An exceptionally rare advance French door panel or 'pantalon' poster issued for the original release of 'You Only Live Twice' in France, featuring a full-size portrait of Sean Connery as James Bond in classic 007 pose, suavely suited with his Walther PPK poised across his chest. The simple and striking design, presenting a completely clean white background with absolutely no titles or credits, makes this one of the most graphically appealing of all James Bond posters and one of the absolute holy grails for 007 poster collectors. Issued only for major productions, door panel posters usually had unique artwork featuring characters from the film and were primarily used for display on theatre entrance doors. There is some ambiguity over who created the artwork for this particular poster. Certainly, renowned poster artist Robert McGinnis was responsible for the original design commissioned for the British poster campaign, but distributors in each country generally commissioned their own poster artists to re-work the illustrations in their own style. Sotheby's auctioned an original artwork by French poster artist Joseph Benari in September 2018 which claimed to be the original design for this poster, however the illustration differs significantly from the final poster artwork in our opinion. It is possible that the surviving artwork was simply a sketch for Benari's final design.
The fifth film in EON Productions' James Bond series and the last of Sean Connery's first stint starring as the smooth secret agent, it was announced during filming of 'You Only Live Twice' that Connery would retire from the role, although he later returned in 1971 'Diamonds Are Forever.' With a screenplay by children's author Roald Dahl, 'You Only Live Twice' was the first Bond film to discard most of Ian Fleming's original plot, using only a few characters and locations from the 1964 novel as the basis for an entirely new story. Following the mammoth success of 1965 'Thunderball,' it was also the first truly epic Bond film - with spaceships, a volcanic lair, SPECTRE, armies of henchmen, ninjas and the threat of nuclear Armageddon. When American and Soviet spacecraft mysteriously disappear and each nation blames the other, Bond travels to Tokyo on the tail of the true perpetrators, finally coming face to face with Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE, as the criminal organization attempts to provoke a third world war between the superpowers. The film was a smash, grossing over $111 million at the box office.
Conservation backed on linen. Printed on two sheets, each sheet with one vertical and three horizontal machine folds as issued. Backing has smoothed and diminished the folds. Some faint surface ink transfer or ghosting along fold lines. Tiny loss to tip of upper left corner. Tiny pinhole blemish to white ground in upper right portion above helmet. Pinhole to white ground under bent knee. Wear and tiny losses to crossfolds, with minor colour fill to some crossfolds and to edges of Bond's hips where the sheets join. Wear, splits and minor loss to upper and lower horizontal folds in white ground. Printers 30' stamp to verso visible recto at left edge below upper horizontal fold. Lower sheet with small ragged edge loss to upper edge in white ground. Spots of light surface wear and surface scuffs. Overall very good authentic condition with no airbrushing and none of the darkening to folds that is so commonly seen on old French movie paper. Printed in France by Ets. Saint-Martin, Paris.
Conservation backed on linen. See item description for full condition details.