Intl. Notebook May 8 2015
DOUBLE DANISH
Passant le temps à Saint-Tropez.


An idyllic scene on the French Riviera is revealed in these three photos, as Danish actress Mirette Stroyberg and her sister Annette Vadim—who was married to director Roger Vadim and had starred in his film Les liaisons dangereuses, aka Dangerous Liaisons—walk on Pampelonne Beach one afternoon in 1959. Remember—the good life is as near as the next sunny day. 

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Modern Pulp | Vintage Pulp Sep 26 2013
BETTER THAN FICTION
Hiroyuki Nakano’s sword opera Samurai Fiction challenges festival audience but ultimately leaves it satisfied.


San Sebastian in general and Cinema Caravan in particular are keeping us busy, but we have time for a quick post, so here we go. Last night we attended a screening of Hiroyuki Nakano’s 1998 adventure/comedy SF: Episode One, also known as Samurai Fiction. It’s a quirky movie, imaginatively shot mostly in black and white, and involves a young samurai on a mission to both avenge a friend’s death and retrieve a priceless sword. He encounters an ex-samurai who tries to teach him the wisdom of non-violence, with limited success. The movie is set in 1689 and looks a bit like Kurosawa’s great period pieces, but subverts that similarity with its humor and modern rock 'n’ roll soundtrack. Since it was in Japanese with English subtitles, the mostly Basque audience was perhaps a bit baffled, but even those with language difficulties could enjoy the film’s visual creativity, and ultimately everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Watching Samurai Fiction got us thinking about our many Japanese posters, and because we actually have access to that stuff wherever we go, we decided to share five of the nicer pieces in our collection. In terms of  information on these, time is a little tight to research them carefully, but here’s what we know: poster one—nothing; poster two—Nawa Hada Jigoku: Rope Skin Hell, with Naomi Tani, 1979; poster three—we’re unsure on that one, but that’s definitely Kayoko Honoo in the art; poster four—Kapone no shatei, yamato damashi, aka A Boss with the Samurai Spirit, with Tomisaburô Wakayama, 1971; poster five—nothing. But we'll see if we can find something about that one. See ya soon.


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Femmes Fatales Jun 6 2013
FRENCH GRAD
Do you know the way to Saint-Tropez?

This rare and amazing shot shows French actress Geneviève Grad, who is rare and amazing herself. She made many films, including the spy thriller OSS 117 prend des vacances, but is well known for the Gendarme de Saint-Tropez series, in which she appeared from 1964 to 1968. This image was made in 1963. 

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Modern Pulp | Vintage Pulp Aug 25 2011
NUN CONFORMISTS
Japanese cinema’s love affair with the nun is a hard habit to break.


Japanese cinema loves its nuns, whether clothed or naked, dominant or submissive, or sometimes just copping a squat in the woods. So today for your enjoyment we have six sexploitation posters featuring these figures, spanning the years 1968 through 1980. Remember, just looking isn't a sin. Title and star info appears at bottom.

From top to bottom: Nun’s Prohibited Night with Yuki Nohira, Tattooed Nun’s Dissolute Life with Jun Kosugi, Nunnery Confidential with Junko Fuji, A Nun’s Rope Hell with Naomi Oka, Humiliated Nun with Mihoko Kuga, and Black Clothed Nun’s Pain with Eri Kanuma. As you know by now, these films had no Western release, which means the English titles we’ve given are approximate, at best. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 20 2011
STOP REWIND
French starlet Brigitte Bardot turned heads in Saint-Tropez more than half a century ago.

Continuing the process of cleaning off our French shelf, we have an issue of the pin-up magazine Stop. This one, issue #18 from 1962, is devoted entirely to Brigitte Bardot, and inside you get studio and outdoor photography of the legendary sex symbol, plus production stills from several of her films. The cover image of her in front of the Eiffel Tower is iconic, but the image in panel sixteen, just above, is one of the most famous ever made of her. It was shot by Willy Rizzo in Saint-Tropez during the 1956 production of Roger Vadim’s Et Dieu… crea la femme, aka And God Created Woman, and it pretty much sums up the quality of Bardot’s sex appeal. Saint-Tropez was just a sleepy seaside village back then, so you can imagine what all those crusty fishermen in the cafés thought the first time they saw this woman walking barefoot along their waterfront. Mermaid? Tramp? Angel? Waif? Bardot had all those elements and more, which is a large part of why—in addition to her copious talent—she became such a transcendent star. Today she remains in the public eye, if controversially, and it’s ironic that someone who once united people in their appreciation of her beauty, acting and singing is now such a polarizing figure. The above photo isn’t the only image that survives from that famed Rizzo session, so just for the fun of it, we’ve posted a few more below to help you dream about springtime. 

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Modern Pulp Dec 5 2009
ROPE TRICKS
I wanna hold your hana.

Hana to hebi: kyûkyoku nawa chôkyô was released with the English title Flower and Snake 4: Rope Magic, which is a very pretty collection of nouns for an exercise in torture porn. Fairly hard torture porn, too, probably because by the time this was made by Nikkatsu Studios, adult video was taking a major bite out of Japan’s pinku market. The plot here is simple: a gambler with debts loses his wife and daughter to the Yakuza, who proceed to humiliate the women in various fiendish ways. There’s an escape attempt that goes awry, but basically the story is just a framework for increasingly devilish forms of sexual degradation. You got your dildos. You got your hot wax. You got your urine. This is soooo not our thing. But what is our thing is the promo art, which is just lovely, even while evincing the film’s highly dubious nature. Experienced pinku fans, or those into the Japanese art of Kinbaku-bi (beautiful bondage) may dig this movie. All others proceed with caution. Hana to hebi: kyûkyoku nawa chôkyô, premiered in Japan today in 1987.     

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Vintage Pulp Jul 21 2009
AT THE END OF HER ROPE
Just keep reminding yourself it’s only a movie.

The above promo art is for the Japanese sexploitation flick Dan Oniroku nawa to hada, aka Rope and Skin. It’s one of many films based on the work of S&M author Oniroku Dan. This one concerns a card-dealing employee of a yakuza clan who plans to leave her criminal life behind and marry a chef. And that’s all fine and dandy, but when she exposes the leader of a rival clan as a card cheat, his revenge leaves her love murdered. Things get worse when she attempts to free a girl from prostitution, but ends up captured and tortured. But you can’t keep a good avenging angel down, and that means eventually she’s sprung and of course immediately sets about getting a little payback—toplessly, with mucho arterial spray. Rope and Skin would be Tani's last film after a career that included such efforts as Wet Vase, A New Wife’s Hell, and She-Beasts & Warm Bodies. Whenever we watch these gorefests we’re both repelled (there’s a lot of torture) and attracted (there’s a lot of nudity), but mostly just amazed (did we mention that torture thing?). Rope and Skin/Dan Oniroku nawa to hada premiered in Japan today in 1979.  

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Vintage Pulp Mar 19 2009
WEIRD ENCHAINE OF EVENTS
Hitchcock spy caper may be improbable, but Grant and Bergman make it a winner.


Above, we have three beautiful French posters for Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller Les Enchaînés, aka Notorious, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. In Brazil, just after WWII, Bergman vies with Nazis who are smuggling uranium ore inside wine bottles. Seems like they could think of a better way, but you can’t really quibble with screenwriter Ben Hecht, who wrote Spellbound, the original Kiss of Death, the original Scarface, the brilliant but underappreciated Ride the Pink Horse, and was a script doctor on Laura, Rope, Cry of the City and Strangers on a Train. Besides, there’s something seriously metaphorical going on with these bottles. We ain’t saying what—you’ll just have to watch the film. Les Enchaînés premiered in France today in 1948

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 30
1955—James Dean Dies in Auto Accident
American actor James Dean, who appeared in the films Giant, East of Eden, and the iconic Rebel without a Cause, dies in an auto accident at age 24 when his Porsche 550 Spyder is hit head-on by a larger Ford coupe. The driver of the Ford had been trying to make a left turn across the rural highway U.S. Route 466 and never saw Dean's small sports car approaching.
1962—Chavez Founds UFW
Mexican-American farm worker César Chávez founds the United Farm Workers in California. His strikes, marches and boycotts eventually result in improved working conditions for manual farm laborers and today his birthday is celebrated as a holiday in eight U.S. states.
September 29
1916—Rockefeller Breaks the Billion Barrier
American industrialist John D. Rockefeller becomes America's first billionaire. His Standard Oil Company had gained near total control of the U.S. petroleum market until being broken up by anti-trust legislators in 1911. Afterward, Rockefeller used his fortune mainly for philanthropy, and had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research.
September 28
1941—Williams Bats .406
Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox finishes the Major League Baseball season with a batting average of .406. He is the last player to bat .400 or better in a season.
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