Vintage Pulp Jan 17 2022
BRIGHT LIGHTS BIG CITTA
An American con man in London.


Above: a nice Italian poster for Jules Dassin's 1950 film noir Night and the City. The city is London, which proves to have numerous hazards for shady Richard Widmark. In Italy the movie was called I trafficanti della notte, then retitled Nella citta la notte scotta. You see both on the poster. Earlier promos exist that have only the first title, but we like this later one painted by Renato Casaro the most. It has a beautiful glowing cityscape in the background. Amazing work. We don't know why the title was changed, but the original translates as “the traffickers of the night," while the second is, “in the city the night is hot,” so maybe the distributors simply preferred the more poetic second title. We certainly do. We haven't talked about this movie yet, but we'll get to it a little later. It opened in Italy today in 1951.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 11 2022
MAD ABOUT TOI
Cino Del Duca and the Nous cool.


This cover for Lucíenne Royer's Toi ma folie (You My Madness) was published in 1950 as part of Éditions Mondiales Del Duca's popular Collection Nous Deux. The company was owned by Cino Del Duca, who we wrote about several years back, after learning about him thanks to a trip to Paris. Shorter version: French resistance hero, publishing genius, movie mogul, and more. We love the Nous Deux aesthetic, particularly that of Nous Deux the magazine. Much of our appreciation has to do with Aslan, aka Alain Gourdon, and Giulio Bertoletti painting numerous stunning covers for the publication. We put together a collection of those a while back. Look here and prepare to be impressed. What would be nice is if Del Duca had decided to credit the above art. No such luck. 

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Femmes Fatales Jan 11 2022
DROP IN CRIME
Have you ever tried para shooting? It's a total blast.


Above is a fun image of Italian actress Daniela Bianchi. She's best known for playing Tatiana Romanova in 1963's From Russia with Love. Her fame as a so-called Bond girl far outstrips any recognition she received for her other thirteen credited film roles, but this shot, made in 1966 for the spy flick Mission speciale Lady Chaplin, makes us want to see what she's like outside of the Bond franchise. If we do we'll report back.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 5 2022
THE AMERICAN WAY
Gemser exercises her right to bare arms—and everything else too.


We try to document the top erotic stars of yesteryear—Lindberg, Forså, Annie Belle, Izumi Shima. Today it's Laura Gemser's turn again, this time starring in Emanuelle in America, which premiered in Italy today in 1977. This entry is third, fourth, or seventh in her Emanuelle series, depending on how you count them, and sees her investigating a multi-national sex trafficking ring that kidnaps women and kills them for the production of underground snuff films. That synopsis and the fact that the movie is helmed by Joe D'Amato are all you need to hear to suspect this is going all sorts of disturbing places, and indeed, your worst fears will be realized, as scenes of documentary-style transgressive violence occur, and there's a scene of a woman stroking off a horse. Fortunately, the snuff sequences are fake. They were staged by Italian special effects experts Giannetto de Rossi and Maurizio Trani. The horse thing? That's real.

*heavy sigh*

Okay, so let's forget those problems for now. What's the thrust of the movie? It's a scathing indictment of the decadent wealthy, people who money has deadened inside and who must buy increasingly depraved thrills to bring stimulation to their lives. During the course of Gemser's investigation she goes undercover as a high priced call girl, jets from the U.S. to Venice to the Caribbean and back to the States, gets naked or topless numerous times, and has her skinny body handled and squeezed by man and woman alike, including her real-life husband Gabriele Tinti. As usual her sexual powers are transformative. For instance a carjacker wants to kill her but has never experienced sex and has his lid flipped by his first blowjob. Later a call girl with no self worth comes to see the world in a brighter light after a slippery steam room session with Gemser. She's like a superhero—with a superpower you really have to marvel at.

We won't tell you how the whole snuff plotline resolves. You'll just have to watch—all the way to the baffling postscript. Should you decide to partake, you'll probably end up with a version of the movie that has hardcore sequences featuring porn actresses Paola Senatore and Marina Lotar inserted, so to speak. Usually such scenes shred continuity, and they do here too, as well as failing to add much to the overall erotic value of the film. We'll admit though, that the bit where a woman sticks daisies in a man's nest of pubes then says, “Your bush is in flower,” was funny. The other high point is Gemser, hitting her stride here as the Emanuelle character, looking her best, making stick-thin more alluring than she has any right to. She does the same in many additional entries. A few of those efforts are better, but many are far worse, so we'll have to call Emanuelle in America above average.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 1 2022
SO NERA, YET SO FAR
The beasts of the jungle are dangerous, savage, and human.


You'd never guess, but this cover for U.S. writer Jonathan Latimer's L'avventura nera is the 1956 Italian translation of his 1940 African safari novel Dark Memory. It was painted by Lu Kimmel, possibly borrowed from something he originally painted for a U.S. novel or magazine. We recently talked about this book in detail—a lot of detail—but long story short, it's about Yanks in Africa, and a difficult, dangerous safari that brings out the beast in its participants. It was great. Learn more? Click here.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 31 2021
TO HELL AND GONE
Wherever she's headed you can be sure it's not good.


Well, we survived. We didn't mention it earlier, but our recent trip took us deep into the heart of covid. It was too late to back out because we had committed to something important, so away we went even as omicron began peaking and virus cases in general rose. While there, someone we spent an evening with messaged two days later that he was positive and feeling quite sick. We tested and came up negative. We wrote in early December about the virus killing one of PI-1's friends. Weeks later her entire close family caught it. Her elderly parents, her brother, her brother's four-year-old, her brother's girlfriend, and her two kids. All of them. All were physically ill. Even the four-year-old had symptoms, but everyone survived. Seven for seven, which is bucking the odds when two of the seven are over sixty-five.
 
For this reason, as well as the omicron spread, the virus was on our minds more than usual. We were lucky, but we can't celebrate, because we found out that someone we know went through true hell. We have this acquaintance, who we'll call Nikolai. Russian. Stereotypical. Big, broad, physically imposing, but a very nice, very jovial guy. He has a factory in Kazakhstan, lives here in Spain. His wife, who we'll call Yara, went to Kazakhstan, where covid is a particular problem. While Yara was there she had severe stomach pains, went to a doctor, and learned that she had a large, possibly cancerous mass growing right in her core. Kazakhstan, while having skilled doctors, doesn't have top notch facilities. The doctors told Yara they immediately needed to cut her stomach out. The whole thing.

Nikolai heard this and rushed to Kazakhstan to get Yara the hell out of there. Against doctors' wishes he shipped her back to Spain, where Spanish medicos told her they needed to take only a small part of her stomach. Not bad by comparison. Relief. But Nikolai stayed in Kazakhstan to deal with some factory business and immediately caught covid. He was on a ventilator after a week, and dead a week after that. Yara was scheduled for surgery and couldn't see her husband buried, though common sense prevented a return to covidy Kazakhstan anyway. Two kids lost their dad and Yara's situation remains dire. That's about as fast as things can go south.

The point of the story is simply to remind you that this virus ain't no joke. But moving along, above we have for you an Italian poster for the Diana Dors movie Passport to Shame, which we wrote about a little while ago. In Italy it was called Passaporto per l'inferno—“passport to hell.” Films that played there were scrutinized by authorities for themes considered offensive to Catholic values, and prostitution pretty much topped the list, so it's no surprise Dors received a punishment upgrade from mere shame to fiery hell. The movie is worth seeing, and you can read about it at this link. We have some amazing books, photos, and general pulp fun coming for you in 2022, but for the moment here's wishing for the most amazing thing of all—a world that works better than it did this last year.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 22 2021
IDOL CURIOSITY
Okay, no peeking. And this time I mean all of you.


Above: Raymond Connoleer's set-in-Mexico 1965 crime novel Morte d'un idolo, which was published by Edizioni MA-GA's series Federal Bureau of Investigation Stories. Connoleer is a pseudonym but we couldn't dig up his real name. Lot of that going around lately. The unusual cover is uncredited, but it's Franco Picchioni for sure, yet another great illustration from a unique talent. See a few of his best here, here, and here

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Vintage Pulp Nov 28 2021
DJAM SESSION
Nadia Cassini is just what the witch doctor ordered.


There's no erotica quite like 1970s sexploitation. With a focus on pure pleasure, fanciful plots, and a touristic approach toward lush locations, films from the genre are usually pretty fun to watch. Il dio serpente stars Nadia Cassini as a woman who moves to Colombia with her rich, older husband in order to spice up their relationship. She partakes of the regional beaches, the local shopping, and sights such as Cartagena's Castillo de San Luis de Bocachica, before being told by local friend Beryl Cunningham about the cult of a serpent deity named Djamballà, the god of love.

Cassini has little interest in island religion, but Djamballà has an interest in Cassini—at least that's what Cunningham tells her when Cassini says she was approached by a huge snake while on the beach. She begins to develop an interest in the cult after all, attends a voodoo style ritual presided over a by witch doctor, and ends up the star participant along with Cunningham. Cassini's husband then chooses that moment to fly away on business and leave her alone in paradise, which no right thinking man would do unless compelled by a script, and a lonely Cassini starts to get into those Djamballà rituals—and Djamballà inevitably gets into her.

Cassini is blazing hot and sensual as hell, so you can't blame the snake god for his fascination. The film's director Piero Vivarelli also knows he has someone special on his hands, and spends plenty of time in loving close-ups of his star, but in our opinion his direction is far too chaste for what's basically supposed to be a ninety-minute turn-on. In addition, the film seems padded, with its extended ritual drumming sequences. In the end, what you get is just another movie about island religion and a white girl cutting loose. We've seen versions of it before. If this one is worth watching at all, it's only because Cassini's rare beauty makes it thus. Il dio serpente premiered in Italy today in 1970.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 27 2021
RUN IN ROME
Flee for your life like the Romans do.


Carlo Jacono painted this brilliant cover for La ragazza che scappa, or “the girl who runs away,” written by American author Adam Knight, aka Lawrence Lariar, for Ponzoni Editore's series Gialli Canarino, with the translation chores handled by Lydia Lax. We read a Knight book a while back, weren't impressed, and forgot about him, but here he is earning a translation into Italian. Does that mean the book is good? We've always assumed without evidence that translations were an indicator of quality, but now we have doubts. Or maybe that limp Knight yarn we read wasn't typical of his work. La ragazza che scappa was originally published in 1956 in the U.S. as Girl Running. We could probably find it if we wanted to, so we will actually consider picking up a copy if it's out there cheap. We're just curious enough. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 21 2021
NERA TO STARDOM
Laura Gemser rides Emanuelle to international fame.


We're looping back to Italian promo art today with this poster for Emanuelle nera, known in English as Black Emmanuelle. We already talked about the movie here, but didn't share this particular poster, a nice, understated effort for what is a pretty wild film. This was Gemser's third cinematic outing, but her first as the character of Emanuelle, which she'd reprise multiple times. Notice she's billed on the poster as “Emanuelle.” She acted under that name briefly before appearing under her real name, and the rest is softcore history. We have her entire film output, so you can be sure we'll get back to her later. Emanuelle nera premiered in Italy today in 1975. 

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
January 19
1915—Claude Patents Neon Tube
French inventor Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube, in which an inert gas is made to glow various colors through the introduction of an electrical current. His invention is immediately seized upon as a way to create eye catching advertising, and the neon sign comes into existence to forever change the visual landscape of cities.
1937—Hughes Sets Air Record
Millionaire industrialist, film producer and aviator Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles, California to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds. During his life he set multiple world air-speed records, for which he won many awards, including America's Congressional Gold Medal.
January 18
1967—Boston Strangler Convicted
Albert DeSalvo, the serial killer who became known as the Boston Strangler, is convicted of murder and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison. He serves initially in Bridgewater State Hospital, but he escapes and is recaptured. Afterward he is transferred to federal prison where six years later he is killed by an inmate or inmates unknown.
January 17
1950—The Great Brinks Robbery Occurs
In the U.S., eleven thieves steal more than $2 million from an armored car company's offices in Boston, Massachusetts. The skillful execution of the crime, with only a bare minimum of clues left at the scene, results in the robbery being billed as "the crime of the century." Despite this, all the members of the gang are later arrested.
1977—Gary Gilmore Is Executed
Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore is executed by a firing squad in Utah, ending a ten-year moratorium on Capital punishment in the United States. Gilmore's story is later turned into a 1979 novel entitled The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer, and the book wins the Pulitzer Prize for literature.
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