Il dolce corpo di Deborah is pretty but inside it has issues.
Renato Casaro does solid work as always on this poster he painted to promote the Italian giallo flick Il dolce corpo di Deborah. We've featured him often, and you can see some of his best work here, here, and here. If you were translating the title Il dolce corpo di Deborah into English normally, it would be the linguistically economical “Deborah's Sweet Body,” but instead the distributors went literal with The Sweet Body of Deborah. Going with something clunkier than needed is a good metaphor for the film.
The story involves a newly married American woman played by Carroll Baker who honeymoons with her Italian husband in Geneva, where he runs into a former friend who accuses him of murder. The death in question was of the husband's ex-girlfriend. It was ruled suicide, but the acquaintance claims it was murder. He spends a lot of time and effort trying to convince Baker her husband is a killer, but is he telling the truth, or is there something even more sinister going on? That's a rhetorical question. This is giallo.
Normally we'd suggest watching the film to find out what happens, but we won't do that because this is a limp and disjointed thriller made watchable only thanks to good cinematography, interesting Geneva exteriors, and Baker pushing the envelope of allowable skin. Bad scripting and bad acting really hurt here, and the double twist ending feels perfunctory. We won't go so far as to say Body blows, but it could be plenty better. Il dolce corpo di Deborah premiered in Italy today in 1969.
Andress gets picturesque in wine country.
This photo of Swiss actress Ursula Andress in an autumnal vineyard appeared on an issue Paris Match magazine published in September 1964. Fewer than two years removed from her role in Dr. No it's fair to say she was at this moment one the biggest stars in the world. For the most part, the roles she played didn't make splashes as big as that made by Dr. No, but there's little doubt she's one of the more fondly remembered stars of her era. We have an entire series of Dr. No images that are well worth a look, so if you're inclined just click here.
Getting it is hard. Keeping it is even harder.
This rare Japanese poster for the Italian caper flick 7 uomini d’oro, aka Seven Golden Men, tells you at a glance everything you need to know—men with guns, a pile of gold bars, and Rossana Podesta in a lace catsuit. The movie is about a group determined to rob a gold depository in Switzerland, and stars Podesta along with Philippe Leroy, Gabriele Tinti, and an Ocean’s 11-style cast of others. All the elements here are ones you've seen before—the impenetrable underground vault, the international hotshot thieves, the hi-tech gizmos and gadgets, and the haute couture costume changes from the leading lady. Breezy direction from Marco Vicario and a winning performance from Podesta make everything, familar though it all may be, work like a charm. We also liked the music, the cool exteriors in Geneva and Rome, and the fact that the heist has already begun as the movie opens. The thieves’ plan is clear pretty quickly; how they’re going to pull it off as obstacles proliferate is what becomes the crux of the fun. 7 uomini d’oro is well worth the time. After opening in Italy in 1965, it had its Japanese premiere today in 1966.
There are at least a few things the Swiss aren’t neutral about.
We ran across some issues of a German language magazine called Das Schweizer, which means “The Swiss,” and indeed, the publication originates from Switzerland. We thought only the French, Germans and Dutch produced magazines during the 1940s and 1950s that combined celebrity, photography, fine art, and eroticism. We stand corrected. Above is the cover of Das Schweizer #139, circa 1954, with Yvonne De Carlo, and interior pages featuring Brigitte Bardot looking especially hot, plus Joan Collins, Romy Schneider and others. You also get the great art of Paul Peter, and just for good measure we pulled a couple of scans from another Das Schweizer that had the cover and most of the photo pages cut out, but two more Peter art pieces left behind. Apparently whoever mutilated that issue didn’t see the value in his work. Hah! Philistines. Anyway, since we can’t make a decent post of that one, we added its Peters below (that just sounds wrong, doesn't it?). We can’t tell you anything about Paul Peter because his name is pretty much ungoogleable, if that’s even a word, however we’ll keep digging for facts on him and eventually something will turn up. It always does.
She’s Andressing you with her eyes.
European publishers, like Italy’s Tecnografica, often used celebrities on their book covers. Here’s a favorite example—Swiss actress Ursula Andress on the cover of the illustrated giallo Invito alla violenza, by Hugh Pentecost, aka Judson Pentecost Phillips, aka Phillip Owen. The shot is from a 1965 photo series, another frame of which appeared in Spain’s Triunfo magazine. We don’t know whether the series was shot for Triunfo and rented by Tecnografica, or vice-versa. Possibly neither. It could have been shot as a promo series and sold to both Triunfo and Tecnografica. Alternatively, maybe Tecnografica simply appropriated the image. We only suggest that because we can’t think of any reason Ursula Andress would have needed to gnaw grass on the cover of a cheapie giallo three years after she appeared in Dr. No. Maybe we’ll find out the answer to that one later. In the meantime, we’re working on an aggregate post of celeb covers, which we’ll get up soon.
Update: Rafael wrote in with this: I suggest that these are promotional photos for 4 for Texas (USA 1963), freely appropriated by magazines everywhere.
And indeed he is right. Once we knew the movie we found many more promo shots of Andress wearing the same outfit. 4 for Texas also starred Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, as well as Anita Ekberg, which all sounds worthwhile to us. We will defnitely screen a copy of it. Thanks Rafael, for the help.
Midnight lowers the bar even more than usual.
Around here we often debate whether to post something, but generally believe that as a sort of history site, it’s always a bad idea to hold back. Today we have an issue of Midnight, published October 24, 1966, that goes over the top with gore. It isn’t the woman whose face has been eaten off by rats that particularly worries us, nor the cop that supposedly had his eyeballs ripped out. We’ve posted those. No, it’s the autopsied infant that gave us pause. We sometimes prattle on about refusing to self-censor, but when we say that, what we’re referring to is sex and nudity, not vivisected one year-old babies. We want you to enjoy the site, not scroll down the page cringing at what gore will leap from the jack-in-the-box. So long story short: eaten face—okay; ripped out eyeballs—hunky dory; autopsied infant? Hellz no. We have our standards, though Midnight didn’t.
Anyway, you do get some interesting articles in this issue. Of special note is William Holden answering questions about a guy he ran over and killed on a highway in Geneva, where he was living to avoid paying U.S. taxes. The Swiss sweated Holden for a while, but in the end he escaped with an eight month suspended sentence for manslaughter. What’s especially intriguing about this story is that an online search uncovered no links to this Swiss snafu. Instead, we learned that Holden had been convicted of vehicular manslaughter not in Switzerland, but in Italy, where he had rammed another car while drunk and killed the driver. But in the Midnight story, Holden is said to have run over a hiker. Asked whether he was under the influence, his response is: “No, I wasn’t drunk—not this time.”
So did William Holden kill two people with his car in two separate incidents? We tend to doubt it, but on the other hand, how could Midnight get everything so wrong, with the accompanying quote: “not this time”? Sure, Midnight made things up, but as blatantly as this? We think it very likely that the editors simply tried to write about the Italian accident, but were working on the fly and mangled everything. They probably assumed the accident was in Switzerland because Holden lived there, took his “not this time” quote out of context, and—somehow—saw the phrase “second automobile” in all the other accounts and wrote it as “hiker.” Anyone could make those mistakes, right? Yeah, anyone could. But Midnight does.
Everybody’s gonna know, you can’t catch a motorcycle when it wants to go.
Here’s something we’ve never seen before. It’s Steve’s McQueen’s international motorcycle driver’s license, issued out of Geneva, Switzerland in 1964. We think it probably first appeared online here. Is it pulp? Perhaps not, but it is significant because McQueen made every guy in America want a motorcycle thanks to his bravura turn as the rough and tumble Captain Virgil Hilts, aka The Cooler King, in 1963’s The Great Escape. Haven’t seen it? Click the little linky here.
Giger retrospective taps into sexual obsessions and primal fears.
We’ve always liked the work of biomechanical airbursh artist H.R. Giger—it reminds us of high school, and the anguished sexual obsessions of that time. Most people associate his art with the Alien franchise because he did the production design for the original film, and all the sequels have built upon that foundation. But Giger is about more than just slimy, vicious monsters. For instance, the piece you see above, “Birth Machine,” is quintessential Giger. The crucial clue to its meaning comes from the title. And as we look closely at the piece, we see a pistol in which the bullets are half human creatures who themselves are holding pistols. If we assume each of their pistols in turn contain little bullet men with more guns loaded with more bullet men, we understand that Giger is making a statement about us killing ourselves through overpopulation. In a sense, each of us is a weapon, loaded with deadly ammunition and lacking any sense of restraint that might help us see that our state of perpetual war and environmental destruction derives from the fact that there are simply too damned many of us. Or something like that.
We bring all this up because we saw a Giger exhibit in person at the Kuba Art Gallery in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, and the pieces were extremely interesting. They’re otherworldly, yes. Biologically weird, certainly. Relentlessly vaginal, absolutely. Giger is well known for those things. But there’s also a darkness and density to the pieces that is very impressive in person. Their geometry and the physics implied within are Lovecraftian in a sense, which is why we weren’t surprised when we saw that two of Giger’s early pieces were in fact representations from the great horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction. The exhibit also included a larger than life movie alien menacingly perched on a wall, as well as a macabre dinner table with six biomechanical chairs. If a Giger exhibit ever comes to your town, by all means, go. Any effort will be worth the time and energy spent to see this unique master’s nightmarish work in person. We have more images below, and we apologize for their blurriness, but we were too terrified by the art to focus.
Celebs found trouble in greater numbers than usual over the last three days.
Is it the end times? No, just another weekend in the world of pulp. It was hard to keep track of all the events that occurred. Most took the form of arrests. Actress Tawny Kitaen, who has looked much better than she does above left, was arrested for drunk driving in Newport Beach, California. She had recently appeared on a reality show called Celeb Rehab, and we think it’s safe to say she’s earned her spot on season two.
Meanwhile, over in Switzerland, Roman Polanski was arrested on an international warrant stemming from a 32-year-old statutory rape charge. U.S. authorities filed the warrant recently, but it must have slipped Polanski’s mind, because he was on his way to Zurich to receive an award at a film festival when he was pinched. So much for Swiss neutrality.
And in a development we’re sure Polanski is well aware of, two days ago Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins died in prison. Atkins was not present during the massacre of Polanski’s then-wife Sharon Tate and four others, but aided and abetted the murders of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca the next night.
And lastly over in desolate West Texas, actor Randy Quaid managed to get himself arrested along with his wife for skipping out on a hotel bill. He claims it was all a publicity stunt, which seems possible when you see how cheerful he is in the mug shot above right.
But we bet he wasn’t smiling when the prison guards stripped him naked and crawled all up in his body cavities with pitons and spelunking helmets. That's the way they do it in Texas—er, so we hear. This is not by any means a complete rundown of what happened since Friday, but we’re only two people here and that’s far too few to keep up with all the real world pulp going on. We wish all the celebrity jailbirds good luck.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1925—Jury Decides the Teaching of Evolution Is a Crime
In the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, American schoolteacher John Scopes is found guilty of violating the Butler Act, which forbids the teaching of evolution in schools. The sensational trial pits two great legal minds—William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow—against each other. Ultimately, Scopes and Darrow are destined to lose because the case rests on whether Scopes had violated the Act, not whether evolution is fact.
1969—First Humans Reach the Moon
Neil Armstrong and Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. become the first humans to walk on the moon. The third member of the mission, command module Pilot Michael Collins, remains in orbit in Apollo 11.
1972—Chaos in the Big Apple
In New York City, within a span of twenty-four hours, fifty-seven murders are committed.
1944—Hitler Survives Third Assassination Attempt
Adolf Hitler escapes death after a bomb explodes at his headquarters in Rastenberg, East Prussia. A senior officer, Colonel Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, is blamed for planting the device at a meeting between Hitler and other senior staff members. Hitler sustains minor burns and a concussion but manages to keep an appointment later in the day with Italian leader Benito Mussolini.
1966—Sinatra Marries Farrow
Superstar singer and actor Frank Sinatra marries 21-year-old actress Mia Farrow, who is 30 years younger than him. The marriage lasts two years.
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