Vintage Pulp Feb 17 2009
EASTERN PROMISES
There will be bloodspray.

Anytime you get Reiko Ike in a flick, vital fluids will stain the walls. Furyô anego den: Inoshika Ochô, aka Sex & Fury, falls into a category generally known as “pinky violence” or “pinku”. Like yesterday’s Seijû gakuenaka, this film is a Norifumi Suzuki-conducted symphony of lesbian sex, shock-nudity and hyperviolent action. Near the mid-point Suzuki treats us to a sequence in which the heroine is surprised in the bath by eight Yakuza, but leaps from the tub and fights them naked. The vicious sword battle spills from the bath chamber into a courtyard, all in wonderfully choreographed slow motion, with arterial spray jetting hither and yon like water from the Bellagio Fountain. It’s one of the most famous and daring sequences in cinema history, and was echoed by David Cronenberg in his recent thriller Eastern Promises. You may notice that Reiko Ike is upstaged on the poster (and the black-bordered alternate version below) by a bare-breasted Christina Lindberg. Ms. Lindberg is a sexploitation queen who we’ll talk more about in the future. Furyô anego den: Inoshika Ochô premiered in Japan today in 1973.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 23
1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
August 22
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
August 21
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
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