Vintage Pulp Feb 17 2024
ENTER THE SUPERDRAGON
The name's Cooper. Brian Cooper. What—you were expecting some other secret agent?


The Italian spy thriller New York chiama Superdrago, which we had a chance to watch during our little break last week, was known in English as Secret Agent Super Dragon, and is another in a spate of hipster spy movies that came in the wake of James Bond's massive cinematic success. It premeired in Italy today in 1966. Three of its promo posters were painted by the great Sandro Symeoni, and while the above example is also attributed to him on some websites, that's incorrect. It's really by Enrico de Seta. Or said to be by one long-running online poster vendor. We're not actually sure about that because the signature doesn't look like his, but who are we to argue with the experts?

In the film, Ray Danton plays a retired agent codenamed Super Dragon—civilian name Brian Cooper—who's roused from his yogic meditations and drawn back into the spy game when a friend dies in a suspicious auto accident that may be related to previous strange deaths. The clues lead from a U.S. college town to Amsterdam (because what kind of spy movie would it be without some globetrotting?), and into the lissome arms of fellow spies Margaret Lee and Marisa Mell (because what kind of spy movie would it be without hotties à la carte?). Between romances Danton learns that the plot revolves around the untraceable drug synchron-2. Purpose: unknown (but don't be shocked if it's to do with world domination).

Few of these Bond knock-offs are sufficiently budgeted or technically proficient enough to result in good final products. Whether you like them has to do with nebulous factors. In this case, we thought Danton's unctious self-entitlement and blasé approach to world saving were funny. We loved when one of his many assailants swallowed cyanide, Danton said, “I'd better get rid of him,” then dumped the corpse out the nearest window. Cue sound effect of splashing water. New York chiama Superdrago is a bit camp without being a satire, and just poorly written enough to provide a few laughs without being a total screenwriting train wreck. But don't pretend we said it's actually good.
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Vintage Pulp Jun 22 2021
HOT IN THE JUNGLE
The temperature in the Amazon just keeps going up.


This remarkable Japanese poster was made to promote a film called 空手アマゾネス, which was originally released in Italy as Le Amazzoni - Donne d'amore e di guerra, and also known in English as Battle of the Amazons, The 100 Fighting Amazons, and Karate Amazons. It was also known in Japan as Karate Amazones, as you can see by looking at the poster. It starred Lincoln Tate, Paola Tedesco, and Solvi Stubing, and that looks like Tedesco on the art getting some relief from the heat by going shirtless. We talked about this movie long ago. Feel free to have a look here. It was originally released in 1973, and reached Japan today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 26 2017
THE NAKED AND THE DEAD
A killer in black stalks Rome's fashionista set.


In Nude per l'assassino, aka Strip Nude for Your Killer there's a motorcycle helmeted serial killer on the loose and police have no idea who he is. The murderer first slaughtered a gynecologist whose most recent patient died of cardiac arrest during an abortion, but now the maniac is working his way through staff and talent at the Albatross Modeling Agency, killing women and men, catching many at their most vulnerable—i.e. naked. Suspects and clues are minimal. But hmm, let's see, how does a botched abortion tie into the other killings? Could it be.... revenge? Very likely. And what often happens in giallo when killers wear face-obscuring motorcycle helmets? Could it be... Well, we won't give it away, except to say the twist of who's under that helmet isn't a twist at all.

Near the end of the film there's a radio broadcast during which an announcer talks about the most recent murder. But first he reports on the government's “drastic new austerity measures.” We were fascinated to learn this was going on in Italy forty years ago. It didn't work then, and it doesn't work now. We can say the same about the movie. But while you won't find Nude per l'assassino on any list of top giallo films, it has some charms: Edwige Fenech, Femi Benussi, Solvi Stubing, and Erna Schurer. We've been pretty lazy about the giallo genre over the years, but watching this movie made us decide to remedy that. We're going to check out some of the better giallo flicks and report back. Nude per l'assassino premiered in Italy today in 1975.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 14 2015
OUT OF SIGHT
Justice is blind, but it can still shoot straight.


This nice poster was made for the 1971 spaghetti western Blindman, a forgotten classic in an inherently cheesy genre. Tony Anthony plays a nameless blind gunman out to rescue fifty European women promised as brides to a group of miners in Lost Creek, Texas, but who were instead kidnapped to Mexico by a gang of bandits. Anthony channels Clint Eastwood, but we don’t mind because he does determined menace passably well, helped in his portrayal by a pair of creepy blind guy contact lenses from the prop department. How he can successfully aim at his quarries in order to aerate them is never addressed, but really, why bother to question it? It’s all good fun, especially because one of the main villians is Ringo Starr, and some of the fifty brides include Agneta Eckemyr, Krista Nell, Janine Reynaud, and Solvi Stubing, who’s certainly worth killing for. Shootouts, fistfights, explosions, and a double-cross or two equal spaghetti western gold. Blindman premiered in Japan today in 1971.

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Femmes Fatales Feb 17 2012
TRUE BLUE
My eyes are up here, people.

Above, an eye-opening photo of German actress Solvi Stubing, one of the great sex symbols of Italian cinema. Her film career began in 1964, and included appearances in Nude per l'assassino, aka Strip Nude for Your Killer, Le deportate della sezione speciale SS, aka Deported Women of the SS Special Edition, and Le amazzoni, aka Battle of the Amazons (we wrote about that one here). This photo is from the French magazine Sexyrama, 1970. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2011
AMAZON FALLS
Once upon a rain forest dreary.

From the immortal director Alfonso Brescia, who gave humanity films such as Super Stooges vs. the Wonder Women and Kill Rommel!, comes Le amazzoni - donne d'amore e di guerra, aka Battle of the Amazons. As you’ve no doubt guessed, it’s a sword and sandal epic, shot in Italy and starring an international cast of b-level actors, including Lincoln Tate, Lucretia Love, Paola Tedesco, and Solvi Stubing. In the film, a group of villagers hire some thieves to help defend against a band of Amazons.

You’ve seen this plot before when it was called The Magnificent Seven, or better yet Seven Samurai, but unfortunately, the only magnificent aspects of Amazzoni are the various scantily clad women. These warriors are hot, but also exceedingly mean. They kill their own wounded, torture people in various diabolical ways, and run roughshod over the nearby peasants like a band of neocons, appropriating whatever or whomever they desire.

When the thieves and villagers make their mutual defense pact, we get a little culture clash comic relief to lighten the tone, which is good because the entire film is so dark it looks like it was shot through a pair of welding goggles. Eventually the fun and games end and we’re off to a climactic final battle, the outcome of which we won’t spoil except to say that in a movie with an anti-feminist subtext, things are not likely to end well for queen ballbuster. The above poster was produced for the film’s Italian premiere today in 1973, and you can see the original trailer here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 12 2011
MATING SEASON
There's nothing like a summer romance to make an old man feel young.


This poster for Nudisti all'isola di Sylt was made for the Italian run of a West German movie called Heißer Sand auf Sylt, known in English as The New Life Style (Just to Be Love) and Naked and Free... The New Life Style. It's about a group of hipsters who head to the British seaside for some partying, drugs, and good clean promiscuous sex. The group is surprised when Renate von Holt hooks up with middle aged square Horst Tappert and the two hit it off. Their romance is genuine and idyllic, but Tappert doesn't like von Holt's friends, and they don't like him. Eventually the counterculture clique is exposed as shallow and uncaring, but at the same time von Holt's and Tappert's May/December romance starts to develop generational cracks.

The movie makes attempts at comedy, but the plot is mostly serious, and comes with a moral: youth will reject what it's offered in favor of kicks and thrills. Pretty obvious. The point is really to show lots of skin. That skin is notable because the women are uniformly gorgeous. Von Holt, Babsi Zimmermann, and Uschi Mood are major beauties. There's also a quick peek at Solvi Stubing, who later became more famous than all of them. This roster of lovely women is the only reason to expend any time here (though Jake la Motta and Rocky Graziano appear in the U.S. version, which could be a draw for boxing fans). Nudisti all'isola di Sylt doesn't have an Italian release date, but it premiered in West Germany today in 1968. Von Holt, Zimmermann, Mood, and Stubing appear, in that order, below.
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Intl. Notebook Oct 21 2010
JULIE'S ISLAND
On the Ege of survival.

Above are selected pages from an October 1972 issue of The National Police Gazette, with cover star Solvi Stubing, who appeared in many films, including Strip Nude for Your Killer, Pussycat Pussycat I Love You, and Yearning for Love. You also get Norwegian beauty Julie Ege in the centerspread. The Ege shots are handouts, part of a larger set that had appeared a year earlier in the Swedish magazine FIB Aktuellt leading up to her starring role in Creatures the World Forgot. To prepare for the movie she supposedly spent a weekend on a deserted island, alone save for a photographer documenting her experience—i.e., here’s Julie gathering wood while wearing only a loincloth, and here’s Julie gnawing on some hearts of palm she’s managed to forage, etc. All in all, we think it was one of the cleverest publicity stunts ever. Producers of Survivor take note—loincloths for everyone. But we digress. We’ve re-posted clearer versions of some of the Gazette’s borrowed images below, and perhaps down the line we’ll even post the entire FIB Aktuellt shoot. In the meantime, you can see one more Ege photo here. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 24
1930—Amy Johnson Flies from England to Australia
English aviatrix Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia. She had departed from Croydon on May 5 and flown 11,000 miles to complete the feat. Her storied career ends in January 1941 when, while flying a secret mission for Britain, she either bails out into the Thames estuary and drowns, or is mistakenly shot down by British fighter planes. The facts of her death remain clouded today.
May 23
1934—Bonnie and Clyde Are Shot To Death
Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression robbing banks, stores and gas stations, are ambushed and shot to death in Louisiana by a posse of six law officers. Officially, the autopsy report lists seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow and twenty-six on Parker, including several head shots on each. So numerous are the bullet holes that an undertaker claims to have difficulty embalming the bodies because they won't hold the embalming fluid.
May 22
1942—Ted Williams Enlists
Baseball player Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox enlists in the United States Marine Corps, where he undergoes flight training and eventually serves as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida. The years he lost to World War II (and later another year to the Korean War) considerably diminished his career baseball statistics, but even so, he is indisputably one of greatest players in the history of the sport.
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