She's a little bit of this, a little bit of that.
Above is a Toho Company promo photo of Rika Aoki made for Konketsuji Rika, known in English as Rika the Mixed-Blood Girl, released today in 1972. Though the promo is copyrighted by Toho, that was the distribution company. Kindai Eiga Kyokai actually made the film, which tells the tale of a half-Japanese half-black gang leader who deals—violently—with a lot of very bad men. It was part of a Rika trilogy, of which we've seen installments one and three. This promo reminds us to check out the third.
She has terrible manners but a terrific flair for the dramatic.
Above is another rare promo image of Japanese actress Reiko Ike, someone we've documented extensively through the years, and here, the big hair, bare skin, and brilliant pose make this one of her best shots. We have other Ike images in a stack of Japanese magazines, and if we can figure out how to keep our scanner from putting electronic streaks on the scans we hope to get those posted at some point. This one came from an issue of the magazine Weekly Playboy and dates from 1974.
The classes are challenging, but the extracurriculars are really hard.
The high school that looks normal on the surface, but is a nest of sexual perversion underneath. It's a premise Nikkatsu Studios never missed a chance to trundle out for audiences, and here it is again in Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi, which is known in English as Pleasure Campus, Secret Games. Yuri Yamashina is a teacher at Tokyo Public High School who has a group of recalcitrant seniors, including the star of this flick, the lovely Ayako Ôta, along with the equally lovely Rie Katihara (left and right on the poster respectively). The plot evolves from teacher-student conflict, to secret chemical formulas, to public hypnosis, with many weird stops between, as befits a roman porno flick.
We can't really describe the bizarro plot, but the feel of the movie can be summed up by one sequence. A disobedient Ôta is restricted to the school's chemistry lab while a group of administrators in a nearby conference room decide whether to expel her. One of the panel slips away on the pretext of using the bathroom, but instead attacks Ôta in the chemlab. Meanwhile, some minutes later, another member of the panel decides he needs to use the bathroom, but instead heads to the chemlab. The previous admin has leapt out the window to avoid being caught, and admin two sees Ôta half naked and continues the assault. A third admin says he needs to use the bathroom, goes to chemlab where admin two has just fled out the window, finds Ôta naked and tied to a table, and continues the assault... and so forth.
All the wrestling and leaping out of windows plays like a Benny Hill sequence on acid, with more spazzing, yelling, and pratfalling than a sane mind can witness. We recognized that this serial sexual assault is supposed to comedic, but the laughs didn't come for us. Possibly that's due to cultural blindness—not being from Japan, the humor doesn't cross over. So for that reason, we'll let a Japanese commenter on Filmarks review this one for us. Translated, he wrote: “If this happens to me, I hate it so much that I want to die, but since it is a movie, I almost laughed to death. That's what absurdity is.”
There you have it. Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi is an absurdist comedy based around ideas about sexual desire and authority. We take seriously our efforts to understand the roman porno genre, just as we work to understand all yesteryear's enormously popular genres of international film, from Italian giallo mysteries to Mexican lucha libre actioners, but as far as we're concerned it's time for another break from watching these roman porno flicks. Our stand-in from Japan wrote, in so many words: It's just a movie. We get that, so we'll be back to this genre at some point. Some point months from now, after our heads are clear. Kairaku gakuen: Kinjirareta asobi premiered in Japan today in 1980.
I like my men stirred, not shaken.
Above you see Japanese actress and singer Rushia Santô, who we last encountered in the film Onna kyôshi: Seito no me no maede, aka Female Teacher: In Front of the Students. As an actress she worked in the misleadingly named genre of roman porno (romantic pornography), which consists of non-explicit but highly sexual dramas and comedies. She made only six movies. That's not many, but with titles like Mischievous Lolita: Attacking the Virgin from Behind (Itazura Lolita: Ushirokara virgin) and Sexy doll: Abe Sada sansei, we'd wager her imprint on Japanese cinema was indelible. This shot is from around 1982.
Jane Russell flirts with audiences—and censorship.
The amazing poster above made for the 1943 western The Outlaw, a stinker of a movie that's one of the earlier ones to prove that a film can be terrible yet still be a hit. In fact, it was one of the most financially successful westerns of the 1940s, but really, really bad, as we discussed in our write-up a few years ago. The poster is shocking. Look at Jane's almost exposed boobs. Look at her clearly visible nipple. The movie was first slated to show in Japan in 1946 but censors wouldn't allow it, so it didn't actually didn't premiere there until 1952, but still, 1952 strikes us as pretty early for a design this racy. But the date is confirmed, because it's signed by an artist named Miya, and next to his or her name is “1952.” It's a great piece. We have another, less envelope pushing poster, unsigned and probably by a different artist, below. The Outlaw originally premiered in Japan today in 1952.
That's no lady. That's a sexual predator.
This is a pretty rare poster, very hard to find in uncensored form. It was made for Kamakiri fujin no kokuhaku, generally known in English as Confessions of Lady Mantis, a bizarre little movie about a woman who's a serial life destroyer. Midori Sasaki stars and plays a well known television host who embarks on a spate of affairs, with misfortune soon striking each of her involvements. But before we go on, let's take a moment to appreciate the movie's unusually beautiful opening credit sequence. Midori is photographed in similarly loving fashion throughout the film:
Getting back to Midori's affairs, her first is a formula one driver who's later killed in a crash. Then a neighbor she tempts gives up his perfect wife and beautiful house only for Midori to abandon him. Five flings all end badly for the men, but number six happens to be a contract killer. We won't tell you what happens next. It's amazing Midori gets through all these men in a movie running just over an hour. You really have to appreciate the conciseness of Japanese b-cinema. That being the case, we'll be concise too: Kamakiri fujin no kokuhaku is interesting, occasionally funny, and worth a look, but not special. It premiered in Japan today in 1975.
Whether you call her Ilsa, Greta, or Wanda, she's a Thorne in everyone's sides.
Above is a Japanese poster for Ilsa, the Wicked Warden. We've already shown you Japanese posters for what we assumed was the complete Ilsa trilogy of torturesploitation flicks starring Dyanne Thorne, but when we saw this one we got a little confused. This was originally released in West Germany in January 1977—before the third official Ilsa film. It was not originally titled Ilsa the Wicked Warden, but Greta - Haus ohne Männer, as well as Wanda, the Wicked Warden. But still, since it came out before Ilsa 3, we thought maybe it was part of the group. So is it an Ilsa movie or not? Only one way to find out.
*cut to ninety minutes later*
Well, it's an Ilsa movie in spirit, but since Thorne plays a character named Greta, it isn't canonical. An enterprising video distributor renamed it to sucker aficionados of the first two Ilsa flicks. We doubt those fans felt tricked—Greta is identical to the other efforts, but without the nazi backstory. It was made under the steady, sleazy hand of veteran smut director Jesús Franco, and plotwise Tania Busselier goes undercover into Thorne's brutal Las Palomas mental institution/supermax prison in order to expose its corruption, but in risking her body and mind gets far more than she bargained for. And by more we mean whippings, various sexual invasions, and, probably, a sense of dismay about the direction of her film career.
The movie is really just an episodic collection of torture set pieces interspersed with sex scenes, and it's absolutely awful. There's no way to get around that fact. It's ridiculously written and atrociously acted, which we sometimes don't mind if a film has a certain spark, but this one is like a broken down horse with ticks and saddlesores. It'll get you somewhere but it won't be a pleasant ride. Thorne shows everything she's got, but while her fuzzy nooks and crannies may be a draw for some, we cannot recommend a movie this bad, even for people who think they're clever enough to make fun of it. Greta - Haus ohne Männer, aka Ilsa the Wicked Warden, aka Wanda, the Wicked Warden premiered in Japan today in 1977. If you're curious, here are our entries on the actual Ilsa canon—one, two, three.
There's hell to pay and the only currency she takes is cold hard ass.
Above is a rare bo-eikibari style promo for Sukeban burûsu: Mesubachi no gyakushû, known in English as as Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee Strikes Again, or sometimes Girl Boss Blues: Queen Bee's Counterattack. It premiered in Japan today in 1971. You can see the standard promo at the top of this group post, and you can see the tateken promo here. Basically, Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto, Yayoi Watanabe, et al are members of a gang of hot young thieves who extort hapless middle-aged squares by luring them, drugging them, and robbing them. The movie has a little of everything—and lot of Ike, one of the towering figures of Japanese b-movies. We find it interesting that Sugimoto didn't make it onto the poster (nor the other promos made for the film) while Yayoi Watanabe (prone and restrained) did. Rest assured, Miki is in the film. She gets as much screen time as anyone except Ike, especially in the first forty-five minutes. Mysterious are the minds of pinku poster designers. This isn't the first time they've thrown us a curve by leaving someone important off a promo. Anyway, this movie is well worth a watch for fans of pinky violence. We already showed you a promo image of Reiko Ike yesterday, but what the heck—let's bring her back, below. And Sugimoto too. We can't have one without the other.
Reiko and Miki chew over a very tough problem.
Reiko Ike (front) and Miki Sugimoto pose together in a rope gnawing b/w promo made for their pinky violence actioner Zenka onna: koroshi-bushi, aka Criminal Woman: Killing Melody, which premiered today in 1973. We found this on Reddit, so thanks to whoever originally uploaded this slightly bizarre item. We have plenty on the movie in our website, including some amazing posters. We recommend clicking its keywords below and scrolling.
Bardot turns Paris upside down—again.
Above: a couple of alternate Japanese promos for En effeuillant la marguerite, aka Plucking the Daisy, aka Mademoiselle Striptease. We call them alternates, but actually, the one we shared last year was rare. The purple one here was the standard promo. The monochrome one, though, is also rare. You can read what we wrote about the film here. Shorter version: Bardot creates romantic chaos in Paris. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
1989—Anti-Feminist Gunman Kills 14
In Montreal, Canada, at the École Polytechnique, a gunman shoots twenty-eight young women with a semi-automatic rifle, killing fourteen. The gunman claimed to be fighting feminism, which he believed had ruined his life. After the killings he turns the gun on himself and commits suicide.
1933—Prohibition Ends in United States
Utah becomes the 36th U.S. state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to overturn the 18th Amendment which had made the sale of alcohol illegal. But the criminal gangs that had gained power during Prohibition are now firmly established, and maintain an influence that continues unabated for decades.
1945—Flight 19 Vanishes without a Trace
During an overwater navigation training flight from Fort Lauderdale, five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo-bombers lose radio contact with their base and vanish. The disappearance takes place in what is popularly known as the Bermuda Triangle.
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