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Hammer / B2 / Japan

09.03.16

Poster Poster
Title
Hammer
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
Bruce D. Clark
Starring
Fred Williamson, Bernie Hamilton, Vonetta McGee, William Smith, Charles Lampkin, Elizabeth Harding, Mel Stewart, D'Urville Martin
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Fred Williamson, Bernie Hamilton, Vonetta McGee, William Smith, Charles Lampkin, Elizabeth Harding, Mel Stewart, D'Urville Martin,
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 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Hammer was an early entry in the blaxploitation subgenre of films that grew in popularity following the release of Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and Shaft in 1971. The film stars ex-NFL player Fred Williamson whose nickname was The Hammer in real life and who would go on to become one of the subgenre’s key players. It was helmed by Kiwi director Bruce Clark who only has four directorial credits to his name, which includes the Roger Corman-produced sci-fi clunker Galaxy of Terror.

Williamson stars as B.J. Hammer a dockworker who is spotted as having some boxing talent by a shady trainer. He rises up the ranks and gains some notoriety but thing soon turn sour when his manager, who is also a dodgy gangster, asks him to throw his next fight in order to make some other crooks rich (that old chestnut). His girfriend Lois, played by another blaxploitation stalwart Vonetta McGee), is kidnapped by the gangsters in an effort to coerce Hammer into taking a dive, which means it’s time to show them what he’s capable of.

The film is today considered one of the lesser entries in the blaxploitation subgenre and it holds a fairly poor rating on IMDb, but it’s still one to seek out for fans of Williamson. This Japanese B2 poster features a unique photo montage as was typical of the era.

Blacula / B2 / Japan

16.07.12

Poster Poster
Title
Blacula
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
William Crain
Starring
William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala, Gordon Pinsent, Charles Macaulay, Emily Yancy, Lance Taylor Sr., Ted Harris
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala, Gordon Pinsent, Charles Macaulay, Emily Yancy, Lance Taylor Sr., Ted Harris,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The first in a line of blaxploitation horror films, Blacula was produced by the prolific studio American International Pictures who’d had success in the 1960s with a series of horrors directed by Roger Corman and based on Edgar Allan Poe‘s stories, which included House of Usher and The Raven. During the 1970s they produced multiple blaxploitation films that included Coffy and Foxy Brown, and they are credited with making Pam Grier a household name.

Blacula tells the story of Manuwalde an African prince (played by William Marshall) who is bitten by Count Dracula after visiting him to ask for his help in the ending the slave trade. Imprisoned in a coffin in the 18th century, the prince is unwittingly transported to Los Angeles two hundred years later by antique dealers who sell his casket. Unleashed on the city, Manuwalde goes on the hunt for human blood and later comes across the beautiful Tina (Vonetta McGee) who is the reincarnation of his old wife that was murdered by Dracula. Unfortunately one of Tina’s friends, Dr. Gordon Thomas (played by the brilliantly named Thalmus Rasulala) learns of the prince’s true nature and vows to hunt him down.

The film was followed a year later by a sequel called Scream, Blacula Scream. Another production company put together Blackenstein and Sugar Hill (1974) was AIP’s blaxploitation zombie film.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Melinda / 30×40 / USA

10.05.12

Poster Poster
Title
Melinda
AKA
--
Year of Film
1972
Director
Hugh A. Robertson
Starring
Calvin Lockhart, Rosalind Cash, Vonetta McGee, Paul Stevens, Rockne Tarkington, Ross Hagen, Renny Roker, Judyann Elder, Jim Kelly
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Calvin Lockhart, Rosalind Cash, Vonetta McGee, Paul Stevens, Rockne Tarkington, Ross Hagen, Renny Roker, Judyann Elder, Jim Kelly,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/306
Tagline
YOUR kind of black film

The late Calvin Lockhart stars as the smooth-talking DJ Frankie J. Parker in this 1972 revenge drama, an early entry into the so-called blaxploitation genre. One night Parker meets the titular lady, played by Vonetta McGee (who also starred in Blacula and Hammer the same year), and takes her back to his place for a spot of the old horizontal mambo. The next morning Melinda is found dead and when Parker realises it’s the fault of the local mob he teams up with a few old friends, including Charles Atkins (Jim Kelly, star of Black Belt Jones in his first screen role), to seek revenge and clear his name.

Lockhart is perhaps best known for his role as the gangster ‘Biggie Smalls’ in the 1975 boxing film Let’s Do It Again, also starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. The character name would later be appropriated by the now deceased rapper Christopher Wallace (AKA The Notorious B.I.G.). He also starred as the memorable character King Willie in Predator 2 (“You can’t see the eyes of the demon, until him come callin’.”)

One can only surmise as to who the ‘Your’ in the tag-line was aimed at originally. I’m unsure who is responsible for the artwork on this poster, so if you have an idea please get in touch. Frustratingly, the film has not been released on an official DVD yet.

Shaft in Africa / 30×40 / USA

25.11.13

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft in Africa
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins, Willie Jonah
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins, Willie Jonah,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Solie
Size (inches)
30 3/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
THE Brother Man in the Motherland. Shaft is stickin' it... all the way.

Shaft in Africa is the final entry in the trilogy of films featuring Blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree). This time the eponymous detective is kidnapped from his New York apartment and coerced into assuming the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker. His ’employer’ wants Shaft to smash a human trafficking ring, run by the dastardly Amafi (Frank Finlay), that’s bringing African workers into Europe to exploit them. Much more of an adventure film than the previous two entries, which were pretty much entirely set in urban areas, this film was actually shot on location in Ethiopia and has less of a blaxploitation feel and more of a James Bond-style action style. Gordon Parks, the director of the previous entries, was replaced by the British director John Guillermin who would helm the box-office smash The Towering Inferno the following year.

The all-action artwork on this 30×40 poster is by the American artist John Solie who has been working as an illustrator for over 40 years. Film posters are just one aspect of his output, which also includes book and magazine covers, sculptures, portraits and work for NASA. He continues to paint today in Tucson, Arizona. Another gallery of his work can be viewed on Wrong Side of the Art. Solie also painted the art for the US poster for Shaft’s Big Score.

Here are the posters by John Solie I have collected to date.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

Shaft in Africa / B2 / Japan

30.06.14

Poster Poster
Title
Shaft in Africa
AKA
Shaft e i mercanti di schiavi [Shaft and the slave merchants] (Italy)
Year of Film
1973
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee, Neda Arneric, Debebe Eshetu, Spiros Focás, Jacques Herlin, Jho Jhenkins,
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
--

This is the Japanese B2 for Shaft in Africa, the final entry in the trilogy of films featuring Blaxploitation hero Shaft (Richard Roundtree). This time the eponymous detective is kidnapped from his New York apartment and coerced into assuming the identity of a native-speaking itinerant worker in an African country. His ‘employer’ wants Shaft to smash a human trafficking ring, run by the dastardly Amafi (Frank Finlay), that’s bringing African workers into Europe to exploit them.

Much more of an adventure film than the previous two entries, which were pretty much entirely set in urban areas, this film was actually shot on location in Ethiopia and has less of a blaxploitation feel and more of a James Bond-style action style. Gordon Parks, the director of the previous entries, was replaced by the British director John Guillermin who would helm the box-office smash The Towering Inferno the following year.

The photo montage is unique to Japan and the US poster features excellent artwork by John Solie. The fact that the designer chose to tint Shaft blue in the image of him kissing a white woman is more than a little strange and one can only guess at the motivations behind that decision.

You can view the trailer on YouTube.

The Eiger Sanction / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster