Vintage Pulp Sep 29 2014
ESOTIK DANCE
It’s exotic, erotic, and psychotic—but is it good?


When Radley Metzger’s softcore movie The Lickerish Quartet was released overseas, its Italian distributors rightly decided that was a stupidish title for a movie and changed it to Esotika Erotika Psicotika. Unfortunately, Esotika Erotika Psicotika sounds glossier and more sophisticated than what you ultimately receive here. What you get is a rich, jaded couple and their surly son who watch 16-millimeter porno loops in their castle for thrills. One night they go out and encounter a motorcycle stunt rider who resembles a woman in one of the loops. They invite her back for what they hope will be a night of debauchery, but which turns out to be less conventional fuck than extended mindfuck. It quickly becomes apparent why the movie opened with a Luigi Pirandello quote pondering the nature of reality, as time and space soon become malleable, leading toward an ending that questions the truth of everything that came before.

The movie received good reviews when released, but we suspect much of that owes to its novelty and Metzger’s previous successes with Camille 2000 and The Dirty Girls. In other words, it hasn’t aged well. It’s like that summer you wore an orange shirt and your friends lauded you for experimenting with your wardrobe, but later you saw a photo of that night and realized you looked like a traffic cone with shoes. Like that shirt, this movie was a bold experiment that made sense at the time but seems a bit silly now. On the plus side, it’s shot on location at Balsorano Castle in L’Aquila, Italy, so at least the audience was able to indulge its fantasies of running away to Abruzzo. Esotika Erotika Psicotika, with Silvana Venturelli, Erika Remberg, and others, premiered in Italy today in 1972. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 27 2014
SNOW JOB
Murder wears a mini skirt.


Neige sanglante, which means “bloody snow,” was authored by Irving Le Roy, in reality Robert Georges Debeurre, because no French post-pulp author ever wrote under his/her own name. This book comes from Paris based Éditions Bel-Air, is number 76 in their Détective-Pocket collection, and is a romantic thriller involving a woman in love with a philandering man. Does the cover give away what happens next? Well, maybe. But you can bet he deserved it. The artist is James Hodges, and we’ll have more from him in the future. 1967 on this. 

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Vintage Pulp | Politique Diabolique Sep 27 2014
GOLDWATER V. GINZBURG
Politician on the verge of a nervous breakdown.


This National Insider from today in 1964 claims that American politician Barry Goldwater had “nervous breakdowns” in 1937 and 1939, but in the midst of his run for president denied they happened. Well, who wouldn’t, right? There’s no new reporting here—Insider is merely echoing the claims of publisher Ralph Ginzburg, who had written of the breakdowns in his magazine Fact, and as evidence had referenced an interview Goldwater’s wife had given Good Housekeeping in May 1964. That’s the inspiration for the line: Barry Says “None” …Wife Says "Two.” Ginzburg was garnering attention for Fact by attacking people from all over the political spectrum, including Bobby Kennedy, and he eventually lost a libel suit regarding his Goldwater claims.

The Goldwater breakdowns are a matter of record today. Ginzburg’s libel suit hinged not on the fact of those incidents, but on embellishments such as his convoluted assessment that Goldwater was “...a man who obviously identifies with a masculine mother rather than an effeminate father.” Goldwater made Ginzburg pay for his ill-considered words, but in the end, both of their careers faltered. Goldwater was crushed in the 1964 presidential election by Lyndon Johnson, and Ginzburg went to jail—not for libel, but for obscenity related to his other magazine Eros. It’s all just another interesting story conjured by another random tabloid cover. And there are still more to come—we have about a hundred full tabloids remaining, everything from Police Gazette to Midnight. We’ll never be able to post them all, but you can bet we’ll try our damndest.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 25 2014
BON GIOVANNI
Giovanni Benvenuti raises the bar for French crime covers.

Today we wanted to share a series of truly spectacular French covers from Frédéric Ditis’s eponymous company Ditis, published as part of its popular La Chouette—or Owl—collection. These all date from the mid-1950s to early 1960s, and there’s really nothing to say about them except that they’re by the sublime Giovanni Benvenuti.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 24 2014
JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY
Say hello to his other little friend.

This likeness of gangster John Dillinger stands in stark contrast to the highly pornographic Tijuana bible sketches of him and his little friend we shared last week. We figured we’d show Dillinger in a better light, and wearing more clothes, so above you see the cover of Saul Cooper’s Dillinger, painted by famed portraitist Everett Raymond Kinstler, who has created likenesses of everyone from Katherine Hepburn to George H.W. Bush. See more of his amazing work here, and see those racy Dillinger sketches here. You know you wanna. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 24 2014
RIGHT NUMBER
Sommer isn’t over quite yet.

In June we shared a Japanese poster for Elke Sommer’s 1966 comedy Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number and talked about the movie a bit. Today we have an even better Italian promo for the same film. In Italy it was succinctly retitled Un bikini per Didi, and the art is by yet another Italian talent, this time Tino Avelli, who we haven’t featured before. Another version of the poster appears below, and we’ll have more from Avelli later.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 23 2014
SUITE THING
You asked for a wake up call? I've got one you'll never forget.

Originally published in 1958 as Dead to the World, Stewart Sterling’s The Blonde in Suite 14 tells the story of a house detective (do those exist anymore?) who thinks two deaths in his hotel—the fictional Plaza Royale—are linked to a beautiful blonde guest. Sterling, who we talked about previously here, had already used house detective Gil Vine in five books and would feature him in two more. The hotel setting gave him a handy platform for introducing scenarios, and his detective character’s prime directive to protect the hotel’s reputation sets up a constant ethical dilemma—i.e., call the police and risk bad publicity, or just cover up the whole mess? Pretty good, but we can’t help but think it could have been spectacular in other hands. The very nice cover art here is by Mort Engel. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 22 2014
HARM SCHOOL
One wrong answer and you’re done.

Sachi Hamano’s pinku flick Bankaku joshikökösei no sex to böryoku no jittai was retitled for its English language release True Story of Sex and Violence in a Female High School. If you’d like to experience a bit of digital age paranoia, think about inputting that online as a search term knowing that various entities are saving your browsing data forever. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you, and though we haven’t managed to find a copy of the movie, we know it involves Hitomi Kozue earning her way into her local high school’s female gang, which is led by Naomi Oka, and later realizing that the two were already linked by a terrible event in Oka’s past. In addition to the two main stars you get Meika Sera, Noriko Igarashi, and Hidetoshi Kageyama. If we ever find a copy of this we’ll screen it and report back. In the meantime, enjoy a previously unseen promo shot of Hitomi Kozue, below. Bankaku joshikökösei no sex to böryoku no jittai premiered in Japan today in 1973.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 21 2014
OF RICE AND MEN
We gotta get out of this place if it’s the last thing we ever do.


This great poster was painted by Italian illustrator Dante Manno to promote Riso Amaro, aka Bitter Rice, one of the neorealist movies that came out of Italy during the post-World War II period. If you watch the movie you’ll find that some elements aren't very “real,” but remember that the term neorealism refers to a rejection of the phoniness of Fascist-era film production, rather than a broad description of cinematic properties. Basically, the movie is about two petty criminals, played by Vittorio Gassman and Doris Dowling, who hide from the cops by posing as lowly rice pickers. What’s real here isn’t the rice pickers (whose female ranks are uniformly beautiful and sexily clothed), nor some of the action (typified by a scene in which the workers break into perfect operatic harmony even though the tune they’re singing is being made up on the spot). No, the realism is in the themes and production values. Riso Amaro deals with weighty issues and was made on location by director Giuseppe De Santis in the rice fields of Italy’s Po Valley in crisp, documentary style black and white.

One of Riso Amaro’s rice pickers is the voluptuous Silvana Mangano, who catches Vittorio Gassman’s eye. Since he’s a criminal, he spies opportunity in his circumstances, and while chasing Mangano also plots to steal the entire rice crop while everyone is occupied during an end-of-season festival. Mangano, who has her choice between the slick Gassman and the honest rice picker Raf Vallone, is symbolically torn between American-style and traditional values. Doris Dowling has the same dilemma to a lesser degree. The choice both make will be crucial. Riso Amaro is a good movie, beautifully rendered, and consistently interesting. Tame today, it’s easy to see how provocative it must have been when first released. As with many films, certain elements resonate more over time, and here the secondary theme exploring tensions between legal and illegal workers fascinate. The legal workers resent the presumed loss of jobs, but the illegals must eat somehow and are willing to toil much harder than the legals. All the while the bosses reap the benefits. Sound familiar? Riso Amaro premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in early September and opened in Italy today in 1949.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 19 2014
TOMCAT CRUISE
Everyone on this ship is in heat.

It isn’t a top effort, but we still like this cover for Jonathon Ward’s 1964 sleaze romp Cruise for Love from Carousel Books, an imprint of Hollywood-based Frimac Publications. The story involves sexual misadventure among cruise ship passengers, and the rear cover reads: Take an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, add men and women passengers, with normal and abnormal desires—and you’ve got an explosive package that’s sure to blow up before the ship reaches port. We just hope the cat isn’t involved in any of it. Uncredited art. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 30
1955—James Dean Dies in Auto Accident
American actor James Dean, who appeared in the films Giant, East of Eden, and the iconic Rebel without a Cause, dies in an auto accident at age 24 when his Porsche 550 Spyder is hit head-on by a larger Ford coupe. The driver of the Ford had been trying to make a left turn across the rural highway U.S. Route 466 and never saw Dean's small sports car approaching.
1962—Chavez Founds UFW
Mexican-American farm worker César Chávez founds the United Farm Workers in California. His strikes, marches and boycotts eventually result in improved working conditions for manual farm laborers and today his birthday is celebrated as a holiday in eight U.S. states.
September 29
1916—Rockefeller Breaks the Billion Barrier
American industrialist John D. Rockefeller becomes America's first billionaire. His Standard Oil Company had gained near total control of the U.S. petroleum market until being broken up by anti-trust legislators in 1911. Afterward, Rockefeller used his fortune mainly for philanthropy, and had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research.
September 28
1941—Williams Bats .406
Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finishes the Major League Baseball season with a batting average of .406. He is the last player to bat .400 or better in a season.

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