Vintage Pulp Apr 7 2024
A WANDERFUL WORLD
The lone stranger rides again.


We usually watch movies in the order we're able to acquire them, so as a matter of availability we ended up watching parts one and three in the Rika the Mixed Blood Girl trilogy without having seen the middle entry. Last night we remedied that and screened part two, Konketsuji Rika: Hitoriyuku sasuraitabi, known in English as Rica 2: Lonely Wanderer. You see a rare tateken style poster for the film above—along with a nice zoom—that you won't find anywhere but on Pulp Intl. We already expounded upon the change in spelling of Rika's name in the English title a while back. Shorter version: we don't know why Rica makes more sense than Rika. Probably it doesn't. Take it up with the honchos at Kindai Eiga Kyokai.

Rika 2/Rica 2 stars Rika Aoki and she's once again required to right wrongs, as she escapes from the frying pan of reform school and lands in the fire of urban crime and other hazards endemic to pinku cinema. The main plot involves a ship that exploded and sank in Misawa harbor, and a survivor—Rika's friend Hanako—who's in a mental hospital as a result. But Hanako is mentally fine. She's actually hiding in the one place hired killers can't reach her. Turns out the ship was yakuza owned, and everyone who survived is being hunted down. Rika goes to the police and demands an investigation, but the cops are yakuza owned too. Why must everyone who survived the ship disaster be killed? How high does the conspiracy go?

Rika handles her business with moral outrage and violence, but she also has time for a musical number or two. She's the Dylan of the Misawa nightclub district. Check out her lyrical stylings:

As with the other films, some of the action in Rika 2/Rica 2 veers into slapstick. Also like the other films, there are racial and political digressions, and they aren't subtle. For instance, when Rika and a friend are accosted by Americans at one point, the group consists of one cowboy, one hippie, one guy dressed in a suit, etc. Later Rika is told point blank that it's lucky she's half white, because being half black like her friend Hanako would make her even more inferior to anyone fully Japanese. These are villains talking to her. The movie's default setting is anti-racist, which of course is correct and moral, but it's funny how what's considered racist evolves over time. Hanako is played by Japanese actress Masami Souda in shoe polish and an afro wig. Oops! For pinku cinema, it's just another day. But all-in-all, a reasonably fun one. Konketsuji Rika: Hitoriyuku sasuraitabi premiered in Japan today in 1973.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 13
1933—Eugenics Becomes Official German Policy
Adolf Hitler signs the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, and Germany begins sterilizing those they believe carry hereditary illnesses, and those they consider impure. By the end of WWII more than 400,000 are sterilized, including criminals, alcoholics, the mentally ill, Jews, and people of mixed German-African heritage.
1955—Ruth Ellis Executed
Former model Ruth Ellis is hanged at Holloway Prison in London for the murder of her lover, British race car driver David Blakely. She is the last woman executed in the United Kingdom.
1966—Richard Speck Rampage
Richard Speck breaks into a Chicago townhouse where he systematically rapes and kills eight student nurses. The only survivor hides under a bed the entire night.
July 12
1971—Corona Sent to Prison
Mexican-born serial killer Juan Vallejo Corona is convicted of the murders of 25 itinerant laborers. He had stabbed each of them, chopped a cross in the backs of their heads with a machete, and buried them in shallow graves in fruit orchards in Sutter County, California. At the time the crimes were the worst mass murders in U.S. history.
July 11
1960—To Kill a Mockingbird Appears
Harper Lee's racially charged novel To Kill a Mockingbird is published by J.B. Lippincott & Co. The book is hailed as a classic, becomes an international bestseller, and spawns a movie starring Gregory Peck, but is the only novel Lee would ever publish.
1962—Nuke Test on Xmas Island
As part of the nuclear tests codenamed Operation Dominic, the United States detonates a one megaton bomb on Australian controlled Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. The island was a location for a series of American and British nuclear tests, and years later lawsuits claiming radiation damage to military personnel were filed, but none were settled in favor in the soldiers.
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