Vintage Pulp Sep 25 2020
THE DEATH ROW EXPRESS
If you think being on the wrong side of the tracks is bad, trying being right in the middle of them.


This poster was made for Railroaded!, which is a competent b-noir about a gangster managing to steer cops into arresting a patsy for murder. These cops are damn easy to steer, and later they're really not at all concerned that they might have the wrong man. In fact, they're downright eager to usher this guy into the gas chamber. It's only because Ed Kelly as the innocent man sticks so doggedly to his story that the police start to have doubts. At that point the patsy's sister takes the reins and starts to steer the highly influenceable cops in the right direction, which brings gangster danger to her door. But the benefit of leading cops by the nose is that they tend to linger about.

On the whole, this is a surprisingly tidy little thriller. John Ireland is the gangster/puppetmaster, Hugh Beaumont, later of Leave It to Beaver, is one of the cops, and Sheila Ryan plays the sister of never-wavering faith. All of them are good. Railroaded man Ed Kelly is fine too, but he basically acted in only this movie. True, he appeared uncredited in a film in 1950, and had a bit part in 1970, but those barely count. We don't know why he vanished, but wherever he went we imagine he was pretty satisfied to have starred in what is generally remembered as a pretty good low budget crime thriller. Railroaded! (with an exclamation mark in its official title, though it doesn't appear on this poster) premiered in the U.S. today in 1947.
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Vintage Pulp Sep 25 2020
THE MILE HIGH CLUB
Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has warned us to expect few humps ahead.


A random Japanese poster for you today, a luminous promo for the roman porno flick Kokusai-sen stewardess: Kanno hiko, aka International Stewardess: Erotic Flight. Kumi Taguchi of Tokyo Deep Throat and Yuri Yamashina of Lusty Widow and this Yamaha motorcycle star in a tale that, according to what we read, is partly set in Harlem. That seems to be confirmed by the co-starring role of someone named Addis Abeba, who'll we'll assume is of African descent and whose acting credits consist of only this single movie. We can only imagine Nikkatsu Studios' undoubtedly bizarre take on the most iconic African American burg in the U.S., but try as we might we can't locate this film. Trust us, though, we will never stop looking. Kokusai-sen stewardess: Kanno hiko premiered in Japan today in 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 21 2020
LA DAMA RITA
There are worse fates than being Shanghaied by Hayworth.


This beautiful poster was made for Argentina to promote the film noir The Lady from Shanghai, which starred Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles. There's no official Argentine premiere date, but since the movie reached Mexico in April 1948 and Uruguay in July 1948, it's a reasonable bet that it hit Argentina sometime during the summer of that year. Read a bit about the film here.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 18 2020
CREATURE FEATURE
Carmellini issues a Terrore alert.


Above are two brilliant Italian posters for Il terrore sul mondo painted by an artist who signed as Carmellini. That's all we know about him, but what great work. The movie is better known as The Creature Walks Among Us. Is it as good as the posters? Are you kidding? It doesn't even deserve posters.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 14 2020
THEY CAN RUN BUT THEY CAN'T HIDE
Once upon a time there was nobody hotter than Hemingway.


We'd heard that The Gun Runners, which premiered in Britain today in 1958, is the most faithful of the several film adaptations of Ernest Hemingway's novel To Have and Have Not. It isn't that close, actually, but it's Hemingway-hot! according to the promo poster. If we're catching the subtle inference correctly, that must mean it's good. Maybe, but what it really shows is Hemingway was so famous at this time that his mere name was a selling point. Think—how many novelists' names have you seen above the title on a movie poster in recent years? Stephen King comes to mind. Maybe Clive Barker, for a minute there. Michael Crichton? Possibly. After those three we draw a blank.

Well, we like Hemingway, and we love the Bogart/Bacall adaptation of To Have and Have Not, though it has nothing to do with the book. This Hemingway-hot! version stars Audie Murphy—yes, that one, and he's a solid enough actor—as a boat captain working out of Key West who gets ensnared in a dangerous scheme that involves smuggling weapons to Cuba. Eddie Albert as the heavy is as amoral as they come, and in supporting roles you get Patricia Owens, Gita Hall, and Everett Sloane. Sometimes the performances in old movies don't feel quite right to modern sensibilities, but you could transplant Albert's performance note for note into a new movie. Acting that stands the test of time that strongly is rare.

Another thing that stands the test of time are the themes explored here. In the novel, the item some people have that others have not is money and the freedom it brings, but in The Gun Runners what people either have or have not would appear to be scruples. It's no surprise that the structural inequality aspect of Hemingway's text was downplayed—who wanted to hear about that in 1958, when so many Americans could work a simple job yet afford a car, a house, and a family? But people sure have a clear understanding of inequality these days, don't they? For that reason alone, we think this flick will resonate with many. We recommend putting this in your queue. In the end it really is Hemingway-hot!

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Modern Pulp Sep 12 2020
HAKUJITSUMU WRESTLING
Tetsuji Takechi comes out swinging hard in round two.


This poster was made for Hakujitsumu, aka Daydream, which premiered in Japan today in 1981. The movie is loosely based on a 1926 novel by Junichir Tanizaki, which director Tetsuji Takechi made into one of the first pinku films in 1964. The same director felt inspired to put together a porno remake and, blazing a trail once again, it was the first hardcore movie to be shown in Japanese cinemas. We wanted to see what Takechi did with his revision so we watched it, and it sets up pretty much the same way as the first movie, with Kyōko Aizome at her dentist's office, the dentist and his assistant administering gas, then both taking liberties once Aizome is helpless. The action is witnessed by another patient, who follows Aizome around town as she has a series of erotic interludes that spiral off into quasi reality designed to sow doubt concerning whether any of it really happened.

We can't say the hardcore action here is highly erotic, but certain non-sex sequences get there, including Aizome's nude hotel escape, and her naked lathering and rinse inside a car wash. Not that we're down on hardcore. It's just that we insist everything be made to look beautiful. In the sex scenes Takechi, seeking to prove that the action was indeed real, went anatomical. It's an understandable choice—if you can finally show it, why not show it, nutsacks, assholes, milky fluids and all? But even though we're from the generation that is supposed to reflexively love explicit hardcore, we're old souls, and particularly appreciate porn where we know it's real but don't see everything (maybe Aizome felt the same way—she directed her own remake in 2009). Regardless of the success or failure of Hakujitsumu, anytime we see the phrase “the first film that...” we're fully on board. Now we can say we saw the first Japanese film that went hardcore. That's something, at least. Below, Aizome inspires daydreams, and you can see more from her here.
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Vintage Pulp Sep 8 2020
SMOOTH OPERATOR
Internal medicine has never been quite like this.


More pinku today, with a beautiful Nikkatsu Studios promo for the roman porno flick Kangofu nikki: Itazurana yubi, known in English as Nurse Diary: Wicked Finger. Etsuko Hara stars as a nurse who works at Murata Hospital and is having an affair with her boss, who hopes to inherit the chief of staff position from his wife's father. Side note for our female readers: never trust a guy who'll cheat on his wife. He'll certainly cheat on you too.

And that's exactly what happens to Etsuko, as her doctor boyfriend takes his internal medicine position literally, with any willing patient that comes along. In order to facilitate her affair with the doctor, Etsuko has moved out of the apartment she was sharing with family members, but now that looks like a mistake, as little sister Emi is left behind to suffer the tender mercies of a sexual predator—oldest sister Keiko.

Yeah, these roman porno movies go anywhere and everywhere, including places they really shouldn't, and that's before we even get to the wicked finger part. And since it wouldn't be roman porno without a totally leftfield subplot, Etsuko in her new apartment has drawn the attentions of a peeping tom, who is so driven to lust by Etsuko's yoga routine that he fantasizes about her while fucking a vacuum cleaner hose, and gets stuck.

And that's all the info we're going to give you. If you want to know where else the movie goes—and who wouldn't?—you'll have to watch it yourself. But first a test. Does the shot of Etsuko at bottom make you want to fuck a vacuum? Then take precautions and lock yours up before watching the movie. Your dick will thank you. Kangofu nikki: Itazurana yubi premiered in Japan today in 1979.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 7 2020
DARLING VICKI
Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse.


When we saw Jean Peters in 1953's Pickup on South Street, it was our first exposure to her, and we immediately knew we'd be seeking out more of her work later. Last night we watched another film of hers from 1953—the mystery Vicki, which is based on Steve Fisher's 1941 novel I Wake Up Screaming. Peters plays an up and coming New York City model and actress who's found murdered. The rest of the film, told partly in flashback, details her rise from obscurity to celebrated It girl, and the investigation that follows her killing. Jeanne Crain plays Peters' sister who's dedicated to finding the truth, and Richard Boone takes on the unusual role of an emotionally unstable lead detective whose assumptions affect his objectivity.

The movie plays like a partial retread of 1946's Laura, and like Gene Tierney's famed character Laura Hunt, Peters' aspiring superstar Vicki Reed has a profound effect on people even after her death, from broken hearts to poisonous resentment. But Vicki doesn't have the same atmosphere and narrative heft as Laura. Even though it's a mystery, there are no real surprises. Still, we've seen far worse films, and Peters' performance is fine, if not quite as enjoyable as her jaded working class beauty from Pickup on South Street. We recommend that film unreservedly, and Vicki cautiously. It premiered in New York City today in 1953 before going into national release on October 5.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 6 2020
A HOLE IN HER LIFE
Tanaka is crazy like a fox in diamond hunting caper.


Nikkatsu Studios goes cute on this fun poster for the pinku comedy Kôshoku kazoku: Kitsune to tanuki, known in English as Amorous Family: Like a Fox and a Raccoon. This starred the iconic Mari Tanaka, along with Mikiko Sakai and Michiko Komori, and the story revolves around several horny sisters and the search for a missing cache of diamonds worth 200 million yen. There's the usual sex and perversion, plus a typically pinku ending steeped in irony. We also managed to track down a promo image from the same shoot that spawned the poster. Looks like it was a fun session. We'll get back to Tanaka a bit later. Kôshoku kazoku: Kitsune to tanuki premiered in Japan today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 3 2020
SURREAL ESTATE
Predatory housing market claims more victims.


Is there such a thing as a movie poster that's too effective? This particular promo was painted by J. Gommers to promote the Belgian run of the horror movie The Haunting. Luckily, we already saw the movie, because we aren't sure we'd brave it based on this freaky piece of art. It opened in the U.S. in 1963 and reached Belgium titled La Maison du diable in French, and Het duivelshuis in Dutch, sometime in early 1964. You can read a bit more about it here

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 27
1964—Warren Commission Issues Report
The Warren Commission, which had been convened to examine the circumstances of John F. Kennedy's assassination, releases its final report, which concludes that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed Kennedy. Today, up to 81% of Americans are troubled by the official account of the assassination.
September 26
1934—Queen Mary Launched
The RMS Queen Mary, three-and-a-half years in the making, launches from Clydebank, Scotland. The steamship enters passenger service in May 1936 and sails the North Atlantic Ocean until 1967. Today she is a museum and tourist attraction anchored in Long Beach, U.S.A.
1983—Nuclear Holocaust Averted
Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov, whose job involves detection of enemy missiles, is warned by Soviet computers that the United States has launched a nuclear missile at Russia. Petrov deviates from procedure, and, instead of informing superiors, decides the detection is a glitch. When the computer warns of four more inbound missiles he decides, under much greater pressure this time, that the detections are also false. Soviet doctrine at the time dictates an immediate and full retaliatory strike, so Petrov's decision to leave his superiors out of the loop very possibly prevents humanity's obliteration. Petrov's actions remain a secret until 1988, but ultimately he is honored at the United Nations.
September 25
2002—Mystery Space Object Crashes in Russia
In an occurrence known as the Vitim Event, an object crashes to the Earth in Siberia and explodes with a force estimated at 4 to 5 kilotons by Russian scientists. An expedition to the site finds the landscape leveled and the soil contaminated by high levels of radioactivity. It is thought that the object was a comet nucleus with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.
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