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. And 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 5 2014
THE FOX AND THE HOUNDS
They might catch her but they can never tame her.

There’s nothing we can write about Pam Grier’s blaxploitation thriller Foxy Brown that hasn't already been written. But our site wouldn’t be complete without an entry on this film, so above are two American promo posters, and below are some production stills. Foxy Brown was made using the same basic blueprint as 1973’s Coffy, and in fact was originally written as a sequel to the earlier film. Why American International ditched the sequel concept and denied itself a franchise is unclear, but the movie was a hit anyway. We love it, but in honesty, it’s clunkily written and badly acted, however we can also sense how visceral and different it must have felt at the time. At the very least, it’s worth seeing for Grier’s groovy opening dance number. Foxy Brown premiered today in 1974.

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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 31 2014
BOUNCING BABY BOY
This isn't child abuse. It's more like destruction of property.


We know this poster looks vicious, but you can relax—Un mondo maledetto fatto di bambole is about a future world where, in order to control the population, couples are given robot babies. Sounds kind of nice to us—or at least less screamy and less poopy, but it’s clearly not a popular policy with at least one woman. The movie was a British production starring Oliver Reed and Geraldine Chaplin, and was originally entitled Z.P.G., which stands for “Zero Population Growth.” Pretty lame title, but on the other hand, the Italian title translates as “a world made of cursed dolls,” which we think gives a little too much away. In any case, excellent art here from the Italian painter Renato Casaro, a legend who’s created scores of memorable movie promos. You can learn more about him here.

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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 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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Vintage Pulp Feb 23 2014
JUST ADD AGUA
Isabel Sarli + water = success.

This Japanese poster for the Argentine melodrama Intimidades de una cualquiera, aka Intimacies of a Prostitute, shows star Isabel Sarli in her natural state—naked in the water. Aquatic frolicking was her calling card, and any movie in which she didn’t do it was a disappointment. That would be especially true for Japanese viewers, because the retitle here is something like “underwater agony frenzy” and when you promise that you better deliver. Basic plot: woman named Maria leaves small town for big city, find herself in dire straits, resorts to the oldest profession, falls in love with client. Think of it as Pretty Woman with underwater agony frenzy (but not really, because that scene is actually pretty sedate). You can watch the entirety of the film, if you’re inclined, on You Tube here. By the way, here’s another bit of translative trivia for your Sunday: cualquiera is used for prostitute in Spanish speaking countries, but it literally means “whoever” or “anyone.” Interesting, no? Originally released in 1972, Intimidades de una cualquiera premiered in Japan today in 1974. See two more Sarli posters here.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 21 2014
A MILLION TO ONE
Raquel Welch shows what survival of the fittest is really about.


The official poster for Hammer Film Productions’ smash hit One Million Years B.C., which was painted by famed British illustrator Tom Chantrell, is one of the most famous pieces of promotional art to come out of the 1960s. You  see that just below. The piece above is also Chantrell's work. Dated 1965 and signed at lower right with his familiar  block printing, it would have been made the year before One Million Years B.C. premiered, which perhaps explains why Raquel Welch isn’t yet the focus of the art. Good decision, eventually putting her on the poster, but we like this one too, especially that not-quite-big-enough tiger skin the character is wearing. Too bad we never saw Welch in that.

As for the movie, you’ve all seen it, right? Well, if not, just know that it’s the ultimate Anglo-Saxon, lost world fantasy, with light-skinned humans running around in a Neolithic wilderness living off the fat of the land. The fact that the women have shaved armpits and hot bodies is a bonus. There’s a plot involving early man’s inhumanity to early man, mixed in with threats from various giant amphibians and some pretty convincing stop-action miniatures from efx guru Ray Harryhausen.

But of course Welch is the focus of the movie, and it’s a bit of surprise she ever agreed to star, considering she was already pretty well established as an actress. Credit her for career savvy, though—One Million Years B.C., complete piece of cream cheese that it is, made her the top sex symbol in the world. We’ll leave you with a still from the film, but trust us—it’s nothing compared to Welch in motion. One Million Years B.C. opened in Europe in late 1966 and premiered in the U.S. today in 1967.


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Vintage Pulp Feb 18 2014
A HARD DAY'S NIGHTMARE
Have you ever had a terrible dream and couldn’t wake up?


This West German poster for Der Scharlatan, aka Nightmare Alley shows Twentieth Century Fox pretty boy Tyrone Power in his role as The Great Stanton, a conniving psychic. Power felt constricted by the romance and adventure parts he’d played up to that point, so he bought the rights to William Lindsay Gresham’s novel and dirtied himself up. He plays a lowly carnival barker who realizes that an ingenious verbal code is the key to reaching the heights of fame. The code allows a seer to work in tandem with an assistant to correctly answer the questions of spectators. You know the drill: “I’m sensing that there’s a Mr. Abernathy here and he’s... wait… it’s coming… Sir, you’re concerned about your wife’s health. Isn’t that right? Well let me tell you, she’s already on the mend. You’ll get good news from the doctor tomorrow!” Though the code’s owners aren’t using it, they plan to sell it to fund their retirement, and that looks to be some years off. This forces Power to either to steal it or sweet talk his way into it. As it turns out, he doesn’t have to do either, but once he has the code and has built an act around it, the fame and riches it brings fail to quench his greed.
 
Nightmare Alley was not warmly reviewed upon release, but many of those reviews simply found the movie too gritty. Such criticisms tend to make their authors look out of touch. For example, Bosley Crowther was demoted from his position as the New York Times’ main critic in large part for slamming Bonnie and Clyde in three separate articles, despite the film’s obvious quality. Nightmare Alley had similar detractors—it was just too downbeat for some, even for a film noir. But within its fictional milieu it's highly successful. Our world has every kind of depravityand cruelty, and movies that depict them must be judged on their own terms. So ignore the haters—Nightmare Alley is excellent. Power puts on an award-worthy performance, and Joan Blondell and Colleen Gray are great in support. There’s a pivotal moment in the film when it seems possible Power’s character has some actual psychic ability. Too bad he can’t see his own future. Nightmare Alley premiered in 1947, and finally made its way to West Germany today in 1954.
 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 17
1961—Bay of Pigs Invasion Is Launched
A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro. However, the invasion fails badly and the result is embarrassment for U.S. president John F. Kennedy and a major boost in popularity for Fidel Castro, and also has the effect of pushing him toward the Soviet Union for protection.
April 16
1943—First LSD Trip Takes Place
Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, while working at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, accidentally absorbs lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD, and thus discovers its psychedelic properties. He had first synthesized the substance five years earlier but hadn't been aware of its effects. He goes on to write scores of articles and books about his creation.
April 15
1912—The Titanic Sinks
Two and a half hours after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks, dragging 1,517 people to their deaths. The number of dead amount to more than fifty percent of the passengers, due mainly to the fact the liner was not equipped with enough lifeboats.
1947—Robinson Breaks Color Line
African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson officially breaks Major League Baseball's color line when he debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Several dark skinned men had played professional baseball around the beginning of the twentieth century, but Robinson was the first to overcome the official segregation policy called—ironically, in retrospect—the "gentleman's agreement".

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