Vintage Pulp Aug 16 2022
SLAUGHTER'S HOUSE
There's only one rule: walk away or be blown away.


Above: an alternate poster for the Jim Brown blaxploitation movie Slaughter, which first hit cinemas today in 1972. We've talked about it twice: here and here. Shorter version: All work and no play makes Jim a dull boy, which is why it's good Stella was totally down for some fun and games. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 15 2022
KIND FOR KIND
Jane Russell poster reveals more to citydwellers than to heartlanders but in the end it's all the same.


We already talked about the Robert Mitchum/Jane Russell film noir His Kind of Woman, which premiered in the U.S. today in 1951. We recently stumbled across the above curiosity. You may remember our exploration of overlays in mid-century pin-up art (fascinating examples here, here, here, here, and here) and as it turns out, Russell received similar treatment. The cover-up on the second poster isn't an overlay. It's printed onto the paper. But the result is the same. Cleavage be gone! If we had to guess, the modest poster probably was issued everywhere in the U.S. except large cities. But the thing is, such a clumsy reworking—as opposed to just using a different image of Russell entirely—clearly serves to tell viewers they've been denied something, which we suspect was almost as effective at drawing traffic into cinemas as revealing what was covered. But only almost. Which is why at Pulp Intl. we always reveal everything.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2022
SONG REMAINS THE SAME
Even Powell and Loy's legendary act was bound to get tired eventually.


There's nice Roger Soubie art on this French poster for Song of the Thin Man, the last of six movies in the Thin Man series, which premiered in the U.S. in 1947 and reached France today in 1948. After six sessions the concept might seem a little worn to some viewers, but it still has William Powell and Myrna Loy as the leads. The mystery involves the death of an orchestra musician and the search for a missing bandleader, which leads to Powell and Loy exploring New York City's jazz underground. It's an all-white underground spread across various clubs, gambling boats, and parties, populated by at least fifty musicians, none of them of color. Of all the sight gags in the movie, the barring of black musicians from a film revolving around the art form they invented is the most notable one of all, but that's mid-century moviemaking for you.

The jazz gimmick is useful anyway, because it gives the filmmakers the opportunity to have Powell—as upper class supersleuth Nick Charles—play the role of a fish out of water. He understands neither the hipster jazzcats nor their customs and slang, and in about half a decade probably turns into the white-haired bartender from The Wild One. Even so, he needs to find and unmask a murderer in order to free a wrongly accused acquaintance from police custody. In true Thin Man fashion, he quips his way through the proceedings, plays cagey with femmes fatales Marie Windsor and Gloria Grahame, and finally unveils the killer in a nightclub populated by all the suspects. Loy is reliable as always in the sidekick role, and even amusingly picks up a few words of hep lingo.

While Dashiell Hammett originated the two characters of Nick and Nora Charles, he didn't touch Song of the Thin Man. Instead it was written by veteran crime novelist Steve Fisher and comedy writer Nat Perrin. Their union, unlike Nick and Nora's marriage, is an uneasy pairing, though it's hard to put a finger on what exactly is wrong. The mystery has an interesting backdrop, but is never compelling, while the humor seems clunkier than in the past. Powell and Loy do their best, but the movie failed to earn back its production budget, and the franchise came to an end. There were screenwriting and production issues, but we suspect that the real culprit was simple boredom—slayer of movie series and marriages alike. Audiences had simply moved on. World War, generational cynicism, and the emergence of grittier cinema will tend to cause that. Song of the Thin Man premiered today in 1947.
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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2022
THE FIRST OF JUN
Sometimes you can't even give it away.


This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Kanjirundesu, known in English as I Am Aroused and I Can Feel It, and it stars the lovely Jun Izumi, making her film debut. She plays a beautiful young virgin who's fearful of sex. Her friend Panko is already sexually active, but Jun—who's learning how to be a seamstress or tailor at a local vocational school, a fact that causes us to assume she's at least eighteen—is strictly hands off. We can sympathize. We were hands off at eighteen too, though most assuredly not by choice.

When Jun catches her brother Chin masturbating to her, she decides to facilitate the relief of his tensions by asking the always eager Panko to have sex with him. From there the movie evolves into a sort of softcore coming-of-age comedy, with the usual crossed signals and sexual failures. The whole thing has a juvenile feel to it, and no wonder—it's based on Daihachi Izumi's youth sleaze novel Jun-chan. If you're looking for the film's western analog, think Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Sex Drive. We mean in terms of mood, not plot. Kanjirundesu has more nudity, lesbian undertones, and far more premature ejaculation.

Does Jun finally find someone to be the first entry on her ledger? Well, it wouldn't be a softcore movie if she didn't. A little face-sitting—someone else's face, not hers—gets her started down the road to pleasure. That may sound weird, but actually the best thing about this movie is that it's from Nikkatsu Studios but doesn't get too crazy. There's some peeing, though. Whaddaya gonna do? If you've read our other write-ups of Nikkatsu's output you know how far beyond the pale those folks could venture, so a little urine is acceptable. Kanjirundesu is dumb but worth a watch. It premiered in Japan today in 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 31 2022
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
He's watching your every move.


Above is an Italian poster for the U.S. drama I, Mobster, a 1959 crime drama starring Steve Cochran that we discussed earlier this year. This promo is different from the U.S. version but still features lettering across Cochrane's eye—though the visual pun of having the actual letter “I” cross his eye is not achievable in Italian. But we still like this for its successful conveyance of mood, and we liked the movie enough to want to circle back to it. It's obscure, but pretty good. Plus it introduced us to Lita Milan

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Vintage Pulp Jul 19 2022
YOGISHA BARE
These sisters do everything together—including men.


This unusual poster was made to promote the Nikkatsu Studios roman porno flick Yogisha no Onna, starring Mari Tanaka, one of hardest working women on Nikkatsu's roster. She made eighteen films from 1971 to ’73, streaking like a comet across the sexploitation firmament. In Yogisha no Onna she stars as an obviously disturbed woman living with her sister Keiko Tsuzuki in a big, Western style house with their invalid father. The sisters have a love-hate relationship. The love: they share baths. The hate: they share a man. The latter occurs after their father finds Tsuzuki what he thinks is a suitable fiancée, jealousy results, and Tanaka decides that what's good for the sis is good for the sibling. Where does it all lead? If you want the answer you'll have to find out for yourself. We'll just say that as a somewhat early film from the roman porno cycle, Yogisha no Onna is neither unbearably weird nor unconscionably misogynistic, though it's not exactly a portrait of normal social adjustment either. It's possible serious fans of the genre will find the movie too tame, but personally, considering where some of the subsequent roman pornos went, tame was just fine with us. Yogisha no Onna premiered in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 19 2022
GET YOUR AFRIQUE ON
Any port in a storm—except maybe this one.


This French poster for the British made film Port Afrique was painted in a style that made us certain it was the work of Constantin Belinsky. But nope—it's signed by André Bertrand, and it's a very nice piece. As the art indicates, the movie is a North African adventure, a vehicle for Italian rising star Pier Angeli, and it can be described with one word—exotic. The filmmakers turned the E dial up to 11, location shooting in Tangier to create a fictional city of Port Afrique that's part Berber, part French, and part Spanish. Casablanca comparisons are inevitable, but solely in terms of exteriors Port Afrique is greatly superior. There's simply nothing like the real thing. The movie is also shot in color, which adds to its appeal, even if it detracts a bit from its noirish ambitions.

As in Casablanca, much of the action in Port Afrique revolves around a bar, in this case Le Badinage, which seemingly can afford to have more performers than customers. The bar's beautiful chanteuse—there's always a beautiful chanteuse—is played by the elfish Angeli, who's stuck in town without a passport and suffering under the attentions of the proprietor Nino. The threat in his overtures is unspoken but clear—no punani, no passport. Into this situation arrives a wounded American pilot with the unlikely name Rip Reardon, played by future b-movie stalwart Phil Carey. After his onscreen run he would find himself in soap opera purgatory as Asa Buchanan on One Life To Live, but here he gets his chance to help anchor a big drama. Shortly after Rip arrives his wife turns up dead. The cops call it a suicide, but Rip decides to take the investigation into his own hands, with all the usual twists and turns.

Port Afrique has a lot of problems. The script is clunky and improbable, the motivations of its characters murky, and the chemistry between its stars lukewarm. Carey ended up on soap operas for a reason, clearly on display here. He has little range, and none of the heft needed for his role. As for Angeli, she never became the superstar her advocates intended, and again, you can see why. She's better than Carey for sure, yet she still lacks the fire her role needs. But here's the thing—we think, for serious film buffs, the movie is worth watching anyway. It looks amazing, from the cinematography to the production design, and its goal of being a Technicolor noir is worth examination and discussion. But casual film fans may want to steer clear. After premiering in the U.S. in 1956 Port Afrique reached France today in 1957.
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Vintage Pulp Jul 14 2022
LUST AND FOUND
You can attain enlightenment through years of mental discipline, rigid study, and incessant ritual. Or you can just get properly laid once.


Above you see a poster for Yakuza kannon: Iro Jingi, known in English as Yakuza Justice: Erotic Code of Honor, and to dive right into this one, the movie starts bizarrely when a fisherman hooks the corpse of a drowned woman. She died pregnant, and defying all scientific laws, the fisherman delivers the child, though a cadaver obviously can't produce the labor contractions needed to push a baby out. But perhaps there's something mystical at work.

The infant grows into handsome Jirô Okazaki, who has been indoctrinated into monkdom and lives and works on the grounds of a vast temple complex. Onto those grounds one day comes Nozomi Yasuda, who is the daughter of a yakuza boss, and is promised to another yakuza boss. But she's broken the engagement, and when her erstwhile fiancée sends men to kidnap her the attempted snatch happens right in front of Okazaki. Boy saves girl, and sparks fly.

Okazaki's days had been filled by the typical meditation and drudgery of monks, but dealing with the slick yakuza and getting some sweet, sweet Yasuda lovin' changes him to the point where he soon sees the world through a modern, violent, sexual lens. He says at one point (speaking about himself in third person, which we guess monks do): “Seigen has had a taste of earthly life—starting with the tip of his cock.” The eloquence of the man is stunning.

The tale then takes a circular route that explains how Okazaki's mother ended up dead in that river in the first place. It's a stretch, but when it comes to Japanese films from this era that was their stock-in-trade. Okazaki continues down a dark path and eventually risks losing himself. Or finding himself, if you believe this is always who he was under his monk's robes. Birth or rebirth—in either case, Yakuza kannon: Iro Jingi is a pretty interesting story of transformation. It premiered today in 1973.
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Modern Pulp Jul 13 2022
GOLDMAN STANDARD
A beautiful old poster turns out to be a beautiful new poster.


Yes, we just showed you a nice Japanese poster for Laura, and here we are again with another promo, this one French made and very striking. There's more than one French promo for the movie, but this is a special one. It's signed by the artist—Goldman. At first we were unable to find his first name, though we did immediately find another poster he created. That piece was for Orson Welles' 1946 drama The Stranger, so at that point we were thinking Goldman was an overlooked talent from the golden age of cinema.

We used all our internet mining skills and learned, according to an auction website we visited, that Goldman's poster for The Stranger was for a cinematic re-release that occurred much more recently than the 1940s. That meant Laura was probably made for a re-release too. We soon determined that both The Stranger and Laura were screened in France in August 2012. The Cinémathèque Française, which isa venerable film society housed in a building designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, each year offers a slate of vintage and restored films, often focusing on one or several filmmakers. In 2012 Otto Preminger, director of Laura, was one of filmmakers being honored, along with Welles, Manoel de Oliveira, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and others.

So, if we've gotten all this correct—which is no guarantee—the poster we thought was a rare piece of vintage promo art is actually a rare piece of modern promo art. And to think we always complain about modern promo art. So, okay, for the moment we're silenced, because this is excellent work. Still, though, we couldn't find out about Goldman. The internet is often heavy on noise and short on signal. With well known Goldmans out there ranging from Emma to Oscar to Sachs, we can't isolate our Goldman no matter what keyword/quotation mark/Boolean trick we try. But maybe the answer will turn up later. It often does.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 11 2022
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
Vetri obeys neither man nor beast.


Above is a pretty nice find, an Italian promo poster for Quando i dinosauri si mordevano la coda, better known as When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. We've featured the movie several times, and probably will again because it starred Victoria Vetri, aka Angela Dorian, aka Victoria Rathgeb, who fascinates us not merely because she's beautiful in the film, but also because she shot her husband. She appears on this poster with co-stars Magda Knopka and Imogen Hassall. When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth opened in England in 1970, and worldwide the next year. There's no official release date for Italy, but it would have played there during the summer of 1971.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 18
1920—U.S. Women Gain Right To Vote
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified despite heavy conservative opposition. It states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote because of their gender.
1958—Lolita is Published in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, about a man's sexual obsession with a pre-pubescent girl, is published in the United States. It had been originally published in Paris three years earlier.
August 17
1953—NA Launches Recovery Program
Narcotics Anonymous, a twelve-step program of drug addiction recovery modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, holds its first meeting in Los Angeles, California.
August 16
1942—Blimp Crew Disappears without a Trace
The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears on a routine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crashes in Daly City, California. The mystery of the crew's disappearance is never solved.
1977—Elvis Presley Dies
Music icon Elvis Presley is found unresponsive by his fiancée on the floor of his Graceland bedroom suite. Attempts to revive him fail and he's pronounced dead soon afterward. The cause of death is often cited as drug overdose, but toxicology tests have never found evidence this was the case. More likely, years of drug abuse contributed to generally frail health and an overtaxed heart that suddenly failed.
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