Sportswire Dec 21 2014
SUGAR & SPICE
Getting on the same page.

These two December 1960 promotional photos show American welterweight/middleweight boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and Italian middleweight actress Rita Giannuzzi hamming it up after Robinson’s draw with rival Gene Fullmer at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Robinson and Giannuzzi were slated to appear together in a boxing-related movie—title to be determined—backed by lightweight producer Felice Zappulla and filmed in Europe. Apparently the idea never quite caught on, because the movie never happened. 

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Intl. Notebook Dec 18 2014
LAST LOOK
Virna Lisi dies in Rome.

Italian actress and revered beauty Virna Lisi has died aged seventy-eight of cancer. Her film career began in 1953 and she has acted on televison in 2014 and in a film to be released next year. We’ve featured her quite a bit here. You can see a couple of entries here and here. 


 
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Vintage Pulp Nov 10 2014
LOVE'S LABOR LOST
This is a mean old world, baby, to live in all by yourself.

Above, the cover of Gli Amante Perduti, which means “the lost lover,” published 1962 by Grandi Edizioni Internazionali. The author, Horace Robinson, was in reality the prolific Maria Luisa Piazza, and the evocative cover art, showing a woman distressed and alone against a backdrop of blackness, is by the incomparable Benedetto Caroselli.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 5 2014
EEL FEELINGS
Only in Italian film can hard labor make you better looking.


If you’re thinking this West German poster for Sophia Loren’s 1954 drama Die Frau vom Fluss, aka La donna del fiume, aka The River Girl looks a bit like this promo for Riso Amaro, you're right—and the actual films are quite similar too. During the 1950s Italian filmmakers produced at least a few movies with identical blueprints—i.e. improbably hot peasant girls performing hard labor somewhere in the Po Valley while wearing bodyhugging clothing. Generally, the girls dream of better circumstances but possess little means to achieve such an end—until into their lives tumble dudes with big plans.

Sounds like light fare, but sultry summer settings and sexy attire notwithstanding, these were serious films—usually tragedies. Where the staple food in Riso Amaro (and Elsa Martinelli’s 1956 drama La risaia) was rice, here it’s eels. Loren works in an eel cannery by day, dances a mean mambo during her spare hours and, like Silvana Mangano in Riso Amaro, finds herself torn between a decent bore and a thrilling criminal. The choice she makes opens up a whole different can of eels and she spends the rest of the film having to manage the consequences. That’s about all we’ll say, except that we watched the flick last night and more or less enjoyed it. As for Loren, she’s 100% more and 0% less, a big personality whose stardom was a matter of destiny. The movie is worth seeing just because of her.


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Reader Pulp Oct 31 2014
DOMINANT GINA
The one nature selects above all others.

This is the first time a reader of the site has sent us a celebrity photo, but that’s fine, because what a nice image it is. Anonymous Italian uncovered this shot of Gina Lollobrigida (and dozens of other pulp-related images) and zapped it over to us a few days ago. We think it’s a colorized version of a black and white shot and it’s probably from 1955, right around the beginning of her box office dominance in international cinema. Thanks AI.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 29 2014
LA VIA BENVENUTI
Giovanni Benvenuti shows the way.

We thought we’d revisit the awesome work of Italian illustrator Giovanni Benvenuti. We shared a set last month, but just had to do another. These are once again part of the La Chouette collection published by the French imprint Ditis during the 1950s and 1960s.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 17 2014
MORBO FASCINATION
Artist C. Renè makes a bold statement in blue.

Finally, an Italian horror novel that wasn’t illustrated by the incomparable Benedetto Caroselli. This time the artist is someone billed as C. Renè, and he/she’s created a beautiful blue cover for Mark Hawk’s Morbo Azzurro (Blue Disease), opting to show a very detailed eye and set of lips rather than a whole face. Very effective work, we think. This appeared in 1961 and was a ristampa—a reprint—of a 1960 release.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 15 2014
MASTERFUL KEY
Glass Key paperback art is tops thanks to another Italian master.

Brian Donlevy and Veronica Lake’s film noir The Glass Key, which was Hollywood’s second try at Dashiell Hammett’s novel, premiered this month in 1942. To be exact, it opened yesterday in New York City and throughout the U.S. on October 23. The poster most often seen online is the theatrical release version we showed you several years ago, but alternates were produced and two of them appear below. What we really wanted to share, though, is this great paperback cover from UK-based Digit Books. It’s from 1961 and features the art of Italian illustrator Enrico de Seta, who we’ve mentioned before. If you haven’t watched The Glass Key we recommend it, and if you haven’t read the book, just know that it was Hammett’s personal favorite. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
ENTRE NOUS
Deux for the price of one.

The above photos show the wares of one of the vintage booksellers known as “bouquinistes,” Parisian vendors found on the right bank of the River Seine from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the left bank from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire. Amazingly, they have been there in one form or another since the 1700s. We were lured to this specific bouquiniste by some issues of the weekly Nous Deux and grabbed a couple at half the asking price. Nous Deux was a version of a wildly successful Italian magazine called Grand Hôtel, and was established by the brother of the two men who had launched the Italian imprint. The cover art on Nous Deux is always spectacular. Since it was a reiteration of the Italian magazine, the art was often Italian in origin, mainly by Walter Molino and Giulio Bertoletti, and inside each issue appeared a few more illustrations and twenty pages of photo fiction. This particular cover from 1951 is by Bertoletti for the story “Incident sur la Canebiere,” and features the charming scene of a woman with her heel stuck in a trolley track being rescued by a passing stud. Interestingly, later issues of Nous Deux were illustrated by Aslan, and those are rare indeed.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
ROMA AMORE
You can't spell romance without Rome.

Nous Deux was an ongoing concern that spawned dozens of romance novels. Éditions Mondiales-Del Duca put out a Collection Nous Deux, of which the above, Sous les platanes de Rome, aka Under the Trees of Rome, is number 95, appearing in 1958. It was written by Lucienne Peverelly, aka Luciana Perverelli, aka Greta Granor, who penned several Nous Deux novels. Peverelly was possibly the same person as Lucienne Royer, but we’re still trying to confirm that. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 22
1972—Plane Crash Victims Found in Andes
The Chilean Air force locates fourteen survivors from a plane that had crashed in the Argentine Andes two months earlier. Four days after the rescue, a Santiago, Chile newspaper alleges that the survivors became cannibals to ward off starvation. The surviving group confirms that they ate human flesh at a press conference two days later.
December 21
1958—de Gaulle Elected President of France
World War II hero General Charles de Gaulle is elected President of France by an overwhelming majority. During his time he leads France to develop nuclear weapons, ends the French presence in Algeria, and survives several assassination attempts. He eventually retires to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, in north-east France, and dies from a heart attack on 9 November 1970.
December 20
1989—U.S. Invades Panama
The United States invades Panama with the goal of overthrowing the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega. Noriega had been a CIA agent for many years, and because of this special status, U.S. drug authorities had turned a blind eye toward his activities, which included helping to create a crack cocaine epidemic in American inner cities. In 1988, Senator John Kerry's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations concluded that the Noriega saga represented one of the most serious foreign policy failures in U.S. history.

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