Femmes Fatales Aug 24 2022
PERFECTLY INNOCENT
I'm not devious or Machiavellian in the least. But a Machiavellian person would say that, wouldn't they?


Fifteenth century philosopher and diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli popularized the belief that powerful men—and particularly politicians—are often amoral, and perhaps should be that way, an idea that gave rise to the term Machiavellian. Amazingly, some of his genes funneled down the centuries directly into the person you see above, Italian actress Nicoletta Machiavelli. She earned—or deviously maneuvered—her way into more than thirty films, including Se tutte le donne del mondo... (Operazione Paradiso), aka Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, Matchless, Navajo Joe, and Les seins de glace, aka Someone Is Bleeding.

The photo was shot by Angelo Frontoni, and comes from 1965. Below you see a couple of unretouched alternate frames Frontoni made during the same session, but with Machiavelli showing an impressive treasure trail. Will those ever come back, you think? No? Well, they should. About her famous ancestor Machiavelli once said that she was proud to be his descendant, and quipped that she was, “Machiavellian in the cradle.” She also claimed that to her, at least, the term didn't mean to behave deviously or sociopathically at all. But then she would say that.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 13 2018
WE'VE MET OUR MATCH
Enough! We'll tell you anything you want to hear! Just please make it stop!


Matchless premiered in Italy in 1967, but it was originally released under the title Sin rival. When and why it also played in Italy as Matchless—as indicated by this Italian and English promo poster—is a mystery. It later played in the U.S. as Matchless but with different poster art. Of all the promos, this one is the nicest, we think. The movie is a bizarre spy flick spoof about a journalist (Patrick O'Neal) who escapes a Chinese military prison with the help of a ring that makes him invisible. He's given this gadget by another prisoner for reasons that are unclear. After he reaches home turf in NYC the U.S. government takes advantage of his disappearing act by turning him into a spy. They send him to take down a criminal mastermind played by Donald Pleasance, who riffs on his own Blofeld character from You Only Live Twice. Chases, crashes, quips, and snafus soon follow.

Here's the thing. Serious films that turn out bad are often unintentionally enjoyable; comedies that turn out bad can be slow torture. Matchless isn't as bad as extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation in a CIA black site, but isn't much of a step up from there either. It's mostly tedious, witless, and punch drunk stupid, but it's redeemed slightly by Nicoletta Machiavelli and Ira von Fürstenberg, and we imagine it can be fun if you watch it with a gaggle of friends and gallons of intoxicants. But then again, almost anything is.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 16
1961—Rudolph Nureyev Defects from Soviet Union
Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defects at Le Bourget airport in Paris. The western press reported that it was his love for Chilean heiress Clara Saint that triggered the event, but in reality Nuryev had been touring Europe with the Kirov Ballet and defected in order to avoid punishment for his continual refusal to abide by rules imposed upon the tour by Moscow.
June 15
1978—Hussein Marries Halaby
King Hussein of Jordan, who had claimed direct lineage from the Prophet Muhammad and the most ancient tribe in the Arab world, marries American Lisa Halaby, who renounces her American citizenship, converts to Islam, and takes the name Queen Noor. Noor soon becomes one of the most glamorous and recognized royals in the world.
June 14
1995—Roger Zelazny Dies
American fantasy and science fiction writer Roger Zelazny dies at age fifty-eight of kidney failure related to colo-rectal cancer. Zelazny won the Nebula award three times, and the Hugo award six times, for novels such as ...And Call Me Conrad and Lord of Light, but was best known for his fantasy serial The Chronicles of Amber.
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