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The Thing / screen print / regular / Drew Struzan / USA

24.08.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Thing
AKA
John Carpenter's The Thing (USA - complete title) | Stvor (Serbia)
Year of Film
1982
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David,Charles Hallahan, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart, David Clennon, Richard Masur, T. K. Carter, Joel Polis, Thomas G. Waites, Peter Maloney
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David,Charles Hallahan, Donald Moffat, Richard Dysart, David Clennon, Richard Masur, T. K. Carter, Joel Polis, Thomas G. Waites, Peter Maloney,
Type of Poster
Screen print
Style of Poster
Regular
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2012
Designer
Drew Struzan
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
25 14/16" x 38 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This year the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin, Texas celebrated the 30th anniversary of the summer of 1982, a period they dubbed ‘the greatest summer of movies…ever’. It’s not hard to see why when, in the space of three months, films like E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Mad Max 2,  Tron, Poltergeist and John Carpenter’s The Thing were released in cinemas. A series of screenings have taken place over the past few months and for several of these shows a limited edition screen printed poster was created by the folks at Mondo, the celebrated offshoot of  the Drafthouse.

Perhaps the most exciting of these was the one created for my favourite film of all time, John Carpenter’s The Thing. Mondo surpassed everyone’s expectations for the poster by harking back 30 years and working directly with the legendary artist Drew Struzan who was responsible for the fantastic one sheet for the film. Using the original painted artwork, Drew and the Mondo team were able to create a screen print of the classic image; a perfect choice to celebrate the anniversary of the film’s release.

Announcing the poster, Movies.com carried out an exclusive interview with Struzan and it’s an absolute must-read for fans of the artist and his work. One of the most interesting parts of the interview sees Struzan recalling the creation of the original poster:

“I got a phone call, the simplest phone call I ever got, saying, “We have a job, we want to know if you can do it, the catch is we need it by tomorrow.””

After agreeing to the ridiculously tight deadline, Struzan remembers getting to work:

“It was a very odd experience. I got an immediate concept, which is not unusual for me; I usually have something roving around in my mind. I dressed up in a winter snow outfit and my wife took a Polaroid of me. This was 30 years ago, back in the stone age when the only way to communicating a hundred miles away was the telephone or the fax machine. So I did the drawing and I faxed it back to the studio and they said, “Fine. We need it by tomorrow morning.” I went to work.”

And the result is this iconic image that perfectly captures the mood of the film and stands out as one of Struzan’s best poster designs, which is no mean feat when you consider the artist’s incredible output over several decades.

Around the time of the release, the website Machinima released a brilliant three-part documentary called ‘Limited Run: Mondo’s Modern Classic’ that features the process of creating this poster and includes interviews with Struzan and John Carpenter.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone / one sheet / Drew Struzan version / USA

21.07.11

Poster Poster
Title
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
AKA
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (UK)
Year of Film
2001
Director
Chris Columbus
Starring
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2001
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Let The Magic Begin.

After eight films and close to 150 posters (according to the IMPAwards), this poster for the first film in the Harry Potter franchise is the only one I’m happy to add to my collection, and features art by the incomparable Drew Struzan. Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that it was originally intended to be the first in a series of Struzan designs; Drew was told he’d be doing a poster for each of the subsequent films. This design is featured in his must-buy book ‘The Art of Drew Struzan’ and he talks about the plans:

Hearkening back to Back to the Future and Indiana Jones, they wanted a consistent technique and style they could perpetuate through a series of posters. I watched the movie on a monitor, got the stills – it was everywhere. I’d never read the books, but fans felt the movie poster captured the spirit, the mystery and sense of adventure.

We were going to be treated to a new Struzan poster for every film release, but this was not to be and the studio changed its plans:

Warner Bros. got a new head of worldwide advertising. And whenever you get a new guy, he wants to flush everything approved by the prior regime.

A hugely disappointing move since Drew was (and is) the perfect artist to capture the magic and fantasy of the Harry Potter films, yet the studio felt photographic images were the only way to sell the films to the public. Drew was as disappointed as the rest of us:

I had been preparing to live with Harry Potter for six movies; I was really getting into it. At the point they killed me, I couldn’t let it go and went ahead and painted the finished version of the sequel for my own satisfaction. I had to complete it.

The Art of Drew Struzan features his design for the second film and it’s another superb poster, as expected. We can only imagine what the rest of the posters would have looked like, if only the studio had stuck with their plans…

British film website The Shiznit has collected all of the posters together and rightly awarded best poster of the series to this one.

Book recommendation – Oeuvre: Drew Struzan

29.09.11

You’d be hard pressed to find a film fan who doesn’t have their own favourite poster by Drew Struzan, the American illustrator behind countless classic campaigns over the past four decades. Whether it’s the unforgettable image of Marty McFly climbing out of the Delorean for Back to the Future, or the striking design he painted for John Carpenter’s The Thing, Drew could not only sell a film with one image, he would ensure that the image would be forever associated with the film. There’s a reason Universal re-used Drew’s imagery when they released Back to the Future earlier this year for its 25th anniversary and why directors like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Frank Darabont all happily cite him as being their favourite artist to both collect and collaborate with.

The front cover (with spot varnish signature)

The front cover (with spot varnish signature)

When I added the Pan’s Labyrinth UK one sheet to the site I talked about how studio suits no longer feel comfortable using artwork for a film’s campaign and instead prefer to rely on bland, Photoshopped images to sell their films. It’s the reason why 95% of modern film posters are terrible and, though there are notable exceptions, nothing has come close to touching the quality of the posters we saw in the 1970s and 1980s. Drew truly was (and still is) a master of his field and though he may be retired his legacy will live on for years to come.

The Back to the Future trilogy by Drew

The Back to the Future trilogy by Drew

Drew Struzan: Oeuvre, which has just been released in the UK (and is about to be released in the US) celebrates this legacy in the best way possible; by showing the artwork full page with no distracting text or annotations, just the images in all their glory. The book was compiled by Drew’s wife Dylan and it not only features the majority of his film-related output but also other work including commercial adverts, music and comic covers and even a selection of original paintings. The book showcases many images I’d never seen before, including some fantastic Indiana Jones pieces that spread across two pages. There are also countless other brilliantly realised illustrations of a whole range of characters such as Snake Plissken, the crew of the Starship Enterprise and some excellent celebrity portraits, all displaying that inimitable Struzan style.

Anakin Skywalker and Snake Plissken

Anakin Skywalker and Snake Plissken

Whilst it doesn’t quite collect every single item Drew worked on in his long career (as is remarked in the book) it would take a tome multiple times the size of this one to capture everything. I think Dylan has done a fine job of choosing the best pieces and it makes a great compliment to the book The Art of Drew Struzan, which was released last year (and is another must-buy).

Indiana Jones - a commercial piece by Drew

Indiana Jones – a commercial piece by Drew

All in all, if you’re even a passing fan of Drew’s work I can’t recommend this enough and can guarantee nostalgia chills when you open it for the first time and see the myriad of unforgettable designs on display.

Flying Machines and E.T. - commercial pieces

Flying Machines and E.T. – commercial pieces

Links (these are not affiliated and I am making zero money from this post!)

The book is now available on Amazon.co.uk
The book will be available next week on Amazon.com

Drewstruzan.com is Drew’s own personal website featuring two galleries worth of work (a must visit!)

Here are all the Drew Struzan posters I’ve collected so far (there are several I plan to add to the site in the coming weeks): Drew Struzan – Film on Paper

More images from the book

 

Star Trek - the original crew of the Enterprise

Star Trek – the original crew of the Enterprise

 

Police Academy

Police Academy

Introduction by George Lucas

Introduction by George Lucas

Pan’s Labyrinth / one sheet / special / UK

06.07.11

Poster Poster

Guillermo Del Toro’s sublime, fantastic fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth almost had an official cinema poster by the great Drew Struzan, that is until the studio suits had their way. The poster you see here is from a special screening in London and the design was never actually used as a cinema poster in any country. The final American Pan’s Labyrinth one sheet can be seen here.

The full story of how Struzan and Del Toro worked together on the poster can be found in the fantastic book ‘The Art of Drew Struzan’, which is an absolute must-buy for anyone who who has even a passing interest in Drew’s work (it’s currently only £16.49 on Amazon UK and $23.07 on Amazon.com). The stories associated with each of the artworks are a fascinating insight into what it’s like to work with directors and studios during the creation of a film poster.

These excerpts are taken from the Pan’s Labyrinth section of the book.

Drew on the completion of the artwork:

Then the shit hit the fan – the studio never used the painting. It did wind up on a special vinyl issue of the soundtrack album though.

Once the image had been released online there were many who couldn’t believe that Drew’s artwork wasn’t used for the final poster.

They were having a press conference in Europe, and a reporter actually stood up and asked one of the suits, “How come you didn’t use Struzan’s artwork for the poster?” … The suit’s reply was: “We didn’t use it because it looks too much like art.”

That statement from the studio representative says it all really. It seems like they genuinely believe that cinema-goers won’t respond to illustrated posters any more and that the photoshopped monstrosities so prevalent today are the only way to sell films successfully.

This particular example of the poster was obtained from a very established and trusted poster dealer that had bought them from a contact in London, who managed to secure a few after the event had finished. I’m assuming it was for the UK premiere or a large press screening, but I’d love to know for sure so please get in touch if you have any more details. I’m certain it’s not a bootleg poster as it measures the standard size for one sheets, is printed on decent paper and the details are sharp when viewed up close.

Star Wars / one sheet / style D / studio version / USA

23.07.14

Poster Poster
Title
Star Wars
AKA
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (full title) | La guerre des étoiles (Canada - French title / France)
Year of Film
1977
Director
George Lucas
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style D - studio version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1978
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Charles White III | Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

This is the excellent ‘style D’ poster for the original sci-fi classic Star Wars, which was printed for the 1978 re-release of the film in the US. The artwork, which only appears on this US one sheet, was a collaboration between two talents; Charles White III who was at the time an established and well regarded artist well known for his skills with an airbrush, and Drew Struzan who was early in his film poster painting career and yet to paint the iconic images for which he is famous for today. This is Struzan’s first poster for the Star Wars franchise and he would later go on to be one of Lucasfilm’s most trusted artists, painting several other posters and related images for the Star Wars universe over the following 35 years.

In an interview with Airbrush Magazine in August 1999, Struzan said:

‘I will never fail to give credit to Charlie White for what he did for me. It may have been a small thing to him, but a life changer for me. He is an extraordinary artist famed for his airbrush work. He had the desirable assignment to do the one-sheet poster for the re-release of Star Wars in 1978. He is marvellous at painting objects, but was hesitant to paint portraits for the poster. Somehow, he asked me to paint the portraits while he would paint the droids and the like…Only an extraordinary individual does anything so generous and unselfish. It is the individual who deserves the honor. I have no doubt that there was a desire on Charlie’s part to do the best job possible on the Star Wars project…It was to his advantage to use the best talent he could find. He also gave the lettering to a great letterer. It made for an outstanding poster. All of us who worked on it have been proud ever since to have had the opportunity. It remains a perennial favorite, even among Hollywood executives.’

The style D page on TheForce.net notes that this is said to be George Lucas’ favourite Star Wars poster and the original artwork apparently hangs on the wall in his house. It is often described as being a ‘circus’ style poster as the main image has been illustrated to appear that it’s sitting on a wooden board with other older, torn paper surrounding it.

In another interview with Struzan carried out by Cinefantastique in 1997, the artist recalls how the design came about:

‘The novel idea of making the poster appear as if it were pasted on a wall came about almost by accident. “We had already done the lettering of the title, painting it in as part of the poster,” recalled Struzan. “Then, when we got the billing, we discovered there wasn’t enough room for all the credits, so we had to figure out a way to make more space. We thought, ‘Why don’t we take what we already have and paint it to look like it’s wild posted on top of other posters?’ That gave us the extra room we needed for the billing at the bottom. It was a case of Necessity being the Mother of Invention.” …”We had to do other art to fill it out, so we had a chance to include more characters. We added Han Solo in a little vignetted circle, and Alec Guinness was an afterthought. It kind of grew to include everybody.”‘

Note that this is the ‘studio’ version of the one sheet and there is also the National Screen Service (NSS) version which has all of the associated markings on the bottom edge of the poster. The studio style was printed by the studio itself, whilst the NSS version would have been produced at one of their own printing offices. There were also two official reprints done around the time of the film’s 15th anniversary but they are pretty easy to spot since they are undersized and feature several new lines of text (copyright and so on). Moviepostercollectors.com features a page on the poster that’s well worth a read.

Drew Struzan barely needs an introduction to film fans worldwide but he also has an official website featuring galleries of his work. To see the other posters I’ve collected by Struzan click here.

First Blood / large / Thailand

08.12.16

Poster Poster
Title
First Blood
AKA
Rambo (multiple countries)
Year of Film
1982
Director
Ted Kotcheff
Starring
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney, Jack Starrett, Michael Talbott, Chris Mulkey
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna, Bill McKinney, Jack Starrett, Michael Talbott, Chris Mulkey,
Type of Poster
Thai one sheet
Style of Poster
Large style
Origin of Poster
Thailand
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Tongdee Panumas | Drew Struzan (original Rambo figure holding gun, repainted by Tongdee)
Size (inches)
27.5" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This is the scarce, large-size poster for the Thai release of the first film in what would become known as the Rambo series, First Blood. Helmed by the Canadian director Ted Kotcheff, the film was co-written by the film’s star Sylvester Stallone. Stallone would eventually become best known for two series that between them saw 11 films released over a 40 year period; the Rocky boxing saga and Rambo. The first Rocky film had been met with critical and commercial success when it was released in 1976. A sequel followed three years later and Stallone had Rocky III in cinemas at the same time as First Blood (1982). The latter cemented the actor as a box-office behemoth and he became one of the 1980’s action megastars, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.

First Blood started life as a 1972 novel by author David Morrell which had its rights optioned by Columbia Pictures almost immediately. The project then spent the next decade bouncing between studios, producers and directors. Eventually Stallone was offered the lead role and Ted Kotcheff agreed to direct for the legendary producers Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna of Carolco Pictures.

John J. Rambo (Stallone) is a former US Special Forces soldier who has returned from Vietnam still haunted and disoriented by his experiences there. He decides to pay a visit to an ex-forces friend by hitchhiking across the country. When he arrives he discovers that his pal died soon after returning from the war due to exposure to Agent Orange. Rambo continues his journey on foot and eventually arrives in the small town of Hope, Washington. There he is confronted and abused by the local sheriff known as Teasle (Brian Dennehy) who drives Rambo out of town and tells him not to return.

Deciding to defy the orders, Rambo is soon arrested by Teasle for a series of bogus charges. Whilst in detention and being sadistically attacked by the other corrupt sheriffs, Rambo has flashbacks to being a Prisoner of War in Vietnam. Fearing for his life, he fights his way out of the jail. There then follows a cat and mouse chase as he flees into the nearby forest, pursued by Teasle and a gang of his men. He manages to evade and outwit the sheriffs and eventually his former commanding officer Trautman (an excellent Richard Crenna) arrives in Hope to help with the situation. Trautman warns the lawmen that Rambo will not come quietly and urges them not to corner him. When they fail to heed his warning, a series of violent encounters ends with Rambo pitched against Teasle in a night-time confrontation.

The film was a huge box-office success on its release, although film critics were less than impressed at the time. It would later be given a critical reappraisal and quickly gained cult status once it was released on home video. Two sequels were released in the 1980s but these were much more gung-ho and violent than the original. It’s often forgotten how relatively tame the first Rambo film is compared to the three sequels, particularly the later revival film, Rambo (2008).

This is one of three Thai posters that exist for First Blood. At least one of them is for a later re-release but I believe this poster, which is the size of a US one-sheet, was printed for the original cinema release in Thailand. The main figure of Rambo with the giant machine gun is based on the artwork by Drew Struzan that was used on the American one sheet and British quad. It has been repainted by Tongdee and the rest of the poster is of the artist’s own creation.

Tongdee Panumas was an incredibly prolific film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Hellboy / one sheet / advance / unused / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Hellboy
AKA
Super Sapiens (Malaysia - English title)
Year of Film
2004
Director
Guillermo Del Toro
Starring
Ron Perlman, Rupert Evans, Doug Jones, Selma Blair, Ladislav Beran, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Ron Perlman, Rupert Evans, Doug Jones, Selma Blair, Ladislav Beran, John Hurt, Jeffrey Tambor,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance - unused
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2004
Designer
XL
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
26 13/16" x 39 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This particular design by Drew Struzan was never actually used as a theatrical one sheet. It was apparently sold at later date. I’m not 100% certain that my copy is an original, although I do trust the seller I bought it from, so it’s hard to say for sure.

Hook / one sheet / USA

05.12.11

Poster Poster

Steven Spielberg’s folllow up to JM Barrie’s classic Peter Pan story featured Robin Williams playing a grown-up Peter Pan, now called Peter Banning and working as a corporate lawyer, who has forgotten his life in Neverland. Whilst visiting England his two children are kidnapped by a mysterious stranger and it’s not long before Tinkerbell [Julia Roberts] appears to return him to the world he once knew so that he can reclaim his youthful spirit and save his family.

The film was roundly panned by critics but was nevertheless considered a box-office success (with worldwide takings over $300 million) and is one of those films that splits audiences in two. Today, Hook continues to have as many fans as it does detractors, with some calling it Spielberg’s worst film and others lauding it as a misunderstood classic.

Whatever people thought of the film there’s no question that this final release poster by Drew Struzan was a definite success. It followed a very minimal teaser poster by John Alvin, which doesn’t even feature the name of the film. In his must-have book ‘The Art of Drew Struzan’, the artist talks about the creation of the poster:

‘We had a very long time to work on it, and you know what means: I wound up recombining heads, seemingly forever. ‘Round and ’round, for more than six months; everybody at Sony who needed to stake a reputation had an opinion on what the poster should be.

Nevertheless, Drew used the strong relationship he had built with Spielberg on previous projects to make sure his designs were seen by the director:

(…) I took each group of drawings directly to Steven. The first time, I walked onto the set where they were shooting Peter Pan in the tree stump. Steven stopped everything after he called “cut”, we laid out all the art on this huge table, and he stood there for like half an hour talking with me about it. Now, the cost-per-minute budget on a movie this big is how much? But Steven can do what he wants.

Not everyone was happy with the work in progress, as Drew recalls:

Dustin [Hoffman] said, “It’s not that I don’t like my portrait – it’s beautiful. But I don’t think it’s my character”. He wanted Hook to look “less villainous”. So off I went to Dustin’s house (…) we’re walking and taking and suddenly he goes into Actor Mode to explain what he wants (…) Finally I had to paint out a third of the picture and redesign it. He loved it. They all loved it.

Drew clearly loves the design but he notes that, in a twist of Hollywood madness, the poster wasn’t actually in cinemas until a week after the film opened.

The book (which is also available on Amazon.com and from all good bookshops) features many different versions of the poster before this one was ultimately chosen. Only Drew could have nailed the faces, particularly those of Williams and Hoffman, as well as this.

To see a gallery of the other posters by Drew I’ve collected click here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

The Name of the Rose / one sheet / USA

28.05.12

Poster Poster
Title
The Name of the Rose
AKA
Der Name der Rose (Germany - original title)
Year of Film
1986
Director
Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring
Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger, Elya Baskin, Michael Lonsdale, Volker Prechtel, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., William Hickey, Michael Habeck, Urs Althaus
Origin of Film
France | Italy | West Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger, Elya Baskin, Michael Lonsdale, Volker Prechtel, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., William Hickey, Michael Habeck, Urs Althaus,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 40 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
860101
Tagline
Who, in the name of God, is getting away with murder?

Artwork by the great Drew Struzan on this US one sheet for French director Jean-Jacques Annaud‘s 1986 medieval whodunnit, starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater in one of his first major film roles. Based on the book by Italian novelist, semiotician, philosopher and critic Umberto Eco, the film focuses on the investigation of a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey by the monk William of Baskerville (Connery) aided by his novice Adso of Melk (Slater). The pair must race against time to prevent falsely accused suspects, including Ron Perlman‘s demented hunchback Salvatore, being punished at the hands of the inquisitor Bernardo Gui (F. Murray Abraham).

Struzan’s portrait of a balding Connery is absolutely spot on and easily on par with the one he did three years later for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. According to IMDb, the presence of the ugly characters in the film (and on the poster) is due to Annaud “casting the ugliest actors he could get because he wanted the characters to appear “real”, based on the men in the village where he lived. When he returned to his village, some of the men asked him if he really considered them to be as ugly as the actors, and he said, “Yes.”

Several other international posters for the film, including this German one, depict Connery looking extremely serious and glum.

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

The original trailer is on YouTube.

I, the Jury / one sheet / USA

05.05.16

Poster Poster
Title
I, the Jury
AKA
--
Year of Film
1982
Director
Richard T. Heffron
Starring
Armand Assante, Barbara Carrera, Laurene Landon, Alan King, Geoffrey Lewis, Paul Sorvino, Judson Scott, Barry Snider
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Armand Assante, Barbara Carrera, Laurene Landon, Alan King, Geoffrey Lewis, Paul Sorvino, Judson Scott, Barry Snider,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1982
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
He's charming, he's sexy, he's tough, and he's too hot to cool down. He's "The Hammer."

Artwork by the great Drew Struzan features on this one sheet for the release of the 1982 crime drama I, the Jury. Based on a novel of the same name by the late American author Mickey Spillane the story was previously brought to the screen in 1953 (and in 3D to boot). This version features several story elements that aren’t in the original novel.

The screenplay was written by B-movie legend Larry Cohen who was original set to direct but left the production after one week of filming when it became clear that the budget was already out of control. Cohen is the writer and director of films like Q: The Winged Serpent and The Stuff but has concentrated on screenwriting during the 1980s and 2000s. Cohen was replaced by Richard T. Heffron, perhaps best known for helming Futureworld, the sequel to Westworld.

Armand Assante plays detective Mike Hammer who discovers an old detective buddy of his, Jack Williams, has been shot and killed and he sets out to catch who was responsible. The trail leads him to a secretive sex therapy clinic that’s headed up by Dr Bennett (Barbara Carrera). Hammer discovers that Jack was on an undercover mission in the clinic and that’s what cost him his life. Before long the detective realises that he’s uncovered a conspiracy involving a rogue element of the CIA and the New York mafia who will both stop at nothing to keep their secret under wraps. 

Drew Struzan is an artist who barely needs an introduction given that he painted many of the most iconic film posters of all time, including several for Star Wars, Indiana Jones and a slew of other beloved classics like The Thing and The Goonies. The artist’s own site features 4 pages of his work for films and Drew also worked in other areas, including product marketing, book and magazine covers, editorial and multiple paintings as a fine artist. Drew declared that he’d retired in 2008 but has worked on a handful of special paintings since then, including one to announce the most recent Star Wars film in 2015.

To see a gallery of the other posters by Drew that I’ve collected click here.

Dreamscape / one sheet / USA

28.02.12

Poster Poster
Title
Dreamscape
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Joseph Ruben
Starring
Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Larry Gelman
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw, David Patrick Kelly, George Wendt, Larry Gelman,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
840071
Tagline
Enter a world beyond your wildest imagination where anything can happen | Close your eyes and the adventure begins

Drew Struzan artwork on this poster for the 1984 sci-fi thriller Dreamscape, starring a young and fresh-faced Dennis Quaid, alongside the lovely Kate Capshaw. It also features veteran actors Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow who were, coincidentally, up against each other for the ‘Best Supporting Actor’ prize at the 2012 Academy Awards. Plummer went on to win for the first time in his long career.

Quaid plays psychic Alex Gardner who has been using his skills for personal gain after disappearing from a research project run by Dr. Paul Novotny (Von Sydow). Novotny tracks down Alex and coaxes him into joining his new experiment, which sees psychics’ abilities being used to infiltrate the dreams and nightmares of others. Whilst inside the dreams the psychics are able to influence events with the intention of ridding them of any sleep disorders they’re suffering. Although intended for benevolent purposes, a shadowy government agent (Plummer) clearly has other plans and an ally in the form of deranged psychic (David Patrick Kelly). It’s not long before the life of the President of the USA is in danger and only Alex can save him.

If the idea of infiltrating dreams sounds familiar it’s probably because Christopher Nolan’s 2010 sci-fi masterpiece, Inception, uses a similar conceipt of dream infiltration, although for different purposes and without the use of psychic powers. Despite some notably dodgy effects, Dreamscape is a fun watch and is definitely one of Quaid’s better lead roles. David Patrick Kelly plays a typically excellent bad guy and this was one of several memorable roles for him during the 1980s.

Some of the dreams situations are pretty creepy and well executed, particularly those involving the apocalyptic visions of the President.

Struzan’s artwork features several images taken from dream sequences as well as a couple of the ‘real world’ action scenes in the film. My only criticism of it is that it does make the film look like something of an action-adventure, which is definitely not the case, and the kid depicted as one of the main characters only features for a few brief minutes.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

Squirm / 30×40 / USA

30.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Squirm
AKA
I carnivori venuti dalla savana [The carnivores from the desert] (Italy)
Year of Film
1976
Director
Jeff Lieberman
Starring
Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy, R.A. Dow, Jean Sullivan, Peter MacLean, Fran Higgins, William Newman, Barbara Quinn, Carl Dagenhart
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy, R.A. Dow, Jean Sullivan, Peter MacLean, Fran Higgins, William Newman, Barbara Quinn, Carl Dagenhart,
Type of Poster
30x40
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
29.5" x 42 15/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
This was the night of the CRAWLING TERROR!

Very early Drew Struzan artwork on this poster for the film Squirm, which was an entry in the ‘nature strikes back’ sub-genre of horror and features millions of earthworms feasting on the unwitting population of a small Georgia town. The worms are forced to the surface after a downed power line crashes into wet soil and, for some unexplained reason, turns them into carnivores with a taste for human flesh.

This surreal illustration is quite unique amongst Struzan’s oeuvre and puts me in mind of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch (example here) and one of Francis Bacon‘s more nightmarish images. There’s a lot of detail in there and I spot new elements every time I look at it.

This particular poster is an oversized 30×40 and features a mention of the Gold Medal Showcase Cinema chain, which leads me to believe it was printed especially for them and could have been for a preview showing. I’m certain that it’s from the time of the original release, but if anyone has any more information on the poster please get in touch.

The trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

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

The Outing / one sheet / style B / USA

08.07.13

Poster Poster
Title
The Outing
AKA
The Lamp (Japan)
Year of Film
1987
Director
Tom Daley
Starring
Deborah Winters, James Huston, Andra St. Ivanyi, Scott Bankston, Red Mitchell, André Chimène, Damon Merrill, Barry Coffing, Tracye Walker, Raan Lewis
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Deborah Winters, James Huston, Andra St. Ivanyi, Scott Bankston, Red Mitchell, André Chimène, Damon Merrill, Barry Coffing, Tracye Walker, Raan Lewis,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1987
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Don't say see you later... say goodbye. | They're not coming back.

A rarely seen ‘style B’ one sheet with artwork by the great Drew Struzan, for the release of the horror film The Outing, which was actually a re-edited version of the 1986 film The LampSkouras Films distributed the film in most territories outside of the United States but, for reasons I’m unable to ascertain, the domestic release was handled by the now defunct outfit The Movie Store who cut 18 minutes, primarily from the first ‘prologue’ part of the film, and changed its name to the one seen on this poster. The Lamp cut of the film is now something of a cult classic and it faired much better on its original worldwide release than The Outing did in the US.

The Lamp version of the story starts in the 19th century onboard a cargo ship from the Middle East bound for Texas. When the ship docks most of the crew have been killed with only the captain and a young girl surviving, that is until the mysterious killer strikes again and the source of the evil is shown to be related to an ornate Arabian lamp. Jumping forward several decades (where The Outing begins) a bunch of hicks are ransacking the home of an elderly Arabic lady who they murder before coming across the lamp seen at the start of the film. When one of the thieves accidentally rubs the object, the evil djinn (or genie) is unleashed and proceeds to massacre each of the men one by one. During the subsequent police investigation, the lamp is found and sent to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which is where the bulk of the film takes place. A teenage girl, whose father works at the museum, discovers the lamp and is somehow possessed by the creature, persuading a bunch of her schoolmates to stay the night at the museum allowing the evil genie to have his wicked way.

This style B differs from the other version of the poster, which I also have in the collection, by depicting the evil genie in all its gruesomeness. The main image of the four terrified teens features on both posters, albeit with a slightly modified colour scheme.

To see the other posters I have in my collection that were painted by Drew Struzan click here.

The Black Bird / one sheet / USA

11.07.17

Poster Poster
Title
The Black Bird
AKA
--
Year of Film
1975
Director
David Giler
Starring
George Segal, Stéphane Audran, Lionel Stander, Lee Patrick, Elisha Cook Jr., Felix Silla, Signe Hasso, John Abbott, Connie Kreski, Titus Napoleon, Harry Kenoi, Howard Jeffrey, Ken Swofford
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
George Segal, Stéphane Audran, Lionel Stander, Lee Patrick, Elisha Cook Jr., Felix Silla, Signe Hasso, John Abbott, Connie Kreski, Titus Napoleon, Harry Kenoi, Howard Jeffrey, Ken Swofford,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1975
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
75/159
Tagline
Why is everyone after George Segal's bird? Because he's Sam Spade Jr... and his falcons worth a fortune.

This one sheet for the largely forgotten (and ill-advised) quasi-sequel to the classic 1941 film The Maltese Falcon, The Black Bird, features one of the earliest film poster illustrations by the legendary artist Drew Struzan. The film is the sole directorial effort from David Giler, who is now best known as a producer on pretty much every Alien film in the franchise, up to and including Alien Covenant (2017). George Segal stars as the son of detective Sam Spade, who was played by Humphrey Bogart in the first film. The plot is described on IMDb:

The son of famous detective Sam Spade carries on the family tradition of getting involved with the Maltese Falcon – and with the people who will stop at nothing, including murder, to get it.

The Black Bird was trashed by critics at the time of release and audiences stayed away too. Unless I’m mistaken, the film has never been released digitally and is only available if you still have a VHS player.

Drew Struzan is an artist who barely needs an introduction given that he painted many of the most iconic film posters of all time, including several for Star Wars, Indiana Jones and a slew of other beloved classics like The Thing and The Goonies. The artist’s own site features 4 pages of his work for films and Drew also worked in other areas, including product marketing, book and magazine covers, editorial and multiple paintings as a fine artist. Drew declared that he’d retired in 2008 but has worked on a handful of special paintings since then, including one to announce the most recent Star Wars film in 2015.

To see a gallery of the other posters by Drew that I’ve collected click here.

 

Revenge of the Jedi / one sheet / dated version / USA

28.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Revenge of the Jedi
AKA
Return Of The Jedi (release title) | Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (full title) | Blue Harvest (USA - fake working title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Richard Marquand
Starring
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Ian McDiarmid,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Dated version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
The Saga Continues

The third film in the much-loved original trilogy of Star Wars films was written by Lawrence Kasdan and, in a recently produced documentary, he claims to have suggested that the initially planned title of ‘Return of the Jedi’ was too weak and that ‘Revenge’ would be a better option. A teaser trailer for the film featured the Revenge title and legendary poster artist Drew Struzan, who had worked on the style D one sheet for the first film, was hired to paint this teaser poster.

Lucas eventually decided that revenge was not a Jedi concept so the film was changed back to the original ‘Return’ title and all subsequent posters were renamed too. According to the Star Wars poster book, by the time the title had been changed thousands of Revenge posters had been printed and hundreds had been distributed to theaters. Lucasfilm stopped the shipping of the posters and destroyed all but 6,800 posters, which were sold in three days to Star Wars fan club members for $9.50. (Source: The Star Wars Poster Book).

The excellent resource site Movie Poster Collectors has a page on the poster that confirms:

The vast majority of posters that escaped destruction have the tagline “Coming May 25, 1983 to your galaxy” at the bottom.  According to reports, a very few – perhaps 100 – omit that tag line. The posters without the release date command somewhat higher prices than the “Coming May 25” posters.

Unfortunately because of its collectable nature there have been several fakes printed over the years and the MPC page features details on what to look for if you want to make sure you purchase an original.

The poster is one of Struzan’s most iconic designs and brilliantly depicts a moment from what would eventually be revealed as a fight between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The colours and use of painting techniques are fantastic and you should check out the detailed images to see these up close. The poster features on his own website. The design was later adapted for a British advance quad featuring the Return title.

This teaser one sheet was officially reprinted by Kilian Enterprises on the film’s tenth anniversary but with the Return title instead. This page on Learn About Movie Posters details the various versions that were released.

The other posters I’ve collected by Struzan can be viewed here.

The Shawshank Redemption / one sheet / 10th anniversary re-release / USA

12.01.12

Poster Poster

The Greatest Film Ever Made (IMDb) was re-released with a brief cinema run on its 10th anniversary in 2004. Director Frank Darabont approached legendary illustrator Drew Struzan and asked him to work on the poster. This design is featured in the brilliant book ‘The Art of Drew Struzan’ (available at Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk).

The book reveals several of the other designs that he and Darabont worked on together and explains how the pair first met:

You know how I met Frank Darabont? He ordered two copies of the Creature from the Black Lagoon print and liked them so much he called me on the phone, out of the blue, to thank me and ask to meet. Frank became my friend through his appreciation of my work, same as Guillermo [Del Toro].

Once Frank approached Drew to work on the Shawshank re-release poster the pair quickly struck up a close working relationship:

Warner Bros. Home Video was ready to accept whatever Frank wanted, so I did some comps [comprehensive roughs] directly for him. The trouble with working a director who loves my stuff: He couldn’t decide what he wanted: he wanted them all! He ultimately chose my reprise of Tim Robbins in the rain for the cover.

Drew clearly has a fond recollection of the project and remarks on the fact that the style of painting stands out from the rest of his work:

It was a real blessing – he got me the job, he used the art, and I got to do a kind of painting that is completely different from what I had done for movie posters. The experience was all about Frank. We didn’t meet in some office; he came over to my house, we collaborated, I showed him my pictures, and he watched me work.

And the fate of the other comps that can be seen in the Art of Drew Struzan book?

In the end, they’re hanging in his house because he fell in love with the art, and I fell in love with him.
The original US one sheet is the single photographic image of Andy (Tim Robbins) in the rain after his escape and, whilst that image is a well-known one, I do prefer Drew’s moody collage. The use of light and dark on the faces is superbly done and the layout of each of the characters works very well.

The other posters in my Drew Struzan collection can be seen here.

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Jerry Paris
Starring
Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Bruce Mahler, Marion Ramsey, Colleen Camp, Art Metrano, Howard Hesseman, George Gaynes
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Steve Guttenberg, Bubba Smith, David Graf, Michael Winslow, Bruce Mahler, Marion Ramsey, Colleen Camp, Art Metrano, Howard Hesseman, George Gaynes,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Watch out! They've got to clean up the worst crime district in the world. But that's no problem. They're the worst police force in the universe.

Big Trouble In Little China / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Big Trouble In Little China
AKA
--
Year of Film
1986
Director
John Carpenter
Starring
Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Studio (no NSS)
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1986
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Jack Burton's in for some serious trouble and you're in for some serious fun.

Caravan of Courage / one sheet / style B / international

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Caravan of Courage
AKA
The Ewok Adventure (USA - theatrical)
Year of Film
1984
Director
John Korty
Starring
Eric Walker, Warwick Davis, Fionnula Flanagan, Guy Boyd, Aubree Miller, Burl Ives, Daniel Frishman, Debbie Lee Carrington, Tony Cox, Kevin Thompson, Margarita Fernández, Pam Grizz, Bobby Bell
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Eric Walker, Warwick Davis, Fionnula Flanagan, Guy Boyd, Aubree Miller, Burl Ives, Daniel Frishman, Debbie Lee Carrington, Tony Cox, Kevin Thompson, Margarita Fernández, Pam Grizz, Bobby Bell,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
You'll live the adventure... You'll love it's heroes.

Car Wash / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Car Wash
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
Michael Schultz
Starring
Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/190
Tagline
--

Blade Runner: The Final Cut / B2 / DVD release / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
AKA
--
Year of Film
2007
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah
Origin of Film
USA | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
DVD release
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
2007
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
20 6/16" x 28 13/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Blade Runner: The Final Cut / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Blade Runner: The Final Cut
AKA
--
Year of Film
2007
Director
Ridley Scott
Starring
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah
Origin of Film
USA | Hong Kong
Genre(s) of Film
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2007
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 39 15/16"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

Back To The Future / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Back To The Future
AKA
--
Year of Film
1985
Director
Robert Zemeckis
Starring
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Better Off Dead / one sheet / USA

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Better Off Dead
AKA
Sapore di hamburger [Taste of hamburger] (Italy)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Savage Steve Holland
Starring
John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Diane Franklin, Curtis Armstrong
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Diane Franklin, Curtis Armstrong,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Drew Struzan
Size (inches)
27" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
You've blown up your neighbor's mom. Your seven-year-old brother has better luck with women than you do. Your girlfriend has a new boyfriend. Relax, you're never...