People aren't into books like they used to be. I'm just trying to make it enticing again.
The only movie we've seen with German actress Andrea Rau is the low budget production Robinson und seine wilden Sklavinnen, aka Robinson and His Tempestuous Slaves, and she made that otherwise uninspired effort worthwhile all by herself. She works similar magic, above, on a pile of books, including a Rowohlt Verlag edition of Henry Miller's Sexus. Rau appeared in about twenty films, and after the cinema made the time-honored transition into television, where she acted until 2008. The above photo came from a 1974 cover of the magazine Rex, and we took the liberty of removing the text. For a couple more shots of Rau check here and here.
Bogart may own the café, but Bergman owns the room.
Since we're checking out European poster art today, above is a nice West German promo for the classic wartime drama Casablanca, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. We've covered just about all the nice promos for this film: Japanese, Spanish, Italian, and of course the classic U.S. version. Plus we wrote a post about the movie's brilliant set design. But this additional poster is worth sharing because it's the first time we've featured artist Hans Otto Wendt, a well regarded figure who worked during his youth as a draftsman in the newspaper industry, before taking his talents afield and collaborating with Deutsche London Film, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, and other major studios. He worked until 1969, at which point he retired due to poor health, and finally died in Berlin in 1979. For the above effort, note that he not only made Bergman the star of the poster, but the star of his handpainted lettering too. Casablanca premiered in West Germany today in 1952.
I see a tiny island! If we make it there we can recite captions from classic castaway cartoons until we're rescued!
We have another issue of Adam today, with a fun cover illustrating Ron Rawcliffe's story, “The Nine Strippers.” Obviously, with a title like that we had to read it, and it deals with a charter boat captain hired to take nine exotic entertainers upriver into the wilderness under mysterious circumstances, and it turns out they've been hired by an organized crime cabal. When the gathering is raided by federal police the captain must escape intact with bullets flying, strippers fleeing, and mafiosi trying to hijack his boat. Also in this issue of Adam you get fiction by Leonard Calhoun and John P. Gilders, plus a bit of boxing and a lot of models, including German born Israeli actress Helena Ronée just below, and French actress Catherine Rouvel in the feature "She Wins Them All." And circling back to the cover and its two potential castaways, look forward to this: we have another set of castaway cartoons coming up.
She could tell them the secret but it would be a bad Korea move.
Holly Roth, who also wrote as P.J. Merrill and K.G. Ballard, originally published The Shocking Secret as The Content Assignment in 1954. This Dell edition came in 1955 with William Rose cover art. The story, set beginning in 1948, deals with John Terrant, a British reporter in Berlin whose American love Ellen Content is a CIA agent who disappears during a mission. Nearly two years later her name turns up in a newspaper story that says she's a dancer in New York City. So Terrant crosses the pond to track her down but ends up in the middle of the Cold War, with bad commies and the whole nine.
Roth infuses her tale with an Englishman in New York fish-out-of-water quality, which is occasionally amusing and adds interest, but in the end the entire enterprise comes across lightweight—which is to say it lacks menace and the proper amount of intellectual heft needed for a book about the political/ideological clash of the era. And another issue, though an admittedly nit-picky one, is that the surprise of the title, which we mostly gave away in our subhead, isn't all that shocking. Dell never should have renamed the book.
Moving on to Roth herself, she's one of those writers whose life had an eerie parallel with her fiction. Her 1962 novel Too Many Doctors is about a woman who falls off a ship and loses her memory. In 1964 Roth disappeared from her husband's yacht one stormy night off the coast of Morocco and was never seen again. Officially, her death was an accident. If we get ambitious maybe we'll read Too Many Doctors. While we can't recommend The Shocking Secret, we wouldn't be surprised if several of her other books are better. Her reputation would seem to suggest it.
If you let yourself be free what amazing things you'll see.
Nudism or naturism is yet another staple of mid-century publishing. Numerous magazines were devoted to the practice, and many novels we've read, such as Marriage Can Wait, Murder Doll, High Red for Dead, and of course, the immortal Nudist Camp, feature nudism. It's also featured in some pretty fun movies, such as 1962's Blaze Starr Goes Nudist. So when we saw this poster for Isle of Levant, one of the seminal nudism movies of the 1950s, we decided to have a look.
The film was made by Swiss director Werner Kunz and originally titled Lockender Süden. In its English language version it's professorially narrated by E.V.H. Emmett. The story told is about a trio of young Danish women and their dog who take a road trip through Germany, Switzerland, and France to arrive in the Côte d'Azur and get naked on Île de Levant.
It's largely a travelogue, but it's also pretty interesting from purely historical and architectural perspectives. Aided by the familiar visual of a crawling line on a map, you see the sights as the trio passes through Hamburg, the Rhine Valley, Rottenberg, Zurich, the Rhône Valley, Avignon, Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropez, and Le Lavandou, all before the era of modern mass tourism, in a classic Fiat 600 Multipla, with its rear engine and backward front doors.
As for the nudism, Kunz makes you wait for it. About forty minutes into the sixty-eight minute exercise the girls hit the island and their clothes hit the sand. At first, many people wear g-strings, but later there's nothing. As is typical for such films, the nudists are the best-looking examples from far and wide. Activities range from volleyball to hiking to sketching to snorkeling to boating, but as this is a lifestyle film, there's no sex nor hint of it.
Because nudism isn't—and wasn't then—considered sexual by its practitioners, there are a few brief shots of naked children. We live in a country where naked children on beaches are not a strange sight and we pay them little mind, but in terms of filmed reality, this is where things acquire a double layer. Selling films of naked children changes everything. Though these nudism flicks were ostensibly educational, and the nudists themselves agreed to appear as a way demonstrating the advantages of their lifestyle, a large percentage of the actual consumers of the movies—surely—got off on them. And for a small subset, thence, nude children.
In a sense, the nudists of the era, despite the purity of their beliefs, were exploited by filmmakers, who knew—again, surely—that the money that flowed in was from seekers of knowledge about nudism and seekers of boners over naked women and men. As for pedophiles, though they were a segment of society that were basically never thought about by the populace at large back then, we suspect the filmmakers were aware of them. In any case, nobody is unaware today, which is why those shots now stand out in neon.
But if you wear your shiny happy 1950s glasses, Isle of Levant is worth a gander. It's a historical curiosity, and one that made us nostalgic for an era in which we never lived. Because they were uncredited, we'll never know who the trio of roadtrippers were, but we had an overwhelming sense of time passed and innocence lost watching them. And we thought: To have made that journey with them from Denmark through the Rhine Valley to the idyllic Côte d'Azur would have been so very fun.
If she crashes at least her head might be okay.
This photo is from 1966 and shows German actress Barbara Zimmermann wearing an unbeatable combination of underwear, heels, and a safety helmet. This would be dangerous enough on a regular bike, but on this almost-recumbent contraption, looking like she might steer with her feet instead of her hands? Not a good idea. However, we can tell you she survived this adventure because we've seen her in two Quebeçois tabloids circa 1968. See those here and here. As we mentioned in those posts, Zimmermann is aka Babsi Zimmermann, but in the text that accompanied this image she's referred to as Astrid Behrens. We have a couple of shots of her behrens her all that we may share later. The above image appeared in an issue of the Belgian magazine Ciné-Revue.
Round and round she goes. Where she stops nobody knows.
We like books set in carnivals. They've been among our most interesting reads. So we figured a movie set in a carnival—Carnival Story, with Anne Baxter and Steve Cochran—was a natural. We gave it a look and it's an above average drama about how Baxter becomes a high diver in a Munich carnival and makes a big splash, but has relationship issues that threaten to derail her career and life. Her main problem is Cochran. He lies, he cheats, and he steals, but she just can't quit him, even though her diving partner Lyle Bettger is totally devoted to her. Even after she marries Bettger she can't keep her hands off Cochran. This can only end badly. And by badly we mean violence and death. Carnival Story is one of those movies with an unspoken sexual subtext. Why would Baxter let Cochran mistreat her again and again? Well, because he gives her something no other man can. Though it couldn't be shown onscreen we can understand that something to be sexual passion. Bettger, and later George Nader, are both devoted to Baxter, and they're nice guys besides, but they're square. Cochran gets Baxter's loins all feverish. Portraying a woman trapped in this dilemma during Hollywood's age of censorship takes acting skill, and Baxter, an Academy Award and Golden Globe winner by this point, has plenty of that. Anything she's in is worth a watch. Carnival Story premiered today in 1954.
Marie Forså starts an uncontrollable forest Feuer.
Did you think you'd seen the last of Marie Forså? We can promise you, that won't happen soon. We love all the old sexploitation stars of the ’70s because their breed is extinct now, but Forså is particularly special because of the heat of her performances. Could she act in the thespian sense? Hell, we have no idea. All her dialogue was in Swedish or dubbed. This West German poster was made for her 1975 erotic classic Butterflies, sometimes known as Butterfly, but which was called Feuer der lust in Germany—“Fire of Lust.” And she's about to burst into flames here. We talked about the movie a couple of years ago. The unidentified head belongs to co-star Eric Edwards. Below is another promo of the pair, as happy as two people can be.
One great photo. Triple the back pain.
We recently saw German actress Marlies Draeger stylishly garbed in a green jacket-dress, and here in a beautiful black and white promo image she gives her all, not because she's nude—though that too—but because she's recumbent across three metal tables that look like sheer hell on her sacroiliac. What resulted is a great shot, though we wouldn't be surprised if afterward she sent a stack of chiropractor bills to her agent. Speaking of sending, this was sent to us by Pulp Intl. reader Herman, who's been of great help in the past with model identifications. No date on this, but figure around the same time as the other image—say 1968.
Sommer photos paint a portrait of relaxation.
These photos show German actress Elke Sommer painting in the yard of her Los Angeles home. They're obviously staged, because we don't think she'd choose a hard tile surface to sit on while doing her work, but the shots are nice. We don't have a date on them, but if we had to guess we'd say they're from the late 1960s. Sommer began painting when she was young, and continued throughout her film career and afterward. She once told an interviewer, “I am really closest to me being myself with paint. I paint anyplace. When I am at home I paint outside, in the nude, for up to eight hours at a stretch. I paint with acrylics, so when I'm finished I just jump in the pool.” In 1984 Sommer published a book titled Painting with Elke Sommer, and had a television show of the same title during the 1980s, on which she wore clothes, sadly. So, what does Elke paint? See an example below.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
1910—Duke of York's Cinema Opens
The Duke of York's Cinema opens in Brighton, England, on the site of an old brewery. It is still operating today, mainly as a venue for art films, and is the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.
1975—Gerald Ford Assassination Attempt
Sara Jane Moore, an FBI informant who had been evaluated and deemed harmless by the U.S. Secret Service, tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford. Moore fires one shot at Ford that misses, then is wrestled to the ground by a bystander named Oliver Sipple.
1937—The Hobbit is Published
J. R. R. Tolkien publishes his seminal fantasy novel The Hobbit, aka The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Marketed as a children's book, it is a hit with adults as well, and sells millions of copies, is translated into multiple languages, and spawns the sequel trilogy The Lord of Rings.
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