Vintage Pulp Apr 24 2014
QUITE CONTRARY
Hitomi Kozue as a streetwise cop named Dirty Mary? Worked for us. But it didn’t for the Japanese public.

So, we’ve returned from our brief vacation, and we’re gearing back up with three Japanese posters we meant to share during the week we were away. Sukeban Deka: daati Marii, aka Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary, is a Dirty Harry style thriller from Nikkatsu Studios starring Hitomi Kozue. Kozue had already appeared in a number of erotic movies, so Nikkatsu made a right turn with her career, scaling back sex and nudity in favor of gritty action. At least, that was the idea. But there actually isn’t much action. The plot involves Kozue investigating murder, which in turn leads to her uncovering blackmail and illicit photos, and in the process there’s a couple of minutes of gunplay, a couple of foot chases, and a dynamite explosion. The lack of compelling action probably explains, at least partially, why the movie was a commercial failure. Despite its shortcomings you have to give Kozue this: she looks convincingly badass. And it’s worth noting that the film has become more popular over the years as viewers have reassessed its merits. However, it’s not so highly regarded yet that it’s easy to find, which means this poster is all you’ll probably get to see of it for now. As consolation we’ve uploaded a nice Hitomi Kozue promo shot below. Sukeban Deka: Dirty Mary premiered in Japan April 20 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 24 2014
PRIMAL SCREAM
Make all the noise you want. Nobody is listening.


The rare promo you see here is the Japanese poster for Carl Monson’s thriller A Scream in the Streets. We’ve seen this movie described as the first cop buddy picture. We don’t know if it was the first, but the dynamic is there—a straight-laced family man partnered with a wild hothead, their relationship residing at the core of a plot involving murder and mayhem in Los Angeles. So yes, it’s a buddy movie perhaps, but just barely—A Scream in the Streets is in actuality a sexploitation movie that spends far more time on the down and dirty than on crime solving, something you can probably deduce from the fact that the promo features a nude Sharon Kelly, aka Colleen Brennan, and by the fact that the alternate promo below features an even more nude Kelly/Brennan. 

While not hardcore, A Scream in the Streets was certainly too extreme to receive an R, and today it remains unrated, a garish pastiche of flesh, blood, and profanity, as the cop combo wend their way through Los Angeles during a hot summer week rife with sleaze and crime, trying to keep the city from imploding as they also track a killer who targets women while dressed as one. If there’s a lesson in the movie at all it may be that it’s pointless to try and go unsullied by such rampant depravity—you can try not to touch it, but it’ll reach out and touch you. Either that or the lesson is if it looks like a man dressed as a woman and acts like a man dressed as a woman, it’s probably going to try and kill you—even if you’re a cop. A Scream in the Streets premiered in the U.S. in early 1973, and in Japan yesterday the same year.


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Vintage Pulp Apr 24 2014
DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL
She was ready for her bath, but Japanese censors weren’t.

Above is a poster for Yukio Noda’s 1975 pinku Seishun Toruko Nikki Shojosuberi, aka Young Turkish Bath Diaries: The Sliding Virgin. This is yet another film that possibly may not have had a western release. It certainly has no IMDB entry, even though Noda is a well-known director who gave the world Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs and a whole raft of Wolves of the City movies. This one stars Reika Yamakawa, who was born in 1957, making her eighteen when the film premiered, but sixteen when it was shot two years earlier. Once word got out she had headlined this effort, child welfare authorities came calling and Toie Studios had to shelve the footage for two years. Why that made a difference we don’t know—underage scenes are underage scenes, even after two years have passed. But of course, pinku films have no actual sex and no pubic nudity, so the problems derived from a provocative “bubble dance” performed by Yamakawa and others. In any case, nobody went to jail, and in fact the movie screened last August at Tokyo’s Shibuya Cinemavera Theater as part of a cult film festival called Mondo Cinemaverique. The promo poster is legally available for sale in Japan, so any problems with that were solved as well, but you can never be too careful in this day and age, so we’ve added pixilation across Yamakawa’s torso.
 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 17 2014
KILLER SEX
She bent over backwards to please everyone and what did it get her?


The above poster, which is very rare, promotes an American x-rated flick called Farewell Scarlet, starring Terri Hall acting under the bizarre name National Velvet, a decision we’re sure didn’t go over well with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Made during the days when adult films were real cinema, Farewell Scarlet is a porno murder mystery about a woman who is murdered at an orgy. The cause of death? Asphyxiation via a large, wiggly dildo. The moment is actually depicted on the lower left quadrant of the poster, which is fine because the genre requirements here are sex, not suspense, so presumably nobody in Japan cared if the art fingered the killer. You’d think the death of the star at the 5:40 mark would leave a void in the film, but Hall’s many other scenes are shot in flashback as the character of Dexter Sleuth attempts to unravel the mystery.

And of course there are other performers present to fill the running time, notably Kim Pope, who had been ko’d by a mugger prior to filming and had to perform with her jaw wired shut. That’s really no laughing matter, but unfortunately, watching her deliver cheesy dialogue through gritted teeth is unavoidably funny. On the bright side for her, perhaps being unable to talk was for the better, since it probably prevented her from strongly protesting her key participation in a sado-masochistic Nazi sex scene while wearing swastika pasties. How does the movie get there? Doesn’t matter. Ultimately it’s as much a comedy as it is a mystery, and that’s part of its murky, 35mm charm.

And then there’s Hall. The former ballerina would later flex her muscles in golden age classics like The Opening of Misty Beethoven, Rollerbabies, and the frighteningly titled Gums, in the process becoming one of the era’s most famous stars. We'd show you some promo shots of her, like we usually do with the stars of movies we write about, but she seems to have traversed her career without a single good photo ever being made. Which means her movies are the only real evidence of her work. Are we recommending Farewell Scarlet? Not so much. But it is an interesting curiosity. It premiered in the U.S. in 1975 and had its Japanese debut today in 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 3 2014
CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Japanese cinema invades Eastern Europe.


You know we love Japanese movie posters. We’ve shared at least a hundred. Today, for something different, we have a set of posters made during the 1950s and 1960s to advertise Japanese movies that played in the now defunct country of Yugoslavia. It was a place that had one of the most distinct design aesthetics in vintage promo art, as you can see in these examples, as well in other pieces we’ve shared here, here, and here. Ex-Yu memorabilia goes for a pretty penny, and some of these posters would cost upwards of $400.00 to buy. The movie above is Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and the ones below are Yasuzô Masumura’s A Wife Confesses, Umetsugu Inoue’s Man Who Causes a Storm, Haku Komori’s Soldiers’ Girls, and Oichi Beware of Samurai.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 18 2014
SALLY FORTH
Do you feel lucky?

Another rare Japanese one-sheet, this advertises Rashamen oman: ame no Oranda-zaka, aka, Woman Gambler with Blue Eyes. The eyes in question belong to Sally May, who in addition to acting put together a singing career in Japan. We have another rare Japanese promo involving gambling geishas here. Rashamen oman: ame no Oranda-zaka premiered in Tokyo today in 1972. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 13 2014
LOST KOZUE
A hazy shade of winter.


Here’s our process: we have scores of these Japanese posters but usually know nothing about the movies. So we pick a nice one and start digging. A simple internet search on virtually any obscure pinku or roman porno film brings up pages of useless results, often empty sites that reflect the search terms back into Bing or Google, drawing clicks. The presence of these sites is something that’s really changed on the internet in the last five years and it makes finding info on obscure movies more time consuming than it used to be. But we take our hobby seriously, and so we keep slogging our way through the digital swamps. And with the help of legit informational pages like romanporno.com and wpedia.goo.ne.jp, as well as visual sites like onesheetindex.com that allow us to confirm we have the art and info matched correctly, quite often we eventually end up seeing a pretty good movie.

Above is a promo poster for OL nikki: Chigireta aiyoku, aka Office Lady Journal: Ruined Lust, and for this one we weren’t so lucky—we found info but we couldn’t find anyplace to download or watch the actual film. But we can tell you it was written and directed by Asao Kuwayama, and it starred Hiroshi Chô, Hiroshi Gojo, and one of our favorite ’70s actresses, Hitomi Kozue, who plays Yuko, an office worker whose boyfriend wants to marry her but doesn’t know she’s a prostitute by night. Naturally, her secret doesn’t last for long. As with many Nikkatsu Studios films, Office Lady was a series, with six entries made between 1972 and 1975, of which Kozue appeared in two. Another Office Lady appeared in 1977 but it seems to be considered non-canonical, for some reason. That’s all we found out, but at least we can offer something new—the quality digital image above. It’s a serious upgrade over what’s out there currently. OL nikki: Chigireta aiyoku premiered in Japan today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 7 2014
MIDNIGHT SUGGESTION
She may well have been wild, wicked and willing but we doubt she ever said it to Midnight.

Above, a Midnight from today 1966 with cover star Nobu McCarthy, wild, wicked and willing. Or so Midnight claims. Born Nobu Atsumi in Canada of Japanese extraction, McCarthy won the 1955 Miss Tokyo pageant, and later parlayed a chance Los Angeles encounter with a talent agent into a television and theater career dotted with film roles. As far as Midnight’s suggestion of availability goes, McCarthy was already married with children by 1966, and probably already too well-known to have to stoop to cheap publicity techniques on the covers of second rate tabloids. Which means we’re putting this quote entirely on the editors. After many years on screen and stage, McCarthy died of an aortal aneurysm while filming Gaijin—Ama-me Como Sou in 2002. Below is a still of her from her first credited film role in the 1958 Jerry Lewis comedy The Geisha Boy.

 
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Vintage Pulp Mar 6 2014
GIRL CAN'T HELP IT
Everybody loves Lindberg.


Above is a Japanese promo poster for the Swedish sexploitation classic Anita, aka Anita: Swedish Nymphet, which is the story of a young nymphomaniac. Let’s just say up front that we’re aware many people think nymphomania doesn’t exist, and is rather just a term coined by alarmed men to label women who didn’t obey their gender roles. Twenty-three-year-old Christina Lindberg plays a sixteen-year-old title character who fails to do exactly that, throwing convention aside and bedding everyone in sight, from friendly acquaintances to unknown, smudge-covered vagrants. Most of the encounters that don’t take place in an actual bed occur in a dirty tent she’s discovered near a downtown construction site. We loved these seductions in particular, because the set-ups were exactly the same as you’d find in a serial killer movie, with the guys casting a worried eye toward her tent and saying nervously, “Er, you want to do it in there?

Anyway, poor Anita has a dozen or so sexual encounters, all unfulfilling, and even gets run out of one town, perhaps undeservedly, before finally meeting a doctor who thinks he may be able to help. The doctor is played by an unrecognizably young Stellan Skarsgård—Alexander Skarsgard’s father, for you fans of True Blood—but who we prefer to think of as the villain from the 1998 Robert DeNiro actioner Ronin, a movie that for the first 100 of its 122 minutes is among the best spy thrillers ever made. Anita is much the same—the first 80 minutes or so are excellent and exceedingly serious sexploitation, but its inevitable path toward redemption for the lead character tries the patience just a bit. In the remake, if there ever is one, we suggest Anita dismember some guys in her tent. Considering their age and her obvious youth, they’d deserve it. Anita premiered in Sweden in 1973 and finally made its way to Japan today in 1976. 

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Intl. Notebook Mar 4 2014
SPACE ODDITY
Some invitations are harder to come by than others.

When we first saw this post card/invitation card, we assumed it was for the gala 1993 Japanese re-release of Barbarella, but we’re told it’s actually from 1968, which makes sense considering how faded it is. In any case, it's an unusual and fun souvenir from an unusual and fun movie. See the reverse below. 


 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 24
1967—First Space Program Casualty Occurs
Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when, during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere after more than ten successful orbits, the capsule's main parachute fails to deploy properly, and the backup chute becomes entangled in the first. The capsule's descent is slowed, but it still hits the ground at about 90 mph, at which point it bursts into flames. Komarov is the first human to die during a space mission.
April 23
1986—Otto Preminger Dies
Austro–Hungarian film director Otto Preminger, who directed such eternal classics as Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Stalag 17, and for his efforts earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, dies in New York City, aged 80, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
1998—James Earl Ray Dies
The convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., petty criminal James Earl Ray, dies in prison of hepatitis aged 70, protesting his innocence as he had for decades. Members of the King family who supported Ray's fight to clear his name believed the U.S. Government had been involved in Dr. King's killing, but with Ray's death such questions became moot.
April 22
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.

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