|Hollywoodland||Jan 21 2012|
We like this fun blue cover of Confidential from January 1968, but it’s just a bit misleading. The image of Nancy Sinatra is doctored to imply that she's naked. The original, which you see below, was shot around the time she was filming her 1966 comedy caper The Last of the Secret Agents? In the movie there’s a scene in which her dress gets snagged on something and accidentally torn off. The moment is played for laughs, in a public setting. The ensemble she wore in that scene is exactly what she has on in the photo, which suggests it was probably shot to promote the film.
Nancy in her undies could not save The Last of the Secret Agents? from bad reviews and an underwhelming run, but while the movie was a dud, the undies photo became quite famous and was used on many magazines, including a cover of The National Police Gazette that we showed you a couple of years ago. Leave it to Confidential to suggest that more came off during the filming of Secret Agents than ended up in the final version of the film, but as far as we know, Sinatra never appeared fully nude in any medium until 1995, when she was 54 years old and did a layout for Playboy. Before that she had shot a promo photo in which she appeared to be bare, but with arms and legs arranged to hide the naughty bits. The Playboy spread, by contrast, hid nothing. And Confidential? It hid the truth.
|Femmes Fatales||Aug 16 2011|
Above, a brilliant shot of French/Italian actress Dominique Boschero, who acted in about sixty films during the 1950s and 1960s, including OSS 77—Operazione fior di loto (aka OSS 77—Operation Lotus), Gli imbroglioni (aka The Impostors), and Agente 310 spionaggio sexy (we probably don’t need to translate that one, right?). This image is from 1966.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 6 2011|
This January 1954 issue of Whisper tells readers about a stripper named Lola Dewitt Stewart who bit a cop, covers a gala Harlem dance, and exposes the voodoo rites of Haitian virgin priestesses. The issue also contains a profile of Christine Jorgensen, the most famous transsexual of her day. Jorgensen—whose name is misspelled "Jorgenson" by Whisper editors—had been born George Jorgensen and had lived unhappily as a male for twenty-five years. After a stint in the Army, he learned about the possibility of becoming more feminine and started by taking hormones, and later travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark to have his male sex organs removed. At the time, Denmark used castration on sexual criminals, which is why the procedure was legal there. Jorgensen, now female in appearance, returned to the U.S. and New York’s Daily News broke her story with one of the most famous headlines in publishing history: Ex-G.I. Becomes Blonde Beauty. Jorgensen parlayed the recognition into a show business career, establishing a blueprint for later transgenders like Coccinelle. Jorgensen finished the last of her reassignment surgeries in the mid-1950s and, now sexually female, continued in show business for many years. She danced in Las Vegas, appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, was voted “Miss Neutral Zone” by American soldiers serving in Korea, and had high-profile romances. Later in her life she reflected that she was proud to have been part of the sexual revolution. “We may not have started it,” she said of herself and other transgenders, “but we gave it a good swift kick in the pants.”
|Vintage Pulp||Aug 7 2010|
We just finished watching L’ultimo giorno di lavoro di una prositituta, and it’s pretty much exactly what the title says—the last day in the job of a prostitute. Lovely Dagmar, played by Diana Kjær, is a hooker in Copenhagen and has decided to quit the rackets and escape to Stockholm. We follow her during her last day as she sees various clients, co-workers, friends and relatives, and also gets slapped around by her pimp. This movie is really bad—it’s poorly acted, poorly produced, and poorly written. In parts, it’s unintentionally funny, but the deliberate attempts at comedy fall flat. Stereotypes abound: you get a couple of Japanese guys with bowl cuts who say “Ah so,” and know karate, a Russian diplomat who’s always drunk on vodka, a mustachioed Italian guy who air-conducts classical music, and a hippie who’s trying to be a rock star and needs money to get his girlfriend an abortion. While we didn’t enjoy the movie, it’s worth noting that the radiant Anne Grete Nissen appears in a minor role, and we absolutely love the rare Italian poster you see above. L’ultimo giorno di lavoro di una prositituta, aka Dagmars Heta Trosor, aka Dagmar’s Hot Pants, Inc., premiered in Italy today in 1971.
|Vintage Pulp||Apr 20 2010|
We have no idea what’s going on in this 1950 issue of the West German magazine Das Ronke because German is not one of our languages. What are major stars doing paired with various automobile brands? Nein idea. Are they ads? Possibly. We’ve seen American stars used in foreign ads before. But ads imply legitimacy, so why are there naked women in the magazine? We ask because you would think, especially in 1950, no Hollywood actress would wish to be associated with a smut publication, especially one that has broken the magical pubic hair rule that at the time defined obscenity. It’s all destined to remain a mystery to us until we find ourselves a German somewhere. We’ll try the nearest pub and get back to you on this later.
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 23 2010|
In the old noirs criminal gangs are sometimes the Mafia, sometimes the Mob, and still other times the Syndicate. In this one the gang is the Combination, hence the title The Big Combo. While the film isn’t a big budget noir, it makes up in inventiveness what it lacks for dollars. Example: one thug who wears a hearing aid is about to be rubbed out. He begs for his life, and one of his executioners says, “I’ll do you a favor—you won’t hear the bullets.” He then snatches out the thug’s hearing aid and we see a silent close-up of muzzle flashes. The film is filled with visual treats like that, and as a bonus it has first-rate acting, with the lead Cornel Wilde even pulling off a crying scene. For real. He turns on the waterworks with no help from the make-up department and it’s an exceedingly rare feat for male actors during the 1950s.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 11 2010|
The Asphalt Jungle is half a century old, but remains one of the best procedural heist films ever made. The men who commit the robbery at the center of this movie come from all walks of life—some are perennial losers, others are opportunists, and others are just having a hard time and need a way out. All of them long for better lives. All of them desperately need the money to get there. These footmen, facilitators, and financial backers plan every aspect of a lucrative heist, but the caper begins falling apart almost immediately, due to back luck, mistrust, and greed.
Sterling Hayden, who we’ve mentioned before, is incendiary in the lead, exuding extreme menace but with a hint of recognizable humanity behind the eyes. One of his best moments comes in a brief but exquisitely choreographed shooting involving a thrown valise.
All of this takes place under the sure hand of director John Huston, working from a 1949 book by William Riley Burnett. Burnett was a bit of a legend himself. He was a prolific crime novelist who wrote the source material for Little Caesar, Scarface, and High Sierra, and whose screenplays include This Gun for Hire, I Died a Thousand Times, and Nobody Lives Forever.
Put Burnett, Huston and Hayden together (not to mention James Whitmore, Jean Hagen, Sam Jaffe, and a young Marilyn Monroe in a small role as a rich man's plaything) and you get exactly what you’d expect—a genre classic that transcends its boundaries and becomes instead a piece of high art.
The film was a major hit that wowed audiences worldwide. At top you see the Italian promo art, and below that we have both the hardback and paperback cover art. The Asphalt Jungle opened as Giungla di asfalto in Italy today in 1951.
|Sportswire||Dec 19 2009|
|Politique Diabolique | Sex Files||Dec 14 2009|
It’s come to our attention that, in advance of the big Copenhagen summit on CO2, city officials placed tens of thousands of flyers in hotels, bars, and other establishments urging visitors to avoid a different type of emissions altogether—namely the sticky kind associated with patronizing the city’s many sex workers. We can just picture the bureaucrats patting each other on the backs after coming up with this idea. But the prostitutes are cunningly offering discounted rates to any customer who presents a flyer to them. Not only does this make the suits look like amateurs for being so easily outmaneuvered—in effect, it turns the flyers into coupons. We aren’t scientists, but that sounds like true sustainability at work. Now the question is: Can we somehow put the sex workers in charge of the summit? They’d put together an emissions deal that leaves everyone satisfied.
|Vintage Pulp||Aug 13 2009|
We shared the American art for Agente 077: Missione Bloody Mary in our post on James Bond imitators. The original Italian version of the film premiered today in 1965, and for an idea how it stacks up to a Bond picture, just consider the secret agent’s name: Dick Malloy. See? No zing. No pizzazz. In our overactive imaginations we kept hearing people he introduced himself to respond, “I’m sorry, you want to me dick your what?” But that didn’t happen in the movie. Not even once. This one may leave you shaken, but it definitely won’t leave you stirred.