Gemser adds a few degrees to the equatorial heat.
Yup, Laura Gemser again. It's just one of those things. La donna della calda terra premiered in Italy two days after Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali, so you get to enjoy her twice this week. Above are two posters for the former film, which was originally made in Spanish and released as La mujer de la tierra caliente, then retitled in English as Emanuelle - A Woman from a Hot Country, and, more succinctly, Fury. By this point Gemser's Emanuelle series had pitted her against everything from slavers to cannibals, but here she headlines something close to a straight drama, as she meets Stuart Whitman while both are hitchhiking the hot backroads of Venezuela. As they sit together in a horse trailer being towed across the country, they tell each other their tragic histories. We've made fun of the bizarre plots of Gemser's movies, but this attempt at unsensationalistic drama is conceptually flat and the screenplay is terrible. Our favorite line: “Don't pay too much attention to women. We have days in which we see everything distorted.” We'd retort that men have entire lifetimes in which they see everything distorted, which is why the world is fucked. *checking credits* Yeah, the screenplay was written by men. Well, they dropped the ball here, not just because of bad writing, but because—and we never thought we'd say this—Gemser's movies need rampant weirdness to be watchable. So give up being normal and enbrace the bizarre. Bring on the slavers and cannibals. They were sorely missed. After premiering in Spain in July 1978, La donna della calda terra opened in Italy today the same year.
And please do so filled with crushing regret and in prolonged pain. Now get lost.
Above: an uncredited cover for Jo Pagano's 1958 novel Die Screaming featuring art of a femme fatale giving the male figure the exact look your wife or girlfriend gives you when she's absolutely over your shit. This first appeared in 1947 as The Condemned, which was adapted into a 1950 movie called The Sound of Fury, and in turn re-released as Try and Get Me!, before reverting back to literary form and becoming what you see above. We like Die Screaming best as a title, but Try and Get Me! is actually more descriptive, as the book deals with an everyman who at his lowest point finds himself in thrall to a vicious criminal, leading to a murder, a manhunt, and the inexorable enactment of justice. We may check out the movie later.
Reiko strikes down upon her enemies with great vengeance and Furyo anger.
More Reiko as soon as that? Why yes. Above you see her on a promo poster for her pinky violence flick Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu, known in English as Terrifying Girls' High School: Delinquent Convulsion Group. We shared this art as part of a collection ten years ago but didn't discuss the film. Reiko and Yûko Kanô star, and as the title suggests, it's about the rough and tumble lives of female juvenile delinquents. Reiko's high school is run by the Red Rose Clan. Things go very right when she's elected head of the gang, then very wrong when her father dies in a brutal auto accident, she's transferred to the outcast class for non-payment of tuition, the Red Rose tosses her overboard, and she finds out her mother is indulging in sexual extracurriculars. Talk about a run of bad luck. But you can't keep Reiko down. She fights her way into the good graces of a group of girls that hang out in a local bar. They decide to form a new gang called the Union Clan to fight the Red Rose and take control of the school, which is beginning to descend into anarchy. Soon after forming her new gang, Reiko learns that her father's accident was orchestrated. Like any devoted daughter, she vows revenge. It won't be easy, but once a girl has dealt with the evils of high school, a cabal of heavily armed international drug dealers is a cakewalk. As required by the pinky violence genre, what follows are clouds of cordite and showers of sparks. Doesn't that sound fun? Reiko never disappoints. Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu premiered today in 1973.
Serious trouble just rolled into town.
Furyô banchô: Ikkaku senkin, for which you see a killer poster above, was known in English as Wolves of the City: Fast Money, or sometimes Wolves of the City: Instant Fortune. It starred Tatsuo Umemiya, Reiko Oshida, and Bunta Sugawara, and we hear it's good, but we weren't able to find it to watch. We may circle back to it, though, because we located more promo art Toei Company made for it—for example the cool photos of Umemiya and Oshida you see below.
You notice the swastika tattoo on Oshida's back? We've mentioned before that the symbol's usage predates its appropriation by Nazi Germany, and has different meanings in Japan. However, in this case we suspect those meanings—good luck, eternity, etc.—have been set aside and the filmmakers meant to use the symbol's association with Nazis to suggest rebellion or lawlessness. If asked, they may have claimed they weren't, but they'd have been messing with people's heads in the same way as the Prussian cross in this post was meant to. But we won't know until we watch the film. We'll keep the rest of our promo material in reserve in case our search is successful. Furyô banchô Ikkaku senkin premiered in Japan today in 1970.
You moved like they do. I've never seen anyone move that fast.
Usually when we share a foreign poster for a film it's because the foreign version is markedly better. The original poster for Bruce Lee's Hong Kong-produced martial arts thriller Tang shan da xiong is actually pretty nice, but the Matrix-like motion capture attempt on this Italian version is just too cool to ignore. In Italy the film was titled Il furore della Cina colpisce ancora, or “China's fury strikes again,” and the art is by Averado Ciriello. It's an inspired effort, which he almost equals on version two, at bottom. There are also two Japanese posters at this link, and it's here that we mention that the movie was titled in English The Big Boss and Fists (not Fist) of Fury.
Bruce Lee movies are not to be watched for their acting or complex plots, and the dialogue in this one is laugh-out-loud bad. The film is a morality play about Lee, an expert fighter, having promised his wise old uncle never to fight again because “violence is never the answer.” Of course he's immediately dropped into a pit of evil when his new job in an ice factory turns out to be a front for drug smuggling. His intervention in the racket comes exactly too late to help his cousin, who's murdered by the villains, but when he finally fights, it's with lightning quickness and almost mystical ability, as he lethally wades through hoards of baddies and cripples the smuggling enterprise single-handedly, or double-fistedly. Maybe violence is the answer after all.
But it isn't quite that easy. These traffickers didn't reach the top of the heap for nothing. Their continued commitment to violence demands that Lee either walk away or willingly descend into the same cycle. As always there's a final showdown with a crafty old karate master who pushes Lee to his limits. His moral progression from purity through temptation, corruption, shame, revenge, and consequences is cheesy but it's also very entertaining, and one thing is clear. He never needed digital help to dazzle the eye. He'd demonstrate his gifts in three more movies, then be gone, at the age of thirty-two, with his final film—his biggest hit Enter the Dragon—released posthumously. Tang shan da xiong premiered in Hong Kong in 1971 and reached Italy today in 1973.
First comes the sex, then comes the fury.
The landmark pinky violence flick Sex & Fury premiered today in 1973, so as tribute we have its female co-stars Christina Lindberg and Reiko Ike in a rare promo image, which came from the same session that produced this photo. If you're ever going to appreciate pinky violence cinema, Sex & Fury is a film that would be your gateway. But the genre isn't for everyone. The films are easy to hate, and for legitimate reasons. We have Sex & Fury's iconic promo posters available for viewing at this link, and don't forget—you get to see Reiko in a new image the first day of every month of 2022. The previous two are here and here.
I keep this gun under my pillow in case of home invasion by my namesakes.
There are several Reikos in the realm of pinku but we've talked about only two—Pulp Intl. favorite Reiko Ike, who we featured a few days ago, and action star Reiko Oshida. Time for some new blood. Above you see a beautiful image of Reiko Ohara, who was also a big star in Japanese filmdom, appearing in dozens of action and comedy flicks beginning in 1965, including Furyo bancho te haccho kuchi haccho, aka Wolves of the City: Blue Soldiers, and Yagyû ichizoku no inbô aka Shogun's Samurai. She has an unusually large gun here, or perhaps is an unusually small person. We don't know which. But we know the photo originally appeared in a large art book called 大原麗子メモリーずっと好きでいて, which translates as something like, “Reiko Ohara Memory I've Always Liked.” The book was published in 2010, but Ohara was born in 1946, so we'd say the image was originally shot way back around 1970. She died in 2009, so it's possible the book was published as a tribute, but we aren't sure about that. We have other images of her and she's posing with a massive gun in many of those too. Like below, for example. We figure she thought she needed it around at all times for protection from the other Reikos.
Get while the getting is good.
It's the classic film noir pickle: what will a guy do when he can't find a job? Pretty much 100% of the time he resorts to crime, and pretty much 100% of the time he gets in deep shit real fast. The unlucky mug in Try and Get Me! is Frank Lovejoy, who moved with his wife and son to California but didn't realize “a million other guys had the same idea.” Desperation sets in and a chance meeting precipitates his descent into crime, as he becomes a getaway driver for stickup artist Lloyd Bridges. Meanwhile, over in the subplot, a news publisher who wants to move more copies of his paper convinces a reporter to portray the holdups as part of a crime invasion by eastern gangs. Interesting, right? If you're a media outlet that wants to rake in profits, just claim some “other” is ruining your community.
Here's the money quote: “People love to be scared to death. The more you scare 'em the more papers they buy.”
Without putting too fine a point on it, which we'll do anyway, clearly nothing has changed seventy years later, except now cable and radio don't sell fear, because that implies weakness—they sell “outrage,” which sounds macho and proactive, but is nothing more than a fight-or-flight reaction to fear. Would a character in a popular movie made in 2021 casually toss off an observation like that? We mean a line that gets at an essential societal ailment—to wit, people will think exactly what they're told to think, as long as the information comes from someone they like? We doubt it. In Try and Get Me! the newspaper guys use the “eastern criminals” fairy tale until people are so riled up they lose the capacity for rational thought. They even—ahem—form a lawless mob and assault the seat of government.
Too much plot info? Oops. It's less relevant than you'd suspect, though. Anyway, Bridges, who's instigating the crime spree, inevitably tires of taking in twenty and thirty bucks per job and drags Lovejoy along on a prospective big score. How do you think that turns out? Could it possibly be... murder? And now they're both in it up to their noose-sized necks. The audience knows from an earlier scene that Lovejoy's collar size is fifteen and-a-half. Foreshadowing? Possibly, but there's still an hour left in the film at that point, and anything can happen. Later there's an interesting shot of a window shade and its circular pull, which looks sort of like a noose. Hmm... Well, best not to dwell on possible signs and portents too deeply. Try and Get Me!, also known as The Sound of Fury, premiered in the U.S. today in 1950
Technically it's a two-three punch but who's counting?
Above are Japanese posters for two Hong Kong martial arts actioners from the immortal Bruce Lee—1971's Tang shan da xiong, aka The Big Boss, and 1972's Jing mo mun, aka Fist of Fury. You notice the numbers on these, 2, and 3. They didn't premier in Japan until 1974, which meant they showed there after 1973's worldwide hit Enter the Dragon. So when these two films finally traversed the East China Sea, they were cleverly marketed as Lee's second and third karate epics to fans rabid for more high kicking adventure. There's an alternate Jing mo min poster of far lesser quality than what you see above, but we've included it anyway, below. We have plenty more Lee in the site, so if you're interested click his keywords.
When she's bad, she's really bad.
Above is a poster in tateken size for Nikkatsu Studios' pre-roman porno action flick Furyô shôjô Mako, aka Bad Girl Mako, a film for which we showed you a standard sized promo a while back. We didn't really talk about the movie back then, but we've seen it. There's lots of fighting, lots of music, and lots of guys in suits getting roughed up. Junko Natsu plays Mako, a tough party girl who meets a boy named Hideo, lets him stick his honeydripper in her jar of manuka, and decides she's in love. It's amazing that she reaches this conclusion after one quick throw in the back seat of a convertible, but whatever. Unfortunately, before their relationship progresses much farther loverboy is killed and Mako, like any good pinku revenant, gets stabby on the bad guys. There's nothing unexpected here, but in the end you still have a reasonably entertaining entry in the girl gang genre, and the many club scenes and nice exterior cinematography add extra value. Furyô shôjô Mako premiered in Japan today in 1971. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1965—UFO Reported by Thousands of Witnesses
A large, brilliant fireball is seen by thousands in at least six U.S. states and Ontario, Canada as it streaks across the sky, reportedly dropping hot metal debris, starting grass fires, and causing sonic booms. It is generally assumed and reported by the press to be a meteor, however some witnesses claim to have approached the fallen object and seen an alien craft.
1980—John Lennon Killed
Ex-Beatle John Lennon is shot four times in the back and killed by Mark David Chapman in front of The Dakota apartment building in New York City. Chapman had been stalking Lennon since October, and earlier that evening Lennon had autographed a copy of his album Double Fantasy for him.
1941—Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor
The Imperial Japanese Navy sends aircraft to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet and its defending air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While the U.S. lost battleships and other vessels, its aircraft carriers were not at Pearl Harbor and survived intact, robbing the Japanese of the total destruction of the Pacific Fleet they had hoped to achieve.
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