Vintage Pulp Aug 26 2023
VICIEUSE CYCLE
By whatever means necessary.


Above is a Belgian poster for the 1953 film noir Wicked Woman, originally made in the U.S. starring Richard Egan and, in one of her classic femme fatale roles, Beverly Michaels. Generally, because of the predominant languages used in Belgium, posters from there carried both French and Dutch text. In French Wicked Woman was titled La vicieuse, and in Dutch it was De slet (you can guess what that means). Our header for this post is a play on the never ending debate over whether film noir is a genre or a cycle. Either way, what it produced was always vicious. We briefly talked about Wicked Woman some years ago and shared the U.S. poster. This effort is from the presses of S.P.R.L. Belgique and it's signed by Wik, an artist who remains a mystery. Below, you see Michaels pondering the wickedness of her behavior and deciding she's fine with it.
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Femmes Fatales Jan 13 2023
HAN SOLO
Totally fine all by herself.


Above is a nice image of Japanese actress Bunjaku Han, who appeared in landmark pinky violence films like Stray Cat Rock: Machine Animal, Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo, and many others, as well as in more obscure fare such as Kawaii akujo, aka Lovely Wicked Woman. Here you see her in a 1969 shot made by Shigeru Izumi and first published in Heibon Punch

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Femmes Fatales Jul 20 2022
BEVERLY'S HILLS AND VALLEYS
I'm doing okay, thanks for asking. Well, no, come to think of it, not really.


Beverly Michaels looks in reasonable spirits in the first photo in this series made for her 1953 film noir Wicked Woman, but her mood seems to go downhill in the next two shots. That's a progression that occurs nightly in millions of bars across the planet, but particularly in film noir bars, where something nearly always goes wrong. In Wicked Woman Michaels is the thing that goes wrong. She plays a classic femme predator named Billie Nash, who's intent upon corrupting a basically good man. Michaels had only eight credited roles in a short career that ran from 1949 to 1956, but she was highly influential in establishing the bad girl trope in 1950s cinema. Other bad girls followed, but she was one of the first and worst. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 9 2017
WICKED WITCH
The tune tells the whole tale.


We love when the opening song of a movie tells you everything you need to know about the main character. Wicked Woman stars legendary b-movie femme fatale Beverly Michaels, and here are some choice lines from the intro theme, sung by crooner Herb Jeffries:

Why is a wicked woman a fascinating game,
a thing a good man just can't leave alone?
You know before you start it you'll end up broken hearted,
but still you're like a moth to flame.
What does a wicked woman have burning in her eyes
that casts you in a spell you can't escape?
You know that what she's doin' is sure to cause your ruin
and still you listen to her lies...

Wicked Woman is pure cheeseball melodrama, but it's important because it established the icy cold Michaels blueprint that was copied in later movies—the lure, the scam, and the betrayal, all done unrepentantly. Michaels' fame derives not from acting ability, but from screen presence—i.e. she had that special it needed to play a femme fatale. In fact she's so bad you kind of root for her. Wicked Woman premiered in the U.S. today in 1953, and you can watch the whole thing at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 12 2011
WINNING HAN
Her Wicked, Wicked ways.

Above is a rare poster for a 1971 Japanese film entitled Kawaii akujo, known in English as The Lovely Wicked Woman, or sometimes The Lovely Bad Woman. You won’t find any info about the production online under the English titles because for some reason all the movie databases we consulted referred to it as Cute Vanity Fair. But trust us, this poster doesn’t say “cute vanity fair”, and we seriously doubt the movie was ever released in the West under that highly dubious title. It actually says "cute villain," and it wouldn't have been released in the West under that title either. Anyway, whatever you call the film, it was directed by Inoue Umetsugu and starred Bunjaku Han in a story of murder and intrigue centered around a tabloid newspaper. Han appeared in about twenty-five movies, including the classic pinku serial Stray Cat Rock, and starred on television scores of times before dying prematurely in 2002 at the age of fifty-four. We’ll have a bit more on her later.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 27
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
May 25
1938—Alicante Is Bombed
During the Spanish Civil War, a squadron of Italian bombers sent by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to support the insurgent Spanish Nationalists, bombs the town of Alicante, killing more than three-hundred people. Although less remembered internationally than the infamous Nazi bombing of Guernica the previous year, the death toll in Alicante is similar, if not higher.
1977—Star Wars Opens
George Lucas's sci-fi epic Star Wars premiers in the Unites States to rave reviews and packed movie houses. Produced on a budget of $11 million, the film goes on to earn $460 million in the U.S. and $337 million overseas, while spawning a franchise that would eventually earn billions and make Lucas a Hollywood icon.
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