Movie Poster of the Week: Richard Lester’s “Help!”

The many varied international posters for The Beatles’ globe-trotting, Goon-inspired, Bond-parodying musical.
Adrian Curry

The fact that Help! is coming out on Blu-ray next week seems as good an excuse as any for featuring the wonderfully varied international posters for this globe-trotting, Goon-inspired, musical Bond parody filmed, according to all concerned, in a haze of marijuana.

My first memory of even being aware of the Beatles was watching Help! on TV in the late 70s and recording the songs on a cassette tape recorder. To this day, if I hear “The Night Before” I fully expect to hear my Dad dropping some Beatles trivia and me shushing the room, as well as snatches of dialogue at the end of every song.

The movie (originally titled Eight Arms to Hold You until the Beatles failed to come up with a song for that title) with its anything-goes plot, lends itself to a multitude of treatments. I especially like the many translations of the title, from Hjaelp! to Au Secours! to Pomoc! to ¡Socorro! to, best of all, Hi-Hi-Hilfe! The Japanese poster, above, keeps the English title in beautiful shades of red, orange and pink.

The US campaign, seen here in the giant six-sheet (six and a half foot square) and the one-sheet, uses the Beatles’ semaphore poses from the album cover, which, I am disappointed to learn, do not actually spell “HELP” at all, because, according to photographer Robert Freeman, the correct configuration didn’t look good. (They are actually spelling “NVUJ”).

The UK quad uses a similar design:

Both the French and Belgian posters treat the film as a wacky, multi-colored cartoon:

The Danish poster:

The Swedish poster:

The 1967 Polish poster by Eryk Lipinski:

Two very different Czech designs, the original by Radim Malát from 1967:

And a 1986 re-release from Pavel Jasansky:

An Argentinian poster whose illustrations look strangely like outsider art:

Italian and Spanish designs: 

And, finally, two German posters: 

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Movie Poster of the WeekRichard LesterThe BeatlesColumns
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