Hollywoodland Jul 15 2013
MEXICO GETS JINXED
Tourist board taps gringa to lure gringos across the border.

The above photos of American actress Jinx Falkenberg show her posing in costume for her film Tahiti Nights, and she’s holding a Mexican tourist poster for which she had modeled around the same time. This isn’t as a much of a mismatch as you might think. Falkenberg was actually born Eugenia Lincoln Falkenberg in Barcelona, Spain. Being Spanish-born (her parents were American) is of course not remotely the same as being Mexican, but it’s worth mentioning. The truth is she was probably chosen for the poster simply because she was the most famous young Hollywood star associated with Mexico in the consciousness of the American public. She spoke Spanish, of course, and had gotten her start in Spanish films like El carnaval del Diablo, but we doubt average Americans had a clue about that at the time. But once she reached Hollywood she continued to act in films with ethnic themes. For instance, in 1943 she starred in Two Señoritas from Chicago, in 1944 she played an islander in the aforementioned Tahiti Nights, and the next year she played a Mexican girl in The Gay Señorita. So when you add together her birthplace, language skills, and movie roles, she isn’t just some random gabacha the tourist board dug up. While it’s possible it might have been more authentic to use Delores del Rio or Lupe Velez, both of them were much older than Falkenberg, and in any case, maybe they were asked and said no. Below you’ll notice that we managed to find that travel poster, and whatever the reasoning behind its creation, it sure came out looking good. The photos date from 1944, and the poster was used for the years 1944 and 1945.  


 
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Vintage Pulp Feb 24 2011
DAMA POR UN DIA
A day unlike any other.

As long as we’re on anniversaries, here’s another piece of rare memorabilia. This is the cover of a Wednesday supplement for the Uruguayan daily El Dia with Brigitte Bardot on the cover. El Dia was founded in 1886, and lasted until 1993. During those later years, it ran into problems with Uruguay's military dictatorship, as well as competition from the rival daily El País. This issue, featuring Bardot at the height of her fame, was published today in 1962. And in case you missed it, we just did a detailed post on Bardot here. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 19 2010
HIGH FLYING BIRD
Argento’s first film was among his most restrained and most successful.

Above we've posted two Spanish one-sheets for El Pajaro de las Plumas de Cristal, aka L’uccello dale piume de cristallo, aka The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. This was horror grandmaster Dario Argento’s first film, a thriller in the Hitchcockian mode about an American in Italy who witnesses an attempted murder. The police make him stay in the country, the would-be killer soon begins stalking him. After an attempt on his life he realizes unmasking the maniac himself is probably his best defense.

This was the beginning of a storied career for Argento. In subsequent efforts, he would explore realms of gore Hitchcock probably never dreamt of, but in this early effort he relies on mood to achieve his goals, and the English language version mostly succeeds despite the distraction of some less than breathtaking dubbing. Overall, we consider this well worth a viewing, imperfections and all. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage premiered in Italy today in 1970.

Turning to the poster art, it was painted by another grandmaster, Spanish illustrator Francisco Fernandez Zarza-Pérez, who worked under the pseudonym Jano—aka Janus, the two-faced Roman god of doorways, arches, beginnings and endings. Jano painted thousands of pieces beginning in the 1940s, and we’ve cobbled a few more together and posted them below for you to enjoy this lovely Friday. More on Jano later. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 3 2010
VAMPIRE BITES
We liked it, but we didn’t like it.

It was bad, but not quite bad enough to love. We’re talking about 1960’s Seddok (el heredero del Diablo), aka Atomic Age Vampire, which we watched last night. The promo art, above, is quite nice. But the movie suffers from a lack of, firstly, vampires. Don’t get us wrong. It wasn’t as bad as Blood Beach. After that bomb we seriously considered organizing a worldwide expedition to root out and destroy every surviving copy. Few films could be Blood Beach bad. Let’s be clear. But Seddok (el heredero del Diablo) was just… It was so… Our descriptive powers fail. We can only show you:
 
When Susanne Loret neglects to observe the classic 10-2 steering wheel position she careens into a ravine and goes up in flames like she had phosphorous munitions stashed under her seat.
 
The fire should have burned her badly enough to leave her smoking like a Webber grill for the rest of her life, but instead it somehow results only in facial scarring.
 
Rather than be at least a little philosophical about miraculously surviving to see the sun again after almost being charbroiled, she instead adopts a generally shitty outlook on life. She contemplates suicide. She cries a lot.
 
But then a brilliant doctor takes her to his eerie lab, restores her beauty with an experimental treatment and, in the process of looking deep into her large and soulful nostrils, falls in love with her.
 
But the doc is a tortured genius, which is made abundantly clear when he sits in the dark of his office dressed like Johnny Cash, muttering like the old guy camped at the end of our block who rattles a cup of centavos all day.
 
We soon learn that the doc is prone to transformations that make him look like he has a turducken stuffed in his collar. If he’d left the girl disfigured, they’d have been a perfect match, but he screwed the pooch on that.
 
He begs her to overlook his hideous deformity, and she explains that she thinks he’s a really nice guy, and she’s really grateful for his friendship and support and he’s smart and funny and she likes him—but she doesn’t like him. Plus, she already has a boyfriend.
 
The plot thickens, finally, when said boyfriend begins to suspect the doctor is some kind of monster. But when he speaks to the local cops about it, the police captain gives him that skeptical look cops everywhere are so good at, the one that says, “Are you yanking my dick, son?”
 
Before long the doctor meets up with the boyfriend. They dance a tango. The first number is Ravel’s smoldering classical piece “Bolero,” which isn’t a pure tango, but works fine for getting-to-know-you purposes. The second piece is the less-acclaimed “Choke Your Bitch Ass Out” by… well, we’re not sure on that.
 
The doctor fails to kill the boyfriend, and for unclear reasons (we admit we made popcorn and somehow neglected to pause the movie) the doc goes around town accosting random women like he’s Rick James, scaring the wits out of everyone who sees him.
 
By now even the doc’s loyal assistant is like, “Dude, you’re starting to creep me out, and I’m the guy who oils your pendulum.”

But in the end the doctor just would not chill, and his assistant was forced to kill him. And we sat there thinking about the freak in that Cher movie Mask, and how mellow he was about his deformity, and that Powder dude, who was fully stoic, and we wondered why not the doctor? Was it nurture or nature? We'll never know. We'll also never know where the vampires were in this flick. But it doesn’t matter. What matters is we’ve done the hard work of watching Seddok (el heredero del Diablo) for you, and now you don’t have to bother. The 80 minutes you might have pissed away, never to be regained, can instead be directed toward loftier endeavors. Put them to good use—cure cancer, find a Sasquatch. Just make sure to mention us in your Nobel acceptance speech.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 12 2009
DEVIL INSIDE
Exploitation king Jesus Franco visits Africa for his 1971 zombie spy flick.

El diablo que vinó de Akasawa, for which you see the great poster above, is a Jesus Franco flick, so you know to expect sex, action, and dubious technical values. The film is about a detective investigating the disappearance of a professor in the fictive African land of Akasava. The sleuth discovers that the mystery revolves around a mineral that can turn metal into gold and men into zombies. Of course, everyone wants control of the substance and pretty soon spies are crawling out of the woodwork and wah-wah guitar is swelling on the soundtrack. All very fun. We're also appreciative of the art, which is based on a promo shot of star Soledad Miranda, aka Susann Korda. The progression from photo to photo-illustration to painting is similar to the one we showed you for Death Is a Woman, but with more skin. And uh, more muff. Hope we brightened your day. Now for the not-so-wonderful part—Soledad Miranda died in a car crash in Portugal in 1970, aged 27. Her fame was achieved mainly after her death, as B-movie fans rediscovered her extensive shlock catalog thanks to VHS. You can get a full idea what sort of cheesefest El diablo que vinó de Akasawa is by viewing an original trailer here. It opened in Spain today, after she was gone, in 1971.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 26
1934—Queen Mary Launched
The RMS Queen Mary, three-and-a-half years in the making, launches from Clydebank, Scotland. The steamship enters passenger service in May 1936 and sails the North Atlantic Ocean until 1967. Today she is a museum and tourist attraction anchored in Long Beach, U.S.A.
1983—Nuclear Holocaust Averted
Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov, whose job involves detection of enemy missiles, is warned by Soviet computers that the United States has launched a nuclear missile at Russia. Petrov deviates from procedure, and, instead of informing superiors, decides the detection is a glitch. When the computer warns of four more inbound missiles he decides, under much greater pressure this time, that the detections are also false. Soviet doctrine at the time dictates an immediate and full retaliatory strike, so Petrov's decision to leave his superiors out of the loop very possibly prevents humanity's obliteration. Petrov's actions remain a secret until 1988, but ultimately he is honored at the United Nations.
September 25
2002—Mystery Space Object Crashes in Russia
In an occurrence known as the Vitim Event, an object crashes to the Earth in Siberia and explodes with a force estimated at 4 to 5 kilotons by Russian scientists. An expedition to the site finds the landscape leveled and the soil contaminated by high levels of radioactivity. It is thought that the object was a comet nucleus with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
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