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Monsters / one sheet / teaser / USA

12.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Monsters
AKA
--
Year of Film
2010
Director
Gareth Edwards
Starring
Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga Benavides, Annalee Jefferies
Origin of Film
UK
Genre(s) of Film
Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able, Mario Zuniga Benavides, Annalee Jefferies,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2010
Designer
Gravillis Inc.
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 13/16"
SS or DS
DS
NSS #
--
Tagline
It's our turn to adapt

British director Gareth Edwards’ excellent Monsters was one of the best films released in 2010 and transcended a micro-budget to become one of the freshest entries in the sci-fi genre for several years. The film is set slightly in the future and several years after a NASA probe crashed back to earth infected with alien life. Half of Mexico had to be quarantined off as the creatures grew and took over the area, and the US military patrols the borders. Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) is a US photojournalist who is hired by his boss to escort his daughter Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able) from the safe part of Mexico back to the States. The pair are forced to head through the quarantined zone despite the threat of the creatures who are moving across the country on their yearly ‘migration’.

The film was shot entirely on location by a tiny crew, using prosumer cameras and, aside from the two leads, the majority of the characters were played by non-actors. The dialogue was improvised around a loose scene outline and the results were edited whilst the crew was on the road. Gareth Edwards had previously worked as a special effects editor and spent four months designing and creating all of the effects himself, once again using off the shelf equipment and software. It’s a superb achievement and well worth a watch, but don’t go in expecting some kind of fast-paced, gory creature-feature as some cinema-goers were, back in 2010.

This striking US one sheet teaser was designed by Gravillis Inc. and features Whitney Able in a gas mask with a reflection of one of the creatures in the visor. Because the poster is so dark it’s hard to photograph without losing some of the details so check out the original digital file here.

The original trailer is on YouTube.

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.

Lost Highway / one sheet / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lost Highway
AKA
--
Year of Film
1997
Director
David Lynch
Starring
Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Robert Blake
Origin of Film
France | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Robert Blake,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Split heads
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Bemis Balkind
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is the US one sheet for the release of David Lynch‘s mystery thriller Lost Highway. Co-written with American author Barry Gifford, whose novel Lynch adapted for his 1990 film Wild at Heart, the film is a classic Lynchian mind-bender that resolutely defies explanation. The story begins with Bill Pullman as Fred Madison, a Jazz saxophonist who is living with his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) in Los Angeles. One day the intercom to his flat buzzes and when he answers it an unknown man says “Dick Laurent is dead.” The man is nowhere to be seen when Fred looks out of his window, but a few days later a mysterious tape appears on the Madison’s doorstep. The video features shaky footage outside their flat and over the next few days more tapes appear that eventually move inside and show the pair sleeping, much to their horror.

At a party Fred meets a mysterious man (played by Robert Blake in his final film role) who, in a memorably creepy sequence, tells Fred that he’s at his flat at that moment and proves it by getting him to call his home phone, which the stranger then answers. The next morning another tape appears and Fred is horrified to see it’s footage of him covered in blood with a dismembered Renee next to him. He is arrested, charged with murder and sentenced to death. Whilst on death row Fred sees strange visions and starts to suffer from painful headaches before he inexplicably morphs into another person, a car mechanic called Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) much to the confusion of the prison staff. Because Pete has committed no crime, he is released into the care of his parents and, after a period of adjustment, he gets back to his job. The rest of the film sees Pete dealing with the menacing gangster Mr Eddy (a memorable performance by Robert Loggia) and a mysterious blonde called Alice Wakefield (Arquette) who takes him down a dark path which has the mystery man waiting at the end of it.

Lynch and Gifford have always refused to fully explain the story but that hasn’t stopped fans of the film from trying to decode its many mysteries. Check out this IMDb page for some of the theories but the film definitely encourages you to draw your own conclusions after the credits roll. Lost Highway features a number of notable performances, particularly from Pullman and Arquette, as well as multiple cameos from the likes of Richard Pryor, Jack Nance and Marilyn Manson. Filled with memorable Lynchian imagery, including one of the most shocking accidental deaths in cinema history (Michael Massee‘s head meets glass table), it also has a brilliant soundtrack complemented by some of Lynch’s very best sound design.

This US one sheet was designed by Bemis Balkind, a US design firm that has worked on posters for the entertainment industry since 1987, producing many classics during that time, including ones for other Lynch films like Mulholland Drive. This gallery on IMPAwards shows just how prolific they’ve been.

Kiss of the Spider Woman / one sheet / international

19.10.12

Poster Poster

This international one sheet for Kiss of the Spider Woman features a stunning Art Deco inspired design, which is unique to this poster. The film was directed by Argentine-born Brazilian Hector Babenco and is based in a jail in an unnamed South American country ruled by a dictatorship. Luis Molina (William Hurt) is a homosexual imprisoned for ‘corrupting a minor’ who shares a cell with Valentin Arregui (the late Raul Julia), a member of a revolutionist group who has been tortured and imprisoned.

To pass the time, and to take Arregui’s mind off the abuse he suffers whilst imprisoned, Molina recounts scenes from his favourite film, a romantic thriller set during World War II featuring Sonia Braga as Leni La Maison, AKA the Spider Woman, in this film within a film. The storyline mirrors the experiences of the two cell-mates and slowly a friendship develops between the pair, but Molina has been harbouring a secret which endangers the lives of them both.

William Hurt won the Best Actor gong at the 1986 Academy Awards as well as several other prizes for his portrayal of Molina. The film, itself adapted from a novel by Argentine author Manuel Puig, was later made into a successful Broadway musical in 1993.

The artist responsible is called Richard Mahon who is perhaps best known for his iconic image that was used to advertise David Cronenberg’s The Fly around the world, including on the American one sheet. He has an official website that features a gallery of his illustration work. The image may look grainy but this is actually an element of the design (the green background is particularly rough).

The trailer is on YouTube.

Life of Brian / one sheet / style A / USA

18.04.12

Poster Poster

Probably my favourite of the five cinematic outings by the Monty Python crew, Life of Brian is one of the funniest films ever made and the brilliant satirical humour hasn’t diminished at all in the thirty plus years since its release. Infamously causing an uproar with various religious groups, it also saw EMI, the original financial backers, pulling out during production claiming the script was blasphemous. Luckily, George Harrison stepped in with the finance, apparently after realising it may have been the last chance to see another Python film in cinemas. His company HandMade Films was formed as a result of this deal.

The film’s religion-baiting story sees a man called Brian (Graham Chapman) born at the same time as Jesus Christ and initially mistaken for the Messiah, who ends up living an unremarkable life under the Roman occupation of Judea. Things take a fateful turn when his infatuation with a young rebel called Judith (Sue Jones-Davies) leads him to join the People’s Front of Judea, a bickering group who have decided to take a stand against the emperor.

The film raised the ire of several religious groups who were outraged at the concept, despite most of them having never even seen the film, and it was only given a general release once several cuts had been made. Despite the edits, several local UK councils banned the film from being shown at cinemas within their boroughs. Apparently some of these bans lasted until very recently, with the Welsh town of Aberystwyth finally lifting its one in 2009, which then saw a screening of the film attended by Jones, Michael Palin and Sue Jones-Davies, who was the then mayor of the town.

One of the more infamous bans was carried out by the Norwegians who refused to allow the film to be screened at all, which lead some of the international marketing material for the film to be emblazoned with the proclamation ‘So funny it was banned in Norway!’

This is the American one sheet for the release of the film featuring illustration by an artist I have been unable to identify. William Stout had previously provided an illustration for an alternative one sheet, which can be seen here.

The original American trailer can be seen on YouTube.

The Terminator / one sheet / Cleveland NSS version / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Terminator
AKA
O Exterminador do Futuro (Brazil)
Year of Film
1984
Director
James Cameron
Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Rick Rossovich, Dick Miller, Shawn Schepps, Bruce M. Kerner, Franco Columbu,, Bill Paxton, Brad Rearden, Brian Thompson
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Rick Rossovich, Dick Miller, Shawn Schepps, Bruce M. Kerner, Franco Columbu,, Bill Paxton, Brad Rearden, Brian Thompson,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Cleveland NSS version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 1/8" x 41 1/16
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
840129
Tagline
In the Year of Darkness, 2029, the rulers of this planet devised the ultimate plan. They would reshape the Future by changing the Past. The plan required something that felt no pity. No pain. No fear. Something unstoppable. They created 'THE TERMINATOR'

This version of the Terminator one sheet is known as the Cleveland NSS variant as it was printed at the NSS office in Cleveland, Ohio and is the only version of the poster that measures 27″ x 41″. As is clear, this was achieved by adding white bars to the top and bottom of the original printing plate that had been designed for 27″ x 40″. It is definitely harder to find than the standard one sheet, but I’d argue that the regular version is more desirable since the white bars look quite odd.

Weekend / 1967 / one sheet / 2011 re-release / USA

21.08.17

Poster Poster
Title
Weekend
AKA
Week End (France - alt. original title)
Year of Film
1967
Director
Jean-Luc Godard
Starring
Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Mireille Darc, Jean Yanne, Jean-Pierre Kalfon,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2011
Designer
Steve Chow
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

This one sheet was printed by Janus films for their 2011 re-release of Jean-Luc Godard‘s celebrated 1967 film Weekend (or Le Week End). One of the most anarchic and surreal films ever committed to celluloid, Weekend is a satire which takes aim at, amongst other things, the bourgeois status and money-obsessed French middle-class. The story, such as there is one, focuses on a self-obsessed couple played by Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne who have plotted to murder her parents and collect their inheritance. They set off from their home in the city and travel into the French countryside where they come across all manner of scenes, including fatal car crashes and a (justifiably famous) sequence of a traffic jam which the audience watches them traverse with horns blaring the entire time. Society appears to be crumbling around them as they make their way to the small village where her parents live. Eventually, things take a turn for the deadly when they end up in the clutches of a band of hippie, cannibalistic revolutionaries.

This one sheet was created by the Vancouver-based designer Steve Chow who is a regular collaborator with Janus and its sister company The Criterion Collection (the film was released on disc soon after its cinema outing in 2011). Chow has worked on hundreds of posters, magazines, advertising elements and covers for home video releases of various films. Check out his official website to see a gallery of his work and a short biography about his career so far.

In 2011, the Criterion website featured a short interview with Chow on the creation of this poster and I’ve copied the detail here (in case that page disappears one day):

What was your inspiration for the new poster for Weekend?
That particular image really only works with all the elements intact—cropping was not doing us any favors—so we figured, Why not use it whole? It’s just that in order to do that, we had to turn it sideways. It was a natural choice—and it seemed to fit the film’s unpredictable, violent, and humorous tenor. It’s like, “WTF just happened? Is that a plane? A body? How did that car end up like that?” It’s kind of like the visual punch line to a joke that starts with “two materialistic bourgeois jerks go on a road trip . . .”

Where does your interest in Godard films come from?
Godard’s influence is everywhere—in contemporary advertising, commercials, music videos. You could be watching something that is “Godard” and not even realize it. (Just the other night, I saw a new Mexican film that riffed on Anna Karina’s back-of-the-head introduction in Vivre sa vie.) His 1960s works, in particular, still resonate with so much life and excitement. So daring, and so very, very cool, even decades later.

Do you have a particular approach to designing for them?
With all of these Godard posters, I pretty much tried to just get out of the way and let the image speak for itself, and in the end, the most intuitive options were successful. With Pierrot le fou and Vivre sa vie, the resonance of those particular images is strong; title treatments that are too heavy or that get too much attention wouldn’t help tell their stories. Similarly, for Weekend, we’d have a hard time creating an image or a collage that captured the crazy, chaotic energy and direction of the film as well as the one we ended up using. So, with regards to these three posters, if I never hear “Wow, that’s a killer title treatment!” I’ll consider that a success.

Chow also designed the Janus re-release one sheets for Godard’s Pierrot Le Fou and Vivre Sa Vie and both can be seen in this Mubi.com ‘Movie Poster of the Week’ article.

Licence to Kill / one sheet / teaser / ‘S’ version / USA

07.07.14

Poster Poster
Title
Licence to Kill
AKA
License to Kill (alternative, pre-release spelling)
Year of Film
1989
Director
John Glen
Starring
Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Frank McRae, David Hedison, Wayne Newton, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Starke, Everett McGill, Desmond Llewelyn
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Frank McRae, David Hedison, Wayne Newton, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Starke, Everett McGill, Desmond Llewelyn,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser - 'License' version
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1989
Designer
Steven Chorney
Artist
Keith Hamshere (photography)
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
His bad side is a dangerous place to be.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Licence to Kill, the sixteenth James Bond adventure, marked the end of an era in the franchise. Whilst certainly not in the running for best Bond film, it’s nevertheless a solid entry with excellent use of locations (actually forced due to budgetary constraints), a memorable bad guy in Robert Davi‘s drug kingpin Sanchez and a number of impressive stunt sequences. Fans of the original Ian Fleming novels often rate Licence to Kill as the film that’s closest to the original source material’s harder-edged action. Licence to Kill marked the last Bond film for director John Glen who had been involved in the series since 1969 and also saw legendary producer Albert R. Broccoli effectively retire from the reigns of a franchise he had begun with producing partner Harry Saltzman back in 1958. 

The story is significantly darker and grittier than anything that had come before in the series, particularly those films released during the Roger Moore era. It opens with Bond and old friend CIA agent Felix Leiter on the way to the latter’s wedding ceremony in Key West (Florida) when they’re informed that Sanchez, a wanted drug lord, has been spotted in the area. The pair manage to apprehend the kingpin after an exciting chase that ends with them parachuting out of a helicopter and landing in front of the church, just in time for the ceremony. After the title sequence (with the excellent Gladys Knight theme tune) things take a dark turn as Sanchez escapes and takes revenge on Felix and his new bride.

When Bond discovers a badly mutilated Leiter and his dead bride he vows revenge, but when his superiors deny his request and order him on another mission to Turkey, Bond flees and has his licence to kill revoked. With the help of one of Leiter’s friends, he follows a trail leading him from the Bahamas to the fictional Republic of Isthmus where Davi’s plan for global drugs domination is revealed. The film ends with a thrilling chase involving several tanker trucks along a dangerous highway, which is easily one of the most memorable action sequences in the series’ history. The film was Welsh actor Timothy Dalton‘s second appearance as 007 and would ultimately prove to be his last after a protracted legal wrangle meant that no Bond film was put into production until 1995’s Goldeneye, by which time the actor had moved on and was replaced by Pierce Brosnan.

The marketing of the film went through a number of iterations, designers and artists and, crucially, marked the first time that painted artwork gave way to a photographic montage. Despite some initial sketches and concepts by the legendary artist Bob Peak, MGM decided to commission a number of designers and artists to work on the posters, including American Steven Chorney who designed this particular advance one sheet, and British design firm FEREF (led by Robin Behling) which designed a montage that was used on the international one sheet, the British quad and for some other posters around the globe. Although initially produced under the title ‘Licence Revoked’, MGM feared that American audiences wouldn’t understand the second word and changed it to the title we know today. Note that there was some wrangling over whether to go with the American spelling ‘License’ or the British-English ‘Licence’. Eventually the latter won out, but not before these posters had been printed with the American spelling (the same poster also exists with ‘Licence’ too).

Damnation Alley / one sheet / teaser / USA

01.12.14

Poster Poster
Title
Damnation Alley
AKA
Survival Run (International / Japan)
Year of Film
1977
Director
Jack Smight
Starring
Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda, Paul Winfield, Jackie Earle Haley, Kip Niven, Robert Donner, Seamon Glass, Trent Dolan, Mark L. Taylor, Bob Hackman, Erik Cord
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard, Dominique Sanda, Paul Winfield, Jackie Earle Haley, Kip Niven, Robert Donner, Seamon Glass, Trent Dolan, Mark L. Taylor, Bob Hackman, Erik Cord,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser - printer's proof
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Paul Lehr
Size (inches)
28 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
77/152
Tagline
You have seen great adventures. You are about to live one. | More than a movie. An adventure you'll never forget.

Damnation Alley, released internationally as Survival Run, is a dystopian sci-fi adventure (set after the nuclear destruction of World War 3) that pretty much disappeared at the box office, but later gained something of a cult status. It’s interesting to note that the studio, 20th Century Fox, were making two sci-fi films in 1977 and saw this as their big hope for a box-office blockbuster. The studio suits didn’t have much faith in the other project, a little film called Star Wars…

The film features a couple of infamous scenes with mutated creatures, including ‘giant’ scorpions (terribly composited using the blue screen process) and killer cockroaches. It also featured an interesting vehicle known as The Landmaster.

In some cinemas the film was shown with something called Sound 360°. From IMDb:

20th Century-Fox developed a rival to Universal’s gimmicky ‘Sensurround’ sound process (popularized in the theatrical release of Earthquake (1974)) that was only used for the theatrical release of “Damnation Alley” called Sound 360°. This process was basically a variation of Magnetic-Optical Stereo sound. This technical advancement/gimmick in sound did not last past “Damnation Alley” although it was planned for Walter Hill‘s The Driver (1978) and Damien: Omen II (1978). If you look at the one sheet of “Damnation Alley” the “Sound 360°” declaration and logo are prominent at the bottom.

This teaser one sheet was painted by noted American sci-fi illustrator Paul Lehr who was born in 1930 and studied at the prestigious Pratt Institute before beginning a career that would last up until his death in 1998. He painted hundreds of celebrated book covers for authors including John Wyndham, HG Wells and Frank Herbert and also contributed to several notable specialist magazines including Omni and Weird Tales. In addition he worked on content for more mainstream publications such as Time, Fortune and Playboy. The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction has an entry on him which can be read here. Check out a gallery of his work here.

There’s an international style one sheet that can be seen on IMPAwards and was apparently also painted by Lehr. The Japanese poster was a repaint of the one sheet by the artist Seito. Lehr also worked on the one sheet for Prophecy (1979).

Note the colour bars on the left of the poster which indicate that this is an untrimmed printers proof one sheet. Proofs were used by the printing house to check that the colours and other details were correct. The final ready one sheets would have been trimmed down to the correct size. A handful of printers proofs have survived for a few different one sheets.

The film was recently released on blu-ray (in the correct aspect ratio) and a trailer for that can be watched here.

 

Lost Highway / one sheet / red style / USA

17.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Lost Highway
AKA
--
Year of Film
1997
Director
David Lynch
Starring
Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Robert Blake
Origin of Film
France | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Robert Blake,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Red style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1997
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 5/16" x 39 10/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

This is the international one sheet for the release of David Lynch‘s mystery thriller Lost Highway. Co-written with American author Barry Gifford, whose novel Lynch adapted for his 1990 film Wild at Heart, the film is a classic Lynchian mind-bender that resolutely defies explanation. The story begins with Bill Pullman as Fred Madison, a Jazz saxophonist who is living with his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) in Los Angeles. One day the intercom to his flat buzzes and when he answers it an unknown man says “Dick Laurent is dead.” The man is nowhere to be seen when Fred looks out of his window, but a few days later a mysterious tape appears on the Madison’s doorstep. The video features shaky footage outside their flat and over the next few days more tapes appear that eventually move inside and show the pair sleeping, much to their horror.

At a party Fred meets a mysterious man (played by Robert Blake in his final film role) who, in a memorably creepy sequence, tells Fred that he’s at his flat at that moment and proves it by getting him to call his home phone, which the stranger then answers. The next morning another tape appears and Fred is horrified to see it’s footage of him covered in blood with a dismembered Renee next to him. He is arrested, charged with murder and sentenced to death. Whilst on death row Fred sees strange visions and starts to suffer from painful headaches before he inexplicably morphs into another person, a car mechanic called Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) much to the confusion of the prison staff. Because Pete has committed no crime, he is released into the care of his parents and, after a period of adjustment, he gets back to his job. The rest of the film sees Pete dealing with the menacing gangster Mr Eddy (a memorable performance by Robert Loggia) and a mysterious blonde called Alice Wakefield (Arquette) who takes him down a dark path which has the mystery man waiting at the end of it.

Lynch and Gifford have always refused to fully explain the story but that hasn’t stopped fans of the film from trying to decode its many mysteries. Check out this IMDb page for some of the theories but the film definitely encourages you to draw your own conclusions after the credits roll. Lost Highway features a number of notable performances, particularly from Pullman and Arquette, as well as multiple cameos from the likes of Richard Pryor, Jack Nance and Marilyn Manson. Filled with memorable Lynchian imagery, including one of the most shocking accidental deaths in cinema history (Michael Massee‘s head meets glass table), it also has a brilliant soundtrack complemented by some of Lynch’s very best sound design.

I’m not sure who is responsible for the design of one sheet which is similar to the UK one sheet so please get in touch if you have any ideas.

Metropolis / one sheet / 1984 re-release / USA

25.03.13

Poster Poster
Title
Metropolis
AKA
--
Year of Film
1927
Director
Fritz Lang
Starring
Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge
Origin of Film
Germany
Genre(s) of Film
Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Tom Nikosey
Artist
Tom Nikosey
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis was given a cinema re-release in 2010 after missing scenes, long thought lost, were discovered in an Argentinian museum and reintegrated back into the film. 26 years earlier, music producer Giorgio Moroder produced and released an alternative version of the film which was restored and had various scenes that were missing from the first US release reinserted back in.

Controversially, Moroder also replaced the original orchestral score by Gottfried Huppertz with contemporary rock and pop music from the likes of Pat BenatarBonnie TylerAdam Ant and Freddie Mercury. Despite the heated debate that this re-release provoked it did have the benefit of bringing the film back into the public consciousness and led to further restorations over the following years. The discovery of the lost footage in 2008 was a complete revelation and brought the film very close to its original release version, which many feared was lost forever.

This one sheet was designed and illustrated by the American artist and designer Tom Nikosey who has been working since the 1970s and has created hundreds of iconic logos, posters and music album covers. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Nikosey moved to Los Angeles in 1972 and began working heavily for the music industry, designing covers for artists such as Eric Clapton, Commodores and The Bee Gees. He’s also worked on hundreds of iconic logos, including ones for American sports teams, the NFL Super Bowl and multiple entertainment companies.

I was contacted by Tom in late 2018 and he was kind enough to answer some questions I had about his career and the creation of this poster. The questions and answers are below:

Thanks for agreeing to answer my questions. Can I ask how your career progressed once you settled on doing art and design for a living?
Very quickly in those days. After graduation from Art School in 1972 I ventured west to Los Angeles. I got my first job at a newspaper then a couple of advertising agencies as an assistant designer. After later being laid off work in 1974 I started freelancing and by 1975 I had started Tom Nikosey Design.

Had you done any work on film posters before Metropolis?
Not really as I’m mainly known as a lettering/logo artist. Over the years I did logos for ‘Prizzi’s Honor’, ‘Labyrinth’, ‘Flight of The Navigator’, ‘Adventures in Babysitting’, ‘Sgt.Pepper’s’ (the Bee Gees film), ‘Corvette Summer”, ‘Hooper’, ‘Pure Country’ but never the complete poster.

What was the sequence of events that saw you become involved in the Metropolis release? Was it an enjoyable project?
I met Giorgio through my friend Richie Zito the great music producer. I went on to create logos and graphics for all of Giorgio’s music projects and branded his recording studios in North Hollywood. When the project came together he asked me to create the posters for his re-release of Metropolis. There are actually two posters; the first one I created was for the international release of the film, then I did another version of the poster intended for the soundtrack double album cover fold out, which was what became the official one sheet.

Did you have many interactions with Giorgio Moroder himself?
Many and we’re still in touch.

Very cool! Were you given a specific brief for the poster? Was there another designer involved or were you working alone?
No, Giorgio gave me free reign creatively.

How long did it take for you to settle on the final artwork?
Actually rather quickly. After the teaser version which was used for the international release, I then created the soundtrack/one sheet version. The international poster won the Hollywood Reporter award that year for Best Foreign Film Poster.

What happened to the finished artwork after it had been copied for print?
Someone stole it. It breaks my heart to this day. Probably from the color separator or printing shop back then. Giorgio doesn’t know what happened either.

Did your work on the poster result in more film-related commissions?
Not sure, probably not.

What have you done since then and are you still actively working?
I’m still working. Metropolis was in 1984 and I was 33 when I created that piece. That was 34 years ago and I’ve done many, many projects since then. 

By the way, I came across some images in my collection related to Metropolis. The first one (see here) is the info on the first ‘teaser’ poster that was used as the International release that American Film Magazine referenced. The second one (see here) has a very small thumbnail sketch that I did to show Giorgio how I was intending to create a ‘fold out’ album cover image for the Metropolis soundtrack LP. Along with this is the printer’s proof for the Soundtrack Cassette package. I thought these would interest you.

Thanks so much Tom, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions.
You’re very welcome, thank you!

—————————-

Tom’s official website features galleries of his excellent work. The Album Cover Hall of Fame website also features a two-part interview with the artist that is well worth reading.

Queen’s music video for their song ‘Radio Ga Ga’ was released at the same time as Moroder’s version and featured footage for the film.

As well as the original restored film, the Moroder version was released on blu-ray in 2011.

The original trailer for this version of Metropolis is on YouTube.

Frightmare / one sheet / USA

07.08.17

Poster Poster
Title
Frightmare
AKA
Horror Star (working title / international English title)
Year of Film
1983
Director
Norman Thaddeus Vane
Starring
Ferdy Mayne, Luca Bercovici, Nita Talbot, Jeffrey Combs, Leon Askin, Jennifer Starrett, Barbara Pilavin, Alan Stock
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Ferdy Mayne, Luca Bercovici, Nita Talbot, Jeffrey Combs, Leon Askin, Jennifer Starrett, Barbara Pilavin, Alan Stock,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Skull style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1983
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Terry Lamb (original artwork, adapted and tweaked)
Size (inches)
27 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
There is no escape, not even death...

This is the ‘skull style’ US one sheet for the release of the low-budget 1983 horror Frightmare (AKA Horror Star), directed by the late Norman Thaddeus Vane. The film is largely forgotten today and only really notable as featuring the first appearance of genre legend Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator). The film stars the late German-British actor Ferdy Mayne, a prolific actor who appeared in over 230 films and TV shows over a 60 year period. He is perhaps best known for his performance as Count von Krolock in Roman Polanski’s 1967 film, The Fearless Vampire Killers.

In Frightmare Mayne plays an aging horror film star called Conrad Razkoff, who is very much in the mould of the legendary British actor Christopher Lee – in fact, Lee appears on TV several times playing Dracula, which the audience are meant to infer is Razkoff in his prime. The actor has been reduced to appearing in adverts for dentures and is also suffering from poor health, fainting during a talk to drama students at a university. Soon afterwards Razkoff passes away, but not before he smothers his abusive agent. After his coffin is placed inside an improbably large crypt, which is lit by neon lights, a young group of fans of the star break into the cemetery and decide to steal his corpse.

After returning to the mansion in which they all live, the group sit him at the head of the table and later dance with his corpse before returning him to his coffin in the attic. Razkoff’s wife has discovered that her husband’s body is missing and uses a medium to try and contact him in the afterlife and find out where his body is. This has the unfortunate side-effect of reviving the actor as a murderous zombie who proceeds to work his way through the group of fans, killing each one using different methods. Eventually one of the survivors realises his body must be returned to his crypt. There’s barely anything in the way of character development and it’s hard to care for any of the victims when you have no clue who they are. Mayne’s performance is at least respectable and you do buy him as a fading horror star. It’s also pretty clear what producers like Charles Band saw in a young Jeffrey Combs.

This US one sheet is unusual in that it borrows some key artwork painted for a previous horror film, the 1974 Amicus anthology From Beyond the Grave, and tweaks it slightly in terms of colours and the removal of some elements. The original artwork was painted by the American illustrator Terry Lamb and can be seen here. You can see that the two living creatures were removed and various other elements were modified, but it’s unquestionably the same piece of art. If anyone has any more information as to why the recycling of art took place please get in touch.

Barbarella / one sheet / 1977 re-release / International

23.05.14

Poster Poster
Title
Barbarella
AKA
Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy (alt. title)
Year of Film
1968
Director
Roger Vadim
Starring
Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin, David Hemmings, Ugo Tognazzi
Origin of Film
France | Italy
Genre(s) of Film
Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin, David Hemmings, Ugo Tognazzi,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Re-release
Origin of Poster
International
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Boris Vallejo
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41 1/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
770161
Tagline
Who can save the universe?

There’s nothing quite like Barbarella! A French/Italian co-production, this kitsch sci-fi adventure is one of the downright silliest films ever committed to celluloid and was unquestionably the defining role for Jane Fondawho plays the titular ‘astronavigator’. Based on the landmark ‘adult’ comic by Frenchman Jean-Claude Forest, the film was helmed by Roger Vadim, the French director, screenwriter (and occasional actor), who was also Fonda’s husband at the time of production. Vadim would spend most of his life dating or being married to several of the most beautiful women in film, including Brigitte BardotAnnette Stroyberg and Catherine Deneuve.

You don’t watch Barbarella for the plot, especially since there’s not much of one to speak of, but the film is set in the 41st century and sees our heroine dispatched from an Earth without war and violence (only love) in search of the missing scientist Durand Durand (Milo O’Shea) who has apparently built a weapon called the Positronic Ray that threatens peace across the galaxy. After crash-landing on an icy planet, Barbarella is kidnapped by a pair of strange girls who subject her to an attack by evil dolls. She’s rescued by ‘The Catchman’ Mark Hand (Ugo Tognazzi) who she rewards with sex before he points her in the direction of Sogo City, the realm of The Great Tyrant (Anita Pallenberg).

The story and script may be nonsense but the film is never less than gorgeous to look at, with brilliant production and costume design throughout, whilst the music by Charles Fox is also memorable. The film also features several other cult actors, including Marcel MarceauJohn Phillip Law and David Hemmings (Suspiria). 

This poster is for the 1977 re-release of the film which saw the film edited to achieve a PG rating and re-released with the subtitle of ‘Queen of the Galaxy’, which was done to capitalise on the success of Star Wars. The original 1968 one sheet had been painted by Robert McGinnis and for this release the distributors turned to Boris Vallejo, a Peruvian painter who emigrated to the US in 1964 and was acclaimed primarily as a fantasy and erotica artist. Vallejo started out painting paperback covers for the likes of Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian and this work would lead to him being commissioned by various studios to paint the posters for films including Knightriders, Q (the Winged Serpent) and two posters for the National Lampoon series.

Vallejo continues to paint alongside his wife Julie Bell, also a fantasy artist, and the pair’s official website can be viewed here and features extensive galleries of work. To see the other posters I’ve collected by Vallejo click here.

Note that this is the international one sheet because it was printed without the PG-rating box seen on the US version.

Last Days / one sheet / USA

24.07.17

Poster Poster

A striking photographic image features on this one sheet for the release of Gus Van Sant‘s 2005 drama, Last Days. The film is a fictionalized account of the last few days in the life of a musician who is reminiscent of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana. Van Sant had been planning the project for over a decade and at one point had wanted to make a biography of the singer. After befriending Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, the director realised that doing so would cause too much pain for Love and the deceased singer’s family, so he decided to fictionalise the story.

Michael Pitt plays the main character Blake and Van Sant had cast him in the part seven years before filming commenced. The rest of the cast includes Lukas HaasAsia Argento and Nicole Vicius, with notorious director Harmony Korine appearing as a character in one scene set in a nightclub. The plot is thin and Van Sant uses a technique he’s employed in a few of his films where the same scene is shown from different view points but at different times throughout the film, with the audience not given clear indication that this has happened. Most of the scenes follow Blake and take place in and around a large house surrounded by trees. Several interactions between him and his housemates, as well as visitors to the house take place, all leading up to a fatal moment with Blake and a shotgun at the end of the film.

The film received mixed critical notices and failed to make much of a dent at the box-office in the US. It received limited releases in several territories, including the UK.

This American one sheet was designed by Shoolery Design which now appears to be defunct as a company but was responsible for a large number of film posters from the mid-1990s up to 2007. A gallery of these designs can be seen on IMPAwards. The man who started the company, Mark Shoolery, seems to still be active and he has a website on which a lot of his work, including film posters, can be seen. It looks like he continues to work as an independent art director and artist and his Instagram feed features logo design work. According to his resume Shoolery has worked on projects for the film industry, the music industry, packaging for various products including toys, and marketing strategy for several companies. The LinkedIn entry for Shoolery design notes the following:

Conceived, developed and executed creative advertising campaigns for major studios, network and cable television, home entertainment, music and live events. Oversaw all in and out of-home advertising, collateral and promotional materials. Directed staff of 80-90 employees producing high-end advertising campaigns. Consulted with studio marketing executives as well as producers and directors of major motion pictures. Supervised celebrity photo shoots worldwide.

The other posters I have that were created by Shoolery Design can be seen here.

The House of Seven Corpses / one sheet / USA

03.07.17

Poster Poster
Title
The House of Seven Corpses
AKA
--
Year of Film
1974
Director
Paul Harrison
Starring
John Ireland, Faith Domergue, John Carradine, Carole Wells, Charles Macaulay, Jerry Strickler, Ron Foreman, Dennis Record, Marty Hornstein
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
John Ireland, Faith Domergue, John Carradine, Carole Wells, Charles Macaulay, Jerry Strickler, Ron Foreman, Dennis Record, Marty Hornstein,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1974
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27 4/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
74/20
Tagline
Eight graves! Seven bodies! One killer... and he's already dead.

This is the US one sheet for the release of the largely forgotten 1974 horror, The House of Seven Corpses. The film was the sole feature film directing credit for Paul Harrison who seems to have spent more time as a screenwriter. It stars the prolific character actor John Ireland who is known for his many appearances in Westerns (and the 1960 classic Spartacus) and Faith Domergue, star of some 1950s sci-fi flicks such as This Island Earth. John Carradine, the ridiculously prolific actor (351 appearances!) and father of several actors, including David, also appears.

Ireland plays Eric Hartman, a film director who has decided to shoot his next picture in the titular mansion where seven members of the same family met their untimely ends in various ways. Hoping that the location will provide a suitable ambience to the picture, Hartman only has to put up with the cantankerous caretaker Edgar Price (Carradine) and a difficult star in Gayle Dorian (Domergue) who it’s hinted Hartman had a relationship with in the past. The director’s assistant David discovers the Tibetan Book of the Dead in the house (as you do) and decides to suggest some of the text is used in the witchcraft scenes in the film. Unfortunately, this then triggers the reanimation of a zombie from the graveyard outside the mansion and it proceeds to work it’s murderous way through the cast and crew.

Sadly, the film is almost entirely lacking in any sense of tension or horror and it’s over an hour (of a 90 minute film) before the zombie rises up. None of the characters are particularly appealing so it’s a fairly dull watch for most of the time. There’s a twist that’s incredibly badly handled, so much so that I had no idea it had taken place until I read a plot synopsis afterwards!

This one sheet is at least fairly interesting, with a creepy graveyard image that has been made using a cut and paste photomontage technique. The film’s logo is also very 1970s.

The Mutilator / one sheet / USA

12.10.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Mutilator
AKA
Fall Break (pre-release title)
Year of Film
1985
Director
Buddy Cooper
Starring
Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley, Jack Chatham
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Matt Mitler, Ruth Martinez, Bill Hitchcock, Connie Rogers, Frances Raines, Morey Lampley, Jack Chatham,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1985
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
By pick, by axe, by sword, bye bye!

Buddy Cooper’s 1985 slasher was originally set to be released as Fall Break and, having been given a sensible title change at the last minute, needed a new theatrical poster. The tagline is one of the all time horror greats, even if the film itself isn’t counted as a classic. It’s popularity level isn’t helped by the fact that it has never been officially released on DVD in the US. There is a (pricey) uncut UK disc available but it strikes me as a title that Arrow Video might pick up for release sometime in the future.

I’m not sure if DiRusso, the artist responsible for the Fall Break poster, is also behind this one since there is no signature present. It certainly bears some stylistic similarities to the first poster but please get in touch if you know for sure.

There’s apparently another version of this poster with the blood removed from around the man’s face.

Check out the completely different pre-release poster. The original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

Prime Cut / one sheet / style A / USA

27.06.17

Poster Poster
Title
Prime Cut
AKA
Carnage (France)
Year of Film
1972
Director
Michael Ritchie
Starring
Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Angel Tompkins, Gregory Walcott, Sissy Spacek, Janit Baldwin, William Morey, Clint Ellison, Howard Platt, Les Lannom,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style B
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1972
Designer
Tom Jung
Artist
Tom Jung
Size (inches)
27 3/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
72/57
Tagline
Together They're Murder In...

A painting by the American artist Tom Jung, who is best known for his work on the style A poster for the release of the first Star Wars film, features on this one sheet for the 1972 crime-drama, Prime Cut. The film was directed by the late Michael Ritchie (Fletch, Downhill Racer) and stars two heavyweight actors of the time in Lee Marvin and Gene Hackman. The former had a string of box-office hits playing tough guys in films such as Point Blank and The Dirty Dozen, and the latter had just starred in the unforgettable The French Connection and was to appear in The Poseidon Adventure in the same year as Prime Cut. It also marked the acting debut of Sissy Spacek who would appear in her most famous role four years later in Brian De Palma’s Carrie.

The plot sees Nick Devlin (Marvin), a Chicago mob enforcer, sent with a crew of men to Kansas City to track down Mary Ann (Hackman) and recover a $500,000 debt. Previous men sent by the mob have disappeared and we witness one being ‘processed’ through Mary Ann’s meat factory, ending up as the filling in a string of sausages that are then sent to the mob boss as a taunt. After driving to Kansas, Devlin first attacks Mary Ann’s brother and warns him that the group are there to collect the debt. The following day they find Mary Ann in a barn where he is the ringleader of a white-slave auction in which young girls are being auctioned off to older men. The women are kept naked in pens like livestock and drugged up so they don’t try to escape. Devlin threatens Mary Ann and rescues one of the women called Poppy (Spacek) “on account”. The rest of the film sees him attempting to secure the missing money and avoiding Mary Ann’s gang of denim-wearing, shotgun-toting farm boys.

The film is fairly brisk at just under 90 minutes and both leads are entertaining to watch throughout. Spacek is also excellent as Poppy and it’s not hard to see why her career took off quickly following her appearance in Prime Cut. There are several memorable scenes in the film, including one faintly ridiculous one where Devlin and Poppy are chased through a wheatfield by a combine harvester, which then goes onto chew up an entire car!

As well as the iconic one sheet for Star Wars, Tom Jung is also known for the style B one sheet for The Empire Strikes Back. He was a prolific designer and illustrator for film campaigns from the 1950s through to the 1980s. IMPAwards features a gallery of his work and his Wikipedia article has a selected list of the many posters he worked on. Rather unusually, at least in comparison to other film poster artists, Jung was also a designer of his posters as well as the artist. The other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

Note that this is the Style A one sheet and style B is photographic. Rather unusually, the decision was taken to insert ‘A’ in next to the title at the bottom of the poster which makes it look like the title is ‘A Prime Cut’.

Magnum Force / one sheet / USA

05.09.12

Poster Poster
Title
Magnum Force
AKA
Dirty Harry 2 (Japan - English title) | Magnum .44 (Argentina / Finland / Peru / Venezuela)
Year of Film
1973
Director
Ted Post
Starring
Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitchell Ryan, David Soul, Felton Perry, Robert Urich, Tim Matheson
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Mitchell Ryan, David Soul, Felton Perry, Robert Urich, Tim Matheson,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1973
Designer
Bill Gold
Artist
Philippe Halsman (photography)
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
73/318
Tagline
--

A classic design by the great Bill Gold on this one sheet for Magnum Force, the second entry in the Dirty Harry franchise starring acting legend Clint Eastwood. The follow up to the 1971 original, this entry saw ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan face off against a group of vigilante cops who have taken the law into their own hands and are bumping off criminals who manage to escape conviction. The film was helmed by Ted Post who had previously directed Eastwood in the TV series Rawhide and in his hit Western Hang ‘Em High (1968).

Bill Gold has had a working relationship with 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 film Casablanca 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.

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

Moonraker / one sheet / advance / style A / USA

09.04.13

Poster Poster
Title
Moonraker
AKA
Agente 007, Moonraker: Operazione Spazio [Operation Space] (Italy)
Year of Film
1979
Director
Lewis Gilbert
Starring
Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell, Toshirô Suga, Blanche Ravalec
Origin of Film
UK | France
Genre(s) of Film
Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel, Corinne Clery, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell, Toshirô Suga, Blanche Ravalec,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Advance - style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1979
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Dan Goozee
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 40 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
Outer space now belongs to 007

Although considered by most Bond fans to be one of the weakest of the series, I know I’m not the only one to have a soft spot for Moonraker, Roger Moore‘s fifth outing as James Bond. Thanks to endless TV showings during the 1980s and early 1990s I’ve probably seen this more than any other in the series and, like Live and Let Die, it had a huge impression on my young mind.

Looking at it through the cynical fog of adulthood it’s easy to sneer at the camp script, supremely daft action sequences (motorised Gondola anyone?) and painfully obvious attempt to cash in on the success of Star Wars (a very common theme amongst films released in its wake). The film is probably the quintessential outing for Moore as Bond and only he could have pulled it off as well as he did, particularly when it comes to the hokey script and madcap action.

The film features several memorable sequences, including a stunning cable car fight over Rio de Janeiro, and a memorable bad guy in Richard Kiel‘s inimitable ‘Jaws’ who used to scare me senseless as a kid. Also notable is John Barry‘s soundtrack, which marked a departure from his previous Bond work by mainly using strings instead of the typical brass. The film also features one of the most (literally) eyebrow-raising character names in the form of Dr Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) and one of the best/worst sign-offs of the entire series:

Sir Frederick Gray, Minister of Defence:  My God, what’s Bond doing?
Q: I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir.

This particular poster is the American advance one sheet with artwork by Dan Goozee who is responsible for several other Bond posters, including the final Moonraker US one sheet and the international advance one sheet. Other posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

The original trailer for the film is on YouTube.

King Kong / 1976 / one sheet / teaser / USA

16.05.17

Poster Poster
Title
King Kong
AKA
--
Year of Film
1976
Director
John Guillermin
Starring
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph, Rene Auberjonois, Julius Harris, Jack O'Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1976
Designer
Diener-Hauser
Artist
John Berkey
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
76/212
Tagline
The most exciting original motion picture event of all time.

Great artwork by the late American artist John Berkey features on this teaser one sheet for the release of the 1976 remake of the 1933 classic, King Kong. Legendary Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis conceived of the idea of remaking and updating the original. He worked with the screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. (Batman the TV series, Flash Gordon) – a regular collaborator with the producer – and asked for the script to be more light-hearted than the original version. British director John Guillermin, who had seen great box-office success with The Towering Inferno a couple of years earlier, was given the director’s job. The two leads were a young Jeff Bridges and the stunning Jessica Lange in her debut role – De Laurentiis had spotted her modelling and asked her to audition. The rest of the cast is filled with respected character actors, including Charles GrodinJohn Randolph and Ed Lauter.

The film follows the overall plot of the original fairly closely, although some of the details are updated to reflect its contemporary setting and the special effects are no longer stop-motion. An American oil company sets sail onboard a research vessel to find a mysterious, f0g-shrouded island that has long been rumoured to exist somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Jack Prescott (Bridges), a primate paleontologist stows away onboard and eventually reveals himself to exhibition leader Fred Wilson (Grodin) and the rest of the crew. As he’s about to be put into lock-up, Jack spots a life raft drifting in the middle of the ocean and the crew discover an unconscious woman. Dwan (Lange) is apparently the sole survivor from a yacht that exploded and killed the rest of the passengers. After she wakes she’s told of aim and destination of the ship that has rescued her.

After discovering the island, several of the crew venture inland and encounter a primitive tribe carrying out some kind of ritual near a giant wooden wall. After returning to their boat when the natives charge them, the crew pauses to rethink their plans. In the darkness of night, a canoe full of natives steal Dwan from the ship and take her to the wall where she is prepared as an offering to Kong. The beast takes her to his lair in the jungle where he spends a while ogling over her. Jack and some of the other crew manage to track her down but not before Kong offs several crew members and a giant snake. Eventually, Kong is subdued using chloroform and a giant pit and Fred Wilson decides to salvage the exhibition by transporting the ape back to America onboard an oil tanker. Needless to say, he doesn’t stay captive for very long when he reaches New York, and soon Kong is climbing the Twin Towers with Dwan in his hand.

De Laurentiis had hired both Carlo Rambaldi (most famous for E.T.) and Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London) to work on the special effects for the creature, and the result was Baker himself wearing an ape suit in the majority of shots. A giant mechanical version of Kong was built but wasn’t ready in time for many of the shots and had severe issues when it did finally appear. Only about 15 seconds of the mechanical version survive in the last cut of the film. Baker was apparently displeased with the final version of the suit and it’s arguably what dates the film most when viewed today. There’s also some terrible rear-projection scenes, which were shoddy even in 1976. In some ways it might have been better to film using stop-motion animation, which was still being employed by the likes of Ray Harryhausen, even in the latter half of the 1970s, but the production must have decided that audiences were tired of that style of creature effects. Critics weren’t kind to the film at the time of its release but it still performed well at the box-office, thanks in part to the significant amount of tie-in marketing campaigns that De Laurentiis set in motion.

This teaser one sheet artwork was actually one of several painted by John Berkey for the film, and depicts Kong at the top of the World Trade Centre, clutching a destroyed helicopter as a jet buzzes him. This painting was actually updated later and replaced the helicopter with a jet, as well as adding a shadow beneath Kong. It can be seen on one of four Japanese B2 posters that featured Berkey’s artwork. Other posters for the film, painted by Berkey can be seen via this emovieposter archive link. The artist is perhaps best known for his science-fiction artwork which graced hundreds of novels from the 1960s into the 2000s. This page features links through to many of the covers. His estate has a website on which it sells both original artwork and prints of his art, primarily focused on his space-based paintings. It’s well worth a look to see the quality of his artwork.

Born in 1932, Berkey lived in Minnesota and spent most of his career as a freelance artist. He worked on a few film posters over the years, including one for Star Wars that appeared inside the vinyl soundtrack, as well as the poster for The Towering Inferno and one for another De Laurentiis creature-feature, Orca. The emovieposter archive features lots of his posters. The artist sadly passed away in 2008 from heart failure but he leaves behind an incredible legacy of artwork.

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

The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark / one sheet / USA

22.01.14

Poster Poster
Title
The Last Flight of Noah's Ark
AKA
--
Year of Film
1980
Director
Charles Jarrott
Starring
Elliott Gould, Geneviève Bujold, Ricky Schroder, Vincent Gardenia, Tammy Lauren, John Fujioka, Yuki Shimoda, John P. Ryan, Dana Elcar
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Elliott Gould, Geneviève Bujold, Ricky Schroder, Vincent Gardenia, Tammy Lauren, John Fujioka, Yuki Shimoda, John P. Ryan, Dana Elcar,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Dan Goozee
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
800063
Tagline
Lost. 2000 miles at sea in a 40 year old bomber.

A little-seen live-action Disney production, The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark stars Elliott Gould as Noah Dugan, a jaded pilot with gambling debts who agrees to fly an ageing B-29 bomber to a remote South Pacific island. The plane is filled with a cargo of animals and a missionary called Bernadette Lafleur (played by French-Canadian actress (Geneviève Bujold). Just before the flight takes off, a pair of young orphans who the missionary has been caring for sneak onboard because they don’t want to be parted from the animals.

When the plane goes badly off course Dugan is forced to crash land on an uncharted island. After surviving the landing, the group discover that a pair of Japanese soldiers have been guarding the island for 35 years, believing that World War II is still ongoing. After initial hostilities, they eventually befriend the castaways and agree to help them convert the plane into a raft to sail back to civilisation. The group soon set off on the perilous voyage with the surviving animals onboard.

The film received mixed reviews and failed to gain much traction at the box office. Whilst it did receive a brief cinema release in the UK and a release on VHS back in the early 1980s, it has been unavailable since then.

The artwork is by American poster artist Dan Goozee who was also responsible for a few Bond posters, including Moonraker and Octopussy, as well as several other classic posters from the 1980s. The other designs I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

The Toxic Avenger / one sheet / red title style / USA

16.09.11

Poster Poster
Title
The Toxic Avenger
AKA
--
Year of Film
1984
Director
Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman
Starring
Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen, Jennifer Prichard, Cindy Manion, Robert Prichard, Gary Schneider, Pat Ryan, Mark Torgl, Dick Martinsen
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Andree Maranda, Mitch Cohen, Jennifer Prichard, Cindy Manion, Robert Prichard, Gary Schneider, Pat Ryan, Mark Torgl, Dick Martinsen,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Red title style
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1984
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Sid Blaize
Size (inches)
27 2/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
He was 98 lbs. of solid nerd until he became... | The first Super-Hero... from New Jersey!

Released by the infamous American production and distribution company Troma, The Toxic Avenger went on to become their most successful film, spawning numerous sequels and spinoffs. He’s now featured as their official mascot.

This poster features artwork by Sid Blaize and is one of two one sheets printed for the film. The other one looks like this (image taken from emovieposter.com).

The superb original trailer can be viewed on YouTube.

Flash Gordon / one sheet / teaser / portrait / USA

21.11.12

Poster Poster
Title
Flash Gordon
AKA
Blixt Gordon (Sweden)
Year of Film
1980
Director
Mike Hodges
Starring
Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Chaim Topol, Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow, Ornella Muti, Brian Blessed
Origin of Film
USA | UK
Genre(s) of Film
Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Chaim Topol, Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow, Ornella Muti, Brian Blessed,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Teaser - portrait
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1980
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Philip Castle
Size (inches)
25 4/16" x 28 2/16"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
--
Tagline
--

There are few films quite like Flash Gordon and having re-watched it on blu-ray recently I was reminded how much of an impression it had on me when I first saw it as a child. I also listened to the excellent audio commentary with director Mike Hodges, who admits to being an unlikely choice to direct and confirms in no uncertain terms that they were making things up as they went along. It sounds like a typically chaotic Dino De Laurentiis production with scenes being written the night before filming and huge amounts of the budget going on the costume and set designs (though these are very impressive, even today).

This is an unusual teaser one sheet printed on paper that is thicker than normal paper with a metallic-ink finish. It was used in North America to promote the film months ahead of its release and there was also a landscape format version printed.  The renowned British artist Philip Castle is responsible for the artwork, which depicts the scene towards the end of the film where Flash Gordon and the Hawkmen attack and capture the rocket fortress Ajax.

Born in London in 1943, Castle’s design career has seen him working on album covers for some of the biggest names in British music, including Wings, Mott the Hoople and Pulp. His skills were utilised for the famous cover for David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, which saw him airbrushing over a photograph by Celia Philo. He also worked on the cover for the legendary computer game Elite.

Perhaps his most famous film poster work was the result of his collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick and the airbrushed images used to promote A Clockwork Orange are utterly fantastic. The final one sheet for the film is one of the most iconic posters of all time, with the same painting being used to promote the film all over the world, and it continues to be used to this day. In 1987 the pair would collaborate once more on the poster for Full Metal Jacket, which again proved to be a seminal piece of work. There’s an interesting interview with Castle available to watch on YouTube in which he discusses his work with Kubrick.

This page features several examples of his brilliant work and there are multiple images tagged on Tumblr. The posters I’ve collected by him can be seen here.

American Psycho / one sheet / USA

02.03.15

Poster Poster
Title
American Psycho
AKA
--
Year of Film
2000
Director
Mary Harron
Starring
Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Reese Witherspoon, Chloë Sevigny, Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Cara Seymour, Samantha Mathis
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Reese Witherspoon, Chloë Sevigny, Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Cara Seymour, Samantha Mathis,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Final
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
2000
Designer
Indika Entertainment Advertising
Artist
--
Size (inches)
27" x 39 14/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
Killer looks.

An iconic image of Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman features on this US one sheet for the release of the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis‘s novel American Psycho. Although Bale had been appearing in films since the 1980s, with his lead role as the young boy in Spielberg’s 1987 film Empire of the Sun a notable highlight, it was American Psycho that was a real breakout role and ultimately led to his casting as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (and subsequent global megastar status).

The story focuses on Bateman, a wealthy young banking executive who works at his father’s financial firm on Wall Street and spends his time materially competing with co-workers and dining at expensive restaurants in order to keep up appearances with friends and his fiancee Evelyn. Bateman is also a psychopath who spends his evenings indulging in acts of violence and ill-advised liaisons with prostitutes. A series of events see him murdering a colleague and entering into a series of violent encounters that nearly lead to his apprehension, but is all as it seems?

Bale is notorious for his use of method acting and the portrayal of Bateman was given his full attention. Apparently ‘the actor spent months tanning himself and working out in order to achieve the look of Bateman’s perfectly sculpted body’. The actor recalls: “I started going swimming on Sundays, and here was me, with this white English body, emerging with a stripy arse; not such a good look.”

This one sheet was created by the American design agency Indika Entertainment Advertising, which was founded in 1994 by James Verdesoto and Vivek Mathur and is based in New York City. They work on print and web campaigns for films, TV shows and home entertainment and have won multiple awards for their work over the years. One of their most iconic posters is the teaser one sheet for Pulp Fiction. They also designed the teaser one sheet for American Psycho.