Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Other Thunderball “Look Down

American artist Frank McCarthy created the iconic “Look Down” artwork in 1965 for the film “Thunderball” But there is a lesser known alternative for this artwork which was used in the US 24 sheet and the French 8 panneaux.
Sketches for this artwork were recently unearthed by enthusiast Adrian Olivera.He recently came into the hobby through a stroke of luck, having acquired a collection of 1960's era MGM artwork. The collection consisted of pieces from films such as Where Eagles Dare, Ice Station Zebra, and Doctor Zhivago. Many artists were represented, including Howard Terpning, Frank Frazetta, Bob Peak, and Frank McCarthy. This find ignited his interest in movie artwork, and especially those of Frank McCarthy. His pursuit of more artwork led to the preliminary discovery.
These preliminaries provide a fascinating insight into the creative process:
McCarthy seems to have started with a much darker, bluer version of the artwork measuring 14" x 23", painted on artist vellum.This first version included much more details such as parachutes
and an airplane seen through the water.
A note on the back – presumably feedback from the art director (Donald Smolen?) – gives change instructions including “lighter water“.

Consequently McCarthy created a second version of the painting. The sketches were done on semi-transparent artist vellum, which gives an interesting insight into his work style: The back reveals that he first blotted out the broad composition with bold colours and then painted the details.

The resulting artwork is very detailed and highly dynamic with a lot of depth.

This pure version was rarely used. The only example I’m aware of is the Milton Bradley Thunderball game.
The published artwork is actually combination of the two artworks – Connery fighting the diver from the regular “Look Down” and this artwork. More details about this in this previous post:
Thanks and credits to Thomas from the Nixdorf Collection and Adrian for sharing this!
To view more McCarthy drafts, please visit the following links:
Frank McCarthy Movie Poster Drafts
Frank McCarthy Round 2!


David Morefield said...

Wow. Just generating work as awesome as this is a feat, but to call it a "sketch" or "draft"? I'm trying to picture the studio rep who looks at one of these and says, "Yeah, that's pretty good, but drop this, move this over there and change the colors." And then McCarthy does it! Eh, just another day at the office.

I guess the dark blue might not have repro'd as well on posters, but I like it better, and the parachutes and plane are a terrific touch.

Was there ever a book collection of McCarthy's work?

Robert Haffner said...

Peter, I've seen Howard Terpning and Frank McCarthy credited for the final Where Eagles Dare poster. Do you have any info?

Great article on McCarthy.

Peter Lorenz said...

@ David: Sadly there is no book about McCarthy's work but I'd love to see one.

@Bob: Have a look at the links on the bottom of the post, Adrian has published some of the Where Eagles Dare" sketches. Quite interesting.

Guy Callaway said...

Fascinating/fantastic stuff!
I think U/A had some of the most dynamic poster art of the '60's.

Simon said...

Thrilling find, very interesting indeed.
Thanks for popping it up.