Femmes Fatales Jan 1 2017
MARI NEW YEAR
Oh, my mistake. I thought you said out with the old in with the nude.

We thought we'd start your 2017 off right with this January calendar page from a 1974 issue of the Japanese magazine Heibon Punch featuring the always wonderful Mari Tanaka. She's chameleonic and can look very different from shot to shot. For a glimpse of her at her best, we suggest peeking here.

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Femmes Fatales Dec 27 2016
GREATEST HIT
Hitomi Kozue is number one on any chart you care to name.

We've shared several images of Japanese actress Hitomi Kozue that had never been seen online before, and we have more we haven't uploaded we plan to get to. But today we wanted to share someone else's effort. The Tumblr blog Humungus posted a Japanese album cover with Kozue on the front. The image was so striking we decided to wipe the text off it and present it as a clean photograph—just Kozue, unadorned. You see the result above. You're welcome. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 24 2016
FLESH TONES
You can't keep a good girl down.

This dramatic poster was made for Nikutai no mon, aka Gate of Flesh, a movie based on a 1947 novel by Japanese author Taijirô Tamura. The book has been filmed five times. The most famous version was made in 1968 with Jo Shishido and Yumiko Nogawa earning acclaim for their lead roles in what was a serious and artistic film, but the above promo is for the 1977 roman porno version starring Reiko Kayama, Izumi Shima, and Junko Miyahsita. Needless to say, the two films diverge rather sharply. However, we need to point out, as we do periodically, that roman porno isn't porno—it's softcore. The “roman” in roman porno is short for “romantic,” and though the movies aren't typically romantic in the normal sense, they aren't explicit. Such depictions were illegal in Japan back then, and remain so today (though filmmakers use pixilation of sexual organs to skirt the law).

When the novel Nikutai no mon appeared in 1947 a different censorship regime existed called the Civil Censorship Detachment, which was under the authority of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, aka Douglas MacArthur. Under SCAP CCD censorship, explicit accounts of fraternization between Japanese and whites were forbidden, as were detailed accounts of the atomic bombings, or anything that could generate distrust toward the American occupiers. Most Japanese authors obeyed. A few wrote obliquely about the forbidden subjects. And a very few broke the rules entirely to describe war horrors—e.g. flashburned nuclear victims walking naked and blind amongst the ruins, their hairless bodies so swollen their sex could not be determined. Tamura's novel falls in the middle. It tells the story of a group of Japanese women trying to survive in the rubble of Tokyo via prostitution.
 
Where the 1968 movie stuck pretty close to Tamura's fiction, the roman porno focuses more on the sexploitation angle, though it keeps the action set in 1947. A criminal syndicate known as Black Rose provides Japanese girls as prostitutes to the American military, and any who resist the various examinations, training, and indignities are punished with torture and death. When Reiko Kayama arrives on the scene, she eventually inspires the others to follow her as she leads a revolt against her enslavers. You get sex, girlfights, killings, and blood. If you're looking for standard roman porno fare—with perhaps a bit more visual piazazz than usual thanks to director Shôgorô Nishimura and cinematographer Yoshihiro Yamazaki—you've picked the right film. Nikutai no mon premiered in Japan today in 1977.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 23 2016
MAJOR LEAGUES
Run silent, run deep.

This Japanese poster for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is damaged but still amazing. It was made for the 1954 movie's premiere in Japan today in 1955. Jules Verne's classic novel about Captain Nemo and his futuristic submarine has been mined often. There have been other films, a mini-series for television, a cartoon, and we understand a new cinematic version is in the works for 2017. We have low expectations for that. In today's Hollywood environment, with its thirst for bland global blockbusters, its aversion to storytelling depth, and its addiction to mindless and often pointless computer graphics, Verne's great story could finally be ruined. But we shall see. We're pretty sure the promo poster won't be as good either.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 14 2016
MOTORCYCLE DIARY
She's unswervingly Faithfull to her desires.

It's Alain Delon again. We just saw him a couple of days ago and here he is in La motocyclette, aka The Girl on a Motorcycle. 1960's counterculture icon Marianne Faithfull stars in this experimental flick based on André Pieyre de Mandiargues' experimental novel as a woman torn between a life of security with her husband and a craving for adventure with her lover, Delon. She leaves her husband, takes a road trip across France to join Delon in Germany, and you get an introspective road movie with Faithfull riding across cheapie rear projection into a series of psychedelic interludes, her voiceover dutifully keeping us updated on her inner turmoil. Is it a pulp style movie? Not so much. Is it good? We wouldn't say that. But it had Delon in it so we thought we'd take a look, and we sure like the posters. La motocyclette opened in Japan today in 1970.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 12 2016
CIRCULAR LOGIC
Which came first—the paroled convict or the escaped criminal?

This Japanese poster was made for Le cercle rouge, a French heist movie starring Alain Delon, André Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, and Yves Montand. It's an excellent flick that uses a bizarre plot device—a newly paroled convict who's been talked into a jewel heist finds a criminal who's just escaped from custody hiding in the trunk of his car, and subsequently decides to team up with the guy on the jewel robbery.

There's more involved than just that, of course, but what are the odds of a criminal taking refuge in another criminal's car and turning out to be just the right partner for an upcoming robbery? We'd say it's possible only in writer-director Jean-Pierre Melville's imagination, but he makes this insane coincidence work. A third man completes the heist crew and off they go to make their big score. Or at least try. This is really good, hard-boiled stuff, with that French flair. Le cercle rouge opened in France in October 1970, and made it to Japan today the same year. The French poster above and right, by the way, looks mighty familiar. It's similar to one made for another very good Alain Delon crime movie, also centered around a jewel heist, 1969's Le clan des Siciliens. Well, don't mess with success.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 29 2016
STILL KICKING
Rika Aoki has plenty of fight left in her.

This poster was made to promote the pinku film Konketsui Rika, aka Rika the Mixed-Blood Girl, starring Rika Aoki. We showed you another high kicking promo for the same film a while back. See that and our write-up on the movie here. 

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Femmes Fatales Nov 29 2016
TOP TENRO
She's a Ray of hope.

Above, a nice image of a Japanese model with the amazing name Tenro Ray, from an issue of Heibon Punch. Ray appeared in numerous magazines during the 1970s but never starred in any movies, as far as we know. We wish she had. 1974 on this shot. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 26 2016
ERINA'S PLACE
Miyai's indoor escapades continue in installment eighteen of Nikkatsu's popular series.

This poster was made to promote the roman porno flick Danchizuma: Okasareta hada, known in English as Apartment Wife: Violated Skin, eighteenth entry in the Apartment Wife series launched by Nikkatsu Corporation in 1971. Erina Miyai stars again, and we can't imagine there are many surprises eighteen entries into the series, but we couldn't find a copy so all you get is the poster. And the promo photo below. Danchizuma: Okasareta hada premiered in Japan today in 1977. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 23 2016
FORSA OF NATURE
Blood isn't the only thing this vampire wants to suck.

This Japanese poster was made to promote the run of the West German sexploitation movie Der Fluch der schwarzen Schwestern, which translates to “curse of the black sisters,” but which for its English release was titled The Devil's Plaything, as well as Plaything of the Devil and Vampire Ecstasy. Last time we saw Swedish sex symbol Marie Forså she was using a giant zucchini for something other than nutrition. Here phallic items prove useful yet again. Forså and three other women are stranded in a castle by a storm. The workers in this gothic pile are secretly priestesses intent upon engineering the rebirth of their vampire mistress who was put to death 400 years ago. The details don't really matter. Here's what you get: naked dancing girls, continual bongo drumming, dick shaped candles, and lots of softcore lezzie action, with occasional token guys mixed in for variety. It's of course tender young Forså who seems the most susceptible to the ancient vampiress. Can she escape with her soul intact? Only a viewing will answer that question for you. We won't recommend the movie but we'll say this much—it's ludicrous, but very sexy. Der Fluch der schwarzen Schwestern opened in West Germany in October 1973 and premiered in Japan today the same year.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
February 24
1920—The Nazi Party Is Founded
The small German Workers' Party, or DAP, which was under the direction of Adolf Hitler, changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Though Hitler adopted the socialist label to attract working class Germans, his party in fact embraced mainly anti-socialist ideas. The group became known in English as the Nazi Party, and within the next fifteen years expanded to become the most powerful force in German politics.
1942—Battle of Los Angeles Takes Place
A object flying over wartime Los Angeles triggers a massive anti-aircraft barrage, ultimately killing 3 civilians. Initially the target of the aerial barrage is thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it is later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects remains unknown to this day, but the event is known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
February 23
1945—Flag Raised on Iwo Jima
Four days after landing on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, American soldiers of the 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division take Mount Suribachi and raise an American flag. A photograph of the moment shot by Joe Rosenthal becomes one of the most famous images of WWII, and wins him the Pulitzer Prize later that year.
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