Tuesday 29 April 2014

The Beguiled Novel by Thomas Cullinan - nice artwork too...?

Tom Hall's original painting
Relax, all the hard work is done on this cover art which represented Cullinan's 1969 edition of his novel. After last week's uncovering of the paperback art for High Plains Drifter I perhaps started looking at the paperback novels from a different perspective. The 1969 edition of Cullinan's novel was one that particularly stood out. The original cover art by Tom Hall is a very nice piece, and one which I could see working as a film poster. I also like the book’s tag line, 'A helpless man? Eight haunted women!' For me, this immediately kicks the imagination into gear. 
The first edition hardback of The Beguiled was printed in May 1966, and whilst there has been a couple of nice film tie in novels that feature Clint on the cover (See The Beguiled main page), this Tom Hall art cover is arguably the closest to a film poster design. Imagine if the wounded soldier had a closer resemblance to Eastwood - I could certainly see this concept working, it has the basis of an incredibly haunting and eerie depiction. We know that Eastwood was particularly unhappy with the way Universal handled the promotion and marketing of The Beguiled, would he had preferred an approach such as this? It is of course, all purely hypothetical, but it does raise some healthy and inquisitive questions of which there is plenty of room for debate.

It should have surprised no one when Thomas Cullinan’s novel was adapted into a movie. An instinctive feel for the dramatic situation lies at the heart of all of Cullinan’s work, whether conceived for the stage, the television screen, or the intimate mind space of a novel. Take a badly wounded Union soldier found in the last days of the Civil War by a twelve-year-old girl in the Confederate South and brought to an all-female boarding school, where the helpless man can be made more comfortable and his injuries properly tended to. Make that a good-looking soldier, and a house full of women deprived of normal relationships by the war, caught up instead in intensive rivalries and petty jealousies. Such a situation, giving a willing (but physically dependent) male, could lead to many interesting situations, and even, in a time of violence and brutality, to savage recriminations.
Eastwood and Don Siegel clearly saw the possibilities of Cullinan’s southern Gothic story. And it emerged though the 1970 film adaptation as an excellent tale of lust, jealousy and suspense. With a perfectly cast Geraldine Page as the repressed headmistress, Elizabeth Hartman as the frail teacher and sexy Jo Ann Harris as the seductive student – the film has since become something of a minor classic. 

Now, if only that artwork could be personalised to accommodate such a great cast…

Sunday 27 April 2014

Escape From Alcatraz Very Rare Victor Gadino Concept Art!

In the hunt to identify the artist behind the High Plains Drifter paperback novel,  I became friends with Thomas Nixdorf from Germany, an expert and collector of original film art. Thomas also contacted me this morning and sent me through a couple of extraordinary images. Here are a few examples of artist Victor Gadino’s proposed movie poster artwork for Clint’s Escape from Alcatraz (1979). These early concepts are incredibly rich in detail, and while I am still a huge fan of the finished art by Birney Lettick (the one sheet is displayed over my stairs) you have to wonder how these great images by Victor Gadino didn’t make it.

Some Background on Birney Lettick

Birney Lettick was a commercial artist whose portraits frequently appeared on the cover of Time magazine, sadly Lettick died in October 1986 at his Manhattan home, he was 67 years old. Lettick's illustrations appeared in numerous magazines, as well as in advertisements and several movie posters. His work appeared at the Brooklyn Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. His final painting was a portrait of President Reagan that appeared on the cover of the July 7, 1986, edition of Time. He was born in New Haven, and was a graduate of Yale University. While serving with the Army in World War II, he participated in the Normandy invasion.


Victor Gadino

Victor Gadino is an award-winning artist who holds an MFA from Pratt Institute. His work has appeared in the promotion of the top clients of the corporate, publishing, and entertainment worlds, such as; Sony, Seagrams, RJ Reynolds, American Express, General Foods, Playboy, Hearst, Random House, Harper Collins, NBC, Time Warner, Paramount, United Artists, MGM, Lucas Films, Disney, and Universal, to name a few.
Awards received include one from The Hollywood Reporter for his work on prominent movie posters. He received the second place drawing award in the Art Renewal Center's 2009 Annual International Competition. He has created album covers for various artists, posters for Broadway plays, and collectables for the Bradford Exchange, and Franklin Mint.
Original Size 12x15
His work has been featured in publications including; Communication Art’s Illustration Annual 50 for which he won an Award of Excellence, Society of Illustrators Annual 43, Direct Art Magazine Volume 14, Aphrodisia II -The Art of the Female Form, Treasures from the Permanent Collection of the Leslie Lohman Foundation-All Saints Press, Powerfully Beautiful- Firehouse Studio Publication, and Dirty Little Drawings, and Stripped published by Bruno Gmunder.
He accepts portrait commissions and his work can be found in the collections of George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, Alan Alda, Mr and Mrs Andrew Tisch, Mr and Mrs. Henry Kravis and other prominent New York City families.
Original Size 12x15
These wonderful concept drawings are a fine example of Gadino’s incredible talent. I must thank Thomas for these wonderful shares. Both of the images (above) are from The Nixdorf Collection - James Bond Poster & Art Archive. Thomas is a serious collector of Original Poster Art, that’s the ‘original art’, the actual paintings by the artists that were used to produce the final film poster. As you may have gathered, Thomas also collects alternative and unused art. So should you have any in your attic, cellar or loft, I’m sure Thomas would be very interested. Please contact him either through his Facebook page or you can contact me by leaving a comment below which I will pass directly on to him.   

Clint on Rediffusion's Starview, Britain's first cable TV channel

I got up this morning to find another excellent message from my friend in Japan, Philip McLean. Philip posed a question: Ever heard of Rediffusion's Starview, Britain's first cable TV channel? I had heard of Rediffusion but was not aware of their cable channel in England. Philip explained, 'It ran from 1981 to 1984 (before and during the emergence of rental video) but was available in only 5 towns throughout England, as a trial service I guess. They (Rediffusion) used to publish booklets for each month displaying the films they were going to broadcast, which you'd pick up at their shop in town. I first saw Escape from Alcatraz and Bronco Billy here, and I think it was their British TV d├ębut. Escape from Alcatraz was shown in April 1982 and Bronco Billy in February 1983.'
Excellent information Philip, I had a look on the internet this morning and also found this: 
The Home Office had granted several experimental licenses to broadcast subscription television services, of which Rediffusion received licenses for five areas, Burnley, Hull, Pontypridd, Reading and Tunbridge Wells. Starview was the first of these services launch on 9 September 1981. Its schedules were mostly made up of feature films, initially with two films per evening and additional screenings at the weekends. Other early UK cable services started around the same time were Showcable (Visionhire/BBC Enterprises), SelecTV and Cinematel (Radio Rentals/Thorn EMI).

Philip provided these fantastic images from Rediffusion's monthly magazine. If it wasn't for people like Philip, these rare ads would have disappeared into obscurity, we really appreciate it Philip and thank you for sharing them. 

Saturday 26 April 2014

When Clint met Kirk and Spock

In 1979, Clint made a rare excursion to Paramount pictures, his previous film for Paramount was the musical Paint Your Wagon some 10 years earlier in 1969. Clint was at the studio making Escape from Alcatraz at the time. The other big picture from Paramount that year was Star Trek The Motion Picture, the first big screen adventure that reunited the original TV cast. 

Clint and actor William Shatner had apparently been friends from way back, so it was a good opportunity for them to met up in between filming. Clint turned up with his son Kyle and his daughter Alison in order to meet both Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Kirk (William Shatner) (back to camera). 

This photo seems to be the only record of the day - and the only one I have ever seen. I've often wondered if any other photos exist from this meeting. If you can help or know of any others, please get in touch.

UPDATE: 09/12/2017
As mentioned above, this often seen picture was the only one I had seen that captured this meeting on the Paramount lot during the making of Escape from Alcatraz & Star Trek The Motion Picture. So I would like to thank our friend Jayne Smart for (not only) providing me with a better and wider shot of the above photo, but a further shot which is completely new to me! 
The new photo again features Clint, Kyle and Alison, but with Shatner replacing his robe with full space suit. It's great to finally see another shot from this famous meeting. 

Eiger Sanction Japanese DVD

In between yesterday's frantic researching of the High Plains Drifter paperback art, I was chatting to my friend Philip McLean who lives in Osaka, Japan. During our chat, Philip mentioned about the Japanese DVD of the Eiger Sanction. At first I thought Philip was referring to a VCD format, as he mentioned that it was styled and packaged more like a conventional CD. Philip sent me over a full set of scans and to my surprise, it was actually the DVD format. I was really taken back by the beautiful packaging design. Philip also continued to explain how some DVD's are still packaged this way in Japan - even though the majority have moved over to the more regular style of packaging. I thought some Eastwood collectors and fans may not of seen these before, I know I certainly hadn't. So a big thank you to Philip for sending over these great scans and sharing them with us. Anybody else seen any other Eastwood film releases in packaging such as this? If so, I would be very keen to see them.

Friday 25 April 2014

High Plains Drifter Tie in Paperback Artwork - SOLVED

Here's an interesting story for all you people that like a debate... A good Eastwood friend of mine (Kevin Wilkinson) sent me an email tonight with a rather interesting question. 

We are of course, all familiar with the great poster artwork for Eastwood's western High Plains Drifter (presumed to be by artist Ron Lesser), but Kevin asked me about the artwork used on the paperback tie in novel - which is in itself, a very fine piece of art. Kevin wondered if it was ever or might have been originally painted for a poster design. Good question, right? 

I have to admit, I never really considered it before, I simply looked upon it as a paperback. I'm going to have to dig it out to see if there is any artist credited on the back or inside, it has certainly got me very curious... For those unfamiliar with the tie in book, here is the artwork used, perhaps we can try and establish the background of it or in deed its origins?
Well amazingly, we got to solve this in less than 24 hours - but it was something of a Roller-coaster ride in the end. Firstly I contacted Random House in New York who took over Bantam. Spoke to a very nice person there who tried her best - even contacting other people in order to help. Unfortunately and because of the date of the book, everyone was drawing blanks. I was looking at the artwork again this morning, specifically at the Marianna Hill section. I started to wonder if there was a possibility of it being the work of Bob Peak - I looked at it for so long, I finally talked myself out of it. From the moment Kevin presented me with this headache (cheers Kev), I opened it up to other Eastwood fans. As I went to check in this morning, my friend James Anthony Phillips had left a two word comment 'Bob Peak'. I had to do a double take on it first. Contacting James, he explained how he thought the painting (particularly around the eyes) looked like Peak's work. Nevertheless, James suggested I obtain a second opinion. I then contacted friend and film poster expert Thomas Nixdorf in Germany. Thomas immediately took an interest and began to investigate. 

Several hours passed, when I also called upon another Eastwood friend of mine Davy Triumph. Davy has also collected Eastwood posters for a great number of years. I think we were all a little oblivious at one point, after all - this was just the artwork for a paperback book. However, it is such a nice piece of art - could it have possibly been an early design for a High Plains Drifter film poster... Well, this was something that we would probably never find out, and because of that, focus shifted more on identifying the artist. A short time later, Davy joined us and also suggested Bob Peak, it wasn't just a suggestion - Davy had also uncovered some great evidence. Obviously, he had been looking hard at the artwork and stunned us all when he discovered a signature! And yes, to the untrained eye, it certainly looked like 'Bob Peak'. The signature seemed to be the final part of the puzzle, yes it was faint, but we were looking for Bob Peak, and we saw Bob Peak... Fantastic - mission accomplished, or so we thought.

I wasn't familiar with Bob Peak's signature, but I could certainly see it - every time I looked at it... I decided to contact Thomas so as to not waste any more of his time. In the meantime we was all smiles and feeling pretty damn good in fact! That was until Thomas came straight back to me and revealed that it wasn't Bob Peak's signature. The fact was, as soon as Thomas saw the signature that Davy had uncovered - it became easy for Thomas. The man is an expert - and quickly identified the artist as LOU FECK - naturally, when we all looked again - we all saw Lou Feck

According to an internet biography, Feck was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 8th 1925 and died November 4th 1981. it appears that a great deal of his work has been associated with paperback covers, particularly in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre. So how did Thomas recognise the signature so instantly? Well, Feck apparently did get a commission to paint some film art, for a little movie in 1978 - its title - JAWS 2. 

So. perhaps we should not rule out the possibility that this was an early film poster concept for High Plains Drifter. Perhaps Eastwood reconsidered the design and wanted more emphasis on the 'flaming red' element of Tidyman's story. But I guess only Clint can tell us that. It's been a great education Thomas! A big thank you to everyone who got involved with this project, it was a very cool 24 hours. 

Wednesday 16 April 2014


I've been meaning to add this for some time now. Over many years of collecting it was obvious that I was going to accumulate a number of duplicate items. So instead of letting them sit around I thought it would be an idea to create this space to offer such items for sale. As a collector - I would of course always be open to trade - should you have anything to offer in exchange for an item - perhaps you have some original bw stills I don't have? If so, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.
If you wish to purchase anything I have here, p/p will be added @ actual cost and specific to each location. 

I will be adding items to the shop as and when time permits - so check back often. I will also add a quick link to the shop at the top of the blog's side panel. I hope you enjoy looking around it. 

Magnum Force R1 (USA) DVD Near Mint Includes: Original Documentary Hero Cop Yesterday and Today, Original Trailer, Remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 £3 + p/p

Crawdaddy Magazine April 1978 £6 + p/p
US Magazine Great Cover and 9 page article (A Fistful of Critics by Robert Ward) with good photos. A very collectable magazine - (shown here for illustrative purposes). The spare copy I have has some small cover spine separation (about 2") from top and a small piece of address label on front bottom left. Other than that it is in excellent condition throughout with tight binding and no rust to staples.

Look Magazine July 1979 Near Mint £8 + p/p
Great cover story, includes 10 page feature/interview by Chris Hodenfield (Clint Eastwood: 'Let's go to lunch and B.S. for a while'). Plus a nice Colour Double Page Spread Paramount Summer Vacation Plan including Escape from Alcatraz.

Cinema Retro Dollar Special, a superb 80 page glossy magazine dedicated to Sergio Leone's classic trilogy. 
£10 (includes p/p within the UK) 

Paint Your Wagon Original cinema Souvenir Program. Art by Peter Max Soft Cover Program measures: approx: 8 1/2" x 11 1/2" and has 32 pages. Near Mint £15 (incs free p/p in UK). 

Lady Godiva, 1955, Original and very rare UK DVD by Universal, released on DVD at the tail end of the DeAgostini The Classic Clint Eastwood Collection. This was one of the bit part films that starred Clint while he was under contract to Universal Studios. Less of these DVDs were being distributed, as most people were only interested in Clint's starring feature films. For the real fans, they were of course the most wanted of titles. 1.85:1 Ratio, also Includes Original Trailer, case, insert and disc are Excellent, £15.00 incs free UK post. 

The Man from Malpaso 1993 (2006) Original and very rare UK DVD. Released on DVD at the tail end of the DeAgostini The Classic Clint Eastwood Collection. This is a well respected Documentary which is told by Clint himself. Guests include Gene Hackman, Jessica Walter, Forest Whitaker and more. Case, insert and disc are Excellent, £15.00 incs free UK post. 

THE EIGER SANCTION CLINT EASTWOOD, Original 1975 Australian Daybill 13x30 Inch (Great size for Framing) poster.
I have a spare double of this, the full colour Day bill (not the re-release duotone) – in perfect untouched condition. If anyone wants this spare for £30 let me know, if sold in uk I will include p/p in that too, so it works out a pretty good deal overall… if interested please leave a comment and email, I will still see it without publishing it.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

UK release of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Blu Ray

Second Sight has made an announcement on their UK release of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Sincere apologies for how long this announcement has taken. It is always our policy, wherever possible, to include extras involving cast, crew or otherwise on our releases and we have spent the last year trying to make this happen for this release. However, on this occasion it's just not been possible and so we've taken the decision to release the film with no extras rather than wait any longer. We will be releasing THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT on Blu-ray on June 23rd. Many thanks for your support and patience on this one.

Just thought I would inform you of this, as I'm sure there must be a number of fans that have been holding out for this version. Whilst the Blu Ray contains no extras, the sleeve does retain the artwork that was original to the Warner's big box VHS and will no doubt bring back a few memories