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West Side Story Poster

There is often a temptation to see the hand of Chantrell behind any particularly colourful cinema poster & the quad for West Side Story is one such example. The multi-coloured poster shown below is often ascribed to Chantrell & described as THE 1st release quad poster. Whilst it is a 1st release poster, it is better described as the 1st release "post-Oscars" poster. The film was released several weeks before the Oscars & the very 1st quad (& rarer version) was the "pre-Oscars" poster shown here. The poster design is clearly based on that of Bob Peak's US 6-sheet poster (see below courtesy of emovieposter.com) but being a United Artists film, the poster design was handled by the Downton advertising agency. Downton artist, Brian Bysouth re-calls working on this commission & adapting the Peak design with hand coloured photo-prints, the background being line drawn only. When "West Side Story" swept the Oscars some weeks later, a separate illustration was commissioned & the colourful vision of the girl swirling her dress was created by Bill Wiggins (he of "Dracula" (1958) poster fame).

Although neither of the quad posters here had anything to do with Chantrell, Chantrell's quad for "Star Wars" parallels to some extent the experience above. His 1st version came without Oscars text but several weeks later after Oscar nominations were known, Oscars text was added to the poster (though the same poster imagery was used). In the case of the "Star Wars" poster, it is the pre-Oscar version which is much rarer than the post-Oscars poster, this being related to the way films were distributed & rolled out across the country at the time (this effecting the relative size of the print runs).

The 1st release pre-Oscars Peak/Bysouth poster remains in very good condition though there is an area of paper loss to bottom right rim, various light surface smudges & original sticker. However, this scarce poster for arguably the most iconic of all movie musicals, would respond very well to restoration. For an idea of relative value, a week before listing one of these quads sold for £600+ at auction.

For more information on the above, please see Sim Branaghan's excellent book "British Film Posters" (2006) & thanks to both Sim & Brian Bysouth for their assistance in determining the artist attributions above.

Price: £345.00

Film Category: Musical
Director: Robert Wise
Actor / Actresses: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn
Poster Type: UK Quad (30" x 40", 76cm x 102cm)
Poster Artist: Bysouth Brian
Condition: Good
Year: 1962
Reference: 58885

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