They're trouble in triplicate.
The above poster was made for Sanbiki no mesubachi, usually known in English as Three Pretty Devils, starring Reiko Ohara, Yoko Ichiji, and Junko Natsu. It concerns three female con artists who are running loose during the gigantic World Expo in Osaka. They engage in every type of grift—they pick pockets, sell counterfeit parking passes, coax free meals from bedazzled older men, engage in a little sexual blackmail, and more. Eventually they get the bright idea to put together an escort service for foreigners, but in order to do so have to cross the local yakuza. Needless to say, that's a bad idea.
The yakuza boss, who's played to the edge of caricature by a frowning, sneering Tsunehiko Watase, perceives the girls more as an opportunity than as competition, and wants to turn them into escorts. Ohara's mancrush Saburo, a yakuza footsoldier, tells her to leave Osaka before it's too late, but when the yakuza find out about his betrayal they shoot the poor sap dead. No self-respecting devil gives up easily, so even cold-blooded murder doesn't end the girls' scheming ways. Eventually their chance for a big score finally comes when Natsu appropriates a bank document worth 200 million yen. The yakuza, as always, stands in their way.
Our synopsis makes this all sound dramatic, but the movie is mostly lightweight, with serious moments but a lot of comedy and music. Regarding the latter, legendary gay performer Pītā has a featured role as a transvestite nightclub singer. It was an early role for him. He's on the promo art in the red turtleneck, which is why there are seemingly four pretty devils on a poster where you'd expect three. While he serves as local color in a nightclub that features prominently in the plot, his treatment by the filmmakers is completely respectful, which is noteworthy considering the year. On the whole, Sanbiki no mesubachi is a pretty good movie. It premiered today in 1970.
If you can't find one you like it's because you aren't trying.
This poster was made to promote the movie Nureta yokujo: Tokudashi nijuichi nin, known in English as Wet Lust: 21 Strippers. With a title like that we of course gave it a watch, and it follows an Osaka vagrant named Hosuke who finds a wallet filled with 60,000 yen, and uses it to remake himself into what he describes as “sort of a pimp.” Really, though, he's more like an aspirant leech, and he soon has a profitable hustle going when he meets Meika Seri (we have a promo image of her below right, squatting in foliage, just because) and shepherds her into earning money for them both as a stripper. Yuko Katagiri soon enters the fold, and she and Meika are shortly having sex at home and doing the same on stage for money. Hosuke, now an unneeded presence, tries to hang onto his meal tickets via guilt and intimidation, but such a state of affairs can only last so long. This is a Nikkatsu Studios movie, though we aren't sure if it qualifies as one of its infamous roman pornos. It resembles one, though, in that it resolves in ironic fashion, as Hosuke's arc ends both fittingly and amusingly. But what you really want in a movie called 21 Strippers is—we're just guessing here—lots of stripping. Lucky you, there's a ton, and from a purely aesthetic perspective, it's interesting to watch the Japanese approach to this art form. Which means in the end, you can pretend the movie is educational. Get out your notepad. We'll be testing you on the material later. Nureta yokujo: Tokudashi nijuichi nin premiered in Japan today in 1974.
Here's some bonus material for you, one promo image each of Yuko Katagiri and Meika Seri. We also, some of you may remember, shared other excellent shots of Meika which you can see here and here. Including the squatting shot above, it all adds up to a nice little collection. In addition, she starred in the 1974 roman porno flick (Maruhi) shikijô mesu ichiba, aka Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market, which we wrote about here. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1969—The Krays Are Found Guilty of Murder
In England, twins Ronald and Reginald Kray are found guilty of the murder of Jack McVitie. The Kray brothers had been notorious gangsters in London's East End, and for their crimes both were sentenced to life in prison, and both eventually died behind bars. Their story later inspired a 1990 motion picture entitled The Krays.
1975—Charlie Chaplin Is Knighted
British-born comic genius Charlie Chaplin, whose long and turbulent career in the U.S. had been brought to an abrupt end when he was branded a communist and denied a residence visa, is bestowed a knighthood at London's Buckingham Palace. Chaplin died two years later and even then peace eluded him, as his body was stolen from its grave for eleven weeks by men trying to extort money from the Chaplin family.
1959—Lou Costello Dies
American comedian Lou Costello, of the famous comedy team Abbott & Costello, dies of a heart attack at Doctors' Hospital in Beverly Hills, three days before his 53rd birthday. His career spanned radio and film, silent movies and talkies, vaudeville and cinema, and in his heyday he was, along with partner Abbott, one of the most beloved personalities in Hollywood.
1933—King Kong Opens
The first version of King Kong
, starring Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray, and with the giant ape Kong brought to life with stop-action photography, opens at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The film goes on to play worldwide to good reviews and huge crowds, and spawns numerous sequels and reworkings over the next eighty years.
1949—James Gallagher Completes Round-the-World Flight
Captain James Gallagher and a crew of fourteen land their B-50 Superfortress named Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, Texas, thus completing the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight. The entire trip from takeoff to touchdown took ninety-four hours and one minute.
1953—Oscars Are Shown on Television
The 26th Academy Awards are broadcast on television by NBC, the first time the awards have been shown on television. Audiences watch live as From Here to Eternity wins for Best Picture, and William Holden and Audrey Hepburn earn statues in the best acting categories for Stalag 17 and Roman Holiday.
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