Vintage Pulp Sep 21 2014
OF RICE AND MEN
We gotta get out of this place if it’s the last thing we ever do.


This great poster was painted by Italian illustrator Dante Manno to promote Riso Amaro, aka Bitter Rice, one of the neorealist movies that came out of Italy during the post-World War II period. If you watch the movie you’ll find that some elements aren't very “real,” but remember that the term neorealism refers to a rejection of the phoniness of Fascist-era film production, rather than a broad description of cinematic properties. Basically, the movie is about two petty criminals, played by Vittorio Gassman and Doris Dowling, who hide from the cops by posing as lowly rice pickers. What’s real here isn’t the rice pickers (whose female ranks are uniformly beautiful and sexily clothed), nor some of the action (typified by a scene in which the workers break into perfect operatic harmony even though the tune they’re singing is being made up on the spot). No, the realism is in the themes and production values. Riso Amaro deals with weighty issues and was made on location by director Giuseppe De Santis in the rice fields of Italy’s Po Valley in crisp, documentary style black and white.

One of Riso Amaro’s rice pickers is the voluptuous Silvana Mangano, who catches Vittorio Gassman’s eye. Since he’s a criminal, he spies opportunity in his circumstances, and while chasing Mangano also plots to steal the entire rice crop while everyone is occupied during an end-of-season festival. Mangano, who has her choice between the slick Gassman and the honest rice picker Raf Vallone, is symbolically torn between American-style and traditional values. Doris Dowling has the same dilemma to a lesser degree. The choice both make will be crucial. Riso Amaro is a good movie, beautifully rendered, and consistently interesting. Tame today, it’s easy to see how provocative it must have been when first released. As with many films, certain elements resonate more over time, and here the secondary theme exploring tensions between legal and illegal workers fascinate. The legal workers resent the presumed loss of jobs, but the illegals must eat somehow and are willing to toil much harder than the legals. All the while the bosses reap the benefits. Sound familiar? Riso Amaro premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in early September and opened in Italy today in 1949.

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The Naked City Sep 21 2014
AMERICAN MURDER STORY
Wait a sec, I have the right to remain silent? Really? Oh. Um, I take back everything I said.

Blood splattered Henry Whitfield appears in the above photo after his arrest for homicide by Los Angeles police. Following an argument about a woman and money, Whitfield shot Robert Hayes, seen dead in the background, then called police and waited calmly for them to appear. After they arrived, Whitfield told them; “I killed him, and I’m glad. He was no good. I should have killed him a long time ago.”

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Vintage Pulp Sep 19 2014
TOMCAT CRUISE
Everyone on this ship is in heat.

It isn’t a top effort, but we still like this cover for Jonathon Ward’s 1964 sleaze romp Cruise for Love from Carousel Books, an imprint of Hollywood-based Frimac Publications. The story involves sexual misadventure among cruise ship passengers, and the rear cover reads: Take an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic, add men and women passengers, with normal and abnormal desires—and you’ve got an explosive package that’s sure to blow up before the ship reaches port. We just hope the cat isn’t involved in any of it. Uncredited art. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 19 2014
TWO KINDS OF BLUE
Which came first—the nightgown or the nudity?

Above, two Technicolor lithographs of an unknown model against a blue velvet backdrop. These were published separately, with the bottom shot “Blue Mood” appearing in 1951, and the top shot entitled “Red Hot & Blue” appearing much later in 1966. Strange that the clothed image came later, but in any case they complement each other nicely, with the second featuring an almost “ta-dah!” pose from the model. It’s as if she’s saying, “You wanted the nightie gone—it’s gone.” Chronologically speaking, it would be more accurate to say she started naked and got dressed, but where’s the fun in that? Using old negatives was common practice for the makers of Technicolor lithos—Champion Line, U.I. Co., A. Scheer, J.S.I., Corp. A. Fox (also referred to as A. Fox Corp.), and others. It was Fox that published these, and we’ll have more of their output later. You can see about a dozen more Technicolor lithos by clicking here.

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Intl. Notebook Sep 18 2014
BRIGITTE TO NOWHERE
Bardot finds herself trapped in a very un-private affair.

This scan from last month’s issue of Paris Match shows that stardom isn’t all foie gras and champagne. Brigitte Bardot is trapped in a huge crowd of fans as a few gendarmes try to clear a path for her. The text at lower right reads: “In 1962 before the camera of Louis Malle, Brigitte Bardot takes her role in the cinema of life—the harassed star.” The photo was made while Bardot was filming A Very Private Affair.

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Sex Files Sep 18 2014
DILL'S PICKLE
Even if the folklore is untrue, you have to give it credit for staying power.

The rumor about John Dillinger’s enormous penis has been debunked often enough that we don’t need to bother, but the interesting question remaining is how the rumor got started in the first place. Nobody knows, but this Tijuana bible entitled A Hasty Exit may be the first depiction of Dillinger with an oversized member. Tijuana bibles often starred famous and infamous people, and all the men had enormous rods, because what’s the point of a dirty book otherwise? But still, this is a curious artifact, considering the folklore surrounding Big John’s dilly of a pickle. It doesn’t have a copyright, but it has for many years been grouped with other bibles dating from the 1930s. We’re putting it at 1934 or after because the Evelyn character here probably is supposed to be Dillinger’s girlfriend Evelyn Frechette, who was unknown to the wider public until her April 1934 arrest. The Captain Tracy character is, of course Dick Tracy. Dilly and Dick get freaky, below. See more Tijuana bibles by clicking here, here, or here.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 17 2014
DARLING NIKKI
Part angel, part goddess, and part alley cat.

Seems like one good Midwood deserves another, so here’s another effort from them—Don Rico’s Nikki, published in 1963. After years writing for comics, this was Rico’s first novel, and he would later publish other books as Dan Rico, Donella St. Michaels, Donna Richards, Joseph Milton, et al. The back cover text for Nikki is unusually entertaining, so we’ve got that below as well. The excellent art is the work of Robert Schulz.

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The Naked City Sep 16 2014
ACCIDENTAL HISTORY
Danger lurks on every street.

Have you ever marveled that you don’t crash every time you climb into your car? There you are, hurtling along in your metal box, surrounded by other drivers texting, phoning, GPSing, groping on the floor for iPod chargers. Or maybe you’re the one doing those things. But even without modern distractions driving isn’t easy, and today we present ample evidence of that truth, with a collection of calamitous photos from a simpler automotive age. These are all from Los Angeles and environs 1945 through 1955. Ready? Fasten your seat belt.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 15 2014
ROCKIN' CHAIR
Which is better—Deneuve or the chair?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. But we do really like the chair. 1969 on the shot, and quite rare.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 15 2014
EASY RADER
I think it’s really cute when a guy wears pajamas, but I have something even more comfortable you can slip into.

This is one of the prettiest Paul Rader covers we’ve seen, which is really saying something considering he painted this and this. But this stellar turquoise and gold effort for Joan Ellis’s Sooner or Later may be our favorite Rader yet. Note how the placement of the girl’s elbow suggests an erection on her tormented brother-in-law. Joan Ellis was in reality author Julie Ellis, and she also wrote as Linda Michaels, Jill Monte, and Susan Richard. She went on to author serious fiction, but even if those later books were better written, we bet none of them looked as appealing as this.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 21
1937—The Hobbit is Published
J. R. R. Tolkien publishes his seminal fantasy novel The Hobbit, aka The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Marketed as a children's book, it is a hit with adults as well, and sells millions of copies, is translated into multiple languages, and spawns the sequel trilogy The Lord of Rings.
September 20
1946—Cannes Launches Film Festival
The first Cannes Film Festival is held in 1946, in the old Casino of Cannes, financed by the French Foreign Affairs Ministry and the City of Cannes.
September 19
1934—Arrest Made in Lindbergh Baby Case
Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr., son of the famous American aviator. The infant child had been abducted from the Lindbergh home in March 1932, and found decomposed two months later in the woods nearby. He had suffered a fatal skull fracture. Hauptmann was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and finally executed by electric chair in April 1936. He proclaimed his innocence to the end

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