The makers of Female Teacher: Rope Hell needed to learn a lesson or two.
Based on a bdsm novel written by the acclaimed Oniroku Dan, Onna kyôshi nawa jigoku, aka Female Teacher: Rope Hell, is yet another Japanese exploration of the pleasures, pains, and limits of sexual obsession and bondage. Frankly, this one is a bit tedious. There’s a razor thin line between thoughtful and dangerous when dealing with this kind of material. When Japanese films, in particular, end up on the wrong side of that line, you really have a mess on your hands. We understand, yes, that bad men aren’t always punished in real life. But this isn’t real life. It's just a movie, and punishment is key. In fact, for us it’s the entire point. It’s the only thing that makes these films watchable. But in this case, the abusive male ties up the two objects of his obsession and is tormenting them when one of his candles sets an accidental fire. He and the bound women burn to death. His obsession destroyed them all. That’s the end. Roll credits. Hope we didn’t ruin it for you.
The fixation Japanese film has with sexual abuse is curious. It often occurs for pretty straightforward narrative reasons—rape, or perhaps the murder of husbands and children, or often all three, are the triggers that transform women into murderous revenants. The mostly thirty-something writers and directors who conceived these plots were taking swipes at Japan’s patriarchal social structure by first explicitly revealing a sexist status quo, then allowing feminine power to demolish it. Or so it seems to us. In that way pinku does not differ from blaxploitation. In those, it’s a racist status quo that is revealed and demolished. However revenge movies represent only a slice of the Japanese whole. Many films feature degradation without revenge, in which case we think it needs to be very carefully done to avoid endorsing such behavior. Major fail on that account here. All respect to Oniroku Dan, but excesses such as a forced enema and subsequent sloppy evacuation onto a man’s face are not things we can get behind, so to speak. Onna kyôshi nawa jigoku premiered in Japan today in 1981.
, Dan Oniroku: Onna kyôshi nawa jigoku
, Onna kyôshi nawa jigoku
, Female Teacher: Rope Hell
, Junko Mabuki
, Miki Yamaji
, Dan Oniroku
, roman porno
, poster art
, movie review
I’d love to chat, but I really have to split now.
Not all of our Japanese posters are of the vintage variety, and the eye-catching piece you see above is an example from our stash of newer promo art. It was made for Ranchijo: Bikyaku Feromon, which translates to—ready for this?—something like “turbulent slut legs pheromone.” Hey, we just work here. The movie never had a Western release, so there’s never been a Western title assigned to it, which means a ridiculous literal translation from the Japanese is all you get. Maybe one of our readers out in that part of the world will write in with a better interpretation.
The movie is about a university professor who becomes obsessed with a rhythmic gymnast played by Sayaka Kitagawa. Basically, what you have here is an erotic production built around the idea of flexibility, because flexibility is Kitagawa’s thing—she’s gotten bent in most of her flicks and she’s really good at it. In this one she does a bit with a hula hoop that’s rather interesting and, while wearing pink lingerie, performs some standing splits similar to what you see on the poster. 59 minutes of mind- and body-bending fun, Ranchijo: Bikyaku Feromon premiered in Japan today in 2004.
Rock bottom is always a lot closer than you think.
This excellent promo poster is for a down and dirty little film noir called 99 River Street, the story of a boxer who was almost champion, but instead was knocked out at the moment of his seeming triumph. Now he’s a cab driver with big dreams but a wife that hates him for his low station in life and undermines him at every turn. She’s having an affair with a well-heeled criminal, and this situation leads to murder, which of course brings the cops knocking on our hero’s door. John Payne does an excellent job as a boxer with a bad eye and worse instincts, Peggie Castle is his two-timing conniver of a wife, and Evelyn Keyes is his bright-eyed and ambitious female friend—and probably his only hope for redemption. The plot takes a few twists and turns before speeding toward a nighttime dockside climax. Highly recommended. 99 River Street premiered in the U.S. today in 1953.
She always gets into the worst binds.
Bondage queen Naomi Tani became one of Nikkatsu's biggest stars, centerpiece of the company's roman porno line of movies during the 1970s. Above are five promo posters from her films during that period. They are, top to bottom, Zankoku: kurobara lynch, aka Cruelty: Black Rose Torture, Kashin no irezumi: nureta tsubo, aka Tattooed Flower Vase, Monzetsu! Donden Gaeshi, aka Painful Bliss! Final Twist, Kurobara fujin, aka Lady Black Rose, and lastly unknown. On that final poster, we checked IMDB, JMDB and every source of Japanese cinema we know but got no hits. The first word in the title is Tani’s name, and while we found a few movies that incorporated her name—along the lines of 1977’s Tie! Naomi Tani—we did not find anything on the poster above. Ain’t that always the way? It’s actually the most interesting of the lot. Anyone with insight feel free to drop us a line. In the meantime you can check out more Tani here, here, and here, and elsewhere in the site if you’re inclined to look.
, Zankoku: kurobara lynch
, Cruelty: Black Rose Torture
, Kashin no irezumi: nureta tsubo
, Tattooed Flower Vase
, Monzetsu! Donden Gaeshi
, Painful Bliss! Final Twist
, Kurobara fujin
, Lady Black Rose
, Naomi Tani
, roman porno
, poster art
And that one's for saying 50 Shades of Grey sucked ass!
We like to make fun of the movie Perversion, aka Nathalie: Escape from Hell, but one thing that can’t be denied is that it has interesting art. This Italian locandina style poster doesn’t quite stand up to the nightstick-licking promo we showed you last year, but it’s weirdly funny in its own way, with Patrizia Gori on the receiving end of some corporal punishment from oversexed dominatrix Jacqueline Laurent. Both posters are by unknown artists, but as always we’ll keep digging—someone out there was probably credited at some point, and if they were, they have no more chance of escaping than poor Nathalie. And on the subject of digging, we’ve located some good promos of Patrizia Gori and we’ll share one a bit later.
In Cloak and Dagger Gary Cooper plays a physicist who causes a violent chain reaction of a different kind.
These posters promote the Italian run of the American War World II propaganda thriller Cloak and Dagger. The film even admits to being propaganda, with a dedication to the OSS in the ending credits. But since all states produce propaganda, and each generation’s is clumsy and laughable to those who come later, the silly flag waving here isn’t really the problem—rather it’s a tepid central romance, an unlikely plot, and an overcooked musical score that loudly punctuates every mood and movement of the characters. There are other flaws, especially with Gary Cooper’s fighting physicist, who begins the movie as a lab egghead but by the halfway point inexplicably unveils better fighting skills than the seasoned fascist killers on his trail. But whatever—willing suspension and all that. At least these action sequences are well staged—in fact, they’rethe highlight of the movie. And if you don't mind Coop's unsubtle moralizing about courage, country, sacrifice, and love, then Cloak and Dagger may hold some charms for you. For our part, we think seeing a cynic converted to the cause à la Casablanca is infinitely more interesting than a true blue patriot trying to convert others, but that’s the difference between drama and propaganda—in the latter the hero’s doubts are merely cursory if they exist at all. The promo posters above are by Renato Casero, the one directly below is by Luigi Martinati, who we’ll revisit soon, and the last is illegibly signed, which means it goes into the unknown category. We’ll try to figure out who painted that and get back to you. Cloak and Dagger premiered in the U.S. in 1946 and made it to Italy as Maschere e pugnali today in 1948.
, World War II
, Maschere e pugnali
, Cloak and Dagger
, Fritz Lang
, Lilli Palmer
, Gary Cooper
, Renato Casaro
, poster art
, movie review
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday soon.
Above you see an alternate version of the promo poster for Sukeban guerira, aka Girl Boss Guerilla, Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike’s classic biker-girl revenge pinku flick. The previous versions, including a rare bo-ekibari style, are here. We also have a couple of rare promo images of Sugimoto and Ike below for your enjoyment, so you can appreciate them when they aren't trying to kill people. We have other promos that are even more rare, and we’ll see about sharing those later. Sukeban gerira premiered in Japan today in 1972.
Classic style for classic movies.
Catalan painter Josep Soligó Tena spent thirty years under contract to Hispano Foxfilms, the Spanish subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox, and during that time created many beautiful promo posters. Today for your enjoyment we have a collection of some of his best. Yes, we are aware he uglified Grace Kelly (panel four), but he’s had that difficulty before with beautiful women. He’s still excellent, though. Eleven scans below.
We’re really cooking with gas now.
You can probably discern at a glance that this poster for A tutto gas was made for the Italian run of the American musical Speedway. This isn’t really pulp material, but we liked the art, so there you go. A tutto gas translates to “at full throttle,” and that’s where the cheese-o-meter is pegged in this musical romp starring Elvis Presley as an indebted stock car racer and Nancy Sinatra as the tax agent who falls in love with him. The movie is silly but it has its charms, and Elvis fans will certainly like it. Be forewarned, though, that it was released at the height of his fame but still tanked at the box office. There are reasons for that. A tutto gas opened in Italy today in 1968.
Breakdown dead ahead.
Speaking of driving, here’s another poster for the thriller They Drive by Night. We already talked about it a bit last month and shared a French poster from 1947. The movie is excellent, considering how the last act is written, and Ann Sheridan is especially good. We also like her in the center of this photo-illustrated poster. They Drive by Night had its world premier today in 1940. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1948—Mitchum and Leeds Snared in Drug Raid
Actor Robert Mitchum and actress Lila Leeds are arrested in a Hollywood drug raid and convicted of criminal conspiracy to possess marijuana. Mitchum serves 43 days in jail
, but in 1951 the conviction is overturned when it is exposed as a set-up. The entire episode has zero effect on his popularity. Leeds, conversely
, becomes a heroin addict while behind bars and is never able to rekindle her career.
1997—Princess Diana Killed in Accident
Princess Diana dies after a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris, along with Egyptian jet-setter Dodi Al-Fayed, and driver Henri Paul, who loses control of the car while attempting to elude paparazzi. Despite lengthy resuscitation attempts, including internal cardiac massage, Diana dies at 4 a.m. local time. Her funeral six days later is watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide.
Russian political revolutionary Fanny Kaplan shoots Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, wounding him in the shoulder and jaw. Lenin survives, she doesn't—she's executed three days later.
1963—Washington-Moscow Hotline Established
A hotline between U.S. and Soviet leaders, known as the Washington-Moscow hotline or Red Telephone, goes into operation. It linked the White House to the Kremlin at the height of the Cold War, and presumably still does today.
2006—Glenn Ford Dies
Canadian actor Glenn Ford, who starred in some of the best films ever made, including Gilda
, The Big Heat, and the original 3:10 to Yuma, dies in his home in Beverly Hills, USA. He was still in love with Rita Hayworth, his one-time co-star who had died years earlier. Reputedly, his last words were, "You don't keep Rita Hayworth waiting."
1949—Soviet Union Joins Nuclear Club
The Soviet Union detonates
a nuclear weapon at a test site in Kazakhstan. American experts are shocked and dismayed because they had thought the Soviets were still years away from having a workable bomb. The resultant fear helps trigger an arms race that would see the Americans and Soviets stockpile approximately 32,000 and 45,000 nuclear devices.
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