He was a good husband at first. Then he turned into a total ape.
This Mexican poster for La novia del gorilla, aka Bride of the Gorilla, is chockful of interesting elements, from the massive simian at top, to the snake hanging in a tree, to star Barbara Payton being borne away by a second gorilla, and co-star Carol Varga in her classic “native” two-piece. There's a line early on: “White people shouldn't live too long in the jungle. It brings out their bad side—jealousies, impatience.” That sums up the thrust of the plot, the subplot, and the underlying themes, because it's a one-note psychological suspense flick about northerners out of place in the humid global south.
In brief, Raymond Burr runs a rubber plantation for colonial boss Paul Cavanaugh, and has the hots for his wife Barbara Payton. He kills Cavanaugh, thanks to a serendipitous lethal snake that's slithering by. He gets away with the murder, but he can't fool the withered old crone who runs the plantation house. She uses the pe de guine—the so-called plant of evil—to place a curse on Burr. It's slow to act, but by the time he marries the widowed Payton he comes to think he's changing into a beast. Is it in his mind? Is he suffering the effects of slow poisoning from the pe de guine? Or is he really a monster?
Bride of the Gorilla, while a middling and basically inconsequential cinematic effort, is well remembered by Hollywood buffs for its extracurriculars. Barbara Payton was being surveilled via detective by her husband Franchot Tone, and passed on the unfortunate news that Payton was enjoying sweaty horizontal interludes with Woody Strode. He was one of the best looking guys you can imagine, so it's no wonder the highly sexed Payton got hot and bothered. It was one in a series of affairs for her, but this one harmed her career because Strode was black. She would later suffer one of the worst downward spirals in celebrity history.
In any case, the question is should whether you give Bride of the Gorilla a screening. Hmm... well, owing to the good cast, we think so. Chaney and Burr are quality talents even when overrmatched by substandard screenwriting. But keep your expectations in check. It's watchable, but it's still pure b-movie schlock. It was originally released in the U.S., and opened in Mexico today in 1951
The question is—a shot of what?
You've seen previous examples from Éditions le Condor's series La Môme Double-Shot. This entry was written by George Maxwell, aka Georges Esposito, and is called Rien ne va plus, which means “nothing is going well.” But this cover went pretty well. Its creator Jean Salvetti, who signed as “Salva,” painted a visual pun in which “double-shot” becomes a choice between a shot of liquor and a shot of lead. We'll take the booze. Every time. More from Salvetti at his keywords below.
Since you ask, no, I've never had a haircut. Though many have offered.
This image shows French/Dominican actress Tina Aumont, aka Tina Marquand, who we've seen around these parts a couple of times, most recently in the 1966 movie Modesty Blaise. We also shared a 1975 photo of her from Playboy Italy. This shot was conceived (or maybe copied from Erna Schürer) by Angelo Frontoni and dates from 1969.
Caffaro knows how to Handle her business.
Why do we spend our valuable time watching exploitation movies? Well, because we watch all pulp related genres of movies, from film noir to horror. So why discriminate? We also watch such movies (which is a set we figure includes sexploitation, blaxploitation, women-in-prison, and more) because owing to their sexual, racial, and political aspects, their like will probably never be made again. Last month we completed our look at Cheri Caffaro's infamous Ginger McAllister sexploitation-spy trilogy. Now we're moving on to her later work in Too Hot To Handle, which premiered this month in 1977.
Set in and around Manila, Caffaro plays an experienced and wealthy assassin named Samantha Fox who takes on a difficult triple-contract. In order to succeed she'll need all her skills of disguise, deception, and sexuality. Meanwhile the cops are on her trail. When one of the investigators gets close—real close—Caffaro takes a liking to him and, passing herself off as her alter ego Melinda Burroughs, tries to navigate sleeping with the enemy while fulfilling her murderous obligations.
All Caffaro movies are low budget, and all are bad. This one is poorly written and acted, and as usual there's a touch of the kinky, both in front of the camera, as well as behind, as Caffaro's husband Don Schain directs her getting her squeezebox fondled by hairy co-star Aharon Ipalé. That's called commitment to the product and your art—or alternatively, finding a way to monetize your spouse-sharing fantasies. It didn't improve the movie.
The only surprise here was that former top European star Corinne Calvet somehow got suckered into playing a brothel owner named Madame Ruanda, later dying as one of Caffaro's targets. Alas, Corinne—sexploitation is a welcoming mistress for those desperate to pay bills, but next time we recommend a loan shark. The vig is a bitch but at least you get to hang onto your dignity. But even if Too Hot To Handle was too bad for Calvet to be in, it isn't too bad for you to watch. Caffaro is weirdly great. In the sexploitation realm nobody did more with less.
New positions can really spice up your sex life. So can new species.
In the great state of Florida recently police were totally unsurprised when they uncovered a case of bestiality between a woman and a dog in Lee County, located in the southwest coast on the Gulf of Mexico. Samantha White, 26, was repeatedly recorded by her husband John, 29, as Samantha engaged in carnal acts with the canine, 4. The couple were outed after someone saw or became aware of videos posted online and notified local authorities. As mondo bizarro stories go, this one is out there. It's even weirder than that bag of random hands found in Russia a while back.
We picture the tawdry affair beginning by accident when Samantha mistook the dog for her husband, who looks sort of like a werewolf. She only realized her error when she and the dog got stuck together. John, who was busy in the back yard restoring his Camaro IROC-Z all this time, heard her screams for help, rushed into the house and separated the animal from his wife by throwing a bucket of cold water on their fused privates. That's the way it's said to work dog-on-dog, anyway, so why not dog-on-human? From that point we expect the Whites realized they enjoyed the weirdness of the episode—et voilà. A side hustle was born.
Unfortunately, putting videos of that type online will enrage and distress animal lovers, then likely come to the attention of police. “I am disgusted by the actions of these two residents,” commented one of the local lawmen. “I will not tolerate any kind of abuse.” Except, of course, abuse of civil rights. As a Florida law official he had to swear an oath on that. The dog, for his part, was removed to an animal shelter, and in a press conference admitted his guilt, profusely and convincingly. He's now negotiating a book deal.
Aw, look. She's all puckered up and ready for a kiss.
Sure, we went there. Why not? We built our own wesbite so we can write any damn thing we want. Above you see another Europa Books foldout cover, Fritz Jantzen's 1963 sleazer Berlin Bed, which we found on Flickr, then brightened up a bit. The author obviously used a pseudonym, possibly for Charles Nuetzel, who is known to have used the name Jantzen. The art here is by Bill Edwards, identifiable anyway from the style, but doubly so thanks to the band-aid. If you want to see more Europa foldout covers, and learn a little about the company just click its keywords below and scroll.
There's no jealousy like a femme fatale's jealousy.
It's amazing how much easier James M. Cain makes writing seem than scores of other authors. His 1950 novel Jealous Woman starts at a gallop. Here's the first line: At the desk, when they said she was in 819, I knew hubby or pappy or somebody was doing all right by their Jane, because 19 is the deluxe tier at the Washoe-Truckee, one of our best hotels here in Reno, and you don’t get space there for buttons. And just like that we're off. Cain gives readers ambitious insurance man Ed Horner of General Pan-Pacific Insurance of California. Horner lives, works, and parties in Reno, where unhappy marrieds migrate to be freed from their nuptial bonds. He gets involved in a complex divorce/annulment scheme between Jane Delavan, her rich husband, Jane's ex-husband, and his current wife. Yes, it's a bit complicated, but a messy murder uncomplicates it a little. At least for readers. For Horner, things get weird. Jealous Woman isn't Cain's best, but it's still a slice of devious fun worth reading, and this Ace version with John Vernon cover art is the edition to buy if you can.
The forecast is looking very good.
Above: a really nice shot of model and showgirl La Raine Meeres made by famed pin-up photographer Bunny Yeager around 1957. We can't tell you much about Meeres, except that she danced in Cab Calloway's Cotton Club Revue and this shot was made when the show passed through Yeager's base of Miami. Yeager was an early standard bearer for inclusivity, and made a point of working with women of color when few photographers were interested. We'll keep an eye out for more of the marvelous Meeres.
The name's Cooper. Brian Cooper. What—you were expecting some other secret agent?
The Italian spy thriller New York chiama Superdrago, which we had a chance to watch during our little break last week, was known in English as Secret Agent Super Dragon, and is another in a spate of hipster spy movies that came in the wake of James Bond's massive cinematic success. It premeired in Italy this month in 1966. Three of its promo posters were painted by the great Sandro Symeoni, and while the above example is also attributed to him on some websites, that's incorrect. It's really by Enrico de Seta. Or said to be by one long-running online poster vendor. We're not actually sure about that because the signature doesn't look like his, but who are we to argue with the experts?
In the film, Ray Danton plays a retired agent codenamed Super Dragon—civilian name Brian Cooper—who's roused from his yogic meditations and drawn back into the spy game when a friend dies in a suspicious auto accident that may be related to previous strange deaths. The clues lead from a U.S. college town to Amsterdam (because what kind of spy movie would it be without some globetrotting?), and into the lissome arms of fellow spies Margaret Lee and Marisa Mell (because what kind of spy movie would it be without hotties à la carte?). Between romances Danton learns that the plot revolves around the untraceable drug synchron-2. Purpose: unknown (but don't be shocked if it's to do with world domination).
Few of these Bond knock-offs are sufficiently budgeted or technically proficient enough to result in good final products. Whether you like them has to do with nebulous factors. In this case, we thought Danton's unctious self-entitlement and blasé approach to world saving were funny. We loved when one of his many assailants swallowed cyanide, Danton said, “I'd better get rid of him,” then dumped the corpse out the nearest window. Cue sound effect of splashing water. New York chiama Superdrago is a bit camp without being a satire, and just poorly written enough to provide a few laughs without being a total screenwriting train wreck. But don't pretend we said it's actually good.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1922—Challenge to Women's Voting Rights Rebuffed
In the United States, a conservative legal challenge to the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishing voting rights for women is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett. The challenge was based partly on the idea of individual "states rights" to self determination. The failure of such reasoning as it applied to basic human rights created a framework for later states rights losses involving the denial of voting rights to African-Americans.
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
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