You searched for: War

Gordon’s War / B2 / Japan

09.10.15

Poster Poster
Title
Gordon's War
AKA
--
Year of Film
1973
Director
Ossie Davis
Starring
Paul Winfield, Carl Lee, David Downing, Tony King, Gilbert Lewis, Carl Gordon, Nathan C. Heard, Grace Jones
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Paul Winfield, Carl Lee, David Downing, Tony King, Gilbert Lewis, Carl Gordon, Nathan C. Heard, Grace Jones,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
Tagline
--

This is the Japanese B2 for the 1973 blaxploitation crime drama Gordon’s War, directed by Ossie Davis (Cotton Comes to Harlem) and starring Paul Winfield as the eponymous Gordon Hudson. After returning from the Vietnam war he finds that his neighbourhood in Harlem has been taken over by drug dealers and that his wife has died from a heroin overdose. He gathers some of his fellow soldiers together and sets out to rid the area of the dealers.

The film is unavailable on blu-ray but receives decent enough reviews on IMDb, with one praising its use of real locations:

The location shoot in Harlem is an essential ingredient in making this film work. The feel of the streets, shops, people, cars, bars, abandoned buildings, rundown apartments and ramshackle appearances bolsters the movie greatly. There is a chase scene, car following motorcycle, that ranks among the very best of any movie anywhere, including those in poliziotteschis. That alone makes the movie.

Apocalypse Now Redux / B1 / Japan

04.09.14

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B1 poster for the 2001 re-release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. This release, known as ‘Redux’ was a new version prepared by the director and his editor and long-time collaborator Walter Murch that saw almost 50 minutes inserted back into the film with several sequences extended and the flow of the film altered as a result. Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

The Redux version, which involved re-recording several of the original actors’ dialogue 30 years since the original filming, plus the addition of newly recorded music, was met with generally positive reviews. Many critics felt that the revisions made the film an even richer, stranger experience, whilst some felt that the new cut was self-indulgent and that the new sequences, particularly one set in a French plantation, slowed the film down too much. Check out this wikipedia article for details of the changes. I personally prefer the original cut but the new additions are undoubtedly interesting to watch.

The Japanese title on this poster is made from a photographic image of burning wood and the explosion and helicopters are taken from the now iconic ‘Charlie don’t surf’ sequence.

 

Codename Wildgeese / quad / UK

05.01.15

Poster Poster
Title
Codename Wildgeese
AKA
Geheimcode: Wildgänse (Germany - original title) | Arcobaleno selvaggio [Wild Rainbow] (Italy) | Code name: Wild Geese (alt. spelling)
Year of Film
1984
Director
Antonio Margheriti
Starring
Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski, Manfred Lehmann, Mimsy Farmer
Origin of Film
Italy | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine, Klaus Kinski, Manfred Lehmann, Mimsy Farmer,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Tom Chantrell
Artist
Enzo Sciotti (original artwork) | Tom Chantrell (quad adaptations)
Size (inches)
30 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Codename Wildgeese is a 1984 entry in the ‘Macaroni Combat‘ genre of Italian-made action/war films that was helmed by the prolific director Antonio Margheriti (most often credited as Anthony M. Dawson) and is usually associated with the 1978 British film The Wild Geese. Both films are ensemble-cast action films in which Western mercenaries are sent into ‘wild’, lawless, dictator-ruled countries to carry out a mission and escape alive. Both films feature aging cast members who probably should have known better and I don’t doubt that Margheriti and his enterprising distributors chose the Wildgeese element of the title to capitalise on the success of the earlier film.

The late Lewis Collins, known for his leading man roles in action-fare such as TVs The Profressionals and the 1982 British action film Who Dares Wins, appears as the leader of a mercenary group which is employed covertly by the DEA (in the shape of Ernest Borgnine) and sent into the opium-producing area in Asia known as the Golden Triangle to attempt to stem the supply of illegal opium to the west. His team, which includes pilot China (Lee Van Cleef), make their way into the Triangle and engage an enemy base in a quarry before pushing onto the factories and a fiery showdown.

The film is largely a damp squib with very little in the way of memorable action sequences or an engaging script. The effects and gunplay are largely poor and the editing and soundtrack are notably bad. It’s certainly not a patch on The Wild Geese, which in itself was no masterpiece.

A reader of the site, Andrew Lamb, got in touch to confirm that the quad is an adaptation of artwork that was painted by the Italian artist Enzo Sciotti and originally intended for, I believe, the German poster. Andrew commented the following (the original can be seen at the bottom of the page):

It was later adapted for the UK quad using a photo duplicate of the original artwork, with paint applied around the edges to fill the quad size, then new titles applied over the top. This was done by Tom Chantrell. My guess is that he was commissioned to paint the artwork and liked Sciotti’s art so much that it was suggested by him and agreed upon to be used instead. I’m not 100% certain of this, however I own the original artwork layout for the UK quad and it came from a lot of Tom Chantrell’s work. So that’s my hunch.

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.

Platoon / Thailand

20.04.15

Poster Poster
Title
Platoon
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Oliver Stone
Starring
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Kwow
Size (inches)
21 7/16" x 30 12/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the original Thai poster for the release of Oliver Stone‘s Academy Award-winning Vietnam war classic, Platoon, one of a three films that the director made on the subject (the others being Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth). The script, which was written by Stone, is based on his own experiences as an infantryman who served in tours of duty during the Vietnam war. He had signed up in 1967 after dropping out of Yale University and specifically requested to see combat in the war that had seen the first ground troops sent to the country two years earlier. Stone served in two different divisions for over a year and was wounded twice,  receiving several medals, including a Purple Heart.

The film follows Charlie Sheen‘s army grunt Chris Taylor (a proxy for Stone) who is serving as part of Bravo Company, 25th Infantry Division near the Cambodian Border. Taylor is fresh into the field and is treated with disdain by the more experienced soldiers (an incredible ensemble of acting talent, including Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Keith David and Forest Whitaker) who have all been in country for months, and he is quickly made aware that his presence is inconsequential. After a few skirmishes in which some members of the division are killed, Taylor is eventually accepted into the group and discovers the grinding boredom and rampant drug use amongst his fellow soldiers. Tensions between two sergeants, the ill-tempered, battle-scarred Barnes (Berenger) and the pleasant, more reasonable Elias (Dafoe) reach breaking point following an incident involving innocent villagers. Upon returning to base, the issue of a court-martial for illegal killing is raised and when the division is sent out on their next patrol, things reach boiling point, leaving Taylor fighting to survive against the enemy as well as members of his own team.

The artwork on this Thai poster is by the artist who signs his work Kwow, about whom I’ve been able to discover little beyond other titles he worked on. The figure kneeling with his arms up references one of the most iconic scenes of the movie, which also appeared on several international posters for the film and was painted by Mike Ryan (the original artwork was sold at auction in 2014).

Platoon / one sheet / international

10.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Platoon
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Oliver Stone
Starring
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Mike Bryan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

An iconic image on this one sheet for the release of Oliver Stone‘s Academy Award-winning Vietnam war classic, Platoon, one of a three films that the director made on the subject (the others being Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth). The script, which was written by Stone, is based on his own experiences as an infantryman who served in tours of duty during the Vietnam war. He had signed up in 1967 after dropping out of Yale University and specifically requested to see combat in the war that had seen the first ground troops sent to the country two years earlier. Stone served in two different divisions for over a year and was wounded twice,  receiving several medals, including a Purple Heart.

The film follows Charlie Sheen‘s army grunt Chris Taylor (a proxy for Stone) who is serving as part of Bravo Company, 25th Infantry Division near the Cambodian Border. Taylor is fresh into the field and is treated with disdain by the more experienced soldiers (an incredible ensemble of acting talent, including Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Keith David and Forest Whitaker) who have all been in country for months, and he is quickly made aware that his presence is inconsequential. After a few skirmishes in which some members of the division are killed, Taylor is eventually accepted into the group and discovers the grinding boredom and rampant drug use amongst his fellow soldiers. Tensions between two sergeants, the ill-tempered, battle-scarred Barnes (Berenger) and the pleasant, more reasonable Elias (Dafoe) reach breaking point following an incident involving innocent villagers. Upon returning to base, the issue of a court-martial for illegal killing is raised and when the division is sent out on their next patrol, things reach boiling point, leaving Taylor fighting to survive against the enemy as well as members of his own team.

This one sheet features a shot from a pivotal scene in the film where Elias is left behind during an evacuation to escape from advancing Vietcong troops. The shot was used on most posters for the film’s release across the board, but not on the US one sheet. This poster is in fact a one sheet printed for use in English-speaking international countries (note the lack of MPAA rating). It most commonly appears without the white border and measuring 25″ x 39″ but this is the full-size 27″ x 41″ bordered version.

I had always assumed the image was a photograph but I only recently discovered it’s the work of the American artist Mike Bryan who also painted the fantastic and iconic Robocop one sheet. Heritage auction house sold the original paintings for both posters in March 2014 and included with each was a note from Bryan himself. The platoon one can be read here.

The Sea Wolves / B2 / Japan

17.08.15

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
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Seito
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the art-style Japanese B2 for the 1980 action film The Sea Wolves, which is based on real events that occurred during the Second World War. 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.

This Japanese poster features artwork painted by Seito that is unique to the Japanese campaign. Seito is one of my favourite Japanese artists who was responsible for several fantastic illustrated posters during the 1970s and 1980s. Little is known about the man himself, even in his native country.

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

Apocalypse Now / Thailand

23.09.15

Poster Poster

This is the very scarce original 2-sheet poster for the Thai release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.  Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen’s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

The film had several interesting posters printed for its release, including the great Bob Peak artwork used around the world, but this Thai 2-sheet is up there, in my mind, as one of the best posters ever painted, full stop. The amount of detail, use of colour and expertly arranged montage all add up to a visual feast of a design and I find some new detail every time I look at it. I’ve added 70 photos for you to really get a sense of the poster.

This poster was painted by the artist 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 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 two sides of the poster were printed separately and then joined together once they were displayed at cinemas. I tried my best to join them together with Photoshop but it’s not that easy to get them to match. Photos 2 and 3 show the two halves separately. It’s interesting to note that Tongdee actually painted the original art on two canvases as can be seen on this photograph showing him and the British collector Neil Pettigrew that was published in issue 168 of Dark Side magazine. This means that getting a totally seamless join between the two halves is impossible.

Note that there was a reprint made of this poster several years ago where someone in Thailand scanned the poster when the two halves were joined together and then printed it as a single sheet poster at the standard Thai film poster size of around 21″ x 31″. These have sometimes been sold as ‘commercial posters’ but are nothing more than unauthorised fakes and should be avoided at all costs. Permission was not sought from the distributor or the artist to make these copies and their sale should not be supported.

The Great Escape / A1 / 1975 re-release / Germany

30.11.15

Poster Poster

A striking design features on this German poster for the 1975 re-release of one of the greatest war films ever released, 1963’s The Great Escape. Director John Sturges (Magnificent Seven) helmed the film and it’s based on the 1950 non-fiction book of the same name, written by Paul Brickhill, which tells the story of a mass escape by allied prisoners from the high-security Stalag Luft III prison in Nazi Germany. Although partly fictionalised, many of the events depicted in the film did occur and the filmmakers only changed certain events and characters to add to the film’s commercial appeal.

An absolutely star-studded affair, the film features many of the finest male actors of the day, including Steve McQueenJames GarnerRichard Attenborough and Donald Pleasence. American actor Charles Bronson also appears as one of the prisoners and his popularity in Europe at the time of this 1975 re-release explains why he’s given equal billing on the poster alongside McQueen. Despite the roster of big names it will undoubtedly always be known as McQueen’s film since his turn as Virgil ‘The Cooler King’ Hilts, the cocky, determined Air Force captain, is really the centre of the film. It was McQueen’s image that was used to promote the film on various posters around the world. 

I’m unsure why the film was re-released in the then West Germany in 1975 and am also unsure who was responsible for the design and art on this A1 poster. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.

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.

Force 10 from Navarone / B2 / Japan

04.04.16

Poster Poster

Typically detailed artwork by the British artist Brian Bysouth features on this Japanese poster for the release of the 1978 film Force 10 From Navarone. Created as a sequel to the 1961 film The Guns of Navarone, the film is loosely based on the 1968 novel of the same name by Alistair MacLean. The 17 year gap between films was due to MacLean’s treatment of a sequel to ‘Guns…’, written shortly after the original film was met with box-office success, becoming bogged down in development hell. When it was clear that the production was going nowhere MacLean turned his treatment into a novel. The Producer of ‘Guns…’, Carl Foreman, spent years trying to get the sequel off the ground and eventually succeeded by scraping together a budget from five different international sources. The final screenplay bears little resemblance to MacLean’s novel released a decade earlier.

Because almost two decades had passed since ‘Guns…’, the two actors who had played the leads in that film, Gregory Peck and David Niven, were decided to be too old to convince as the leads and the parts of Miller and Mallory were awarded to Edward Fox and Robert Shaw. Brit director Guy Hamilton, best known for a number of James Bond adventures, including Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever, was given the task of directing, having impressed with his 1969 WWII film ‘Battle of Britain’.

The story sees the pair tasked with hunting down a traitor from the original mission, a German spy who has infiltrated the Yugoslavian resistance and is masquerading as Captain Lescovar (Franco Nero). They join up with an elite American sabotage unit, known as Force 10, which is led by Colonel Barnsby (Harrison Ford, fresh off the success of Star Wars in 1977) who have a mission to carry out of their own. The crew steal an RAF Lancaster bomber and head towards the mission site but the plane is shot down by German fighters and most of the squad are lost. Miller, Mallory and the remaining soldiers are soon captured and imprisoned by German forces but all is not lost as they have a spy of their own in the ranks, Maritza (Barbara Bach) who helps them to escape and continue their mission. Soon they come across Lescovar and the Partisan army. A plan to destroy a large bridge being used by the German forces unites them together, but the German spy’s double-crossing threatens to jeopardise everything.

Force 10 would prove to be Shaw’s penultimate role as he died a year later during the filming of Avalanche Express. The film was met with less than stellar box-office results and general audience indifference, likely not helped by there being such a large gap between the films.

The artwork on this poster was painted by Brian Bysouth who is one of my favourite poster artists and was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The artwork was reused around the world with the original title, painted to resemble part of the dam, redrawn depending on the language required. The results page for Force 10 on emovieposter.com shows some of these alternative versions, including those for the French and Italian releases. Interestingly this Japanese poster features the title printed down the left hand side, rather than painted onto the dam.

Note that there is an alternative style of poster for the film, the artwork of which can be seen here, that also features the dam bursting and is, I’m fairly certain, erroneously credited to Brian on emovieposter. If anyone has any ideas who the artist of that version is please get in touch or leave a comment below.

Rambo: First Blood Part II / Thailand

05.01.17

Poster Poster
Title
Rambo: First Blood Part II
AKA
Rambo II: la vendetta [the revenge] (Italy)
Year of Film
1985
Director
George P. Cosmatos
Starring
Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, Steven Berkoff, Julia Nickson, Julian Turner
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, Steven Berkoff, Julia Nickson, Julian Turner,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
24 1/16" x 34 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
No man, no law, no war can stop him.

This is the Thai poster for the release of the follow up to the action classic First Blood (1982). Coming three years after the original, Rambo: First Blood Part II – note the addition of the character’s surname to the title – had a script that was co-written by James Cameron and Sylvester Stallone. George P. Cosmatos was chosen to direct the film and the legendary partnership of Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna, who were behind many of the best action films of the 1980s and 90s, were executive producers. 

The film picks up where the original left off, with ex-commando John Rambo (Stallone) serving time in prison for the events of the first film. His former commander Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) visits him whilst he’s cracking rocks in a quarry with other prisoners and asks him if he’d help with a mission to locate MIA / Prisoners of War (POWs) in Vietnam. The public believe there are still American soldiers out there in the country, despite denials by the US and Vietnamese government. This was a very topical issue in the early 1980s and First Blood Part II was one of the first films to tackle the issue directly. Promised a pardon for his previous actions, Rambo accepts and travels to Thailand from where we he will be covertly dropped into Vietnam. He’s given orders that it’s just a reconnaissance mission – photographs can be shot but nothing else.

During the parachute drop things go awry when his parachute is caught in the door of the plane and he’s forced to cut away his bag of equipment before managing to untangle himself. Landing with only a large knife and a fold-out bow, Rambo manages to meet up with his contact Co-Bao (the stunning Julia Nickson) who helps him locate the camp in which it’s believed the prisoners may be held. Sneaking in during the night, he locates the American prisoners and breaks one out of the camp, intending to rescue the others with more support. The trio head to the pre-arranged rendezvous point with the Vietnamese guards in hot pursuit. Desperately trying to climb onto the rescue helicopter, they discover that the government agent overseeing the mission, Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier), orders his men not to pick them up. The whole thing was intended as a kind of PR mission to appease the American public angry about the POW situation. Murdock incorrectly believed that no prisoners would be located.

Rambo and the prisoner are captured by the Vietnamese and returned to the camp whilst Co-Bao manages to escape. They soon discover that the Soviets are arming and training the local soldiers. They meet the local commander, Lt. Col. Podovsky (Steven Berkoff) and his henchman Sergeant Yushin who torture Rambo and force him to disavow the POWs over the radio. When they threaten the life of a prisoner and Co-Bao attacks the hut in which they’re in, Rambo seizes his chance, rampaging out of the camp with Co-Bao following. The Russian and Vietnamese soldiers soon realise they messed with the wrong man as he proceeds to kill them one by one in a famous sequence during which the body count rises into the 70s.

The film was critically mauled on release but was a huge box-office hit, being the first film released in America to open on over 2000 screens. It accrued several times its original budget with a worldwide take of north of $300m. First Blood Part II is one of the defining action films of the 1980s and has been much imitated and parodied (particularly by Charlie Sheen in Hot Shots! Part Deux) since. A far less successful sequel would follow three years later before the series took a long hiatus prior to being resurrected in 2008 with Rambo.

The artwork on this poster is by Tongdee Panumas who 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. The central image of Stallone holding a bazooka was redrawn from the photograph used for the American one sheet, which can be seen here.

Note that the dark line seen across the centre of the poster is actually where two painted canvases have been joined together by the artist – the art was then copied and the text and other details overlaid.

The Lighthorsemen / one sheet / UK

09.01.17

Poster Poster
Title
The Lighthorsemen
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Simon Wincer
Starring
Jon Blake, Peter Phelps, Tony Bonner, Bill Kerr, John Walton, Gary Sweet, Tim McKenzie, Sigrid Thornton, Anthony Andrews
Origin of Film
Australia
Genre(s) of Film
Jon Blake, Peter Phelps, Tony Bonner, Bill Kerr, John Walton, Gary Sweet, Tim McKenzie, Sigrid Thornton, Anthony Andrews,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
27" x 39.5"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
At last... the true and epic story... of triumph, love, courage and adventure.

Typically detailed and action-packed artwork by the British artist Brian Bysouth features on this UK one sheet for the release of The Lighthorsemen. The film is an Australian production helmed by Simon Wincer, a director best known for films such as Free Willy and D.A.R.Y.L.. It tells the true story of the heroism of an Australian light horse unit in the first World War. Featuring largely unknown actors, the story leads up to a famous incident at the Battle of Beersheeba in Palestine, 1917.

The plot focuses on a group of friends in the unit and in particular a soldier called Dave Mitchell (Peter Phelps) who proves himself in various skirmishes before being injured in a bi-plane attack. Whilst in hospital he meets and falls in love with an army nurse called Anne (Sigrid Thornton). The pair are featured in the top right of the artwork. The film also shows how the Australian and British army worked together to fool the Turks and Germans who were controlling towns in Palestine, including Gaza.

Using a secret scheme involving faked papers and personal letters, they managed to convince the opposition that an attack would take place on Gaza and not the strategically important settlement of Bersheeba. The film climaxes with an incredible charge by the Lighthorsemen as they run towards the Turkish cannons and guns. The mind boggles at the bravery of the real soldiers who faced down terrifying odds. The film was critically well-received and saw good returns at the box-office in Australia, in particular.

Brian Bysouth is one of my favourite poster artists and he was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights. In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here.

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

Note that there is a British quad for the film and it features the same artwork in the centre but is surrounded by photographs of the cast members.

What a Lady You Are… / B1 / Poland

06.03.17

Poster Poster
Title
What a Lady You Are...
AKA
Cózes ty za pani...
Year of Film
1979
Director
Tadeusz Kijanski
Starring
Ewa Borowik, Waldemar Kownacki, Jan Kobuszewski, Boleslaw Plotnicki, Erwin Nowiaszek, Mieczyslaw Hryniewicz, Arkadiusz Jakubik
Origin of Film
Poland
Genre(s) of Film
Ewa Borowik, Waldemar Kownacki, Jan Kobuszewski, Boleslaw Plotnicki, Erwin Nowiaszek, Mieczyslaw Hryniewicz, Arkadiusz Jakubik,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Poland
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Waldemar Swierzy
Artist
Waldemar Swierzy
Size (inches)
26 2/16" x 37 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A striking design by Waldemar Świerzy on this B1 poster for the domestic release of the Polish film What a Lady You Are… (released in Poland as Cózes ty za pani…). The film was directed by Tadeusz Kijanski and was one of only three films he helmed. According to IMDb, his directorial career ended a year later in 1980. 

The film’s plot is described on the Polish site filmweb (Google translated)

The film is set during the First World War. Jacob lives in a village on the border of two partitions: an Austrian and Russian. Here marries Magda. When war breaks out, Jacob goes to the front. He must fight not only the enemy, but also Poles from another partition.

The full film is available to watch on Youtube, should you wish.

The late Waldemar Świerzy is considered to be one of the most important Polish designers and artists and it’s estimated he’s worked on over 2500 posters during his career. He was born in Katowice in 1931 and graduated from the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts in 1952. He later became professor in the University of Fine Arts in Poznań from 1965 and Professor in the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1994. The artist was one of the key figures in the influential Polish School of Posters a movement to push the level of quality of Polish posters forward which was active for over 30 years, starting in the 1950s. Świerzy won multiple awards during his career and had several exhibitions of his work held over the years. He sadly passed away in 2003.

Polishposter.com has several pages of his work and this biography on culture.pl goes into great detail about his life and work. Poster.com.pl has another gallery of his work.

Hanover Street / one sheet / USA

08.03.17

Poster Poster
Title
Hanover Street
AKA
--
Year of Film
1979
Director
Peter Hyams
Starring
Harrison Ford, Lesley-Anne Down, Christopher Plummer, Alec McCowen, Richard Masur, Michael Sacks, Patsy Kensit, Max Wall, Shane Rimmer, Keith Buckley, Sherrie Hewson
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Harrison Ford, Lesley-Anne Down, Christopher Plummer, Alec McCowen, Richard Masur, Michael Sacks, Patsy Kensit, Max Wall, Shane Rimmer, Keith Buckley, Sherrie Hewson,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
John Alvin
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
790064
Tagline
Love hasn't been like this since 1943. | It was a time of courage and honor - of passion and sacrifice. This is the story of two people swept up in that time - who met - and fell in love.

John Alvin artwork features on this American one sheet for the Anglo-American wartime romantic film Hanover Street. The film was directed by Peter Hyams (Outland, Timecop) and was originally intended to star Kris Kristofferson. When the actor pulled out of the project, deciding instead to go on tour with his band, he was replaced by Harrison Ford. Luckily for the production, Ford was already over in Europe as he was shooting Force 10 from Navarone, another World War II-set film. Lesley-Anne Down plays Margaret, a British nurse with whom Ford’s American airman becomes romantically involved. 

The plot is described on IMDb:

During the Second World War, an American Pilot stationed in England meets a young British nurse during an air raid on London. The two instantly fall in love, despite the fact that the young Nurse is already married; a secret she keeps hidden from her American lover. After being shot down behind enemy lines, while being assigned to ferry a British agent into France, the American pilot realizes that his secret agent cargo is in fact his lover’s husband, and that the two must now work together in order to survive.

The film was apparently a reasonable box-office hit, thanks to the draw of Harrison Ford, but was largely critically mauled. It has garnered something of a following in the years since thanks to the well-staged flying sequences that used actual World War II bombers (B-25 Mitchells).

The late American designer and artist John Alvin was responsible for over 135 film poster designs over a thirty year period. Alvin painted many unforgettable pieces of artwork, including Blade Runner and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. The gallery of his posters on IMPAwards gives you an idea of the range of his work. Alvin sadly passed away too early, just shy of his 6oth birthday (in 2008), but his fantastic designs will live on for generations to come.

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

Platoon / one sheet / USA

13.08.14

Poster Poster
Title
Platoon
AKA
--
Year of Film
1987
Director
Oliver Stone
Starring
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Richard Edson, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Johnny Depp,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Final
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Bill Gold
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
860115
Tagline
The first casualty of war is innocence

An iconic image on this one sheet for the release of Oliver Stone‘s Academy Award-winning Vietnam war classic, Platoon, one of a three films that the director made on the subject (the others being Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth). The script, which was written by Stone, is based on his own experiences as an infantryman who served in tours of duty during the Vietnam war. He had signed up in 1967 after dropping out of Yale University and specifically requested to see combat in the war that had seen the first ground troops sent to the country two years earlier. Stone served in two different divisions for over a year and was wounded twice,  receiving several medals, including a Purple Heart.

The film follows Charlie Sheen‘s army grunt Chris Taylor (a proxy for Stone) who is serving as part of Bravo Company, 25th Infantry Division near the Cambodian Border. Taylor is fresh into the field and is treated with disdain by the more experienced soldiers (an incredible ensemble of acting talent, including Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Keith David and Forest Whitaker) who have all been in country for months, and he is quickly made aware that his presence is inconsequential. After a few skirmishes in which some members of the division are killed, Taylor is eventually accepted into the group and discovers the grinding boredom and rampant drug use amongst his fellow soldiers. Tensions between two sergeants, the ill-tempered, battle-scarred Barnes (Berenger) and the pleasant, more reasonable Elias (Dafoe) reach breaking point following an incident involving innocent villagers. Upon returning to base, the issue of a court-martial for illegal killing is raised and when the division is sent out on their next patrol, things reach boiling point, leaving Taylor fighting to survive against the enemy as well as members of his own team.

This one sheet was designed by the great Bill Gold who is best known for his working relationship with Clint Eastwood that has lasted over four decades. He worked on the iconic one sheet for Dirty Harry and went on to design the American poster for every Eastwood film since, which includes the brilliant one for Clint’s last Western,Unforgiven (1992). Gold has also designed posters for some of Hollywood’s greatest directors, including the likes of Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange, with artwork by Philip Castle) and Alfred Hitchcock (Dial M For Murder).

Born in New York City in 1921, Gold studied illustration and design at the Pratt Institute before starting his professional design career in 1941 in the publicity department for Warner Brothers. One of his earliest designs was for the classic Humphrey Bogart filmCasablanca and within a few years he went on to become the head of the studio’s poster department. In 1962 he started Bill Gold Advertising in New York and then spent the next four decades creating hundreds of memorable poster designs and collaborating with some of the best illustrators in the business, including the brilliant Bob Peak.

Gold started to design less posters towards the end of the 1990s, with only a handful of posters for Eastwood films being credited to him. His last poster was for the 2011 film J. Edgar (directed by Eastwood), which Gold agreed to work on after an unsuccessful period of retirement following the poster he worked on for Mystic River in 2003. He continues to live in Upstate New York and in 2011 a book was released to coincide with his 90th birthday called Bill Gold Posterworks, which features 450 pages worth of his incredible designs and details his creative process. Unfortunately, it has an eye-watering price tag that has prevented me picking a copy up but I hope that one day a more affordable version will be released.

The Passage / quad / UK

06.06.16

Poster Poster

Colourful and typically dynamic artwork by Brian Bysouth features on this UK quad for the largely forgotten British war film The Passage (1979). Based on the novel Perilous Passage by Bruce Nicolaysen (who also wrote the screenplay), the film was directed by the British director J. Lee Thompson who was responsible for the classic war film The Guns of Navarone, as well as multiple films headlined by Charles Bronson.

Set during World War II, the story sees a Basque farmer (played by Anthony Quinn) escort a scientist (James Mason) and his family over the treacherous Pyrenees mountains to escape the sadistic clutches of a Nazi SS officer, Captain Von Berkow (Malcolm McDowell giving an impressively over the top performance). Christopher Lee appears as a character called The Gypsy who is sympathetic to the group’s plight. Apparently the film bombed spectacularly at the US box office and was critically drubbed on release.

This British quad was created at the London-based Downtons Advertising agency by one of the principal designers, Eddie Paul, and painted by Brian Bysouth who was working as a freelancer at the time. Both men are featured in Sim Branaghan’s must-own book British Film Posters: An Illustrated History and are each responsible for several iconic British posters. The designer Eddie Paul was born in Hackney in 1920 and attended Southend School of Art, later beginning his career at Temple Art Studios before moving on to Star Illustrations on Shoe Lane, where he gained a good reputation as a scrapboard artist.

After serving in the RAF during the war, Eddie joined Pulford Publicity in 1946 and started designing film posters using crayons and coloured pencils. He worked on several successful poster campaigns during the 1960s, including El Cid (1961), The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and the famous quad for From Russia with Love (painted by Renato Fratini). He later joined four ex-Downton colleagues and formed the successful agency FEREF in 1968. As Sim notes in his book, ‘He was well liked and respected within the business as a gentleman’. Eddie Paul passed away from a heart attack whilst on his way to work in 1984, just shy of his retirement from FEREF.

The artwork was painted by Brian Bysouth who is one of my favourite poster artists and was responsible for many classic posters from the 1960s to the 1980s, including the final painted poster for a James Bond film, The Living Daylights (1987). In 2012 I was fortunate to meet and interview Brian for this site and the article can be read here. The other posters I’ve collected by Brian can be seen by clicking here.

The Boat / Thailand

09.06.16

Poster Poster
Title
The Boat
AKA
Das Boot (Germany - original title) | U-Bôto (Japan) | U-Boot 96 (Italy)
Year of Film
1981
Director
Wolfgang Petersen
Starring
Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge, Bernd Tauber, Erwin Leder, Martin May, Heinz Hoenig, Uwe Ochsenknecht
Origin of Film
West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch, Martin Semmelrogge, Bernd Tauber, Erwin Leder, Martin May, Heinz Hoenig, Uwe Ochsenknecht,
Type of Poster
Thai
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
Unknown
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas
Size (inches)
25 1/16" x 37"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

The is the Thai poster for the release of the classic German war film The Boat (AKA Das Boot) which was painted by Tongdee Panumas. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who also wrote the screenplay, the film is adapted from the 1973 novel of the same name by Lothar-Günther Buchheim. It tells the fictional story of life aboard U-96, a German U-boat, during World War II and depicts both the excitement of battle but also the tedium and claustrophobia of being trapped in a metal tube deep below the surface of the Atlantic ocean. Jürgen Prochnow gives a memorable performance as the grizzled boat’s captain who looks after a crew made up of seasoned veterans and wide-eyed new recruits, as well as a war correspondent who has been assigned to U-96.

The film is notable for being released in multiple versions over the years, with the original cinema release clocking in at 150 minutes. This is the version that was released in the US, Germany, the UK and elsewhere in 1981 and would go on to garner great critical acclaim, as well as several Academy Award nominations. A few years later a longer version was assembled and shown as a mini-series on UK and German TV. In 1997 Petersen oversaw the production of a director’s cut, which combed through six hours of footage to create a version that runs for 3 and a half hours. This is what is now commonly available on home video for fans of the film.

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.

The illustration of the U-boat is almost certain to have been based on the artwork from the international one sheet (painted by Gary Meyer) which can be seen here.

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.

Apocalypse Now / one sheet / USA

12.08.13

Poster Poster

A classic painting by the late, great Bob Peak on this one sheet for the release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

Master movie poster artist Bob Peak was asked to create a series of paintings to sell the film and he worked in conjunction with art directors Murray Smith and Don Smolen from the boutique poster agency Smolen, Smith and Connolly, based in New York City. Two of Peak’s paintings were used in North America, with an image of the Nung River on the teaser poster and then this superb portrait of Brando as Kurtz with a menacing looking Sheen behind him was the final poster. Both of those images were used around the world to sell the film. German cinemas also saw this stunning image of Kurtz that was painted by Peak and used exclusively in that country.

Bob Peak was born in 1927 in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Wichita, Kansas before heading off to serve in the military during the Korean War. Upon his return Peak enrolled in the Los Angeles-based Art Center College of Design where he began to hone his craft as an artist, moving to New York after graduation where he began his career as a commercial illustrator, first working on a campaign for Old Hickory Whiskey. For the next few years the artist worked on a string of successful advertising campaigns, magazine editorials and more, but it was when United Artists hired Peak to work on their campaign for the release of West Side Story in 1961 that he began what would prove to be a fruitful and almost unrivalled career in film poster creation.

Peak’s immediately recognisable style was soon much in demand and his painting appeared on posters for films such as My Fair Lady (1964) and Camelot (1967), but it was his work in the area of sci-fi and fantasy for which Peak is perhaps best known, with the iconic design for the first Superman film (1978), the classic image he created for Rollerball (1975) and the colourful poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), amongst several classics of the genre he was responsible for. His paintings for Apocalypse Now, however, arguably saw the artist working at the top of his game and in the recently published must-own book The Art of Bob Peak (put together by one of his sons), he is quoted as saying, “Of all my movie work, it is my work on Apocalypse Now that I am most proud of.”

To see the other posters in the Film on Paper collection that were painted by Bob Peak click here.

Dragon Attack / B2 / photo style / Japan

25.04.13

Poster Poster
Title
Dragon Attack
AKA
Mi ni te gong dui (Taiwan - original title) | Fantasy Mission Force (Hong Kong) | Mini Special Force (Malaysia - English title)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Yen-ping Chu
Starring
Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Yu Wang, Yueh Sun, David Tao, Jung Fang, Shiu Bu Lia, Frankie Gao, Adam Cheng, Ling Chang
Origin of Film
Taiwan | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Jackie Chan, Brigitte Lin, Yu Wang, Yueh Sun, David Tao, Jung Fang, Shiu Bu Lia, Frankie Gao, Adam Cheng, Ling Chang,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
Photo
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Nothing says you’ve made it like an all-white tuxedo and a Rolls-Royce Phantom, or so thought Hong Kong-born screen legend Jackie Chan circa 1982. This is a B2 poster that was printed around the time of the Japanese release of the film Dragon Attack (AKA Fantasy Mission Force) in which the prolific actor appeared as a wrestler in a team of mercenaries on a rescue mission during an alternative-universe World War II (American muscle-cars feature, for example).

A bizarre mix of comedy and ‘Dirty Dozen’ style men (and women) on a mission, the film is apparently something of a nonsensical but entertaining mess. As one reviewer on IMDb states:

‘Reviewing this movie is like reviewing someone else’s hallucination. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to it, no way to even know what I just saw, let alone how to describe it. It makes Yellow Submarine seem as coherent as Schindler’s List.’

Another review has definitely peaked my interest:

‘This movie has everything! Hopping undead corpses. Crazed Amazons. Ghosts who cheat at cards. Japanese Nazis who attack riding atop 1970s clunker cars. Stupid musical numbers. Abraham Lincoln as a World War II general. Throw in loads of gratuitous violence, Chinese guys dressed in kilts and Elvis jumpsuits, and, er, Jacky Chan (and his chicken) and you have quite possibly the stupidest movie ever made.’

The trailer for the film is on YouTube (as is the entire film itself).

Raid on Entebbe / quad / UK

04.07.12

Poster Poster

Raid on Entebbe is based on the true story of Operation Thunderbolt a mission undertaken by Israeli commandos in 1976 with the aim of rescuing hostages from a hijacked Air France plane being held at Entebbe airport in Uganda. The plane and hostages were under control of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the German Revolutionary Cells and, after landing in Uganda, almost all of the non-Israeli hostages had been released. After it became clear that the Ugandan president Idi Amin was actively helping the terrorists, a daring rescue was planned by the Israeli Defence Forces, which resulted in the rescue of all but four of the hostages and the death of only one commando,  Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the brother of Benjamin Netanyahu who would later serve as the Israeli prime minister.

There were actually three film versions of the events put into production within months of the rescue; two were US-produced including this film, which followed the hastily made-for-TV Victory at Entebbe, starring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor. Legendary director and producer Menahem Golan also put together an Israeli-made versions starring mostly Jewish actors called Mivtsa Yonatan (AKA Operation Thunderbolt). Raid on Entebbe was first shown on TV in the US but was given a theatrical release in other countries, including the UK.

Action legend Charles Bronson was obviously seen as the biggest draw for UK audiences over the likes of Peter Finch who actually passed away 10 days after the film first aired and would be given a posthumous Academy Award for his role in the film Network.

This UK quad features stylised artwork painted with large brushstrokes onto a canvas, the grain of which is clearly still visible. Sim Branaghan believes this to be the work of British artist Mike Vaughan, perhaps best known for his work on several Hammer Horror quads, including Twins of Evil.

Saigon / quad / UK

28.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Saigon
AKA
Off Limits (original title)
Year of Film
1988
Director
Christopher Crowe
Starring
Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward, Amanda Pays, Kay Tong Lim, Scott Glenn, David Alan Grier, Keith David, Raymond O'Connor, Richard Brooks
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines, Fred Ward, Amanda Pays, Kay Tong Lim, Scott Glenn, David Alan Grier, Keith David, Raymond O'Connor, Richard Brooks,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1988
Designer
Brian Bysouth
Artist
Brian Bysouth
Size (inches)
30 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
They're the only law and order on the streets.

Artwork by Brian Bysouth on this quad for the UK release of Saigon, which is also known as Off Limits in the USA. As the international title suggests, the film is set during the Vietnam war and sees two military policemen played by Willem Dafoe and Gregory Hines investigating the deaths of several prostitutes in Saigon’s red light district. It soon becomes clear that the prime suspect is a high-ranking US Army officer and that the two cops are in for more than they bargained for.

Despite a strong supporting cast, including Scott GlennKeith David and Fred Ward, the film appears to have failed to make much of a box-office or critical impact. It certainly saw none of the success of Dafoe’s previous Vietnam-based film, the oscar-winning Platoon. The film features some brilliantly odd character names, such as Buck McGriff (Dafoe) and Albaby Perkins (Hines).

Bysouth’s artwork has similar star portraits to the ones seen on the US one sheet, but the street scene and other characters are unique to the quad. In 2012 I met and interviewed the artist and the resulting article can be read here.

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

The trailer for the film can be seen on YouTube.

Victory / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Something of a cult classic, Victory (AKA 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 US one sheet was illustrated by the artist David Jarvis who is perhaps best known for his illustration on the poster 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.

Check out the UK quad that also features Jarvis’ artwork but adds a montage by Vic Fair.

Missing in Action / one sheet / teaser / USA

01.05.12

Poster Poster
Title
Missing in Action
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Joseph Zito
Starring
Chuck Norris, M. Emmet Walsh, David Tress, Lenore Kasdorf, James Hong, Ernie Ortega, Pierrino Mascarino, Erich Anderson, Joseph Carberry
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Chuck Norris, M. Emmet Walsh, David Tress, Lenore Kasdorf, James Hong, Ernie Ortega, Pierrino Mascarino, Erich Anderson, Joseph Carberry,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Stan Watts
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The war's not over until the last man comes home.

Action legend Chuck Norris stars in this Vietnam Prisoner of War (POW) film that shamelessly ripped off borrowed many elements from a script for Rambo: First Blood Part II, which had been written by James Cameron and had been doing the rounds in Hollywood for several months. Apparently folks at the Cannon Group had seen the script and quickly put the first two Missing in Action films into production; part 2, which is actually a prequel, was filmed at the same time as this film.

The story sees Colonel James Braddock escaping from a POW camp after seven years of captivity and then returning to Vietnam on a covert mission to rescue the men he had to leave behind. The film was absolutely savaged by critics on its release, with Derek Adams of Time Out saying that the film is “so bad that it defies belief. It’s xenophobic, amateurish and extraordinarily dull”. The biggest problem with the film is that it feels like a handful of set pieces with a lot of padding to fill in the rest of the running time, making it a frustratingly boring experience.

For all of its faults, it does feature this utterly brilliant minute of action, which has to be seen to be believed.

The poster artwork is by Stan Watts, who painted the posters for Invasion USA and The Delta Force, also starring Norris.

The trailer can be seen on YouTube.