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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Vintage Pulp Feb 16 2014
THORNY SITUATION
Who said life couldn’t be a bed of roses?


Way back in 2009 two promos for Seijû gakuen were the first pinku posters we ever shared on Pulp Intl. Ah, the good old days. We got the title wrong and misspelled the name of the star, but other than that, what a glorious memory. When we located that pair of posters we also found two others, and now, years later, we’re getting around to sharing those too. Seijû gakuen was known in the West as School of the Holy Beast, and above you see a rare two panel horizontal poster. At that orientation it renders a little small here, so we’ve posted the panels seperately below:

 
The second poster we wanted to share is a somewhat less colorful effort, but still quite nice, with a splash of rose pink in the middle. You see that below:

 
In addition to starring Yumi Takigawa, Seijû gakuen had Emiko Yamauchi and Pulp fave Yayoi Watanabe, and as we mentioned in the previous post, it’s nunsploitation from Toie Studios. As you no doubt have deduced, Takigawa goes through all kind of indignities, and at one point is bound with vines and whipped across her naked torso by two nuns using bouquets of roses (and, more importantly, their thorns). It’s a bizarre and bloody but beautifully shot spectacle.


 
Lastly, just below, we’ve decided to share a promo image of Yumi Takigawa looking her radiant best. She spends a good portion of the movie wearing a nun’s habit that covers everything except her face. If Toei and director Norifumi Suzuki wanted a lead actress whose face could be isolated in that manner yet still hold an audience’s attention they succeeded. Seijû gakuen was Takigawa’s first film but not her last—she’s still quite busy as an actress, appearing mainly on television. Seijû gakuen premiered today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 13 2014
TUMBLING DICE
When the cat’s away, the cat will play too.

Above, a poster for Haruyasu Noguchi’s 1965 drama Toba no mesu neko, aka Cat Girls Gamblers. The movie starred Hideaki Nitani, Ichirô Sugai, and Yumiko Nogawa, who had earned widespread recognition for debuting in 1964’s shocking Nikutai no mon, known in the West as Gate of Flesh. That’s her holding the dice on the artwork. Despite Nogawa’s fame and her long film career that’s still ongoing, there’s no information about Cat Girls Gamblers on the web, just a bunch of skeletal pages designed to draw traffic. We hate those things, so we’re glad to have uploaded something substantial in the form of this great poster. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 7 2014
PETER PAIN
Mild mannered pet shop owner becomes serial nuisance.


Above is a Japanese poster for 1962’s Mr. Peter’s Pets, one of the many nudie cutie flicks that were made during the 1960s. With a term like nudie cutie you might guess that the plots are mere means to rear ends, and you’d be right. In this one a pet shop owner orders a potion from a catalog, sending a dollar to India for Maharaja Poon Ja’s Animal Ambrosia, a Hindu elixir that ensures long life and happiness for one’s pets. But before he administers the elixir to his animals he decides, “Only if it is good enough for me is it good enough for my little friends,” and tastes it himself. It goes down accompanied by a bolt of lightning and a peal of thunder—sort of like when you do a Jäger shot. But instead of merely making him act like an animal he’s literally turned into one. Specifically, a turtle. Each time he takes the elixir he turns into a different animal, almost any type he wishes, from kittens to pythons.

Acting for the benefit of others never occurs to this guy. He immediately uses his power to gain proximity to unsuspecting women so he can watch them take bubble baths, play guitar nude, and so forth. It's justas silly as it sounds. Yes, it’s about a shapeshifting stalker, but nudie cuties were threat-free. Mr. Peter is a mere pain in the ass, ultimately chased away by a group of annoyed sunbathers. What’s sometimes interesting with these movies is to see if any cast members later became more widely known. In this case, not so much. Some of the performers appeared in Russ Meyer movies, and some, like Althea Currier and Pavla Tiano (below), were already famous on the burlesque circuit, but none made the leap into mainstream fame. We can see why. Mr. Peter’s Pets is really bad. But of course it was never supposed to Citizen Kane so you can hardly hold low ambition against it. It’s worth a gander.


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Vintage Pulp Jan 27 2014
NINJA TURTLE
Eiko Yanami strikes a kick-ass pose.


Although many directors and performers were involved in the Girl Boss movies, on some level Nikkatsu Studios was behind most of them as either producers or distributors. This one is an exception. The movie was called Soft-Shelled Turtle Girl Boss, it was made by Dai Nippon Eiga Seisaku Kabushiki Kaisha, which was known as Daiei Film for short, and it had Taro Yuge in the director’s chair and Eiko Yanami in the lead. We don’t know anything about the plot, but it’s a pinku girl boss flick, so she probably seeks and achieves revenge against a bunch of gangster types. We’ll look for more info, if not a copy of the movie. In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy the poster, which is absolutely killer. Soft-Shelled Turtle Girl Boss premiered in Japan today in 1971. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 26 2014
IGARASHI BEHAVIOR
A good boss always creates advancement opportunities for her employees.


Above, a poster for Tadashi Yoyogi’s Semi-dokyumento: Sukeban yôjimbô, aka Girl Boss Document. A less known Girl Boss movie, this starred Noriko Igarashi, who you see brazenly flashing her tighty whities on the poster. It premiered in Japan today in 1974.

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Modern Pulp Jan 21 2014
DEVIL'S ADVOCATE
Kim Ji-woon’s thriller is hard to take but beautiful to behold.


Thanks to the wonder of downloading—er, we mean the legal purchase of a DVD at a sanctioned commercial outlet—this weekend we were able to re-screen one of our favorite recent movies, the 2010 South Korean gutwrencher Angmareul boatda, aka I Saw the Devil. Last time we watched it we didn’t write about it, but we think it’s a good time to recommend the movie because today was its official American premiere date. Amazingly, that unveiling was at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Well, nobody felt like dancing by the time the movie ended, you can be sure. Often lumped in with horror or torture porn movies, in truth I Saw the Devil is an unflinching but high-gloss revenge thriller, beautifully shot, and carefully paced. The revenge in question is directed toward a serial killer and director Kim Ji-woon’s documentation of that person’s gory exploits is where much of the movie’s early mayhem occurs.

Unlike many American films, I Saw the Devil doesn’t soften the impact of violence by turning it into a technical showcase for an fx house—the movie tries its best to make those scenes frightening yet somehow banal. No heads explode, nobody is thrown in a tire shredder, and nobody is impaled by a pair of skis. The most proximate cause of nearly every human death in history—technically speaking—has been lack of oxygen to the brain. Oxygen very often stops going to the brain because the blood needed to carry it there has gone somewhere else—the floor, for example. I Saw the Devil explores that concept with vivid clarity. Above is one of the American posters, and below is the original South Korean promo.


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Vintage Pulp Jan 18 2014
WOLF PACK
The gangs that couldn’t shoot straight.


Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô, aka Wolves of the City, aka Wolves of the City: Ocho the She-Wolf was a significant hole in our Japanese actioner viewing résumé, but we solved that by watching the film a few days ago. In short, you get an amoral motorcycle gang in Nazi regalia pitted against evil Yakuza, with the tide eventually turning when the legendary hellion Ocho the She-Wolf teams up with the gang. The movie looks great. Yukio Noda’s direction—for the most part—is a marvel. He frames shots with six, seven, sometimes even a dozen interacting characters spread across the screen, yet it all seems effortless. Modern directors don’t seem remotely interested in using shots like these anymore, which is a shame, but it may also be a function of today’s screenwriters choosing to limit the number of characters who interact simultaneously. In any case, this is one thing we loved about the movie and we’ve shared some images of this technique below.

But Wolves of the City is a mixed bag. It relies upon numerous violent set pieces, but where the dialogue sequences feel so carefully thought out, the action is pure Keystone Kops. Because Noda continues framing large numbers of actors in single shots, his performers seem more intent uponhitting their stage marks than making these confrontations look realistic. They reach their required positions in the scenes, but these hardened gangsters handle pistols and machine guns as if they were rubber snakes, dealing a major blow to what should be the visceral thrill of such moments. By packing the screen during the gunfights Noda forces the audience to accept that nobody can successfully shoot anyone from five feet away. It feels very bang-bang-you’re-dead amateurish, complete with wounded gangsters clutching their chests, spinning around, and falling to the floor.

In the end the plot ushers us through various deals, deceptions, and shootouts, and you finally get the inevitable throwdown between the bikers and the Yakuza. This is the most unlikely sequence of all, with bikers motoring around none too swiftly inside a confined warehouse while still miraculously being missed by a hailstorm of screaming lead. But by now we know what we’re going to get and we just have to go with it. At one point Ocho puts out a gangster’s eyes and archly informs him (as if he can hear through the head-splitting pain), “You’re the seventeenth victim of Ocho of Inoshika’s eye attack!” This movie does attack the eyes rather beautifully, and if you look past the Vaudeville antics of the action scenes you may enjoy it. The panel length poster at top is rare, and as far as we know it’s the only one of its kind to be seen online. Furyô banchô: Inoshika Ochô premiered in Japan today in 1969.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 25
1939—Batman Debuts
In Detective Comics #27, DC Comics publishes its second major superhero, Batman, who becomes one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, and then a popular camp television series starring Adam West, and lastly a multi-million dollar movie franchise starring Michael Keaton, then George Clooney, and finally Christian Bale.
1953—Crick and Watson Publish DNA Results
British scientists James D Watson and Francis Crick publish an article detailing their discovery of the existence and structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in Nature magazine. Their findings answer one of the oldest and most fundamental questions of biology, that of how living things reproduce themselves.
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.

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