Private Eye’s ‘naked bunny’ in the movies

Michael Caine with Private Eye ‘Naked bunny picture!’ poster

In a recent ‘magazines in the movies’ post, I listed the many walk-on parts for magazines in the 1969 film The Italian Job and mentioned a Private Eye poster. The poster is on the wall next to a photographic montage of Bob Dylan in 1960, Marlon Brando with his Triumph motorbike in The Wild One from 1953, and an unknown man wearing glasses.

Having seen the film recently, it turns out the poster consisted of the Private Eye logo – created by Matthew Carter in 1962 using Letraset – with the hand-drawn words below: ‘Naked bunny picture!’ I wonder how that came about? The posters are on the walls of the Michael Caine character’s flat in the film.

In another scene, imprisoned gangland boss Mr Bridger, played by Noel Coward, visits the Wormwood Scrubs governor (John Le Mesurier), and two Vanity Fair chromolithograph caricatures are seen on the walls. The upper print is of Frederick Edwin Smith from Vanity Fair magazine of 9 August 1911 (captioned ‘No Surrender’ by Frederick Drummond Niblett, ‘Nibs’); the other is of Henry JR Dawson-Damer (‘Port’, by Sir Leslie Ward, ‘Spy’, 24 August 1878). Smith was a Liverpool politician, lawyer, and orator who became Baron Birkenhead and as lord chancellor reformed the judiciary and helped negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Dawson-Damer, the third earl of Portarlington, was an Irish landowner and hereditary peer.

Bridger and the governor with two Vanity Fair caricatures

Later in The Italian Job, the royalty-obsessed gangland boss Mr Bridger is given a copy of the Illustrated London News (because there’s a photograph of the Queen in it) and reads it in his prison cell, which is lined with dainty crockery and pictures of the royal family.

Bridger reads the Illustrated London News in his cosy cell

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