Vintage Pulp Feb 20 2020
DEVIL'S HIGHWAY
This is a Ride you should refuse.


Not every old movie survives because it's good. If you doubt us, check the contemporary reviews for The Devil Thumbs a Ride. They're disastrous. What you have here is a clunky RKO b-noir, only sixty-seven minutes long, about a bank robber who hitches a ride with an amazingly naive driver and proceeds to drag him into the worst trouble of his life. The pair and two women they pick up during a pit stop eventually end up in a secluded house where the villain reveals his true nature as a liar, bully, sexual predator, and worse. You have to feel bad for these dullards victimized by the hitchhiker, but you'll feel worse for the audiences that paid money to see the movie. Way back in 2009 when we featured the film's other promo poster we hadn't yet seen it, but now that we have we can't recommend it. Its terribleness does verge on humor at times, though, which is something, and movie buffs might be interested to know that it stars Lawrence Tierney, who's these days best known for having played Joe Cabot in Reservoir Dogs. But still, not the best vintage Hollywood has to offer. The Devil Thumbs a Ride premiered today in 1947.

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Vintage Pulp May 3 2016
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES
Any evil a man can do she can do worse.



This colorful poster was made for the Australian release of Deadlier Than the Male, known elsewhere in the world as Born To Kill. The movie stars Claire Trevor and Lawrence Tierney. We had seen Trevor in several roles over the years, including in Murder My Sweet, Johnny Angel, and 1948's Key Largo, but for some reason had never learned to appreciate her talent until seeing her here. Lawrence Tierney, who you may remember as Joe from Reservoir Dogs, is also excellent, if inordinately repellent (as required by his role). A cold-hearted woman meets her match in a brutal man, and the two become entwined in both a murder coverup and adultery. Money is the backdrop but it's jealousy that is the catalyst for every terrible event that occurs. Not a perfect movie, but very good, sprinkled with engaging secondary characters—including Walter Slezak as a sleazy detective—and Trevor knocks her bit out of the park. Deadlier Than the Male premiered as Born To Kill in the U.S. today in 1947.

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Intl. Notebook Sep 26 2011
DEATH AT A FESTIVAL
Donostia Zinemaldia examines life, death, and crime in America.

The Donostia Zinemaldia, aka San Sebastian Film Festival, is becoming one of the better fests in the world. Its 59th edition ended this weekend in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, and for the third year in a row we were there, though not for the festival per se. But we’re posting on it because it was thoroughly pulp-worthy due to the out-of-competition screenings of contemporary American crime films. The subset was called “The American Way of Death” and was restricted to films made within the last thirty years, including Goodfellas, Wild at Heart, Miller’s Crossing, King of New York, New Jack City, One False Move, Silence of the Lambs, Reservoir Dogs, Menace II Society, Red Rock West, Heat, Summer of Sam, Memento, Seven, Fargo, and twenty-five more. In fact, it must be one of the most comprehensive collections of American crime cinema ever screened, and the only significant film from the period they missed, in our opinion, was To Live and Die in L.A. As for the Festival itself, some of the stars who attended included Clive Owen, Antonio Banderas, and Glenn Close,who received a lifetime achievement award. The top prize, called the Concha de Oro or Golden Shell, was won by Los Pasos Dobles—or The Double Steps—by Isaki Lacuesta, and Julie Delpy picked up a special prize for her new movie. If you ever find yourself in northern Spain in September, we recommend passing through Donostia-San Sebastian for the fest. You may not be able to get into the screenings, but the surfing, bars and events are just tremendous, so that should console you. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
March 31
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.
March 30
1986—Jimmy Cagney Dies
American movie actor James Francis Cagney, Jr., who played a variety of roles in everything from romances to musicals but was best known as a quintessential tough guy, dies of a heart attack at his farm in Stanfordville, New York at the age of eighty-six.
March 29
1951—The Rosenbergs Are Convicted of Espionage
Americans Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage as a result of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. While declassified documents seem to confirm Julius Rosenberg's role as a spy, Ethel Rosenberg's involvement is still a matter of dispute. Both Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953.
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