|Vintage Pulp||Jan 23 2017|
By now you've noticed this year's Noir City slate concerns heists—all the films so far have involved foolproof plans to make a big score. 1964's Kenjû zankoku monogatari, aka Cruel Gun Story is about a crew that wants to rob a race track, same as in Kubrick's The Killing. Japanese superstar Jo Shishido leads his minions on a caper that goes wrong almost immediately and eventually erupts into pyrotechnic violence. If there's a lesson here it's don't get on Shishido's bad side. Though he's preternaturally cool (really, we can't think of another star who could make exchanging close quarters gunfire while smoking a cigarette look believable), restraint in the face of aggression isn't his strong trait. When he has something serious to say, it's going to come from the muzzle of a gun. This is another Noir City offering that most sites don't label as film noir, but the influences are certainly there, and in fact the film is part of The Criterion Collection's five film Nikkatsu Noir DVD box set. We've seen Kenjû zankoku monogatari described as Nikkatsu Studios' crown jewel. We don't know about that. We'd call it an imperfect but entertaining effort.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 18 2017|
We already covered the Swedish sexploitation flick Flossie back in December and paired the write-up with a West German promo poster. Above you see an exceedingly rare Japanese promo for the same film, with young star Marie Forså giving us various O-faces, as well as reclining nude in the center. Pretty sure this one hasn't been seen online before. Flossie opened in Japan today in 1975. You can see the other poster here.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 10 2017|
The Hottest Show in Town was originally released in Sweden in 1974 as Sex-Cirkusse, and just as promised by the Japanese poster art above, you get a circus, a hot one, populated by assorted acrobats, aerialists, and clowns, some nude, some not. You also see people hook up, explicitly, which is really the entire point of this production. These bits earned the film an x rating, as well as some controversy caused by a sex sequence involving a very small man and a very small woman—aka dwarves. This isn't particularly shocking today. Or is it? Certainly dwarves are more mainstream now. Game of Thrones even features the horniest little person in entertainment history, so we're guessing Sex-Cirkusse's dwarf sex won't bother you. We could be wrong. But dwarves, clowns, and aerialists are all a sideshow. The real star of the movie is the lovely Danish actress Anna Bie Warburg, seen below in her bushy altogether, a bold image we couldn't resist sharing. We guess the general thrust of the film is that all the world's a circus and all its denizens merely players. Really horny ones. The Hottest Show in Town premiered in Japan today in 1976.
|Femmes Fatales||Jan 1 2017|
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.
|Femmes Fatales||Dec 27 2016|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 24 2016|
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).
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 23 2016|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 14 2016|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 12 2016|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 29 2016|
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.