Vintage Pulp Jun 11 2021
KICKING MORASS
They're meaner than the gators and deadlier than the snakes.


Above, a Japanese poster for Swamp Women, originally made in 1956, starring Mike Connors, Marie Windsor, Carole Matthews, and Beverly Garland. The Japanese title of this is 女囚大脱走, which means “female prisoner escape.” We consider that a bit of a plot spoiler, but the art is brilliant, and we suspect it enticed many a Japanese filmgoer. To their shock and horror, after they'd ponied up the yen they found out it was a Roger Corman b-movie and probably wanted to escape too.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 10 2021
TUESDAY NIGHT
Eddie G. never goes down without a fight.


Mid-century Belgian promo art strikes again. This is an epic poster. It was made for the crime drama Black Tuesday, which played in Belgium as Mardi ça saignera (French title) and Dinsdag zal er bloed stromen (Dutch title). Edward G. Robinson and Peter Graves star in the tale of two death row inmates who escape prison and go on the lam. Graves has hidden $200,000 from a bank robbery and Robinson plans to betray him and steal the dough. Unfortunately, Graves is critically shot during the escape and, even as he lies near death, refuses to say where the money is hidden.
 
This is a pretty nice flick. Virtually any movie with Robinson is worth a viewing. He played many types of characters in his career, but he's known for portraying tough guys, and this is classic Edward G., with all the snarls and sneers fans had come to expect from romps like Little Caesar and Key Largo. And why wouldn't he snarl? Unless a doctor he's taken hostage can save the day the cash he lusts for will never be found. But maybe Graves won't die. Maybe he's tougher than he seems—and smarter too. Robinson never wins in his gangster roles, so it's a question of how he'll lose, not if. But it's always fun watching him fight the bad fight. Black Tuesday premiered in the U.S. in late 1954 and reached Belgium today in 1955.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 8 2021
GUNN RIGHTS
When Jim Brown stands his ground an entire city is turned upside down.


This Japanese poster was made to promote the U.S. blaxploitation flick Black Gunn, which in Japan was called スーパー・ガン, or “Super Gun.” The U.S. promo for the movie is nice too, but we prefer this version. Black Gunn starred Jim Brown as a Los Angeles nightclub owner whose little brother rips off the mob and stashes the cash in Brown's office safe. Little brother has also stolen and stashed ledgers containing information that could bring down the entire organized crime apparatus. Naturally, the mob comes looking and they aren't subtle about their methods. A few beatings and threats elicit some useful information, and pretty soon they're knocking on the door of Gunn's Club, as Brown's joint is called. Think his little brother is going to survive all this? If he did, you wouldn't get to see vengeful Jim beat, kick, and blast various members of mafia west.

Brown is usually a passable actor, no worse than average for action movies of the period, but here he seems to be sleepwalking, along with every other cast member apart from head villain Martin Landau. Brenda Sykes in particular seems to be adrift about a hundred nautical miles offshore. We chalk these performances up to a rushed production, but the good news is the action is explosive, so the film isn't a total waste of time. Plus it has Bernie Casey, and we'll watch him in anything. He had a palpable cool that should have been bottled and sold. Black Gunn premiered in the U.S. today in 1972.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 8 2021
SHAFT COMES AGAIN
He scored big in 1971. In 1972 he returned for a double dip.


Once you go blaxploitation you never go back. At least for a day or two. Above is the U.S. promo poster for another movie from the genre, 1972's Shaft's Big Score, starring the legendary Richard Roundtree. Shaft is obviously a name meant to conjure sex, so it makes sense that the poster is so phallic, with Roundtree sticking that long black rod in the viewer's face. Shaft's Big Score was the sequel to 1971's Shaft, which was a landmark in American cinema that hammered home the growing realization in Hollywood that there was money to be made by showing audiences people like themselves. White audiences had lived that reality since the first moving pictures, but mostly never considered the privilege they were enjoying. Shaft helped demonstrate that all people liked it, and helped define the future for film studios. The focus was black, the cast was diverse, and the money rolled in. Which brought about Shaft's Big Score. We've seen better movies, but we've sure seen worse too. You can read what we thought about it here.
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Vintage Pulp Jun 7 2021
PULLING AN ALL-NIGHTER
All Through the Night is Bogart at his best.


There's no single movie that made Humphrey Bogart a superstar—he built his brand with each outing. But surely All Through the Night was one of his most important pre-icon roles. You see its Italian promo poster above, which was painted by the great artist Luigi Martinati. We've featured Martinati often, and you can see his work here and here. After originally opening in the U.S. in 1942, All Through the Night premiered in Italy as Sesta colonna today in 1949. You can read more about the film here.
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Vintage Pulp Jun 4 2021
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Maya Hiromi gets Onna roll and just can't stop.


This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Onna kyôshi: Shônen-gari, known in English as Female Teacher: Boy Hunt. Nikkatsu Studios had already made two Female Teacher movies, but they're unreleated. This one did, however, spawn a sequel called Onna Kyoshi: Dotei-gari, or as it's known in English, terrifyingly, Female Teacher: Cherry Boy Hunt. We won't go there. Anyway we queued this up, and our first thought was: Wow, another roman porno film where a woman gets turned on by having her teeth drilled? Well, these movies explored every possible fetish. Having her teeth pried at turns her on so much she starts digging around her mouth herself with a fork. See the second screenshot below.
 
In any case, the sizzling hot Maya Hiromi plays a horny biology teacher who takes advantage of her position to indulge in some sexual extracurriculars. She shaves a student's pubes, gives a classroom lesson pantyless, has a nice little threesome, masturbates in a library, and engages in other activities that would get any teacher outside a roman porno movie arrested and placed on the sexual offender registry. We won't tell you what develops from all Hiromi's crazy academic activity, but trust us—you can expect it to be twisted. In the end Onna kyôshi: Shônen-gari is another Nikkatsu Studios humpfest where eroticism turns to something darker, and the final message—to the extent that it's comprehensible—is dubious at best. Can't recommend this one. Just can't. It premiered in Japan today in 1975.
 
But here's something we can recommend: a nice shot of Hiromi originally published in 1978. Just don't let it make you watch the film. It ain't worth it.
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Vintage Pulp Jun 4 2021
HEAT OF THE MOMENT
The temperature goes up but everything else goes down hard in low budget action flick.


We're drawn by cool promo posters, but even though there's nothing special about the cheap-ass art for the 1976 blaxploitation flick Black Heat, we had to watch it anyway because we love low budget vintage cinema. It's like panning for gold. Usually you end up disappointed, but occasionally you find something shiny and nice. Black Heat stars Timothy Brown, who we last saw in an epic disaster called The Dynamite Brothers, aka Stud Brown, that probably should have ended his cinematic career. But here he is two years later still riding the blaxploitation wave. He plays Kicks Carter, an L.A. cop trying to get to the bottom of illegal activities at a fancy hotel, keep his partner's born loser girlfriend out of gambling trouble, and make time for romance on the side.

Considering the bad luck Brown had with The Dynamite Brothers we'd love to tell you Black Heat is a major step up in his career. It isn't. It's terrible. The only spark is provided by co-star Tanya Boyd, who you may remember from her eye popping turn in Black Shampoo. Anything she's in, we'll gladly watch, because as far as heat is concerned her dial goes to eleven. But she about covers the positives here. Well, her and the fact that the movie features one of our favorite sights from ’70s cinema—the car that goes over a cliff with a dummy in the driver seat. It's a good metaphor for the film—basically driverless, destined to crash and burn. Black Heat premiered today in 1976.

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Modern Pulp Jun 2 2021
TANAKA BREAK
A classic story of koi meets girl.


As we've mentioned before, we rarely share boxcover art, but sometimes we make exceptions. This image is the DVD cover of the 1973 roman porno film Koi no karyudo yokubo, aka Love Hunter: Lust, but in poster form with all the informational text and logos removed. Mari Tanaka is the star, and we have plenty of her in the website, including in amazing images like these two. We'll have more from her later, as well. Koi no karyudo yokubo premiered today in 1973.

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Modern Pulp May 31 2021
HOOKED ON PINKU
It takes a lot of guts to watch these sometimes.


A long while back we put together a collection of posters for bdsm themed Japanese pinku films. Why? Why not. But we hadn't seen the movies. One was called Shojo no harawata, aka Entrails of Virgin, aka Guts of a Virgin, and we came across it recently and figured let's watch this thing. The story concerns a slimy fashion photographer and his equally slimy buddies who take two models to a secluded cabin with the intent to take advantage of them, but are attacked by a hairy monster from the woods who has a massive boner. The film is part of Kazuo Komizu's, aka Gaira's, “splatter-eros” trilogy along with Bijo no harawata, aka Guts of a Beautiful Woman and Gômon kifujin, aka Female Inquisitor. A few of his other directorial credits include Violence porno: Jôkan and Violence porno: Nawa to bôkô. You get the idea.

We try not to make any cultural judgments when we watch these pinkus. There's a line from James M. Cain (you knew we'd work in a pulp author somehow) where one of his characters says of bullfights, “If it was my own country I'd be against it, but when it's somebody else's, I go.” That's how we feel. When something in a pinku flick confuses us or weirds us out, we generally shrug and go, “Not my place to criticize.” And now, of course, we'll criticize. In terms of Japanese erotica, the actresses make noises of pleasure that are indistinguishable—at least to our ears—from noises of pain. Not cool. It's sort of a whining, like this feels soooo good I'm on the verge of tears. That's one reason we don't generally get turned on by pinku movies. While the women are uniformly fantastic, their erotic acting is way off target for us.

The blurred line between pleasure and pain in this movie is liable to do a number on your head. And if it doesn't, the scene where a model masturbates with a severed arm while blowing the monster certainly will. Hope we didn't give too much away there. As far as the entrails aspect, well, the title is provocative, but while there's a virgin, we see no entrails. Thank fucking God. And because sex in pinku movies is mostly implied due to laws against the showing of pubic hair or sex organs, the sexualized violence is largely implied too. It's cleverly implied though. So be forewarned. We can't recommend this movie, but the poster art is so amazing we had to share it. It's signed—see just below—but we were not able to ascertain by whom. Too bad. There's real talent there. More so than in the film. Shojo no harawata premiered in Japan today in 1986.
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Vintage Pulp May 28 2021
EUROPEAN VACATION
Mitchum packs everything he needs for traveling except his sleuthing hat.


This beautiful poster for the Robert Mitchum thriller Foreign Intrigue is yet another framable delight from the golden age of Hollywood. Wikipedia calls this movie a film noir, but genre designations are often wrong there and on IMDB. This is actually a spy movie, often light in tone, sort of like the later films Charade and Arabesque. Mitchum is an American in Paris working as a press agent for a reclusive one percenter. When his employer dies of a heart attack, Mitchum comes to believe there was more to the death than a blown ventricle. He follows a trail of clues from the French Riviera to Vienna and Stockholm, which is where the foreign part of Foreign Intrigue comes in. The intrigue part? Well, that never fully develops. In fact, the movie falls back on the cliché of having the villains explain their plot to the protagonist. It has to do with money, blackmail, traitors, and Hitler. Trust us, it's not as interesting as it sounds. Compounding the narrative problems is a dopey soundtrack and a Mitchum who's short on charm here. The flirtations between him and Swedish love interest Ingrid Thulin are solid wood. She went on to win Best Actress at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, which goes to show that half of acting is screenwriting. Are there any saving graces to Foreign Intrigue? Of course. It's well shot, atmospheric, cast with international actors and their wonderful accents, and is a nice travelogue, encompassing Mediterranean villas, Vienna backstreets, and Swedish lakes, all in lush Eastmancolor. And Mitchum is watchable even in a film that mostly wastes his considerable star power. Intrigued? Then go for it. Foreign Intrigue premiered today in 1956.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 13
1971—First of the Pentagon Papers Are Published
The New York Times begins publication of the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret U.S. Department of Defense history of the country's political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers reveal that the U.S. had deliberately expanded its war with carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corps attacks, and that four presidential administrations, from Truman to Johnson, had deliberately misled the public regarding their intentions toward Vietnam.
June 12
1978—Son of Sam Goes to Prison
David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as Son of Sam, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings. Berkowitz had acquired his nickname from letters addressed to the NYPD and columnist Jimmy Breslin. He is eventually caught when a chain of events beginning with a parking ticket leads to his car being searched and police discovering ammunition and maps of crime scenes.
June 11
1963—Buddhist Monk Immolates Himself
In South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match. He does it to protest the persecution of Buddhists by Ngô Đình Diệm administration, choosing a busy Saigon intersection for his protest. An image of the monk being consumed by flames as he sits crosslegged on the pavement, shot by Malcolm Browne, wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes one of the most shocking and recognizable photos ever published.
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