|Femmes Fatales||Nov 12 2023|
The most eco-friendly way to boil water.
The above photo and those below show the lovely U.S. model and singer Colleen Farrington, who we saw on a paperback cover not long ago. There are many frames from this session floating around online, and over time we developed a narrative about them. In our heads Farrington was a little nervous at first, and was like, “Maybe a drink and a smoke will relax me.” Ten minutes later: “Let's show it all!” She even went so far as to give a glimpse of what was most assuredly a massive bush. Farrington became Playboy's October 1957 centerfold—which was around the time these images were made—and about eight years later brought into the world Diane Lane, whose movie The Big Town we discussed last year.
Publishing nude actresses brings criticism our way occasionally. We received such an e-mail a while back when we mentioned feminist themes in Leslie Ford's fiction and posted a Reiko Ike nude on the same day, a juxtaposition which we admit invites scrutiny. The e-mail, which actually was mostly positive, suggested that female nudity is exploitative unless, perhaps, shot by other women. We disagree with that perspective, but it at least tacitly acknowledges the validity of erotic photography. There are some out there who see female nudity as exploitative no matter who shoots it, and believe that the concept of artistic nudity is just a fig leaf for the same old gender repression. But as we've said before, when artful nudity becomes taboo, control over what constitutes normal sex is ceded to the porn industry. How's that working out?
We think whether a nude female image is exploitative depends on myriad considerations: who made it and when; who financed it and what was paid, if anything; who appeared in it and why; whether they appeared willingly (even if it was only for money); what the art was trying to depict or say; the context in which it was disseminated or displayed;and whether it succeeded purely as a discrete piece of art. With all those factors in play, it's easier to just condemn everything. The final consideration, though, is key: the successful execution of the piece. Good art, as long as it was never intended to harm or subjugate, immediately or eventually sheds cultural criticisms like a duck sheds water.
Sexual desire is encoded in our DNA. Erotic art will rebound from the new puritanism and will always exist, but with the inclusion of fresh points of view. Arguably, it's already happening. Art is an appropriate realm for exploring sexual ideas. Erotic photography is pulp-related due to the sexual subtext of so much pulp literature and film noir, the evolution of men's adventure magazines into nudie mags, and the popularity of cheesecake pin-ups. The relationship between sexual subtext and a nude is exactly the same as the relationship between a word, and a definition of that word. We offer some definitions here at Pulp Intl. and will continue making the connection between what is hinted at versus what can shown, even if for the time being sharing nudes means we're swimming upstream.
|Modern Pulp||Sep 25 2022|
Matt Dillon gets on an unstoppable roll.
Above is a poster for the U.S. movie The Big Town, which is a drama released today in 1987, set in 1957, based on the 1967 Clark Howard novel The Arm. We like 1950s movies. And we like new movies set during the 1950s. It's always interesting to see an interpretation of the era, versus productions actually made during those years. The Big Town is a fun rendition, as pretty boy Matt Dillon plays a skilled young dice shooter who leaves podunkville Indiana for Chicago and experiences all its pleasures and pains.
On the pleasure side is femme fatale fan dancer Diane Lane, and bringing the pain is Tommy Lee Jones as a gambler who runs a crooked nightspot called the Gem Club—and who happens to be married to Lane. It's always a bad idea to bed a bad man's wife, but it's an even worse idea to break his bank for $15,000. Dillon does both. Later he tries to engineer a high stakes double-cross that will allow him to win the Gem Club in a craps game. Along the road from rags to potential there are plenty of subplots, including revenge, good girl redemption, and the struggle to retain's one's soul.
The Big Town is often called a neo-noir, and though any film with a crime focus and numerous night scenes tends to get that label slapped on it, in this case we feel like the designation is accurate. The movie deals not only with crime and gambling, but also takes passes at burlesque, racism, and the culture clash between ’40s style tough guys and new generation hipsters, with their sculpted hair and rock and roll attitudes. On the acting front, Dillon does a good job, and Jones is excellent as always, doing that unique thing he does. If you're looking for a fast period drama you can certainly do worse.
ChicagoFawcett PublicationsGold Medal BooksThe Big TownMatt DillonDiane LaneClark HowardTommy Lee JonesSuzy Amisposter artcinemafilm noirmovie review