Femmes Fatales Jun 23 2023
LOSING FAITH
You can stop trying to convince me not to shoot you. I decided on this course of action weeks ago.

Faith Domergue unleashes a steely gaze in this promo photo made for her 1950 film noir Where Danger Lives. Where danger lives is in her eyes, without doubt. While this is an amazing photo, we were nonplussed by the movie. We liked Domergue better in This Island Earth, which is cheesy but fun, and we kind of enjoyed her in the dumb horror flick Cult of the Cobra. She made a lot of movies, so maybe we'll keep trying them until we find one we think is great. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 14 2021
STAR POWER
Rocket fueled adventures from Earth to space and back again.


Above: more covers of Star-Cine Cosmos, a popular brand of French photo-comics made from feature films. We always meant to get back to this magazine with its striking art, but it's been a full twelve years since we last looked at it. Time flies—especially in outer space. The films featured here are, original titles only, top to bottom, Space Men, Alraune, Forbidden Planet, The Mole People, X-15, Radar Men from the Moon, Battle in Outer Space, When World Collide, This Island Earth, Earth vs. The Spider, and Master of the World. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 18 2009
COLOR ME BAD
Let it glow, let it glow, let it glow.

Could this be the greatest poster ever? Were drugs involved? This little beauty was made for the Christmas 1956 West German premiere of This Island Earth, and it gives the film’s famous Metaluna Mutant—one of moviedom’s greatest monsters—the starring role it amply deserves. The “science” part of this sci-fi epic involved iterociters, voltarators, astroscopes, and lots of other made-up devices. The fiction part involved the usual Earthly takeover plot, headquartered on an alien planet where the weather outside was truly frightful. But in our humble opinion the movie is all about the monster. True, the creature had its flaws. It moved kind of slowly. It had claws like a lobster where hands would have been so much more useful. Oh, and it didn’t have a skull. Which is all well and good, as long as you’re adept at ducking, which, alas, it wasn’t. But flawed or not, this monster, and this film, are what mid-century sci-fi was all about. Glory, glory Metaluna!     

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Vintage Pulp Sep 26 2009
TREASURE ISLAND
Just because a sci-fi movie is old doesn’t automatically mean it’s cheesy.

How times change. This Island Earth—for which you see the Swedish promo art above—was a visually stunning, convincingly scripted and well-directed 1954 sci-fi classic that got skewered by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang forty-four years after its release. But the guys at MST3K didn’t prove This Island Earth had been a bad movie all along—they simply proved they were sharp enough to make fun of anything. Watching this one last week, we realized big Technicolor space extravaganzas with matte backgrounds and guys in latex alien suits really don’t look any less believable than modern sci-fi sagas. Pacing, editing and camera movement have certainly been refined for today’s attention deficit culture, but all that moving, shaking and quick-cutting is also used because the new CGI monsters aren’t really much more convincing than the costumed stuntman who played This Island Earth’s famous Metaluna mutant. Sure, the mutant doesn’t look 100% convincing—but if you tell us Gollum, for instance, does, then we’ll give you the number of a good optometrist. We have to agree with the commenter on IMDB who said maybe he’d better watch MST3K to find out what’s so bad about This Island Earth, because from his perspective—and ours—it’s a treasure. It opened in Sweden as Rymdens Demoner, today in 1955.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
March 02
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.
March 01
1912—First Parachute Jump Takes Place
Albert Berry jumps from a biplane traveling at 1,500 feet and lands by parachute at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. The 36 foot diameter chute was contained in a metal canister attached to the underside of the plane, and when Berry dropped from the plane his weight pulled the canopy from the canister. Rather than being secured into the chute by a harness, Berry was seated on a trapeze bar. It's possible he was only the second man to accomplish a parachute landing, as there are some accounts of someone accomplishing the feat in California several months earlier.
1932—Lindbergh Baby Is Kidnapped
The twenty-month-old son of aviator Charles Lindbergh, Charles Augustus Lindbergh III, is kidnapped from the family home in East Amwell, New Jersey. Over two months later the toddler's body is discovered in woods a short distance from the home. A medical examination determines that he had died of a massive skull fracture. A German carpenter named Bruno Hauptmann is arrested, tried, and convicted for the crime. He is sentenced to death and executed in April 1936.
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