She's one cool cat burglar.
We have bit of tasty French style for you with this poster for La louve solitaire, a film that premiered today in 1968 and starred Danièle Gaubert. The movie is sourced from a series of novels by Albert Saine-Aube, and plotwise Gaubert plays a Parisian real estate agent by day/leotard wearing cat burglar by night. When she's caught in the act of a robbery by two government agents who've been lying in wait for her, she's blackmailed into working for them. The government duo want her to make a daring theft that will help bring down an international drug smuggling network. She's assigned a helper in the form of Michel Duchaussoy, so the movie becomes a sort of partners-in-crime adventure with a side of romantic tension. Gaubert, of course, finds herself in more danger than she expected, and after the caper the crooks she's robbed are hellbent on revenge.
Just looking at the poster, which you may have noticed is actually a French- and Dutch-language promo from Belgium, you can tell that the movie provides high style in a similar vein as cult flicks such as Danger: Diabolik and Modesty Blaise. Like those films, La louve solitaire features nice outfits, hip lingo, and nightclub scenes, plus Gaubert rolling around in a blood-red Pontiac Firebird that qualifies as pure car porn. Also like those other movies, La louve solitaire isn't fully successful from an execution standpoint, however because it's among a group that was at the forefront of portraying women as physically dangerous ass-kickers with specialized skills (Gaubert's thief character is a trapeze artist), it's worth seeing for historical perspective alone.
100 pounds of trigger pull weight.
Above is reedy Iso Yban, here pictured with a toy machine gun and not much else. Her various bios say she was born in Essen, Germany, but moved to Paris, where she became a dancer at Le Crazy Horse, and as a model posed under the aforementioned name, as well as Yso Iban, Isi Yban, Marlène Funch, Christina Madison, Belinda, et al. This bold shot was made by French lensman Serge Jacques and it dates from the late 1960s.
Cancans de Paris is always uncanny.
Above: a few pages from the French burlesque publication Cancans de Paris, the seventh time we've taken a look at this mag, with this example dating from September 1965. As always there are mainstream celebrities mixed in with the peelers, including Carroll Baker, Brigitte Bardot, Elke Sommer, Kim Novak, Sean Connery, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, and French born ballerina Ludmilla Tchérina. At the top of panel two there's also a minor Raymond Brenot illustration. See some major ones here, and just click the Cancans keywords below if you want to see more issues.
And this stretch is great for the shoulders. We violent ones know how to take care of bodies in more ways than one.
Above is a Barye Phillips cover for Howard Hunt's 1950 novel The Violent Ones, about World War II vet Paul Cameron, summoned by his buddy Phil Thorne back to Paris, where they spent part of the war. Thorne needs help with an unspecified jam, but he's killed not long after Cameron arrives, who then vows revenge against any and all. There's nothing subtle here. He turns bull-in-china-shop, knocks heads, gets knocked, uncovers commies, and manhandles various women—who fall for him anyway. The murder has to do with the smuggling of gold to Hanoi. Cameron mocks the head smuggler at one point, “So now you're sending gold to your cousins in Indo-China so the Little Brown Man can come into his own?” Hunt couldn't imagine Vietnam escaping the western orbit, but it happened anyway. That's irony. He's an intriguing author and a uniquely interesting man, which means he may appear here again.
If it feels good just do it.
This rare and striking poster was made for the Japanese run of the French softcore flick Je suis une nymphomane, known in English as Libido: The Urge to Love, and I Am a Nymphomaniac. The Japanese text here, 色情日記, translates as “lust diary.” Filmed in Paris and Antibes, in the story Sandra Julien falls down an elevator shaft and the accident changes her personality from prim and proper to sexually insatiable. She hates her new urges, but has no control and proceeds to have relations with everyone around her, from her boss's slimy nephew to co-star Janine Reynaud. She also poses for dirty photos, has a threesome with a pair of carny workers, and even commits sexual assault. Possibly her low point comes when she seeks answers by enrolling in philosophy classes. You have to be really far gone to do that. In the end the answer to her problem is deceptively simple: find someone who likes her for more than her body. We can't count ourselves among that group, because other than Julien's nakedness, we don't feel there's much that's worthwhile here, but we'll give it points for being artsy. Je suis une nymphomane had its Japanese premiere today in 1971.
I'm not just pretty—I have relatively positive feelings toward the institution of marriage.
This nice shot shows Hungarian actress, singer, and socialite Eva Gabor. She was not quite as famous as her older sister Zsa Zsa, and she also wasn't nearly as as fickle—by which we mean she only married five times, as opposed to Zsa Zsa's nine trips down the aisle. Marriages ran in the family. The oldest Gabor sister, Magda, had six husbands. But two of them died on her, so technically she finished third in the marital grand prix. You're probably wondering if the sisters shared any husbands. Yes, lucky George Sanders married both Magda and Zsa Zsa. That must have made for some fun Christmas dinners.
Eva appeared in numerous films, including Pacific Blackout, Love Island, Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl, Paris Model, and The Last Time I Saw Paris. On television her most popular role was as Lisa Douglas on Green Acres. The Gabor genes didn't just provide talent and beauty—they bestowed longevity. Eva's mother died at 100, and both her sisters reached 99. You have to figure Eva would have gotten there too, but a bathtub fall followed by pneumonia did her in two decades early, aged seventy-six. The above photo shows her in 1941, when she was a tender twenty-two.
A beautiful old poster turns out to be a beautiful new poster.
Yes, we just showed you a nice Japanese poster for Laura, and here we are again with another promo, this one French made and very striking. There's more than one French promo for the movie, but this is a special one. It's signed by the artist—Goldman. At first we were unable to find his first name, though we did immediately find another poster he created. That piece was for Orson Welles' 1946 drama The Stranger, so at that point we were thinking Goldman was an overlooked talent from the golden age of cinema. We used all our internet mining skills and learned, according to an auction website we visited, that Goldman's poster for The Stranger was for a cinematic re-release that occurred much more recently than the 1940s. That meant Laura was probably made for a re-release too. We soon determined that both The Stranger and Laura were screened in France in August 2012. The Cinémathèque Française, which isa venerable film society housed in a building designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, each year offers a slate of vintage and restored films, often focusing on one or several filmmakers. In 2012 Otto Preminger, director of Laura, was one of filmmakers being honored, along with Welles, Manoel de Oliveira, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and others.
So, if we've gotten all this correct—which is no guarantee—the poster we thought was a rare piece of vintage promo art is actually a rare piece of modern promo art. And to think we always complain about modern promo art. So, okay, for the moment we're silenced, because this is excellent work. Still, though, we couldn't find out about Goldman. The internet is often heavy on noise and short on signal. With well known Goldmans out there ranging from Emma to Oscar to Sachs, we can't isolate our Goldman no matter what keyword/quotation mark/Boolean trick we try. But maybe the answer will turn up later. It often does.
Shaft comes out swinging in the third entry in his revered blaxploitation franchise.
This poster of Richard Roundtree brandishing a massive shillelagh or whatever was made for the third film in his iconic Shaft trilogy, Shaft in Africa, which was released today in 1973. Film series often try to go bigger with each entry, so it's no surprise that this one went clear to Africa during the height of the blaxploitation wave. Looking at the poster, we wonder if the stick gimmick influenced the next year's Black Samson, in which Rockne Tarkington carried a shillelagh of his own. Cinema being generally referential, we're guessing yes. But the similarities between the movies ends there. Black Samson was exclusively concerned with urban Los Angeles, while Shaft in Africa spans three continents and touches on some unusual subject matter.
The story revolves around New York City private dick John Shaft being asked to bring down a modern slavery ring. We should note, for any who don't know, that this evil thrives in 2022. In modern slavery, people desperate for work are offered foreign jobs that turn out to be brutal and pay so little—or nothing—that its victims are trapped. They can neither escape nor go to the police, because they soon learn that their work papers are fraudulent, and are told by their enslavers that the police will imprison them for illegal immigration. Operations of this sort have been broken up in recent years in New York, Georgia, and Texas, where a sex slavery ring was uncovered in Dallas. Elsewhere, slavery rings have been busted in the British Midlands, Australia, and perhaps most notably in Dubai, where Amnesty International says forced labor was used to prepare Qatar for the upcoming World Cup.
Shaft is tasked with traveling to Ethiopia, where he will pose as a local and allow himself to be recruited by slavers so he can gather evidence for French authorities, who have learned that the victims end up in Paris. Unfortunately, Shaft quickly realizes his cover has been blown and that he can't trust anyone. In a classic American cinema example of vigilantism becoming the last best option, he decides that rather than gather evidence against the slavers it'd be better if he went human tornado on the whole stinking lot of them. He becomes, in essence, the classic cop out of control, leaving chaos in his wake as his erstwhile handlers survey the damage and occasionally go sacre bleu!
In an interesting subplot, Vonetta McGee plays Aleme, tasked with teaching Shaft local ways and a bit of language. Shaft is dismayed to learn that she's on the cusp of receiving her clitoridectomy, a coming-of-age ritual generally referred to these days as female genital mutilation. Shaft: “Listen, baby, how in the hell are you gonna know what you're missing unless you give it a little wear and tear before they take it away?” It's glib, but there's a serious undertone—probably not enough for anyone horrified by the practice, but you really can't expect more for the time period. It's actually amazing it was mentioned at all. Because this is a Shaft movie, Aleme has a hands-on experience with the hero's big brown stick and decides she better hang onto her clitoris after all.
What can you say about a movie that features Roundtree reprising his immensely popular and groundbreaking private eye, and that deals with two hot-button social issues decades before they were on the minds of the Western public? The budget is big, the pace is fast, and the international setting in and around Addis Ababa, with some scenes shot in Massawa, Eritrea, and a climax staged in Paris, offers plenty of appeal. In addition, there's McGee, a very beautiful actress who in this outing looks even better than usual, while Serbian actress Neda Arnerić plays a ridiculously horny femme fatale who'll do anything to get Shaft in the sack. Action, commentary, sex, and a bit of humor—those are excellent ingredients, but even with all that and the virtual kitchen sink thrown in we don't think Shaft in Africa is as good as the original. But that's no surprise. There's really nothing like the first time.
Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors—unless of course they happen to look.
You can consider Coulisses d'hôtels an addition to our collection of keyhole themed art from nine years back. We can't determine who painted this, but it's pretty nice, and it wraps around to an eye-catching rear. The book, which originally came in 1962 with this paperback from Éditions Paul Rohart arriving in 1964, purports to be anoymously written by a valet—hence the obvious pseudonym Monsieur Pierre—who worked in various Paris hotels. As the art suggests, he saw many curious and stimulating sights, and we gather the book fits into the category of érotisme.
Which brings us to another PSGP story. He worked at a hotel, an early job, during his college years, as a room service waiter. His story is exactly the one you'd most expect a room service waiter to have. A guest answered his knock completely naked. PSGP delivered the meal, got the signature—which took some time, as the guest had no pen handy—and eventually left. That might sound like a missed opportunity, but to PSGP it felt too much like a hidden camera gag. Plus, how would he have explained his long absence from the hotel kitchen? Clearly, he thinks too much. You can see that keyhole collection here. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1930—Selassie Becomes Emperor
Haile Selassie I, whose birth name Tafari Makonnen and title "Ras" give the Rastafarian religion its name, is proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia. Selassie would become one of the most important leaders in African history, and earn global recognition through his resistance to Italy's illegal invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Selassie died in August 1975 under disputed circumstances.
1984—Marvin Gaye Dies from Gunshot Wound
American singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye, who was famous for a three-octave vocal range which he used on hits such as "Sexual Healing" and "What's Going On," is fatally shot in the chest by his father after an argument over misplaced business documents. Gaye scored forty-one top 40 hit singles on Billboard's pop singles chart between 1963 and 2001, sixty top 40 R&B hits from 1962 to 2001, and thirty-eight top 10 singles on the R&B chart, making him not only one of the most critically acclaimed artists of his day, but one of the most successful.
1930—Movie Censorship Enacted
In the U.S., the Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict censorship guidelines on the depiction of sex, crime, religion, violence and racial mixing in film. The censorship holds sway over Hollywood for the next thirty-eight years, and becomes known as the Hays Code, after its creator, Will H. Hays.
1970—Japan Airlines Flight 351 Hijacked
In Japan, nine samurai sword wielding members of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction hijack Japan Airlines flight 351, which had been en route from Tokyo to Fukuoka. After releasing the passengers, the hijackers proceed to Pyongyang, North Koreas's Mirim Airport, where they surrender to North Korean authorities and are given asylum.
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