-budget and sometimes looks pretty threadbare, but it has HEART. Historically, it’s hugely significant as the last Costume Gothic produced in the UK (almost exactly eighteen years after the first, Curse of Frankenstein, back in autumn 1956). Hinds and Cushing worked on both of course, and the sense of fin-de-siecle here is palpable, and very poignant to a true fan of the genre.

Obviously all criticism is subjective, and you might well find plenty of other horror fans who’ll cheerfully tell you Legend is a pile of shite.  But they’d be wrong. 

The pictures of the poster don’t do the striking neon colours justice and I believe it was done with a type of screen-printing as they are particularly solid and bright in person.

Here’s a clip from the film featuring a red-tinted werewolf-vision attack.

The Man Who Fell to Earth / quad / UK

18.08.11

Poster Poster

An absolutely superb design by British artist Vic Fair for Nic Roeg’s seminal sci-fi film The Man Who Fell to Earth. The typography alone is a thing of beauty, particularly that of the main title – I’m not sure who designed it but it’s an undoubted classic. The rock band Iron Maiden later used it for their own band logo.

This is perhaps the best known of Vic Fair’s designs, though he is responsible for many other great posters from the sixties, seventies and eighties, including several for Hammer Horror, Lisztomania and quads for the infamous ‘Confessions…’ series of films. I plan to post another of his best designs in the next few weeks.

This poster is featured in Sim Branaghan’s superb ‘British Film Posters: An Illustrated History’ and he notes:

Probably the best known of Fair’s posters, and the only one regularly credited to him, since he liked it so much at the time he actually signed it.

I personally think this is David Bowie’s finest starring role and no one else could have portrayed the oddity that is Thomas Newton quite as well as him. It’s not my favourite of Nic Roeg’s films though (that would be Don’t Look Now).

The brilliantly nuts original US trailer can be seen on YouTube.

 

Escape to Victory / quad / UK

13.06.14

Poster Poster

Something of a cult classic, Escape to Victory is arguably the most famous film to revolve around The Beautiful Game. Based on 1962 Hungarian film called Két félidő a pokolban by director Zoltán Fábri the film, which is set during WWII, tells the story of a football match played in Paris by a team of Prisoners of War against a German side, seen as a propaganda event. The team is led by John Colby (Michael Caine) who is determined to win the game despite the distraction of other POWs who want to use the cover of the game to escape. Sylvester Stallone plays Hatch, an American POW who is at the vanguard of the escape attempt and actually manages to get out of the camp prior to the game to meet up with resistance leaders in Paris. After planning the big breakout, Hatch must get recaptured and returned to the POW camp in order to communicate the plans to the others. When the big day arrives, Hatch is put into goal and Colby persuades the team to see the match through to the final whistle before they make their escape.

The film notoriously features a host of real life professional footballers who were involved in the game and doubled for the actors or played on the German team, including the Brazilian superstar PeléBobby MooreOsvaldo Ardiles and a whole host of players from the English team Ipswich Town, who were one of the most successful British sides at the time of the film’s release. English goalkeeping legend Gordon Banks, who played during the 1966 world cup that England won, worked behind the scenes and coached Stallone to ensure his scenes in goal were realistic enough for the film’s audience.

This UK quad takes the central figures from the US one sheet (where the film was titled simply Victory) that were painted by the artist David Jarvis and adds a montage that was illustrated by the British designer Vic Fair, who also designed the poster. Jarvis is perhaps best known for his illustration on the US one sheet for Walter Hill’s The Warriors. Having completed a degree in illustration at the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design, Jarvis went on to work as a freelance illustrator producing over thirty designs for film posters, as well as record sleeves, magazine covers and more. He also worked as an artist for Disney studios on the films Mulan and Tarzan. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

One of the most important designer/artists ever to work on British film marketing, Vic Fair is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed the artist for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

The Emerald Forest / Thailand

20.10.15

Poster Poster

A detailed painting on this Thai poster for the release of John Boorman‘s adventure film The Emerald Forest. Bill Markham (Powers Boothe) is an engineer working on the construction of a dam in the jungles of Brazil who has brought his wife and young children with him to live there. One day his son Tommy disappears and the family discover that he has been kidnapped by an indigenous tribe called the Invisible People. Markham spends years searching for his son and it’s not until a decade later that he finally locates him, only to discover that he’s now fully assimilated into the tribe. The dam is nearing completion and Markham decides to help his son’s adopted tribe before their way of life is totally destroyed. Tommy/Tomme is played by Charley Boorman, the director’s own son.

The painting was done by the Thai artist Tongdee Panumas and elements of it were based on the design and illustration that was done for the British poster by Vic Fair and Brian Bysouth (notably the faces at the top and the figures running away in the bottom left). The art was one of several collaborations between the two immensely talented British designer-illustrators Like the withdrawn A View to a Kill UK one sheet, Vic was on design duties and is responsible for this brilliantly clever composition that juxtaposes the face of Powers Boothe with that of a tribesman, using the device of the multi-stranded leaf. Brian executed the final illustration in his typically detailed style with the use of careful brush strokes and airbrush techniques to give the whole thing a nice texture.

Vic and Brian were unquestionably two of the greatest talents ever to work on British film posters, which make collaborations like this even more special. For more information on the pair I highly recommend picking up a copy of ‘British Film Posters‘ as it features sections on both men. Here are the posters I’ve collected so far by Brian Bysouth and those by Vic Fair (with more to add over the coming months). In December 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and this poster was discussed.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) 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 Sea Wolves / one sheet / UK

01.03.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Sea Wolves
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen
Origin of Film
Switzerland | UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Arnaldo Putzu
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The last charge of the Calcutta Light Horse.

Featuring great art by Arnaldo Putzu, this is the UK one sheet for the 1980 action film The Sea Wolves, which is based on real events that occurred during the Second World War. As mentioned on the poster, the story is based on the exploits of ex-members of the Calcutta Light Horse, a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army that was formed in 1872 and was disbanded a couple of years after the end of WWII. The plot sees British intelligence discovering that a Nazi radio ship is broadcasting the coordinates of allied ships from a harbour in Portuguese Goa, which was neutral during the war, so an all out assault cannot be launched by the Navy because of this.

British Intelligence officers Col. Lewis Pugh (Gregory Peck) and Capt. Gavin Stewart (Roger Moore) lead the operation and covertly enlist retired officer Col. Bill Grice (David Niven) of the Calcutta Light Horse & some of his former soldiers. The gang sneak into Goa and arrange a diversion on the evening of a planned raid, before making their way to the radio ship carrying enough explosives to sink it and put a stop any more transmissions. The film reunited much of the creative team behind an earlier OAPs on a mission film, 1978’s The Wild Geese, including director Andrew V. McLaglen, screenwriter Reginald Rose, producer Euan Lloyd and several of the stars.

Arnaldo Putzu was born in Rome in 1927 and began painting from a very early age and in 1948 he got involved with the world of film publicity under the guidance of the famous artist Enrico De Seta. Eventually Putzu would gain enough confidence in his abilities to set up his own agency and it was this move that saw him getting involved in work for the British studio Rank. Eric Pulford was so impressed with his work that he brought him over to London to work at Downtons in 1967.

The artist worked on many posters whilst living over here and also gained notoriety for lending his talents to the popular children’s magazine Look-in for which he painted almost every cover during its publication lifetime. His best known poster is undoubtedly the one he painted for the Michael Caine gangster classic Get Carter in 1971. My friend and author of the must-own British Film Posters book, Sim Branaghan, met Putzu during the making of his book and describes it as a very memorable experience in the interview I published in 2012. Putzu sadly passed away the same year, aged 85, and Sim wrote an excellent obituary for The Guardian newspaper, which can be read here.

The poster was designed by the British designer and artist Vic Fair who is one the most important people ever to work on British film marketing. He is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

I also have the quad poster for the film which can be seen here.

An interview with Vic Fair

02.12.13

In the history of British film posters there are few characters as significant and influential as the designer and artist Vic Fair. During a career that spanned close to forty years, many of them spent as part of the same ever-evolving agency, Vic lent his inimitable style to several of the most iconic British posters ever printed. He designed marketing campaigns for most of the big film studios and distributors, including for the likes of Hammer Films and all of the posters for the very British ‘Confessions…’ series of bawdy comedies. Over the years, Vic also developed a strong working relationship with many of the British film industry’s leading directors, including Nic Roeg, Terry Gilliam and Michael Winner.

One of the things that really set Vic apart from his contemporaries were his skills at developing concepts that were unique and stood out from what was often a sea of other ideas, depending on how many design agencies a distributor might have been working with. He had a natural talent for concepts that used ingenious juxtaposition of elements to create surprising layouts and he wasn’t one to shy away from risqué concepts, many of which unfortunately never made it onto a printing press. Many of these designs did, however, proceed through to the end of the process and clearly demonstrate his cheeky sense of humour.

Vic Fair with Man Who Fell to Earth poster, 2013

Vic Fair stands next to the large format (40″ x 60″) poster for The Man Who Fell to Earth, which he both designed and painted in 1976. Photo taken in 2013.

Over the past couple of years I’ve been fortunate enough to befriend and spend several occasions with Vic where we discussed his life and career. We also took a look at the hundreds of concept roughs (sketches), original artwork and printed posters that he has saved and stored over the years. I wanted this interview article to tell the story of his life from his beginnings as a messenger boy in a design office through to his retirement as one of the most prominent designers working for the British film industry. This article features pictures of many never-before-seen concepts, unused artwork and photos of Vic over the years which I hope the reader will enjoy.

—————————-

Hello Vic, thanks for agreeing to talk to me today. I’d like to start with your origins, if I may? You were born in Chadwell Heath, Essex in March 1938. I understand your father was an industrial designer?
He was, yes. He worked for Ford and designed tractors; the ones with the giant metal wheels without tyres that were in use around then. He would make the models that were used to decide what designs the company would put into production. I have some photographs of some of the ones he worked on and they’re pretty good actually.

He died just before my fifth birthday so I can’t remember much about him, but his name was William and he’d originally come from Stratford in London. He was also a good athlete and a musician with a jazz band. I must have picked up some of his artistic and design skills because I can remember that I was always building something in the back garden, whether it was a fort, a boat, or other vehicles. I was always constructing something and just loved tinkering away.

Vic Fair as a young boy, aged around 3, in 1941.

Vic Fair as a young boy, aged around 3, in 1941.

Because my father worked at Ford we owned a Model C Ten, which was one of the first cars they sold to the public and it was also the first car on our street.

May I ask how he passed away?
It was really bad luck because he’d had blood poisoning and within a year of his death they had found a way to prevent that from being an illness that would usually always kill you.

My mother was incredibly attractive and she looked like a film star. She used to take me to school and the other kids used to think she was my glamorous older sister! I lived with my mother and sister and had become the man of the house, doing repair jobs and keeping the bungalow in good order. The problem was that my mother had become very possessive and was jealous of any girlfriend that I brought back to the house, which was very awkward.

In the end I decided to go and do my National Service to get away from the house. I could have actually escaped doing it because I’d previously had a few illnesses like Tuberculosis, but I realised it was a way of spending time away from the situation I was stuck in at home.

Vic Fair (second left, top row) with fellow National Service enlistees on an Army base in Cyprus, circa 1955.

Vic Fair (second left, top row) with fellow National Service enlistees on an Army base in Cyprus, circa 1955.

Had you realised you had a gift for sketching and painting whilst you were at school?
Yes, I was always sketching and I got on really well with the art teacher. I was often asked to do illustrations for the school magazine and the people who ran it were always after the work I was doing during my art classes to put in the next issue. I was also good at carpentry and that was definitely thanks to my father.

I’ve always loved making things and there are actually a few pieces of furniture in my house that I made myself. I’ve still got the tools that I had inherited from my father when he died. Making stuff was definitely an extension of my artistry and I enjoy it just as much as painting.  I was always coming up with ideas for things to make and paint and fortunately that served me well when it came to my later career.

Vic Fair (centre) stands with colleagues, including Richard Vaughan (right) and David Till (behind Vic), at a party, circa 1964.

Vic Fair (centre) stands with colleagues, including Richard Vaughan (right) and David Till (behind Vic), at a party, circa 1964.

From Secondary school you went to join an agency in London?
I ended up as one of only two kids from my school that left Chadwell Heath and got a job in London. I secured a job at a design agency called Hector Hughes and it was on Southampton Row in London. I started out doing a lot of messenger work for the company, but the office manager had given me a table on which I could practice designing and illustrating. There were a couple of decent artists who allowed me to watch over their shoulder as they worked.

There was one chap called Philip Happé who was a talented typesetter and was a good friend to me whilst I was there. He actually put a good word in for me when I wanted to move on and he recommended me to someone at the next agency I went to. We later ended up working together again later in our careers.

Continue reading

The Postman Always Rings Twice / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Postman Always Rings Twice
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
Bob Rafelson
Starring
Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, John Colicos, Michael Lerner, John P. Ryan, Anjelica Huston, Christian Slater
Origin of Film
USA | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, John Colicos, Michael Lerner, John P. Ryan, Anjelica Huston, Christian Slater,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Vic Fair
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The Sea Wolves / quad / UK

17.04.15

Poster Poster
Title
The Sea Wolves
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Andrew V. McLaglen
Starring
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen
Origin of Film
Switzerland | UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Barbara Kellerman, Patrick Macnee, Kenneth Griffith, Patrick Allen,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Arnaldo Putzu
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
The last charge of the Calcutta Light Horse.

Featuring great art by Arnaldo Putzu, this is the UK quad for the 1980 action film The Sea Wolves, which is based on real events that occurred during the Second World War. As mentioned on the poster, the story is based on the exploits of ex-members of the Calcutta Light Horse, a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army that was formed in 1872 and was disbanded a couple of years after the end of WWII. The plot sees British intelligence discovering that a Nazi radio ship is broadcasting the coordinates of allied ships from a harbour in Portuguese Goa, which was neutral during the war, so an all out assault cannot be launched by the Navy because of this.

British Intelligence officers Col. Lewis Pugh (Gregory Peck) and Capt. Gavin Stewart (Roger Moore) lead the operation and covertly enlist retired officer Col. Bill Grice (David Niven) of the Calcutta Light Horse & some of his former soldiers. The gang sneak into Goa and arrange a diversion on the evening of a planned raid, before making their way to the radio ship carrying enough explosives to sink it and put a stop any more transmissions. The film reunited much of the creative team behind an earlier OAPs on a mission film, 1978’s The Wild Geese, including director Andrew V. McLaglen, screenwriter Reginald Rose, producer Euan Lloyd and several of the stars.

Arnaldo Putzu was born in Rome in 1927 and began painting from a very early age and in 1948 he got involved with the world of film publicity under the guidance of the famous artist Enrico De Seta. Eventually Putzu would gain enough confidence in his abilities to set up his own agency and it was this move that saw him getting involved in work for the British studio Rank. Eric Pulford was so impressed with his work that he brought him over to London to work at Downtons in 1967.

The artist worked on many quads whilst over here and also gained notoriety for lending his talents to the popular children’s magazine Look-in, for which he painted almost every cover during its publication lifetime. His best-known quad is undoubtedly the one he painted for the Michael Caine gangster classic Get Carter in 1971. My friend, and author of the must-own British Film Posters, Sim Branaghan met Putzu during the making of his book and describes it as a very memorable experience in the interview I published in 2012. Putzu sadly passed away the same year, aged 85, and Sim wrote an excellent obituary for The Guardian newspaper, which can be read here.

The poster was designed by the British designer and artist Vic Fair who is one the most important people ever to work on British film marketing. He is responsible for several iconic posters, including The Man Who Fell To Earth, posters for Hammer horrors like Vampire Circus, and the withdrawn advance one sheet for A View to a Kill. I interviewed Vic for this site and that article can be viewed by clicking here.

Dragonslayer / quad / UK

04.11.11

Poster Poster
Title
Dragonslayer
AKA
Il drago del lago di fuoco [The dragon from the lake of fire] (Italy)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Matthew Robbins
Starring
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Peter MacNicol, Caitlin Clarke, Ralph Richardson, John Hallam, Peter Eyre, Sydney Bromley, Chloe Salaman, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Its talons tear. Its breath burns. It is terror. And only sorcery can destroy it.

Great artwork by Brian Bysouth, from a design by Vic Fair, for this wizard versus dragon fantasy tale, which was co-produced by Disney and Paramount and directed by Matthew Robbins (Batteries Not Included). Apparently the effects for Vermithrax the dragon were given 25% of the film’s budget and were realised by several different teams, including Phil Tippet at ILM (final design and model), Brian Johnson (special effects) and Ken Ralston (flying scenes).

‘Go-motion’, a variant of stop-motion animation using computer-controlled cameras and developed by ILM for The Empire Strikes Back, was used for the scenes showing the dragon flying and walking with the intention of making these scenes feel more realistic.

Whilst Guillermo Del Toro was preparing to film his ultimately doomed version of The Hobbit, he stated:

One of the best and one of the strongest landmarks that almost nobody can overcome is ‘Dragonslayer.’ The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made.

In 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and the resulting article can be read here.

The US one sheet is markedly different but is also something of a classic, with artwork by Jeffrey Catherine Jones.

The Emerald Forest / quad / UK

09.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Emerald Forest
Year of Film
1985
Director
John Boorman
Starring
Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, Yara Vaneau, William Rodriguez, Estee Chandler, Charley Boorman, Dira Paes, Eduardo Conde, Ariel Coelho
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Powers Boothe, Meg Foster, Yara Vaneau, William Rodriguez, Estee Chandler, Charley Boorman, Dira Paes, Eduardo Conde, Ariel Coelho,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Vic Fair
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Adventure Movie of the Year

A striking design on this British quad for the release of John Boorman‘s adventure film The Emerald Forest. Bill Markham (Powers Boothe) is an engineer working on the construction of a dam in the jungles of Brazil who has brought his wife and young children with him to live there. One day his son Tommy disappears and the family discover that he has been kidnapped by an indigenous tribe called the Invisible People. Markham spends years searching for his son and it’s not until a decade later that he finally locates him, only to discover that he’s now fully assimilated into the tribe. The dam is nearing completion and Markham decides to help his son’s adopted tribe before their way of life is totally destroyed. Tommy/Tomme is played by Charley Boorman, the director’s own son.

This poster was one of several collaborations between two immensely talented British designer-illustrators, Vic Fair and Brian Bysouth. Like the withdrawn A View to a Kill UK one sheet, Vic was on design duties and is responsible for this brilliantly clever composition that juxtaposes the face of Powers Boothe with that of a tribesman, using the device of the multi-stranded leaf. Brian executed the final illustration in his typically detailed style with the use of careful brush strokes and airbrush techniques to give the whole thing a nice texture.

Vic and Brian were unquestionably two of the greatest talents ever to work on British film posters, which make collaborations like this even more special. For more information on the pair I highly recommend picking up a copy of ‘British Film Posters‘ as it features sections on both men. Here are the posters I’ve collected so far by Brian Bysouth and those by Vic Fair (with more to add over the coming months).

In December 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and this poster was discussed:

Another one you both worked on that I love is the poster for The Emerald Forest, which has a great device of the leaves dividing the two faces
That’s another superb design from Vic. The textured effects were created by using an old toothbrush to splatter the paint on quickly, and then I’d use an airbrush to finish it off. I really enjoyed painting the two figures running through the water. Being asked to do the finished illustration for such an outstanding design remains a deeply satisfying experience.

Years later, I asked Mike Wheeler, the advertising director at Rank, if he could return the artwork to me and I was astonished when it arrived by messenger the very next day. I always got on well with Mike but that kind act secured an enduring friendship.

A View To A Kill / one sheet / recalled / UK

25.11.11

Poster Poster

Sir Roger Moore‘s last outing as James Bond, A View to a Kill, was definitely not his finest hour, although it is memorable for a few reasons, including Christopher Walken‘s turn as the truly psychotic bad guy (Max Zorin), Duran Duran’s great title theme and the appearance of the incomparable Grace Jones as Mayday, Zorin’s accomplice. She may not be able to act very well but she’s never anything less than a striking presence and is definitely not a lady to mess with, as British chat show presenter Russell Harty infamously found out.

This poster is the UK one sheet that was designed by Vic Fair and illustrated by Brian Bysouth, a not insignificant pairing of two great English talents. Having been commissioned by the studio the poster was apparently then rejected and ultimately never used in cinemas to promote the film. Sim Branaghan, the man behind the must-own book ‘British Film Posters‘, interviewed Vic Fair who recalled that they were looking for a more conventional design, something that often frustrated the designer when working with clients:

‘Not very exciting are they, the Bond posters … always the same thing. So I had this idea of putting him in a white jacket, but they just threw their arms up in horror – “Ooh no, we can’t have that”. It was ridiculous really’

The poster is now known as the ‘recalled’ UK one sheet as, despite the poster having been printed, it was recalled by the studio and most copies were apparently pulped. Obviously, several did manage to escape destruction and made their way into the hands of poster dealers and collectors. I’d like to know a rough figure on how many did survive since it does show up at major auctions and on Ebay occasionally, so it’s certainly more than a tiny handful. If anyone has any more details on this please get in touch or leave a comment.

The artwork did end up being used for other countries, notably a Japanese B2 poster promoting the film.

For more information on Vic Fair and Brian Bysouth I highly recommend picking up a copy of ‘British Film Posters‘ as it features sections on both men. Here are the posters I’ve collected so far by Brian Bysouth and those by Vic Fair (with more to add over the coming months).

In 2012 I met and interviewed Brian Bysouth and this poster was discussed:

There are two specific collaborations you had with Vic Fair that I’d like to talk about. There was the UK one sheet for A View to a Kill, which you mentioned, and before I read Sim’s book I had no idea that it was one of yours. It’s quite different to others you’d worked on before then.
Ah yes, that poster was painted with a different technique than the one I’d typically work with. It has a very smooth look mostly done with an airbrush. The clients had started to require illustrations to have a less painted look and they were asking for much more photo-realistic illustrations. This requirement was because of falling sales in the video market.  The clients had concluded that the paying public had become more discerning and distrustful of what was portrayed on the video sleeves, and to some extent on film posters. The public had begun to realise that an exciting illustration could flatter what in reality would be a truly awful film.  So illustration had to take on a new, more highly-finished look, but this only worked for a short while before the use of photographs and the versatility of the computer took over completely.

Anyway, to continue, Vic asked me if I’d like to do the finished painting based on his rough; it was a really excellent and novel design, which required me to execute the painting in two stages. The first stage would be used as a teaser poster and this was just the image ofGrace Jones and Bond contained within a diamond motif. All I had to do was get the airbrush out and work up his design. I remember spending a while on the Grace Jones image, polishing and improving her look, as well as the pose of Bond. It went away to be printed but later we were disappointed to learn that it was going to be withdrawn because the clients were not happy with the legendary spy being portrayed in a white tuxedo; that being considered not very Bond-like!

For the second stage, Vic’s design included an exciting montage to fit either side of the central icon of the two characters. The preliminary painting was returned to me for completion and I continued by adding the montage of scenes from the film onto the artwork in a semi-drawn style, which I was experimenting with at the time. I was very pleased with the final results and Vic liked it too. That went off for approval but, for reasons unknown to me, the printing didn’t go ahead. I never saw the artwork again and pathetically, because it was not approved, I don’t even think a transparency was made. I entertain hopes that one day it will eventually re-appear and I will be able to establish my claim to ownership.

Here’s the film’s original trailer.