Tom Chantrell (December 20, 1916 – July 15, 2001) was a British illustrator and film poster artist. He was noted as the designer of the Style C poster advertising the 1977 release of Star Wars in British cinemas.
Chantrell was born on 20 December 1916 in Ardwick, Manchester, England, the son of a trapeze artist.
He worked for the advertising agency Bateman Artists (later Allardyce Palmer) and had a prolific career painting films posters for Amicus and Hammer horror films, and for Carry On films. He designed his first film poster in 1938 for The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse. His work was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II, when he served in a bomb disposal squad on the south coast of England.
After the war, he resumed his career, and began working for the advertising agency Allardyce Palmer on Wardour Street in Soho, London.
Among Chantrell's best known works are the posters for The King And I (1956), Carry On Cleo (1964), The Sound of Music (1965), One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Land That Time Forgot (1975) and At the Earth's Core (1976).
Star Wars poster
In 1977 Chantrell was commissioned by 20th Century Fox to produce a poster for the UK theatrical release of Star Wars. The US release had been promoted with a poster designed by Tom Jung, now known as as Style A. In UK cinemas, the film was advertised with a reworked version of Jung's artwork, the Style B poster by the Brothers Hildebrandt, but Fox and Lucasfilm executives were dissatisfied with the poster and decided to replace it with a more realistic depiction of the lead characters, in order to promote the film more effectively. Chantrell worked from a press pack of publicity stills to create the likenesses of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, and got his wife, Shirley Chantrell, to pose as a model for Princess Leia's body.
Chantrell's Style C poster depicts Luke Skywalker looking directly and pointing his gun at the viewer, flanked by Han Solo and Princess Leia brandishing blaster guns, with a large image of Darth Vader looming behind holding a lightsaber, surrounded by smaller characters and a montage of starfighters in combat. Because of Chantrell's long association with Hammer productions, he included Peter Cushing on his poster; this was the only Star Wars theatrical poster that ever featured Cushing's likeness.
Chantrell's artwork was used as the cover illustration the 1992 video game Super Star Wars.
|1977||Star Wars||Theatrical release poster (UK)|
|1991||Star Wars||Nintendo Game Boy||Cover Illustration|
|1992||Super Star Wars||SNES||Cover Illustration|