Vintage Pulp Jan 3 2022
TRAFFIC STOPPER
Sugawara gives the red light to wartime slavery.


This blazingly colorful promo poster was made for the action movie Onna dorei-sen, known in English as Female Slave Ship, which is set during World War II and follows the adventures of a navy lieutenant played by Bunta Sugawara. The tale begins with him sent on a secret mission to obtain radar schematics to help salvage Japan's waning war fortunes, but unfortunately his plane is shot full of holes by a squadron of American F4Fs and he ends up in the drink. He's picked up by a Shanghai bound China boat, or slave ship, carrying twelve women meant to be auctioned to a gathering of Epsteins. Eleven of the women are prostitutes, but Rumiko, played by the lovely Utako Mitsuya, was tricked onto the boat. Naturally, she and Sugawara form an instant connection. Can he save her? You can be sure he'll try his best.

But just when you think Female Slave Ship is a straightforward white-knight-saves-damsel tale, the slave ship is attacked by pirates, and the women and Sugawara are suddenly at the mercy of the most ruthless band of unbathed thugs ever to steam the East China Sea. After some onboard drama the vessel lands, not in Shanghai but on a rocky Chinese coast where traffickers plan to brand and sell the women. This obviously can't stand, which means Buntawara must somehow throw sand in the gears. Why he's even alive at this point is a question. He's been nothing but trouble to the pirates, and the simplest solution would have been to toss him to the sharks. Failing to do that will be a costly and contusion making error.

We wanted to get away from Nikkatsu Studios' misogynistic roman pornos for a while and this effort from Shintoho Film fulfilled the requirement. Well, mostly. While generally tame, you'll rarely see so many women slapped around. But the treatment is meant to outrage. Mission accomplished. You will hate these traffickers. As for the movie overall, we suspect you'll like-not-love it. It's done in broad strokes, but as a sort of surf-to-turf soap opera it mostly works fine. Sugawara, who was soon to become a cinematic icon, has a charisma befitting his burgeoning status. And Yôko Mihara, already a big star at this point, is enjoyable playing a slippery slaver whose allegiances shift with the tides. She and Sugawara are worth seeing. Female Slave Ship premiered in Japan today in 1960.
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Vintage Pulp Jul 27 2020
CRAVING SEA FOOD
Count yourself lucky if your girlfriend only gets grumpy when she's hungry.


We never considered the possibility that the bizarre Girl Diver of Spook Mansion wasn't the only weird ama movie made, but we're fast learning that these films—an ama is basically female pearl diver—were used as templates for all sorts of bizarre plots. Above you see two posters for Hitokui ama, which is known in English as Cannibal Ama, or sometimes Underwater Murder, and occasionally Man-Eating Girl Diver. It starred Yoko Mihara, and like her earlier outing in Spook Mansion, is currently unavailable to us. In fact, we don't think the movie has been released on DVD anywhere outside Japan. It's too bad, because the whole cannibal idea has us greatly intrigued, but sadly this is one we'll have to wait for. Hitokui ama premiered in Japan today in 1958.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 4 2019
AMA BELIEVER
Yôko Mihara dives into a family mystery.


This poster was made for the Shintoho Film Co. genre mash-up Ama no bakemono yashiki. What genres were mashed? The English title should answer that for you—Girl Diver of Spook Mansion. Yes, it's a mixture of an ama flick and— Wait, should we define that for you? We've talked about this a lot, but in case you weren't around for those discussions, ama films deal with female divers who scoured Japan's bay bottoms for pearls, abalone, et al, and, according to strict tradition, did so topless. Look here, quickly. So that idea was combined with a ghost story. We gather that the ama genre was so popular that injecting novelty into it was a can't miss proposition. And in fact, most of the reviews we checked were favorable.

The movie is about an ama, played by Yôko Mihara, living in a creepy old house and being haunted by her younger sister's ghost, which nobody else can see. Though others are skeptical at first, Mihara manages to secure help in the form of Bunta Sugawara. Sounds like a winner to us. Hopefully we'll confirm that later, since this film is actually out there to be seen, but at the moment isn't available to us. At least we found this rare poster. There are a couple of scans of it online, but the version above is better quality than those. We also found a few promo images, and they appear below. Ama no bakemono yashiki, aka Girl Diver of Spook Mansion (another aka was Haunted Cave) premiered in Japan today in 1959.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
January 27
1967—Apollo Fire Kills Three Astronauts
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although the ignition source of the fire is never conclusively identified, the astronauts' deaths are attributed to a wide range of design hazards in the early Apollo command module, including the use of a high-pressure 100 percent-oxygen atmosphere for the test, wiring and plumbing flaws, flammable materials in the cockpit, an inward-opening hatch, and the flight suits worn by the astronauts.
January 26
1924—St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad
St. Peterburg, the Russian city founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and which was capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years, is renamed Leningrad three days after the death of Vladimir Lenin. The city had already been renamed Petrograd in 1914. It was finally given back its original name St. Petersburg in 1991.
1966—Beaumont Children Disappear
In Australia, siblings Jane Nartare Beaumont, Arnna Kathleen Beaumont, and Grant Ellis Beaumont, aged 9, 7, and 4, disappear from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, and are never seen again. Witnesses claim to have spotted them in the company of a tall, blonde man, but over the years, after interviewing many potential suspects, police are unable generate enough solid leads to result in an arrest. The disappearances remain Australia's most infamous cold case.
January 25
1949—First Emmy Awards Are Presented
At the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, California, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents the first Emmy Awards. The name Emmy was chosen as a feminization of "immy", a nickname used for the image orthicon tubes that were common in early television cameras.
1971—Manson Family Found Guilty
Charles Manson and three female members of his "family" are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, which Manson orchestrated in hopes of bringing about Helter Skelter, an apocalyptic war he believed would arise between blacks and whites.
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