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Movie Poster of the Week: Sir Alan Bates in Posters

Two decades of posters from the career of the “affable Angry Young Man.”
Above: UK one sheet for The Shout (Jerzy Skolimowski, UK, 1978)
One of the greatest but perhaps less heralded of British actors, Sir Alan Bates (1934-2003) is being deservedly feted over the next week at the Quad Cinema in New York with the retrospective series Alan Bates: The Affable Angry Young Man. The title makes sense: before he had acted on film Bates was in the original West End and Broadway productions of Look Back in Anger, but he played not the disaffected anti-hero Jimmy Porter, made famous on film by Richard Burton, but the amiable Welsh lodger Cliff. Though a performer of great virility, intelligence and passion, he often played second fiddle to his more demonstrative co-stars—whether Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek (1964), Lynn Redgrave in Georgy Girl (1966), Julie Christie in Far From the Madding Crowd (1967) and The Go-Between (1971), or Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman (1978). Consequently, he is often in the background—or in the corner—of the posters for his more famous films, if he appears in them at all. (Naturally, Jill Clayburgh and Lynn Redgrave dominate their posters for An Unmarried Woman and  Georgy Girl, but I have found alternate Japanese and German designs that feature Bates.)
Alan Bates may also be the only serious actor to have been upstaged by his own bare ass in movie posters: in the French and American posters for Women in Love and the American posters for King of Hearts his tush features more prominently than his face.
Above: French grande for Women in Love (Ken Russell, UK, 1969) and US one sheet for King of Hearts (Philippe de Broca, France, 1966).
All that said there are still plenty of striking Alan Bates posters—at least from the first two decades of his 40-year career—like those for his first big starring role in A Kind of Loving (1962) and for two of his lesser known leading roles in The Fixer (1968) and The Shout (1978), the latter of which, seen above, is especially terrific.
Above: US one sheet for Whistle Down the Wind (Bryan Forbes, UK, 1961).
Above: East German poster for A Kind of Loving (John Schlesinger, UK, 1962).
Above: UK quad for A Kind of Loving (John Schlesinger, UK, 1962).
Above: UK one sheet for A Kind of Loving (John Schlesinger, UK, 1962).
Above: UK quad for Nothing But the Best (Clive Donner, UK, 1964).
Above: German poster for Georgy Girl (Silvio Narizzano, UK, 1966).
Above: US one sheet for Far from the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger, UK, 1967).
Above: Detail of US one sheet for Far from the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger, UK, 1967).
Above: US one sheet for Far from the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger, UK, 1967).
Above: US one sheet for The Fixer (John Frankenheimer, UK, 1968).
Above: US one sheet for Women in Love (Ken Russell, UK, 1969). Bates is on the right.
Above: US one sheet for Three Sisters (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1970).
Above: UK quad for The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, UK, 1971).
Above: Detail of UK quad for The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, UK, 1971).
Above: US one sheet for The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, UK, 1971).
Above: Detail from US one sheet for The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, UK, 1971).
Above: US one sheet for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Peter Medak, UK, 1972).
Above: Belgian poster for Story of a Love Story (John Frankenheimer, France/Italy, 1973).
Above: Japanese poster for An Unmarried Woman (Paul Mazursky, USA, 1978).
Above: US one sheet for Nijinsky (Herbert Ross, USA, 1980). Art by Richard Amsel.
The Quad series leads up to a week-long revival of the anti-war cult classic King of Hearts, starting February 23. This time not only do we get to see Sir Alan’s face in the re-release poster but there is also a remarkable animated version of it which you can see here and, I assume, in the lobby of the Quad.
Above: 2018 US re-release one sheet for King of Hearts (Philippe de Broca, France, 1966).
For more Alan Bates I recommend you listen to his appearance on Desert Island Discs from 1976.
He was such a great and dependable actor. One film not on this list since it was made for television has maybe his finest performance, "An Englishman Abroad."

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