|Vintage Pulp||Oct 18 2022|
It's a different kind of jungle book.
When we saw this cover for Stan Shafer's Heat, we had to have the book, because that's Kitty Swan, Swedish b-movie actress from the 1960s, hanging on a vine and looking good doing it. The shot is an unretouched promo image from her 1968 lost world flick Gungala la pantera nuda. You can see the studio lights behind her and a guy's hand on the ropes at lower right, providing a step for her foot. If this had been used for the movie, the studio would have cleaned those elements off the final version, so we think of this as an outtake image, borrowed by Midwood Books. Because of the publisher, we figured Heat would be light sleaze, but we were wrong—it's pure triple-x raunch.
In short, a sexually precocious girl named Anna is taken from her father and sent to a nunnery, where her corrupting influence prompts her being shipped off to Brazil, a place where she presumably can do less harm. Unfortunately, her plane crashes (it's partly her fault, if you'd like to imagine how it happened) and she's lost in the jungle, there to be rescued by tribesmen who think her the earthly incarnation of a fabled sex goddess. She becomes a pawn in a power struggle between the tribe's leader and its head priest, as well as their sexual plaything, and that of a horny puma.
Most of the events in this bizarre tale take place during the 1930s, and are related via a contemporary frame that features an elderly Anna narrating her own extraordinary life story to a reporter—and you just know that's going to get weird too, because the reporter is beautiful and Anna remains hot, a youthfulness she attributes to daily orgasms. We'll stop there, except to mention that several early plot events situate this book waaaaay beyond the pale for the sleaze genre. In fact, if not for the ultra rare Swan photo we wouldn't write about it at all. Actually, that's not true. We considered not writing about it, but we don't self censor. So let's just say you've been warned.
|Femmes Fatales||Jan 14 2022|
I was never an ugly duckling. That's why you shouldn't believe fairy tales.
This photo of Swedish actress Kirsten Svanholm, better known by her pseudonym Kitty Swan, was made when she was filming the Tarzan-style adventure Gungala la pantera nuda, aka Gungala the Black Panther Girl in 1968, the second of two Gungala movies she headlined. After those films she appeared in a couple of official Tarzan movies, 1969's Tarzán en la gruta del oro, aka Tarzan in the Golden Grotto, and 1972's Tarzán y el arco iris, aka Tarzan and the Brown Prince, so you could say she ended up typecast. But what a type. We watched one of the Gungala films and it was ridiculous. Will that stop us from watching the other one? Not on your life.
SwedenGungala la pantera nudaGungala the Black Panther GirlTarzán en la gruta del oroTarzan in the Golden GrottoTarzán y el arco irisTarzan and the Brown PrinceKitty SwanKirsten Svanholm
|Vintage Pulp||May 31 2020|
Jungle orphan grows from little duckling into beautiful Swan.
Above are four Italian posters for Gungala la pantera nuda, aka Gungala the Black Panther Girl, starring Swedish actress Kitty Swan, née Kirsten Svanholm. Four posters? This must be a good movie, right? Well, not really. But the lost world concept was incredibly popular in international cinema during the 1960s, and in landing Swan for the title role, Summa Cinematografica and director Roger Rockfeller (Ruggero Deodato) knew they had something special on their hands. Tasked with making the most of an exceptionally beautiful star, they dutifully take care of the nuda aspect in the opening credits, and keep Swan lightly clothed throughout a movie that's basically Tarzan re-gendered—i.e. a young heiress survives a plane crash in the jungle, is taught by tribespeople to survive in a hostile environment, but has her idyllic existence of running hither and yon in slow motion ruined when folk from the civilized world come searching for her. And when these modern interlopers bring greed, guns, interpersonal dysfunction, and inheritance law to Swan's paradise, it looks like perhaps it's they who are uncivilized, not the primitive panther girl... We've seen it all before, but at least this iteration has Swan to keep the yawning at bay. Gungala la pantera nuda premiered today in 1968.
ItalyDenmarkSumma CinematograficaGungala la pantera nudaGungala the Black Panther GirlKitty SwanKirsten SvanholmRuggero DeodatoRoger Rockfellerposter artcinemamovie review
|Vintage Pulp||May 13 2020|
Males top the endangered species list in 1967 spy thriller.
We've shared a lot of art, including a previous Japanese poster, from the James Bond knockoff Deadlier than the Male without ever actually talking about the movie. Today seems like an opportune time, since we're already on the subject of Bond clones. The film, which premiered in Japan today in 1967 after opening in the the UK earlier in the year, starred Richard Johnson, who actually came close to landing the role of Bond thanks to the interest of Dr. No director Terence Young. It didn't happen, though, and Connery as Bond makes more sense when you see Johnson, who's older, skinnier, shorter, and in less pristine shape. But he has panache, and that may be why Young wanted him. Instead he got Connery, and Johnson got the consolation prize of playing Hugh Drummond, a character that originates in H. C. McNeile novels from the 1920s, but who's updated to the ’60s in order to deal with a Cold War plot to steal rockets and divert them for nefarious means.
Like the Bond films, Deadlier than the Male offers a winning combination of action, quips, exotic scenery, and lightweight sexiness, but the film never quite rises to the upper echelons. Without the Bond budget it's hard to bring a truly thrilling vision to life. At least the filmmakers were smart enough to frontload their assets by opening the proceedings with Elke Sommer, who's second billed, but probably more important than Johnson in terms of increasing the film's watchability. She has a physicality that makes her a nice fit playing an assassin in the employ of the film's ultimate villain. Sylva Koscina co-stars as Sommer's klepto sidekick, which doesn't hurt. The pair's nefarious deeds eventually draw Johnson to their mountaintop stronghold, and there viewers are treated to a final throwdown with the evil mastermind involving a mechanized, life-sized chessboard. While Deadlier than the Male doesn't manage to out-Bond Bond, watch it with friends and beers and you'll maximize its potential.
JapanDeadlier than the MaleRichard JohnsonElke SommerSylva KoscinaKitty SwanTerence YoungH. C. McNeileposter artcinemamovie review
|Femmes Fatales||Sep 20 2019|
I enjoy staring evilly, ignoring people, occasionally rubbing my ass on the furniture. The usual cat stuff.
She was born in Copenhagen, Denmark as Kirsten Svanholm but when she hit Hollywood she called herself Kitty Swan. Under her Americanized moniker she appeared in such films as Tarzan in the Golden Grotto, House of 1,000 Dolls, and Virgin of the Jungle, all of which sound like pure cinematic awesomeness. We're going to watch all those movies. We promise. But we're going to start with Gungala, the Black Panther Girl. That one sounds like the best of all. We can't wait. Seriously. This photo is from 1971.
DenmarkCopenhagenTarzan in the Golden GrottoHouse of 1000 DollsVirgin of the JungleGungala the Black Panther GirlGungala la pantera nudaKitty SwanKirsten Svanholm