Vintage Pulp May 9 2018
HEIGHT OF TERROR
There's nothing harder than facing your worst fear.


The poster for Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 thriller Vertigo, designed by Saul Bass, is one of the most famous and influential promos ever made. Bass actually can't take full credit for it—he oversaw its creation, but the unique spiral pattern was made by John Whitney and the figures were drawn by Art Goodman. Bass and Co. made a couple of similar versions of the poster for the film's U.S. run. We showed you one a while back, and now the above version completes the pair. If you haven't seen Vertigo, we can't tell you much that hasn't already been written. Four years after starring in Rear Window Jimmy Stewart plays another damaged man for Hitchcock, a San Francisco detective who has of fear of heights, the result of a rooftop chase gone wrong. He later gets involved in a mystery that puts his acrophobia to the ultimate test. Many say this is Hitchcock's best movie. We don't think so, but it's definitely a landmark, particularly as it relates to co-star Kim Novak's role, its opening action sequence, and its reliance upon San Francisco locations to help tell its story. In fact, the latter aspect was why the film's world premiere took place in San Francisco today in 1958. Below you see some screen grabs, along with a beautiful promo poster that was made for the movie's run in India. Put Vertigo in your queue.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 26 2014
PAST KIM PERFECT
Hmm, I think maybe I’ll just keep this for myself.

Above, a promo image of the beautiful Kim Novak from the 1958 Academy Awards at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. She wasn’t nominated that year, though her hit film Vertigo was eligible. Instead she accepted the statuette for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium on behalf of winner Pierre Boulle, who had written the script for The Bridge on the River Kwai. No word on whether she ever actually gave him the Oscar.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 7 2013
PROFONDO SYMEONI
Sandro Symeoni comes down with a case of Vertigo.


After focusing on Italian paperback artists lately, we thought today would be good for getting back to poster artists—namely Sandro Symeoni, who we’ve marveled at before. Symeoni veered from the realistic to abstract in style, and this very graphic poster for Dario Argento’s Profondo Rosso, aka Deep Red, sees him working in the latter mode, which we’ve also noted on pieces like the Suono Libero album sleeve, viewable in panel four here. This is also a clear homage to Saul Bass’s famed Vertigo poster. For a look at many more Symeonis, just click his keywords below. Profondo Rosso, by the way, premiered in the U.S. this week in 1976, and is well worth a look for fans of Argento and/or giallo. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 21 2009
ALTRA COOL
Working on a groovy thing.

Helmed by a director who would later become one of Italy’s grandmasters of cinematic gore, Lucio Fulci’s Una sull’altra, aka Perversion Story, is eerily similar in plot to Vertigo, complete with the death of the love interest and subsequent reappearance of her double. It’s even set in San Francisco like Vertigo, but the difference is Fulci notches the ’60s psychedelia up to the max, and offers up lots of Marisa Mell’s naked flesh. Mell had starred in the camp classic Diabolik the previous year, and here she is getting groovy again, particularly in one motorcycle striptease that’s probably worth the time spent watching the rest of the film. As a side note, you’ll see Jean Sobieski here, who happens to be Leelee Sobieski’s dad. Una sull’altra opened in Italy this week, and France today in 1969. The poster above was painted by Angelo Cesselon.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 23 2009
BE-HITCHED
Hitchcock means terror in any language.


We mentioned a while back how frequently we run across foreign language Hitchcock posters, so here are a bunch for your enjoyment, including yet another version of Vertigo. FYI, Il Sipario Strappato is Torn Curtain and Ptáci
is The Birds.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 27 2009
SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS
Polish poster designer hits the target.

Here we go again with Vertigo. This time we have a brilliant bullseye themed Polish one sheet to add to the amazing French and Italian ones we posted a while back. Again, we can’t choose a favorite. The three are distinct, and awesome.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 22 2009
NOVAK'S BACK
A sudden recurrence of Vertigo.


We posted the amazing French one sheet for Vertigo last month, and talked briefly about Kim Novak. We also told you Hitchcock posters turn up almost anywhere you look, and in whichever country. Well, today Vertigo premiered again, this time in Italy, and below you see a promotional poster that is completely different from the French version, not just in language of course, but in design as well. We couldn’t choose a favorite if we tried.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 12 2008
KIM POSSIBLE
The psychological thriller Vertigo couldn’t hold a candle to star Kim Novak’s real life.

Hitchcock really cranked out films. Vertigo was maybe his fiftieth effort. We’d have to count to more than fifteen to be sure, and we’re way too lazy to try. We just know Parisians first saw the flick today in 1958. By this time Hitch was so famous his films screened in virtually every corner of the globe, which means you can find posters of his movies in Russian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Portuguese, and so forth. When we stumbled across this nice French art we were reminded what a cool film Vertigo is. It has Jimmy Stewart, a great plot, period fx that still work despite their clunkiness, and a Bernard Hermann score. But really the best thing about this movie is Kim Novak.

After only a year in film, her classic beauty turned heads in the 1955 heroin addiction drama The Man with the Golden Arm, in which she played opposite Frank Sinatra. About two years later, when she was arguably the most famous and desired woman on the planet, she embarked upon an affair with brat-packer Sammy Davis Jr., which set off an avalanche of events that eventually resulted in the Mafia forcing Sammy to marry a black Vegas showgirl. Novak’s story is too complex to condense into a blurb—it involves gangland bosses, hush money for secret nudes, obsessive suitors, and all the best staples of pulpdom. Through it all she pretty much told the world to screw itself if it didn’t like her exactly the way she was. And she’s still with us at 75. We’ll write more about this amazing person later on.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 23
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
September 22
1910—Duke of York's Cinema Opens
The Duke of York's Cinema opens in Brighton, England, on the site of an old brewery. It is still operating today, mainly as a venue for art films, and is the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.
1975—Gerald Ford Assassination Attempt
Sara Jane Moore, an FBI informant who had been evaluated and deemed harmless by the U.S. Secret Service, tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford. Moore fires one shot at Ford that misses, then is wrestled to the ground by a bystander named Oliver Sipple.
September 21
1937—The Hobbit is Published
J. R. R. Tolkien publishes his seminal fantasy novel The Hobbit, aka The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Marketed as a children's book, it is a hit with adults as well, and sells millions of copies, is translated into multiple languages, and spawns the sequel trilogy The Lord of Rings.
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