The gun barrel, the pistol held diagonally across the chest, the bevy of beauties, the montage... Bond posters have adhered to various recognisable formulae over the decades, but as DK’s lavish new book demonstrates, there are also plenty of examples that stray from the path. We thought we’d have a look at some of the more unusual bits of artistic Bondage...
With their immediate use of brazen colour (both in posters and on screen – apart from the opening gun barrel walk), the Bond films announced themselves straight away as vitally, thrillingly up-to-date and ‘60s This Italian teaser however, seems to belong to another era, with a black-and-white, homburged Bond who wouldn’t seem out of place in a noir from 20 years earlier. “Agent 007 has a licence to kill,” says the main text. The bar at the top, meanwhile, demands “Pay attention to this man,” and the other chunk informs us that Bond operates “with all weapons, in all places, at all times”.
Country: US (Insert)
A handful of stills depicting danger and excitement – Kissing! Strangling! Helicopters! Boats! – draw the eye here, but what’s most important is that key ingredient of the early Bond posters: hyperbole! Sixty-nine-million-and-seven seems a very specific number of Bond fans to be quoting (yes, we understand, we’re joking), but apparently ALL of them live in a THROBBING world of HOT BLOODED EXCITEMENT! Sounds exhausting! The smaller text promises that Bond and his cohorts are going to explode onto the screen. Granville, fuh-fetch your cloth.
Country: Italy (Advance)
George Lazenby’s stint as 007 remains underrated and overlooked, and this advance four-sheet shows that that was going on before the film even came out. With Connery gone, the intention here is obviously to create some mystery about Bond’s new look. But hiding his face under a ski helmet and goggles kind of has the opposite effect, anonymising poor George, and seeming to say, “We know this isn’t Connery and WE’RE SO SORRY!”
Country: West Germany
A confused combination of Solitaire’s tarot deck and a normal pack of playing cards, there were four of these teaser posters: one for each suit in the deck. We’ve got Hearts pictured here, which gives us SEX, and text that translates as “Passionate sex, even when the bomb is already ticking in the dream house…” Spades was DEVIL, Diamonds was LUCK, and Clubs was DEATH: “James Bond can’t stand it when death pokes him in the face.” Well, who can?
With one eye on Enter The Dragon, this Italian lobby card – typical of brightly-tinded photobustas – plays up that slightly embarrassing scene in the middle of The Man With the Golden Gun, where Roger Moore takes out an entire dojo with barely a twitch of his eyebrow. Yup, it’s Bond as Bruce Lee, although that odd waxy look they’ve given Moore here kind of makes him look like the wrong sort of Action Man.
Country: US (Advance)
A View To A Kill’s main poster is that rather good one with Bond and Stacey Sutton on the Golden Gate Bridge. But the US also got this rather bad advance poster (although it’s the same artist, Dan Goozee), of Moore on a very small rope ladder, hanging off a very bendy Eiffel Tower. Christopher Walken’s Max Zorin is incoming in the main poster in his airship, but here Bond’s under threat from his henchwoman, Grace Jones’ May Day, wearing a sort of pink Vampirella outfit that we don’t seem to remember from the film. Surely those heels are inappropriate for parachuting too.
Country: Japan (Advance flyer)
This peculiar Japanese flyer emphasises the romantic side of Tomorrow Never Dies, although oddly there doesn’t seem to have been an action equivalent. There are, it must be said, also better “sexy” images in the film itself than Teri Hatcher’s shampoo commercial-like pose, and Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh as floating heads. Poor Yeoh doesn’t even get to be the right way up! Actually, this puts us in mind of the end of Mars Attacks!...
Country: Italy (Advance one sheet)
A strong contender for the weirdest Bond poster ever – if not the worst – this teaser for The World is Not Enough gives us nothing from the film, but instead goes with some shirtless dude standing next to a toilet in a dank prison cell. The text says, “You must have a really good reason not to go and see a new James Bond film.” This campaign actually came courtesy of the award-winning Italian designer Gavino Sanna. He must have been having an off day.
James Bond: 50 Years Of Movie Posters, published by DK, priced £35.00. www.dk.com