Vintage Pulp Mar 18 2014
SALLY FORTH
Do you feel lucky?

Another rare Japanese one-sheet, this advertises Rashamen oman: ame no Oranda-zaka, aka, Woman Gambler with Blue Eyes. The eyes in question belong to Sally May, who in addition to acting put together a singing career in Japan. We have another rare Japanese promo involving gambling geishas here. Rashamen oman: ame no Oranda-zaka premiered in Tokyo today in 1972. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 13 2014
CRAZY KIND OF LOVE
A change of title helped turn an overlooked film into a revered classic.

Above, a West German promo pamphlet for Gefährliche Leidenschaft, which was the American thriller Gun Crazy. If you read German, then you know the German title means “Deadly Is the Female,” and that’s in fact what the film was called in the States upon its initial release. But after lackluster box office, King Brothers Productions changed the title and marketing campaign, and success followed. Today the movie is in the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, an honor reserved for movies of special cultural, historic, or aesthetic significance. This pamphlet was made by Illustrierte Film-Bühne, and you can see more examples of that company’s work here and here. Gun Crazy premiered in the U.S. in 1950, and in West Germany today in 1951. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 13 2014
LOST KOZUE
A hazy shade of winter.


Here’s our process: we have scores of these Japanese posters but usually know nothing about the movies. So we pick a nice one and start digging. A simple internet search on virtually any obscure pinku or roman porno film brings up pages of useless results, often empty sites that reflect the search terms back into Bing or Google, drawing clicks. The presence of these sites is something that’s really changed on the internet in the last five years and it makes finding info on obscure movies more time consuming than it used to be. But we take our hobby seriously, and so we keep slogging our way through the digital swamps. And with the help of legit informational pages like romanporno.com and wpedia.goo.ne.jp, as well as visual sites like onesheetindex.com that allow us to confirm we have the art and info matched correctly, quite often we eventually end up seeing a pretty good movie.

Above is a promo poster for OL nikki: Chigireta aiyoku, aka Office Lady Journal: Ruined Lust, and for this one we weren’t so lucky—we found info but we couldn’t find anyplace to download or watch the actual film. But we can tell you it was written and directed by Asao Kuwayama, and it starred Hiroshi Chô, Hiroshi Gojo, and one of our favorite ’70s actresses, Hitomi Kozue, who plays Yuko, an office worker whose boyfriend wants to marry her but doesn’t know she’s a prostitute by night. Naturally, her secret doesn’t last for long. As with many Nikkatsu Studios films, Office Lady was a series, with six entries made between 1972 and 1975, of which Kozue appeared in two. Another Office Lady appeared in 1977 but it seems to be considered non-canonical, for some reason. That’s all we found out, but at least we can offer something new—the quality digital image above. It’s a serious upgrade over what’s out there currently. OL nikki: Chigireta aiyoku premiered in Japan today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 7 2014
MIDNIGHT SUGGESTION
She may well have been wild, wicked and willing but we doubt she ever said it to Midnight.

Above, a Midnight from today 1966 with cover star Nobu McCarthy, wild, wicked and willing. Or so Midnight claims. Born Nobu Atsumi in Canada of Japanese extraction, McCarthy won the 1955 Miss Tokyo pageant, and later parlayed a chance Los Angeles encounter with a talent agent into a television and theater career dotted with film roles. As far as Midnight’s suggestion of availability goes, McCarthy was already married with children by 1966, and probably already too well-known to have to stoop to cheap publicity techniques on the covers of second rate tabloids. Which means we’re putting this quote entirely on the editors. After many years on screen and stage, McCarthy died of an aortal aneurysm while filming Gaijin—Ama-me Como Sou in 2002. Below is a still of her from her first credited film role in the 1958 Jerry Lewis comedy The Geisha Boy.

 
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Vintage Pulp Mar 6 2014
GIRL CAN'T HELP IT
Everybody loves Lindberg.


Above is a Japanese promo poster for the Swedish sexploitation classic Anita, aka Anita: Swedish Nymphet, which is the story of a young nymphomaniac. Let’s just say up front that we’re aware many people think nymphomania doesn’t exist, and is rather just a term coined by alarmed men to label women who didn’t obey their gender roles. Twenty-three-year-old Christina Lindberg plays a sixteen-year-old title character who fails to do exactly that, throwing convention aside and bedding everyone in sight, from friendly acquaintances to unknown, smudge-covered vagrants. Most of the encounters that don’t take place in an actual bed occur in a dirty tent she’s discovered near a downtown construction site. We loved these seductions in particular, because the set-ups were exactly the same as you’d find in a serial killer movie, with the guys casting a worried eye toward her tent and saying nervously, “Er, you want to do it in there?

Anyway, poor Anita has a dozen or so sexual encounters, all unfulfilling, and even gets run out of one town, perhaps undeservedly, before finally meeting a doctor who thinks he may be able to help. The doctor is played by an unrecognizably young Stellan Skarsgård—Alexander Skarsgard’s father, for you fans of True Blood—but who we prefer to think of as the villain from the 1998 Robert DeNiro actioner Ronin, a movie that for the first 100 of its 122 minutes is among the best spy thrillers ever made. Anita is much the same—the first 80 minutes or so are excellent and exceedingly serious sexploitation, but its inevitable path toward redemption for the lead character tries the patience just a bit. In the remake, if there ever is one, we suggest Anita dismember some guys in her tent. Considering their age and her obvious youth, they’d deserve it. Anita premiered in Sweden in 1973 and finally made its way to Japan today in 1976. 

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Intl. Notebook Mar 4 2014
SPACE ODDITY
Some invitations are harder to come by than others.

When we first saw this post card/invitation card, we assumed it was for the gala 1993 Japanese re-release of Barbarella, but we’re told it’s actually from 1968, which makes sense considering how faded it is. In any case, it's an unusual and fun souvenir from an unusual and fun movie. See the reverse below. 


 
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Vintage Pulp Feb 23 2014
JUST ADD AGUA
Isabel Sarli + water = success.

This Japanese poster for the Argentine melodrama Intimidades de una cualquiera, aka Intimacies of a Prostitute, shows star Isabel Sarli in her natural state—naked in the water. Aquatic frolicking was her calling card, and any movie in which she didn’t do it was a disappointment. That would be especially true for Japanese viewers, because the retitle here is something like “underwater agony frenzy” and when you promise that you better deliver. Basic plot: woman named Maria leaves small town for big city, find herself in dire straits, resorts to the oldest profession, falls in love with client. Think of it as Pretty Woman with underwater agony frenzy (but not really, because that scene is actually pretty sedate). You can watch the entirety of the film, if you’re inclined, on You Tube here. By the way, here’s another bit of translative trivia for your Sunday: cualquiera is used for prostitute in Spanish speaking countries, but it literally means “whoever” or “anyone.” Interesting, no? Originally released in 1972, Intimidades de una cualquiera premiered in Japan today in 1974. See two more Sarli posters here.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 21 2014
A MILLION TO ONE
Raquel Welch shows what survival of the fittest is really about.


The official poster for Hammer Film Productions’ smash hit One Million Years B.C., which was painted by famed British illustrator Tom Chantrell, is one of the most famous pieces of promotional art to come out of the 1960s. You  see that just below. The piece above is also Chantrell's work. Dated 1965 and signed at lower right with his familiar  block printing, it would have been made the year before One Million Years B.C. premiered, which perhaps explains why Raquel Welch isn’t yet the focus of the art. Good decision, eventually putting her on the poster, but we like this one too, especially that not-quite-big-enough tiger skin the character is wearing. Too bad we never saw Welch in that.

As for the movie, you’ve all seen it, right? Well, if not, just know that it’s the ultimate Anglo-Saxon, lost world fantasy, with light-skinned humans running around in a Neolithic wilderness living off the fat of the land. The fact that the women have shaved armpits and hot bodies is a bonus. There’s a plot involving early man’s inhumanity to early man, mixed in with threats from various giant amphibians and some pretty convincing stop-action miniatures from efx guru Ray Harryhausen.

But of course Welch is the focus of the movie, and it’s a bit of surprise she ever agreed to star, considering she was already pretty well established as an actress. Credit her for career savvy, though—One Million Years B.C., complete piece of cream cheese that it is, made her the top sex symbol in the world. We’ll leave you with a still from the film, but trust us—it’s nothing compared to Welch in motion. One Million Years B.C. opened in Europe in late 1966 and premiered in the U.S. today in 1967.


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Femmes Fatales Feb 21 2014
DEVIL'S HANDMAIDEN
Oh this old thing? It just symbolizes pain, madness, chaos, that sort of stuff. Now relax and get comfortable.

We’ve had this one laying around for a few years. It’s a Japanese promo poster of Naomi Tani holding—disconcertingly—a demonic mask with extremely sharp horns. But of course, most images of Tani play with the duality of eroticism and danger. Except usually the danger is to her. Don’t know what we mean? Just clickety-click here and here.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 18 2014
A HARD DAY'S NIGHTMARE
Have you ever had a terrible dream and couldn’t wake up?


This West German poster for Der Scharlatan, aka Nightmare Alley shows Twentieth Century Fox pretty boy Tyrone Power in his role as The Great Stanton, a conniving psychic. Power felt constricted by the romance and adventure parts he’d played up to that point, so he bought the rights to William Lindsay Gresham’s novel and dirtied himself up. He plays a lowly carnival barker who realizes that an ingenious verbal code is the key to reaching the heights of fame. The code allows a seer to work in tandem with an assistant to correctly answer the questions of spectators. You know the drill: “I’m sensing that there’s a Mr. Abernathy here and he’s... wait… it’s coming… Sir, you’re concerned about your wife’s health. Isn’t that right? Well let me tell you, she’s already on the mend. You’ll get good news from the doctor tomorrow!” Though the code’s owners aren’t using it, they plan to sell it to fund their retirement, and that looks to be some years off. This forces Power to either to steal it or sweet talk his way into it. As it turns out, he doesn’t have to do either, but once he has the code and has built an act around it, the fame and riches it brings fail to quench his greed.
 
Nightmare Alley was not warmly reviewed upon release, but many of those reviews simply found the movie too gritty. Such criticisms tend to make their authors look out of touch. For example, Bosley Crowther was demoted from his position as the New York Times’ main critic in large part for slamming Bonnie and Clyde in three separate articles, despite the film’s obvious quality. Nightmare Alley had similar detractors—it was just too downbeat for some, even for a film noir. But within its fictional milieu it's highly successful. Our world has every kind of depravityand cruelty, and movies that depict them must be judged on their own terms. So ignore the haters—Nightmare Alley is excellent. Power puts on an award-worthy performance, and Joan Blondell and Colleen Gray are great in support. There’s a pivotal moment in the film when it seems possible Power’s character has some actual psychic ability. Too bad he can’t see his own future. Nightmare Alley premiered in 1947, and finally made its way to West Germany today in 1954.
 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
April 18
1923—Yankee Stadium Opens
In New York City, Yankee Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, opens with the Yankees beating their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox 4 to 1. The stadium, which is nicknamed The House that Ruth Built, sees the Yankees become the most successful franchise in baseball history. It is eventually replaced by a new Yankee Stadium and closes in September 2008.

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