Femmes Fatales May 1 2020
GRACEFUL KELLY
For perfect composition start with the basics.


This artful photo shows U.S. actress Paula Kelly, who appeared in such classic films as The Andromeda Strain, Soylent Green, and the blaxploitation comedy Uptown Saturday Night. She was also a dancer and choreographer, which probably helped her nail this pose and make the photographer look brilliant. She just died a couple of months ago at age seventy-seven, an event we totally missed, but we're glad we found this timeless image.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 27 2020
ANNIE GOT HER GUNS
There's a new sheriff on the planet.


This photo has sort of ’50s sci-fi look, but it's actually from the 1980s and shows Japanese actress Naomi Morinaga as the character Annie from Uchû keiji Shaider, aka Space Sheriff Shaider, which aired on Japanese television for one season straddling 1984 and 1985. Morinaga played other roles, but Space Sheriff, which also spawned two movies, a video game, and a video short, is her legacy. By the way, Japan is truly the place for space guns. In fact, we did an entire post on them, though it was so long ago you've probably never seen it. But it's here, if you're interested. 

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Femmes Fatales Apr 23 2020
MAYORITY RULES
Bailiff, dispose of the deputy mayor's corpse. Anyone else got complaints about how much time I spend in the jacuzzi?


Above, a nice 1967 photo of award winning Turkish actress Fatma Girik, who appeared in almost two-hundred films. We featured her as a femme fatale long ago, back in 2009, and as we noted then she left acting to become a politician. Her political career spanned 1989 to 1994, when she was mayor of Şişli, which is one of thirty-nine districts of Istanbul, or so we're informed by the internet. We suspect she ruled with an iron rod.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 21 2020
CUT THE CARDS
She just about lost her shirt gambling.


This is a brilliant promo photo of Japanese actress Kemi Ichiboshi. During an amazing cinematic run she appeared in more than sixty films in six years spanning 1966 and 1972. And for all that output, we don't remember noticing her before this photo popped up, but we'll try to check her out. If that happens we'll for sure report back.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 15 2020
ROUGH SAYLOR
Come at me bro. These hands have broken better men than you.


U.S. actress Katie Saylor strikes a martial arts pose in this promo photo from 1977. Saylor had a minor career, appearing in a few cheeseball classics, including The Swinging Barmaids, Dirty O'Neil, and Invasion of the Bee Girls. She also acted on television, and this shot was made as a promo for her role as the half-alien Liana in the series The Fantastic Journey. You can sometimes find episodes of the show on YouTube, so if quarantine is making you daring with regard to your viewing choices, consider that an option.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 11 2020
GARDNER OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS
Only a mythological creature could look this good.


Above you see Ava Gardner in an MGM promo shot that puts to rest any question of whether she was one of the most beautiful stars of her era. This image should be hung in a museum. We can't pinpoint a date on it, but we can make a reasonable guess. She looks every bit the ingénue, so it's probably pre-superstardom, say from between 1942 and 1946.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 8 2020
KAAREN FOR HERSELF
Verne does a great impersonation of a woman putting her own interests first.


It's a femme shoot dog world out there, but German actress Kaaren Verne seems ready for whatever comes. We last saw her taking care of Humphrey Bogart in All Through the Night, and in this photo made as a promo for her 1942 war drama The Great Impersonation, she's ready to take care of herself. Verne did another great impersonation, that of someone with a beautiful name, a role required by the fact that she was born Ingeborg Klinkerfuss. Owwwwwch, that's a bad one. No offense to any Klinkerfusses out there, but that name sounds like it belongs to the sadistic head nurse of a lunatic asylum, the one who whacks patients on the pee-pee with a yardstick. It gives us an idea, though—maybe we'll put together a post of all-time worst real names of actors. That should kill some quarantine time.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 3 2020
FULLY RIPE
These little apples are so adorable. They remind me of me before I had my college growth spurt.


It's time once again for a promo photo of U.S. actress Elaine Stewart, a favorite around the sprawling Pulp Intl. mega-complex. Stewart appeared in a dozen films in mostly supporting roles in 1952 and 1953, a pretty fast clip, but tapered off sharply afterward and was out of show business by the time she was thirty-four. She had a child with husband Merrill Heatter around then, and another soon after, so that's probably why her career ended, but we greatly enjoy anytime we see her, whether onscreen or in photos. She will return to grace our website again.

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Femmes Fatales Mar 30 2020
SHINING BRAIT
Who needs sunscreen when you have imagination?


This photo of Italian actress Carla Brait using the local flora to improvise a little shade was made when she was appearing in the 1973 giallo flick I corpi presentano tracce di violenza carnale. Translated literally that means, “The bodies show traces of carnal violence.” For its U.S. release it was retitled Torso, which we think was a good move. Brait appeared in fifteen movies during her career, and speaking of torsos and good moves, she often played dancers, since that was her other profession. When she eventually retired from cinema she became a dance instructor. We've been watching a lot of giallos the last year or so, which means we may see her in Torso later.

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Femmes Fatales Mar 23 2020
WISH GRANTED
If heaven were like this it would get crowded mighty fast.


We don't believe in angels, but if we did this is pretty much what we'd want them to look like. This photo shows heavenly adult film actress Shauna Grant, who, like several other ’70s and ’80s adult film actresses, we've featured before. One reason we do it is because we see a line that extends from pulp all the way into porn via the former's focus on sex. Though authors were not generally able to write explicitly about it at the time, sexual gratification was the prime motivator for many pulp characters. You also see it where pulp intersects film noir, but serious legal risk prevented filmmakers of the ’40s and ’50s from exploring the themes deeply. The pulp influenced literature of the ’50s, and the films of the ’60s pushed the envelope more, but were still constrained by censors.

Around the time Grant was making her debut in porn in 1982, directors en masse were beginning to rework pulp and film classics into thrillers with sex centrally placed. 1981's Body Heat and The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1982's I, the Jury and Cat People, 1984's Against All Odds, and 1987's No Way Out, are just a few examples. The trend continued through 1990's The Grifters, 1994's The Getaway, and beyond, with all these films making clear what was only hinted in source material dating back to the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s—guys will go to almost any length for sex. For real world proof of that, scroll down to yesterday's Barcelona orgy story.

But usually it isn't just sex that gets fictional males in trouble—it's amazing sex. If it were just vanilla sex they wouldn't lie, cheat, steal, and murder. No, it's sex that blew their fuses. So that thread weaves neatly into porn, because porn was designed to implant concepts of sex that average people had never experienced—even if the experiences shown were not reality, but something more like performance art. Grant was one of the art's most popular practitioners. And she fits with our ideas about pulp for another reason too—she's freighted with pulp-like tragedy due to dying early via suicide today in 1984, two days after shooting herself in the head. We have a couple of other Grant items that might interest you, here and here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 15
1969—Woodstock Festival Begins
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which was billed as an Aquarian Exposition, takes place on a 600 acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York. It would run for three sometimes rainy days and feature thirty-two acts performing at all hours of the day and night. Today the festival is regarded as one of the greatest events in popular music history.
1977—Radio Signal Arrives from Deep Space
An unidentified radio signal, nicknamed the WOW Signal for the notation a scientist made on a computer readout, is briefly detected by the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) project's Big Ear radio telescope. Despite a month of searching the same section of space, the signal is never found again.
August 14
1912—U.S. Invades Nicaragua
United States Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after José Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier. American troops remain for eleven years.
1936—Last Public Execution in U.S.
Rainey Bethea, who had been convicted of rape and murder, is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in what is the last public execution performed in the United States.
August 13
1995—Mickey Mantle Dies
New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle dies of complications from cancer, after receiving a liver transplant. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, but he was also an alcoholic and played drunk, hungover, and unprepared. He once said about himself, "Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."
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