One great photo. Triple the back pain.
We recently saw German actress Marlies Draeger stylishly garbed in a green jacket-dress, and here in a beautiful black and white promo image she gives her all, not because she's nude—though that too—but because she's recumbent across three metal tables that look like sheer hell on her sacroiliac. What resulted is a great shot, though we wouldn't be surprised if afterward she sent a stack of chiropractor bills to her agent. Speaking of sending, this was sent to us by Pulp Intl. reader Herman, who's been of great help in the past with model identifications. No date on this, but figure around the same time as the other image—say 1968.
Hitomi hits the coast for a private holiday.
Here during the depths of winter (for those of you that experience winter) we thought we'd give you the hottest images we could find to stir your blood. Above are a few looks at Japanese actress Hitomi Kozue, who, according to a bit of accompanying text we didn't bother to show, is enjoying a rare sunny day during the 1974 tsuya, or East Asian rainy season. Hitomi is the star of such films as Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, Sex-Crime Coast: School of Piranha, True Story of a Woman Condemned, and its sequel, and you may remember we promised we'd return to her after sharing an image last year from this same photo session.
Based on what we've seen Hitomi seems to have been the boldest Japanese cinema star of the ’70s when it came to her promo images. These are nicely conceived and composed, tasteful, yet audacious and visceral. Some cultures, including the U.S., have regressed to the point where almost any nudity is now shocking, but eroticism has always been a valid art form, and it will survive the new puritanism once people remember that bodies forced under wraps are exactly what previous generations fought so hard against in order to wrest free expression from external control. Hitomi is uncontrollably beautiful.
They won't be playing by themselves for long.
Above are two 1950s-era Technicolor lithographs featuring a pair of models with playing cards. Only the second is playing solitaire. The first seems to be spokesmodeling: “Call now and you can win a deck of enormous cards!” The first litho is called, “Ace of Hearts,” and the second, which has been retouched to the extent that it has the look of a painting, is titled, “No Cheating.” We don't know who the women are. That's true of about half the lithos we share. Occasionally, though, someone emails us with an identification, so feel free. We're always around.
Some men go head over heels for a woman.
We have another of issue of Adam magazine for you to feast your eyes upon. This one was published in January 1973, and the cover illustrates the story, “Death Rail,” in which author Jack Ritchie asks the eternal philosophical question, “What do men think about when they are falling?” The answer is probably: how to land on the other guy. And what does a woman think about? In the story she congratulates herself for having inherited everything that belongs to her falling husband, and all just by making him erroneously believe she was screwing his business partner, and luring the two into a balcony fight. And the twist, unrevealed until the last sentence, is that it was all a misdirection play. She actually had been cheating, but with the chauffeur, not the business partner. Pretty good work from Ritchie, and another excellent effort from Adam.
Guess who stars in her favorite program?
Posing here atop a good old-fashioned console television is Yuri Tsuwano, who acted in films as Rina Hayakawa. Her output includes 1974's Semi-dokyumento: Okaruto sex, aka Semi-document: Occult Sex, and Bakeneko Toruko furo, aka A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse, which we talked about here. This is a great photo. It dates from 1976.
There's something very fishy going on.
This promo poster just screams winner, don't you think? If it isn't a good movie, it's got to be deliciously terrible. It was made for L'isola degli uomini pesce, known in English as The Island of the Fishmen, a movie that starred Richard Johnson, Barbara Bach, and Claudio Cassinelli. No surprise what it's about, thanks to the title, but nothing is spoiled—the fishmen show up within the first few minutes of the film when a group of convicts in a lifeboat are attacked and the five survivors end up stranded on a swampy island. Since the fishmen hunt there, the attrition rate on this parcel of land is a bitch. Two cons are killed almost immediately upon arrival, and a third barely survives a pit trap. They soon learn humans live there too—paranoid misanthrope Richard Johnson, his companion Barbara Bach, their servant Beryl Cunninghman, and others, all residing in and around a baroque slave plantation house.
Johnson, who is a quack scientist, is trying to train the fishmen for what shall here remain undisclosed purposes. It involves going deep underwater where humans can't survive—but strangely, not so deep that Johnson can't simply drop down in his unpressurized wooden submersible and watch them at work. It's all a crock, even for bad sci-fi. But there are three points of note with the film: first, you can actually see that some budget went into creating the fishmen; second, Johnson speaking in a constipated Dick Dastardly voice is flat hilarious; and third, Barbara Bach is Barbara Bach. Or maybe we should have listed her first. The producers at Dania Film, perhaps realizing Fishmen was a total woofer, rode Bach hard, putting out a bunch of skinful promotional photos and getting her a Fishmen-themed nude shoot in Ciné-Revue. There's always a silver lining in 1970s exploitation cinema—and on Pulp Intl. L'isola degli uomini pesce premiered in Italy today in 1979.
Don't worry! I'm going to get the three of you out of there!
Our girlfriends—affectionately PI-1 and PI-2—rolled their eyes at this one, and why wouldn't they? We did too, but we work with what we're given, and we certainly couldn't ignore the fact that this January 1969 Adam magazine features a cover of a woman whose gravity defying breasts are directly in the center of the art. Men's magazines, those concoctions of macho fantasy set to print, are inherently sexist, but we are mere documentarians of mid-century art, literature, and film—and crime, and weirdness, and sex—in the various forms they take. This one is a particularly eye-catching example.
While literary magazines published prestige fiction, men's mags like Adam carried on the pulp tradition, giving authors without highbrow leanings opportunities to expose their work to wide audiences. Without the efforts of such publications, modern literature might look very different. Stephen King, for example, published many of his early stories in Gallery, a middle-tier smut monthly nobody would have mistaken for Playboy. Speaking of which, Playboy published early works from Ian Fleming, Ursula K. Le Guin, and even serialized the entirety of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in 1954, a year after its initial publication landed with a thud.
As far as we know Adam didn't produce any major writers except James Lee, aka Jim Aitchison, whose Mr. Midnight books were recently made into a series now streaming on Netflix. But failing to graduate lots of future bestselling authors doesn't change what Adam was—a publication that aimed for mass male appeal by merging all the elements of what was once known as pulp. Those elements included mystery, crime, war, exotic adventure, risqué humor, and a dose of relatively tame sexual content. We have all that and more below in thirty-plus scans, and something like seventy-eight issues of Adam embedded in our website.
Well done. You survived another one.
A toast, friends, for though the years keep piling high, you've survived yet another. Hopefully those years are getting better for you all the time. Ours certainly are—knock on wood. The festive photo above was made by U.S. lensman Paul H. Oelman, feautures an unidentified model, and dates from the early or mid-1940s. Oelman was born in 1880 and began his career in Dayton, Ohio, where he met the Wright Brothers and shot photos of their airplane flights. His nude period came later, when he moved his base to Cincinnati, a place which, considering its conservative values, seems a dangerous locale for erotic photography. But he made himself a success there just the same.
Oelman eventually became known throughout the U.S., gave talks to regional camera clubs, and in 1948 founded a national lecture program for the Photographic Society of America. Interesting note about his work method: he preferred to shoot local society girls, and did so with their mothers present as chaperones. We can't even conceive of how that would be viewed today. Would the mothers be called groomers? Anyway, Oelman titled this particular work “Pagan,” and that seems as good a wish as any for the upcoming year. We plan to have a positively pagan year, and we hope you have whatever type of year you seek. 2023! Let's do this!
Slippery pavement ahead. High accident risk. Proceed in low gear.
Above is a poster for Sex rider: Nureta highway, or alternatively Sex Rider: Wet Highway, starring Mari Tanaka as a woman about to be married who succumbs to a case of cold feet and flees her impending nuptials. Her escape gets off to a bad start when she hits a guy with her car. He's not seriously hurt, but seeing a chance to possibly profit, pretends to be gravely injured. Tanaka, no doctor she, mistakes his fake unconsciousness for death and decides to dispose of the body. Reality gets a little bent from that point, as the film descends into a dreamlike state and we poor confused viewers aren't actually sure if the guy is dead. In any case, Tanaka dumps the body in a lake, but is seen doing it by a nearby hunter, and is sexually assaulted by this witness. At that point the dead/not dead man reappears to defend her, claiming, “I'm the ghost of the guy you hit.” Okay.
That's all we'll do on the plot. We want to note that Nikkatsu Studios, undeniably, had an obsession with rape. Their movies are very against the grain nowadays (and were back then too, we suspect, or at least hope), but we think there's value in looking at them objectively. Modern art is always a momentary endpoint and has to be understood with its evolution in mind. That's why we don't judge these sometimes disturbing films too harshly. The 1970s were a time of cinematic exploration and it was coupled with a new sexual freedom wherein merely to shock with nudity was usually considered a nudge toward more liberation. As we understand it, many feminists back then were pro-nudity. It was a flip-off to a patriarchy that had stifled women for centuries.
But when VHS and the porn explosion came along the winds shifted. Billions were made selling women's bodies and women made virtually nothing. Digital tech, which arrived to stick nudity and sex in the faces of people who hadn't even asked to see it, was the final straw. Today, many people see any female nudity as exploitative, and rail against any depiction of violence against women as implicit endorsement of the same. It's understandable. We all have our own red lines. Everybody's upsettable. Even the people who claim to be hard-as-nails free expression absolutists. Don't believe it? Tell one of them you think belief in a god is childish, or you're tired of veneration of the armed forces, and see how that goes. Everyone is upsettable.
Japan was a more patriarchal society than many leading up to the roman porno period, so the push toward sexualization was quite strong there. Though cinematic censorship against frontal nudity and sex acts was firm, such prohibitions merely made Japanese filmmakers creative. It's incredible how shocking a roman porno movie can be without showing a wisp of pubic hair. The rape obsession is just one example. There was also a focus on bodily functions, submission, and more. Despite those shocks, we feel like roman porno films differ only in number—rather than content—from what was being produced in the West during the same period. In the U.S., France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, et al, the 1970 to 1980 timeframe was likewise characterized by an exploration of themes that today are considered taboo.
We love foreign films, and upon exploring Japanese cinema, we progressed from post-war dramas, to samurai and martial arts epics, to counterculture pinky violence films, and thence to roman porno. Ultimately, poster art is one of the linchpins of our site, and roman porno films have great posters, which is the main reason we talk about them so much. We could just share the posters and stop there, but that usually feels inadequate for people who take film as seriously as we (and hopefully you) do. So we watch the movies, but sometimes wonder if we've learned all we can from the genre and maybe should call it quits and move on. But for now we'll keep exploring films such as Sex rider: Nureta highway. In the end, we have to give it credit—at least it tried to be different. But it also should have tried to be better. It premiered in Japan today in 1971.
Ciné-Revue was the go-to publication for movie stars seeking exposure.
Here's your official Christmas gift, a prime example of that mid-century phenomenon we discuss often, the intersection of mainstream and adult cinema during the sixties and seventies. Ciné-Revue, which was published in Belgium and distributed there and in France, Switzerland, Canada, Portugal, Britain, and the Basque region of Spain, was at the vanguard of that idea. It highlighted both popular stars and their adult counterparts, blurring the line between the two. It wasn't hard to do. Famous performers often acted in sexually oriented films, and Ciné-Revue was a platform that helped cinematic explorations of sexual ideas be taken seriously. The issue you see above is the cover of Ciné-Revue Photos 49, a visual compendium of actresses both world famous and somewhat obscure. The names run the gamut from Anita Ekberg to Marina Marfoglia. Marfoglia gets the cover, while Ekberg gets the rear, and that's exactly what we're talking about—the obscure elevated over the known. Both are also featured in multiple pages inside—but while Ekberg gets seven, Marfoglia gets eight and the centerfold. The issue is about a hundred pages, but we're unable to put together a post that long. Instead, we've selected some of the nicer images to warm up this winter day. Enjoy, and don't worry about us slaving over a computer. We put this collection together last week. Right now, on Christmas, we're traveling with the PIs.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
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".
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