Vintage Pulp May 21 2014
ZERO SUM GAME
Idle handcuffs are the Devil’s playthings.

We’re into the Japanese pile again today, but for a different type of poster, and a different type of movie. This rare promo is for Yukio Noda’s Zeroka no onna: Akai wappa, aka Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs, starring Miki Sugimoto. It’s a limited edition piece painted by the artist Shindo, who we can’t find much about, but who presumably was pretty famous. We’ll look into that. Anyway, we watched this movie recently, and we’d tell you all about it, but do you really need another blog review, even an extraordinarily (ahem) witty and erudite one? Thought not. It’s widely available, so search it out, queue it up, and enjoy it. Zeroka no onna: Akai wappa premiered in Japan today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp May 2 2014
MEDUSA'S TOUCH
One caress and you’re hers.


Above, an alternate version of the poster for Denki kurage: kawaii akuma, aka Electric Medusa: Lovely Wicked Woman, aka Play it Cool, with Mari Atsumi. See the slightly different version we posted in 2011 here. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 28 2014
DELINQUENT PAYMENT
The only debt she cares about is revenge.

Info abounds on the internet about Toei Studios' Zubekô banchô: zange no neuchi mo nai, aka Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless To Confess, but it’s a movie that falls into the our-website-isn’t-complete-without-it category, so we’re adding our two cents. The plot is complex, and really can’t be synopsized in just one sentence, but here we go: Reiko Oshida plays Rika, a recent parolee from reform school who through a series of encounters finds herself in conflict with local Yakuza thugs and eventually puts together a gang to wipe them out. She and her cohorts, with their matching red jumpsuits, may look like something from a j-pop video, but of course the coats are merely cover for their katanas, which they promptly draw and begin using to murderous effect. This final battle is elaborately staged, but getting five actresses and many extras to convincingly fight with swords is impossible, which means fans of realistic action may not be impressed. However there are some cool cinematographic moments that add drama and bring to mind Kill Bill, and indeed Quentin Tarantino is said to have been influenced by the sequence. Unlike many pinku flicks, this one is widely available, so at least you can see it for yourself and not have to take our word for anything. Love it or hate it, at the very least, Reiko Oshida is worth the time expenditure. Zubekô banchô: zange no neuchi mo nai premiered in Japan today in 1971.

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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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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 16 2014
THORNY SITUATION
Who said life couldn’t be a bed of roses?


Way back in 2009 two promos for Seijû gakuen were the first pinku posters we ever shared on Pulp Intl. Ah, the good old days. We got the title wrong and misspelled the name of the star, but other than that, what a glorious memory. When we located that pair of posters we also found two others, and now, years later, we’re getting around to sharing those too. Seijû gakuen was known in the West as School of the Holy Beast, and above you see a rare two panel horizontal poster. At that orientation it renders a little small here, so we’ve posted the panels seperately below:

 
The second poster we wanted to share is a somewhat less colorful effort, but still quite nice, with a splash of rose pink in the middle. You see that below:

 
In addition to starring Yumi Takigawa, Seijû gakuen had Emiko Yamauchi and Pulp fave Yayoi Watanabe, and as we mentioned in the previous post, it’s nunsploitation from Toie Studios. As you no doubt have deduced, Takigawa goes through all kind of indignities, and at one point is bound with vines and whipped across her naked torso by two nuns using bouquets of roses (and, more importantly, their thorns). It’s a bizarre and bloody but beautifully shot spectacle.


 
Lastly, just below, we’ve decided to share a promo image of Yumi Takigawa looking her radiant best. She spends a good portion of the movie wearing a nun’s habit that covers everything except her face. If Toei and director Norifumi Suzuki wanted a lead actress whose face could be isolated in that manner yet still hold an audience’s attention they succeeded. Seijû gakuen was Takigawa’s first film but not her last—she’s still quite busy as an actress, appearing mainly on television. Seijû gakuen premiered today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 27 2014
NINJA TURTLE
Eiko Yanami strikes a kick-ass pose.


Although many directors and performers were involved in the Girl Boss movies, on some level Nikkatsu Studios was behind most of them as either producers or distributors. This one is an exception. The movie was called Soft-Shelled Turtle Girl Boss, it was made by Dai Nippon Eiga Seisaku Kabushiki Kaisha, which was known as Daiei Film for short, and it had Taro Yuge in the director’s chair and Eiko Yanami in the lead. We don’t know anything about the plot, but it’s a pinku girl boss flick, so she probably seeks and achieves revenge against a bunch of gangster types. We’ll look for more info, if not a copy of the movie. In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy the poster, which is absolutely killer. Soft-Shelled Turtle Girl Boss premiered in Japan today in 1971. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 26 2014
IGARASHI BEHAVIOR
A good boss always creates advancement opportunities for her employees.


Above, a poster for Tadashi Yoyogi’s Semi-dokyumento: Sukeban yôjimbô, aka Girl Boss Document. A less known Girl Boss movie, this starred Noriko Igarashi, who you see brazenly flashing her tighty whities on the poster. It premiered in Japan today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 18 2014
WOLF PACK
The gangs that couldn’t shoot straight.


Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô, aka Wolves of the City, aka Wolves of the City: Ocho the She-Wolf was a significant hole in our Japanese actioner viewing résumé, but we solved that by watching the film a few days ago. In short, you get an amoral motorcycle gang in Nazi regalia pitted against evil Yakuza, with the tide eventually turning when the legendary hellion Ocho the She-Wolf teams up with the gang. The movie looks great. Yukio Noda’s direction—for the most part—is a marvel. He frames shots with six, seven, sometimes even a dozen interacting characters spread across the screen, yet it all seems effortless. Modern directors don’t seem remotely interested in using shots like these anymore, which is a shame, but it may also be a function of today’s screenwriters choosing to limit the number of characters who interact simultaneously. In any case, this is one thing we loved about the movie and we’ve shared some images of this technique below.

But Wolves of the City is a mixed bag. It relies upon numerous violent set pieces, but where the dialogue sequences feel so carefully thought out, the action is pure Keystone Kops. Because Noda continues framing large numbers of actors in single shots, his performers seem more intent uponhitting their stage marks than making these confrontations look realistic. They reach their required positions in the scenes, but these hardened gangsters handle pistols and machine guns as if they were rubber snakes, dealing a major blow to what should be the visceral thrill of such moments. By packing the screen during the gunfights Noda forces the audience to accept that nobody can successfully shoot anyone from five feet away. It feels very bang-bang-you’re-dead amateurish, complete with wounded gangsters clutching their chests, spinning around, and falling to the floor.

In the end the plot ushers us through various deals, deceptions, and shootouts, and you finally get the inevitable throwdown between the bikers and the Yakuza. This is the most unlikely sequence of all, with bikers motoring around none too swiftly inside a confined warehouse while still miraculously being missed by a hailstorm of screaming lead. But by now we know what we’re going to get and we just have to go with it. At one point Ocho puts out a gangster’s eyes and archly informs him (as if he can hear through the head-splitting pain), “You’re the seventeenth victim of Ocho of Inoshika’s eye attack!” This movie does attack the eyes rather beautifully, and if you look past the Vaudeville antics of the action scenes you may enjoy it. The panel length poster at top is rare, and as far as we know it’s the only one of its kind to be seen online. Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô premiered in Japan today in 1969.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 8 2014
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
Hey lady, you’re not the boss of me! Er, okay, yes you are.

Above, an excellent pinku poster of a recalcitrant tough guy having a knife held to his eye by an even tougher woman. It’s for a movie entitled Girl Boss: Dirty Fellows, but as usual we have to add the disclaimer that the translation here may be a bit off. Definitely the text says “girl/lady/woman” and “gang leader” which can be interpreted as “girl boss” or maybe “lady boss.” The rest, well, we’ve done our best. Also, it looks like Teruyo Hasegawa was in this movie, and we were told the release year was 1969, but that seems a bit late for Hasegawa, who was in films as early as 1954. Anyway, that’s all we got. If we mess up something we’re usually emailed about it, so we’ll just wait and see on this one.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 22
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
August 21
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
August 20
1940—Trotsky Iced in Mexico
In Mexico City exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe (not an ice pick) by Soviet agent Ramon Mercader. Trotsky dies the next day.
1968—Prague Spring Ends
200,000 Warsaw Pact troops backed by 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring political liberalization movement.
1986—Sherrill Goes Postal
In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States postal employee Patrick Sherrill shoots and kills fourteen of his co-workers and then commits suicide.

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