Elke snags seashells by the seashore.
German star Elke Sommer shows her beach bum in this shot made during a photo session in Haiti in 1978, and first published in the the U.S. magazine Eros. Sommer is another of those performers who was huge during her time, but doesn't have what today most film buffs consider many quality efforts among her nearly one hundred movies. A Shot in the Dark and The Prize are probably the best remembered from her mainstream output, while cult fans tend to gravitate toward Lisa and the Devil, The Wrecking Crew, and of course Deadlier Than the Male, which we've seen and written about more than once (feel free to click its keywords just below). We're going to explore a few more of those hundred movies of hers, so maybe we'll uncover a treasure the way Sommer has uncovered the giant conch shell she's hanging onto.
Palmer demonstrates proper usage of the most important bad girl accessory.
Femmes fatales (that's how the French spell it, and they should know) need a lot of accessories. Among the most important are eyes that smolder, a walk that slinks, dresses that cling, a mouthful of lies, a small pistol, and a strong liver, but is there any accessory more important than the cigarette? We don't think so. German actress Lilli Palmer makes the most of a cigarette in this striking promo image that's undated but probably from the early 1940s. Neither of us have ever smoked, nor seriously dated a woman who did, but there's no denying it looks good on Lilli.
The fundamental things apply.
Here’s something nice we ran across on an auction site. It’s a piece of sheet music for “As Time Goes By”, which is a song written by German composer Herman Hupfeld and sung by Dooley Wilson’s character Sam in 1942’s Casablanca. The tune is inextricably identified with the film, but it was actually written for the 1931 Broadway show Everybody’s Welcome, where, in its complete form, it becomes clear the song is just as much about stress as about romance. You wouldn’t know that of course, because you don’t know the lyrics—really, who does? But today’s your lucky Monday—you can brush up on the words here. Just remember these two music fundamentals: if you sing, please do so from the diaphragm; and if you sing badly, blame it on booze.
They're going to salvage a lost cargo come hell or Haie water.
We had a foreign double feature last night, following up La tentación desnuda with Haie am Todesriff, which was originally Italian made as Bermude: la fossa maledetta. Known in English as Cave of Sharks, it premiered in Italy in June 1978 and opened in West Germany today the same year. It is, to be succinct, a Jaws knock-off made with less imagination and less budget.
Set on and around the fictive island of San Domingo, which is somewhere near Bermuda, the movie stars Andrés Garcia as a member of an oceanographic expedition who turns up with amnesia six months after his boat goes missing and his colleagues are lost. During those six months that Garcia was presumed dead, his brother tried to move in on his girl Janet Agren—for which he cannot in any be blamed—but with his bro's reappearance there's now a budding love triangle.
Later a plane crashes near San Domingo under strange circumstances with an illegal cargo, sending organized crime figures into to action to recover their loot. Under false pretenses, they hire Garcia, sending him right back into the dread sector of ocean from he'd been fished. He discovers strange, mystical sharks, and thinks they might be the key to getting his memory back. He loses all interest in the crooks' treasure, but they think he's found it and is withholding it. Trouble looms.
Does all this sound dumb? You aren't wrong. And the bad plot isn't helped by bad acting, bad action, and incredibly bad miniature work. This one isn't worth your time, even with Janet Agren in the co-starring role. But to make reading this worthwhile, we've added a nice Agren shot to the promos below.
She's a mean green fighting machine.
This photo shows German actress Renate von Holt, who appeared in a grand total of four films during her short cinema career, including Heißer Sand auf Sylt, which we wrote about here. The shot came from the West German magazine Caballero, and according to those folks von Holt was in reality Baroness Renate von Holzschuher. We checked it out and the gents at Cabellero are correct. She was minor royalty, a famed presence in society circles, a denizen of the hottest nightspots in Europe, fluent in six languages, and for ten years the companion of Prince Johannes von Thurn und Taxis. Even royalty can become obscure with the passage of time, though. There isn't much on von Holt even on German sites. Well, we're happy to raise her profile. The photo is from 1968.
Dick Halloran and his late night guests.
We're revisiting the art of headshop posters with this image of an unidentified afro-topped beauty shot in 1979 by famed German lensman Cheyco Leidmann. This particular piece may look familiar to cinema fans. It's the poster that was over Scatman Crothers' bed in the 1981 scarefest The Shining. His character Dick Halloran was about as single as a man could be in that movie—living alone, hanging in his jammies, watching television late at night, with naked art looking down on him. Getting axed in the sternum was really a case of putting the poor guy out of his misery. Halloran didn't have just one guardian angel on his walls. The reverse shot from that same sequence shows another poster, located over the television. That model we can identify. She's actress and centerfold Azizi Johari, who's made a few appearances here on the website. We even shared the very same poster a couple of years ago. But we decided to bring her back today so our visit to Halloran's bachelor pad would be complete. See more Johari here and here. She's well worth it.
People aren't into books like they used to be. I'm just trying to make it enticing again.
The only movie we've seen with German actress Andrea Rau is the low budget production Robinson und seine wilden Sklavinnen, aka Robinson and His Tempestuous Slaves, and she made that otherwise uninspired effort worthwhile all by herself. She works similar magic, above, on a pile of books, including a Rowohlt Verlag edition of Henry Miller's Sexus. Rau appeared in about twenty films, and after the cinema made the time-honored transition into television, where she acted until 2008. The above photo came from a 1974 cover of the magazine Rex, and we took the liberty of removing the text. For a couple more shots of Rau check here and here.
Bogart may own the café, but Bergman owns the room.
Since we're checking out European poster art today, above is a nice West German promo for the classic wartime drama Casablanca, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. We've covered just about all the nice promos for this film: Japanese, Spanish, Italian, and of course the classic U.S. version. Plus we wrote a post about the movie's brilliant set design. But this additional poster is worth sharing because it's the first time we've featured artist Hans Otto Wendt, a well regarded figure who worked during his youth as a draftsman in the newspaper industry, before taking his talents afield and collaborating with Deutsche London Film, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, and other major studios. He worked until 1969, at which point he retired due to poor health, and finally died in Berlin in 1979. For the above effort, note that he not only made Bergman the star of the poster, but the star of his handpainted lettering too. Casablanca premiered in West Germany today in 1952.
I see a tiny island! If we make it there we can recite captions from classic castaway cartoons until we're rescued!
We have another issue of Adam today, with a fun cover illustrating Ron Rawcliffe's story, “The Nine Strippers.” Obviously, with a title like that we had to read it, and it deals with a charter boat captain hired to take nine exotic entertainers upriver into the wilderness under mysterious circumstances, and it turns out they've been hired by an organized crime cabal. When the gathering is raided by federal police the captain must escape intact with bullets flying, strippers fleeing, and mafiosi trying to hijack his boat. Also in this issue of Adam you get fiction by Leonard Calhoun and John P. Gilders, plus a bit of boxing and a lot of models, including German born Israeli actress Helena Ronée just below, and French actress Catherine Rouvel in the feature "She Wins Them All." And circling back to the cover and its two potential castaways, look forward to this: we have another set of castaway cartoons coming up.
She could tell them the secret but it would be a bad Korea move.
Holly Roth, who also wrote as P.J. Merrill and K.G. Ballard, originally published The Shocking Secret as The Content Assignment in 1954. This Dell edition came in 1955 with William Rose cover art. The story, set beginning in 1948, deals with John Terrant, a British reporter in Berlin whose American love Ellen Content is a CIA agent who disappears during a mission. Nearly two years later her name turns up in a newspaper story that says she's a dancer in New York City. So Terrant crosses the pond to track her down but ends up in the middle of the Cold War, with bad commies and the whole nine.
Roth infuses her tale with an Englishman in New York fish-out-of-water quality, which is occasionally amusing and adds interest, but in the end the entire enterprise comes across lightweight—which is to say it lacks menace and the proper amount of intellectual heft needed for a book about the political/ideological clash of the era. And another issue, though an admittedly nit-picky one, is that the surprise of the title, which we mostly gave away in our subhead, isn't all that shocking. Dell never should have renamed the book.
Moving on to Roth herself, she's one of those writers whose life had an eerie parallel with her fiction. Her 1962 novel Too Many Doctors is about a woman who falls off a ship and loses her memory. In 1964 Roth disappeared from her husband's yacht one stormy night off the coast of Morocco and was never seen again. Officially, her death was an accident. If we get ambitious maybe we'll read Too Many Doctors. While we can't recommend The Shocking Secret, we wouldn't be surprised if several of her other books are better. Her reputation would seem to suggest it. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1947—Edwin Land Unveils His New Camera
In New York City, scientist and inventor Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The camera, which contains a special film that self-develops prints in a minute, goes on sale the next year to the public and is an immediate sensation.
1965—Malcolm X Is Assassinated
American minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam, who shotgun him in the chest and then shoot him sixteen additional times with handguns. Though three men are eventually convicted of the killing, two have always maintained their innocence, and all have since been paroled.
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
1976—Gerald Ford Rescinds Executive Order 9066
U.S. President Gerald R. Ford signs Proclamation 4417, which belatedly rescinds Executive Order 9066. That Order, signed in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established "War Relocation Camps" for Japanese-American citizens living in the U.S. Eventually, 120,000 are locked up without evidence, due process, or the possibility of appeal, for the duration of World War II.
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