Oshida and her friends run riot in the capital.
We're sticking with Japanese posters today. Here's one for the 1970 pinky violence flick Zubekô banchô: yume wa yoru hiraku, aka Tokyo Bad Girls, aka Delinquent Girl Boss: Blossoming Night Dreams. We showed you two other promos for this film, which were the standard and always fun tateken sizes. This is a rare bo-ekibari.
This flower is toxic—to thieves and killers.
We've been on a movie binge, so we have one to discuss for the third day in a row. Above is a poster for the 1968 action-drama Hibotan bakuto, aka Red Peony Gambler. It's fair to call the film a classic. It was directed by the legendary Norifumi Suzuki, and starred Junko Fuji and Ken Takakura. Fuji plays a wandering gambler seeking retribution for her father, who was murdered by an unknown bandit. The killer left behind one clue—a distinctive cloth wallet that Fuji now carries with her. Ultimately she finds her father's killer. No surprise there—that's the entire point. But revenge, unsurprisingly, is more complicated than she'd imagined.
When a movie spawns multiple sequels it's a safe bet it's good, and this one had seven follow-ups. Hibotan bakuto has nearly everything you want from a sword opera. The choreographed action, while not fully convincing, is fun. The direction and cinematography are excellent. And Fuji crafts an interesting performance, staring unblinkingly into the middle distance, looking grim, exuding a compelling coolness and self-containment. Overall, we found the movie very worthwhile. We'll check out at least one or two of the sequels and report back. Hibotan bakuto premiered in Japan today in 1968.
Zero to crazy in under ninety minutes.
We first shared a poster for the pinky violence movie Sukeban gerira, aka Girl Boss Guerrilla, years ago and said at that time we'd get around to talking about the movie. We subsequently shared a tateken style poster, but still didn't get around to the film itself. Well, it's finally later. Eleven years later, to be exact. We refreshed our memory with a new screening last night, and to accompany today's thoughts we're sharing a rare bo-ekibari style poster of this classic pinky violence actioner from Toei Company.
Miki Sugimoto and three friends, who comprise the small but spirited Red Helmet Motorcycle Gang, take a trip from Tokyo to Kyoto to see if they can hustle up some yen by whatever means they can manage—grifts, graft, blackmail, whatever. They make some cash but quickly run afoul of Ryôko Ema of the Kyogoku Group, head boss of all Kyoto's girl gangs, which leads to a Ryôko-Miki showdown for control of the city. Our advice: never fight in flip-flops. But then again, we're not as tough as Miki. She loses her flip flops, but wins the fight.
There's always a set of bad men in the background of a pinky violence movie, and it turns out that though Kyoto's girl gangsters are now under Miki's hard won control, all operate under the umbrella of the Tsutsui Gang, who are basically the Kyoto branch of the yakuza. Miki has to give regular tribute to the boys, obey the rules, or pay the price. She'swilling to toe the line, but her situation is quickly complicated when she makes a new pal played by Reiko Ike, who's disinclined to obey anybody, but particularly the local yakuza clan, one of whose higher ups is her big brother.
Along the way to settling this mess you get fights, captures, torture, and nudity. Comedy and romance are part of the equation too, as is a bit of social commentary (a Red Helmet girl picking up gonorrhea from a priest is particularly biting). In the end a final throwdown is inevitable but how it turns out is anyone's guess. Nothing is guaranteed in a pinky violence movie—well, except violence.
Pinky violence movies can be fun, but the misses tend to be well wide of the mark, if not psychologically disturbing. Sukeban gerira is a nice example of the genre. It's wild, but never quite to the extent that it makes you want to run from the room. An excellent moment comes just a few minutes in, when Sugimoto aggressively bares a tattooed breast at a set of macho assholes, causing them to physically recoil. That sums up the best pinky violence: a new brand of feminine power that overcame any opposition set against it. Sukeban gerira premiered today in 1972.
They're a hell of a lot of trouble.
Above: an alternate poster in tateken format for a movie we highlighted last year—Sanbiki no mesubachi, aka Three Pretty Devils. It starred Reiko Ohara, Junko Natsu, and Yoko Ichiji, and preimiered in Japan today in 1970. See what we wrote about it here.
She's someone you really don't want to cross.
Above: two excellent posters for Onna shikaku manji, aka Mankiller, aka Eternal Killer Woman, which premiered today in 1969 starring Junko Miyazuno. You notice the swastika-looking graphic and the simlar tattoo on Junko's thigh? It's actually a symbol that predates Adolf and the Hitlerians, as we explained a while back at this post. We've had these posters for several years but had no luck finding the movie, so we finally gave up and decided to just upload the art. We think it's worth sharing even without info about the film, and hopefully you think so too.
We deal in human slaughter. But when the killing business is slow we also hire out to open Champagne bottles at parties.
We ran across this menacing promo image online showing the titular quintet of delinquent girl bosses from Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless To Confess, originally titled Zubekô banchô: zange no neuchi mo nai, and which premiered in Japan today in 1971. Reiko Oshida is front and center, flanked by Yukie Kagawa, Mieko Tsudoi, Masumi Tachibana, and Yumiko Katayama. We've shared plenty of promo art from the film, and discussed what it's about. You can see all that by clicking its keywords below. And if you get the urge to be trendy and open a Champagne bottle with a sword, try to do better than these people.
Black don't crack a smile.
Above is a second excellent tateken poster for Shin joshuu sasori: 701-gô, known in English as New Female Prisoner Scorpion: 701, with Yumi Takigawa dressed in black from head to toe and looking ready to deal out death. These tateken style promos are rare, so we're happy to have found two. As usual, we like to share posters on a film's premiere date, and that was today in 1976.
Reiko strikes down upon her enemies with great vengeance and Furyo anger.
More Reiko as soon as that? Why yes. Above you see her on a promo poster for her pinky violence flick Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu, known in English as Terrifying Girls' High School: Delinquent Convulsion Group. We shared this art as part of a collection ten years ago but didn't discuss the film. Reiko and Yûko Kanô star, and as the title suggests, it's about the rough and tumble lives of female juvenile delinquents. Reiko's high school is run by the Red Rose Clan. Things go very right when she's elected head of the gang, then very wrong when her father dies in a brutal auto accident, she's transferred to the outcast class for non-payment of tuition, the Red Rose tosses her overboard, and she finds out her mother is indulging in sexual extracurriculars. Talk about a run of bad luck. But you can't keep Reiko down. She fights her way into the good graces of a group of girls that hang out in a local bar. They decide to form a new gang called the Union Clan to fight the Red Rose and take control of the school, which is beginning to descend into anarchy. Soon after forming her new gang, Reiko learns that her father's accident was orchestrated. Like any devoted daughter, she vows revenge. It won't be easy, but once a girl has dealt with the evils of high school, a cabal of heavily armed international drug dealers is a cakewalk. As required by the pinky violence genre, what follows are clouds of cordite and showers of sparks. Doesn't that sound fun? Reiko never disappoints. Kyofu joshikôkô: Furyo monzetsu guruupu premiered today in 1973.
They're trouble in triplicate.
The above poster was made for Sanbiki no mesubachi, usually known in English as Three Pretty Devils, starring Reiko Ohara, Yoko Ichiji, and Junko Natsu. It concerns three female con artists who are running loose during the gigantic World Expo in Osaka. They engage in every type of grift—they pick pockets, sell counterfeit parking passes, coax free meals from bedazzled older men, engage in a little sexual blackmail, and more. Eventually they get the bright idea to put together an escort service for foreigners, but in order to do so have to cross the local yakuza. Needless to say, that's a bad idea.
The yakuza boss, who's played to the edge of caricature by a frowning, sneering Tsunehiko Watase, perceives the girls more as an opportunity than as competition, and wants to turn them into escorts. Ohara's mancrush Saburo, a yakuza footsoldier, tells her to leave Osaka before it's too late, but when the yakuza find out about his betrayal they shoot the poor sap dead. No self-respecting devil gives up easily, so even cold-blooded murder doesn't end the girls' scheming ways. Eventually their chance for a big score finally comes when Natsu appropriates a bank document worth 200 million yen. The yakuza, as always, stands in their way.
Our synopsis makes this all sound dramatic, but the movie is mostly lightweight, with serious moments but a lot of comedy and music. Regarding the latter, legendary gay performer Pītā has a featured role as a transvestite nightclub singer. It was an early role for him. He's on the promo art in the red turtleneck, which is why there are seemingly four pretty devils on a poster where you'd expect three. While he serves as local color in a nightclub that features prominently in the plot, his treatment by the filmmakers is completely respectful, which is noteworthy considering the year. On the whole, Sanbiki no mesubachi is a pretty good movie. It premiered today in 1970.
Serious trouble just rolled into town.
Furyô banchô: Ikkaku senkin, for which you see a killer poster above, was known in English as Wolves of the City: Fast Money, or sometimes Wolves of the City: Instant Fortune. It starred Tatsuo Umemiya, Reiko Oshida, and Bunta Sugawara, and we hear it's good, but we weren't able to find it to watch. We may circle back to it, though, because we located more promo art Toei Company made for it—for example the cool photos of Umemiya and Oshida you see below.
You notice the swastika tattoo on Oshida's back? We've mentioned before that the symbol's usage predates its appropriation by Nazi Germany, and has different meanings in Japan. However, in this case we suspect those meanings—good luck, eternity, etc.—have been set aside and the filmmakers meant to use the symbol's association with Nazis to suggest rebellion or lawlessness. If asked, they may have claimed they weren't, but they'd have been messing with people's heads in the same way as the Prussian cross in this post was meant to. But we won't know until we watch the film. We'll keep the rest of our promo material in reserve in case our search is successful. Furyô banchô Ikkaku senkin premiered in Japan today in 1970. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
The newspaper Pravda is founded by Leon Trotsky, Adolph Joffe, Matvey Skobelev and other Russian exiles living in Vienna. The name means "truth" and the paper serves as an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991.
1957—Ferlinghetti Wins Obscenity Case
An obscenity trial brought against Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner of the counterculture City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, reaches its conclusion when Judge Clayton Horn rules that Allen Ginsberg's poetry collection Howl is not obscene.
After a long trial watched by millions of people worldwide, former football star O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson subsequently loses a civil suit and is ordered to pay millions in damages.
1919—Wilson Suffers Stroke
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson suffers a massive stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed. He is confined to bed for weeks, but eventually resumes his duties, though his participation is little more than perfunctory. Wilson remains disabled throughout the remainder of his term in office, and the rest of his life.
1968—Massacre in Mexico
Ten days before the opening of the 1968 Summer Olympics
in Mexico City, a peaceful student demonstration ends in the Tlatelolco Massacre. 200 to 300 students are gunned down, and to this day there is no consensus about how or why the shooting began.
1910—Los Angeles Times Bombed
A massive dynamite bomb destroys the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles, California, killing 21 people. Police arrest James B. McNamara and his brother John J. McNamara. Though the brothers are represented by the era's most famous lawyer, Clarence Darrow, of Scopes Monkey Trial fame, they eventually plead guilty. James is convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. His brother John is convicted of a separate bombing of the Llewellyn Iron Works and also sent to prison.
1975—Ali Defeats Frazier in Manila
In the Philippines, an epic heavyweight boxing match known as the Thrilla in Manila takes place between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. It is the third, final and most brutal match between the two, and Ali wins by TKO in the fourteenth round.
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