Vintage Pulp Apr 3 2024
MEAN GIRLS
Gloria Grahame is a bad mamma scamma.


We had to watch Mama's Dirty Girls, not because it's a 1970's grindhouse movie (though that helped), but because none other than 1950s femme fatale Gloria Grahame got snared in this low budget affair. Sometimes the bills simply need to be paid. Or maybe she thought the script was dynamite. Either way, she gets top billing in this drive-in quality drama that premiered today in 1974, which tells the story of a scam artist mother and her three daughters who are honeytrap serial killers dispatching men for their money.

When Grahame gets another rich man on the hook, she foolishly poses as a well-to-do widow without realizing that her target is likewise seeking to kill someone for their money. This twist is ironic, and the mutual murder attempts that follow can be read as black comedy if you peer deeply between the lines, but in our opinion Mama's Dirty Girls doesn't have enough brainpower to be satire. Grahame probably wished it were, though—then she'd have had an excuse for starring in it. Sadly, it's just an amusingly bad movie. Everyone is terrible in it—even Grahame. And there isn't near enough eroticism to save it.

But you may want to watch it anyway. The cast is beautiful, particularly Currie, and there's an interesting value-added co-star too. Fifteen minutes into the movie's running time you'll see an actress that'll make you go, “Who is that?” You'll be reacting to the radiant beauty of bit player Annika Di Lorenzo, née Marjorie Lee Thoreson, who was a Penthouse centerfold in 1973 and later carved out a career in b-cinema. Besides Mama's Dirty Girls she appeared in such films as 1974's Act of Vengeance and The Centerfold Girls, 1980's Dressed To Kill, and 1979's big budget porn epic Caligula.

She later sued Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, claiming that he forced her to have sex with business associates, and tricked her into the infamous Caligula orgy. She won a $4 million punitive judgement, but lost it in an appeal. Guccione took revenge by publishing a lesbian pictorial of Di Lorenzo. Afterward, she stepped away from the limelight, but in 2011 hit newspapers again when she washed up dead on Camp Pendleton Beach in San Diego under baffling circumstances. Police suggested suicide, but her family contended that it was foul play, possibly perpetrated by someone from the military base. In the end, her case was closed as unsolved, and today remains another Hollywood mystery.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
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