The full colour artwork (the film was of course in black and white) is by Italian-born poster painter Angelo Cesselon (1922-92) and depicts Richard Todd as Wing Commander Guy Gibson who led the Operation Chastise raid on the Dams of the Ruhr valley in 1943.
Pictured with him are two of the Avro Lancaster Mk III bombers which carried the ‘bouncing bombs’ developed by Barnes Wallis, who was played by Michael Redgrave.
Several other posters were made for the film’s release at home and abroad (and more for the 1960s reissue that are far easier to come by) but they do not quite evoke the same reactions from collectors.
This copy offered as part of the Collectors Auction at Spicers (20% buyer’s premium) in Goole, East Yorkshire, on December 16, was not in the very best condition with its frayed border, tape marks, small tears and fold lines but, generally speaking, the artwork remained good.
A fine example would bring £5000-plus at auction and retail closer to £10,000. This one, guided at £1000-1500, took a solid £3050.