Just because she's high class doesn't mean she can't get down.
This lovely poster was made for the roman porno movie Yamanote fujin: Seiai no hibi, known in English as Uptown Lady: Days of Eros, and the star is the incomparable Izumi Shima, centerpiece of at least three dozen films for Nikkatsu Studios in a mere four years from 1977 to 1981. Here she plays the young wife of an old, blind classical dance teacher, and becomes the focus of romantic feelings from her husband's son from an earlier marriage. The two are around the same age, which is probably one reason Shima begins to have feelings too, though it's oh so very wrong. Would it be incest to boink your son-in-law? We don't know the legal ramifications, but it would certainly be a case of bad judgment. This exact type of bad judgment is of course standard territory for Nikkatsu, but under the direction of Masaru Konuma Seiai no hibi is gentler and more poetic than the usual fare. After seeing Shima receive forced enemas in other roman pornos this was a nice change.
Shima eventually gives in to her son-in-law in a hot and sweaty/oily sequence. The encounter features a sixty-nine and some pretty concentrated nipple licking by Shima that sent a ripple through our innards. Some guys don't like their nipples licked, but we think they're crazy. In our view, the nipples are a required pitstop on any excursion along the body, whatever the ultimate destination. Shima and her son-in-law have a second encounter, also of the wet and shiny variety, this time in a red-lit room, and once more it's a well shot and stimulating scene. But it's here that we must issue our standard warning to novices that roman porno is not porno—the appellation stands for “romantic porno,” and the movies are softcore, with no genitalia displayed. In order to find them stimulating, you have to use your imagination. That might be a problem for anyone under age thirty.
Anyway, for Shima's husband to not know something's going on he'd have to be blind—doh! rimshot! Read the premise again. He's a blind dance teacher. You know that cliché about the blind compensating with their other senses to the extent that they don't miss their vision at all? This movie hews to that concept. However, Shima's hubby is circumspect in marriage, if domineering as a teacher, so he doesn't let on that he knows—at first. Since Shima is not just his wife but also his star student, she has her career as a future natori to consider, and he knows that. How it eventually concludes we'll leave for you to discover on your own. We can tell you that serious roman porno enthusiasts tend to find this movie too sedate, but the less bizarre approach worked great for us. Of course, anything with Shima works great for us. Yamanote fujin: Seiai no hibi premiered in Japan today in 1980.
They're willing to hustle, side-hustle, and even hustle on their backs to get what they want.
When we stumbled across this Italian poster and saw that it was for a film starring the lovely Catherine Deneuve and her unbeatable hair, we felt a screening was needed. Due prostitute a pigalle is a French/Italian co-production that was originally titled Zig-Zig, with the name changing to Zig-Zag for the U.S. The movie is about two Parisians played by Deneuve and Bernadette Lafont who work as cabaret entertainers, bookies, and prostitutes in order to raise enough money to buy a chalet in the mountains. Their signature song and dance number “Zig Zig” earns them a small measure of fame around Paris, and the dream home seems closer by the day.
However, Deneuve has no idea that Lafont is involved with a gang of cross-dressers who've kidnapped the wife of a prominent politician. When she finds out, she freaks out, and it looks like her friendship with Lafont is cooked and their house will never come to be. The movie has its moments, but jarring shifts of tone from serious to farcical and an insistence upon an ironic and unrealistic ending definitively sink it. Even so, it has Deneuve, and her hair can't be sunk under any circumstances. Due prostitute a pigalle premiered in France in early 1975, and in Italy today the same year.
When America's borders are penetrated the government unleashes a load of C-Men.
This is a pretty interesting poster for the crime drama 'C'-Man, a movie dealing with the intrepid customs men who confiscate contraband passing through U.S. borders and arrest the criminals who broke the law. Though the possibility amuses us in the most juvenile way, we don't think customs men were ever called c-men, and the reason why is obvious. In any case, Dean Jagger stars as a New York City c-man who investigates the murder of his pal and colleague who'd been investigating a ring of jewel thieves. He goes undercover, takes a couple of beatings, and develops an affection for Lottie Elwen, who plays the dupe girlfriend of one of the smugglers.
This is strictly a low budget affair, barely viable even as a b-movie. It was shot fast, all the sound except for one nightclub scene was recorded natively, and it doesn't seem as if retakes were usually an option. There's no doubt the c-men will come out on top, and when you add in the opening thank-you to the “agents of the U.S. Treasury Department, without whose assistance this film could not have been made,” what you have is a cheap propaganda piece, one in which the lauded and noble subjects of the cinematic stroke job don't even come out looking that great. There are infinitely better vintage crime dramas, as well as better propaganda flicks, so in our opinion you can skip this one. 'C'-Man premiered today in 1949.
She's someone you really don't want to cross.
Above: two excellent posters for Onna shikaku manji, aka Mankiller, aka Eternal Killer Woman, which premiered today in 1969 starring Junko Miyazuno. You notice the swastika-looking graphic and the simlar tattoo on Junko's thigh? It's actually a symbol that predates Adolf and the Hitlerians, as we explained a while back at this post. We've had these posters for several years but had no luck finding the movie, so we finally gave up and decided to just upload the art. We think it's worth sharing even without info about the film, and hopefully you think so too.
What does an athlete do when she becomes the sport?
This poster was made for the Japanese movie Hishū monogatari, known in English as A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness, and strangely, though it gives absolutely no indication, it's a sports movie. Well, in the same way Jerry Maguire is a sports movie. It's a drama wrapped in sports. It deals with a golfer and model played by Yoko Shiraki who's picked by the editor of a sport/fashion magazine to be transformed into a star. She can golf fine. That's not a problem at all. She wins her first tournament—despite fainting twice—and is an overnight sensation. The problems come in the form of pressure, rivalries, crowds, modeling sessions (including in a bikini), television appearances (in a bikini), beauty treatments, elocution lessons, and more, all decided upon by roomfuls of men who see her merely as a profit center (in a bikini).
Some movies are simply ahead of their time. This one hits on an entire spectrum of current conversation, including how the expectations on female athletes are greater in various ways than in men's sports, especially the demand that they be beautiful and charming. But because this is a Japanese film, the plot soon shunts into the realm of the bizarre—a hit-and-run accident and blackmail. The shift in tone is not really a surprise, since the movie was adapted from a manga by Kajihara Kazuki. We liked the sports-focused first half better. Even so, Hishū monogatari is a decent effort, worth a watch, in our opinion. There's some confusion on Western sites about the premiere date, but the Japanese Movie Database has it opening today in 1977. It isn't the first golf-oriented Japanese movie we've run across. See here.
Don't lose hope. If we survive this we'll probably both get a chance to act in better movies.
This poster was made for the horror movie The Terror, and we're showing you the Japanese promo art because—as is often the case—it's nicer than the U.S. promo. Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson star, actors passing in the night, Karloff aged seventy-six and on the downward slope of a legendary film career, Nicholson aged twenty-six on the upslope. The latter plays a French army lieutenant named Andre Duvalier who becomes stranded circa 1806 in ye olde creepy-ass castle on the hill, which is occupied by Karloff's rickety Baron Victor von Leppe. Jack sees a mysterious woman wandering around. Karloff explains that she's the ghost of his wife, the Baronness Ilsa von Leppe, who died twenty years ago. Nosy Nicholson doesn't believe that for a millisecond, but the Baron sticks to his story, even admitting he killed the Baronness with his bare hands for the crime of adultery. Nice confession, but the Baron is lying or being duped, as far as Nicholson is concerned. In either case, the question is why?
Director Roger Corman was working from an Edgar Allen Poe template here, and in fact he shot on castle sets originally used for The Raven, which had wrapped earlier in the year. It's always good to save a buck where you can, but any advantage was lost due to Corman working from an unfinished script, which led to reshoots by Francis Ford Coppola, Dennis Jakob, Monte Hellman, and Jack Hill. All that talent wasn't enough to put together a film befitting Nicholson and Karloff, but the two leads do their damndest, and the result, though not good, isn't an embarrassment. Afterward, Karloff continued coasting into the twilight, Nicholson and Coppola moved on to widespread acclaim, Hill helped launch the blaxploitation cycle and make a star of Pam Grier, and Hellman directed the cult masterpiece Two-Lane Blacktop. It's a miracle they all contributed something lasting to cinema, because you'd never suspect it watching The Terror. It premiered in the U.S. in 1963 and reached Japan today in 1964.
Yul be the death of each and every one of them.
It's been quite a while since we looked at the work of Italian illustrator Enzo Nistri. In recent years we've been focusing on his younger brother Giuliano, but they were both major talents. Here you see something special from Enzo—a textless original piece of art for the 1975 Yul Brenner movie The Ultimate Warrior, known in Italian as Gli avventurieri del pianeta Terra. It's about a group of people trying to survive in post-apocalyptic New York City. They eventually hire a tough-as-nails warrior to protect them. That would be Brenner. The movie is set in 2012, which is rather funny, but sci-fi fans are used to temporal predictions being way off. Blade Runner was set in 2019, and Soylent Green was set in 2022, and here we are without flying cars, replicants, or crackers made of human beings—although that last might show up soon the way things are going. In any case, fantastic work from Enzo. We'll try to feature him more later. And we may even screen the movie and report back.
Is Django le carogne hanno un prezzo a disaster from start to finish? Why of corpse it is!
We love it when a plan comes together. We told you we hoped to watch this movie, and luckily it premiered today in 1971, mere weeks after we featured co-star Dominique Badou and her bizarro butt stripe. What you're seeing is a poster for the spaghetti western Anche per Django le carogne hanno un prezzo, known in English—amazingly—as Django's Cut Price Corpses. But a unique and snazzy title does not a good movie make. Pardner, this is by far the worst western we've ever seen. It has to be a satire. It absolutely must. But as we've discussed before with satire, if it's poorly made you often lose the ability to discern whether the filmmakers actually are just inept.
This one—and by the way we don't actually think it's a satire—is the sad work of Luigi Batzella, whose other movies include Achtung! The Desert Tigers and The Devil's Wedding Night. So it turns out Django's Cut Price Corpses isn't such a unique title after all. The movie is about bounty hunter Jeff Cameron searching for the notorious Cortez Brothers, who recently stole gold from a Silver City bank and kidnapped a woman. Cameron rides into town and pre-orders some coffins, signaling his firm intent to kill, in a bit that is possibly—no definitely—stolen from Clint Eastwood. He makes an uneasy partnership with Gengher Gatti and John Desmont, who both want the Cortez Brothers for their own reasons, and off they go into the hills on their hunt.
However, Cameron may secret motives. Oh, hell, why are we bothering to be coy? He's really there to rescue his fiancée Dominique Badoue, who is the kidnappee from the bank job. This twist is revealed by the undercover cowboy in the final two minutes. Yes, that's a spoiler, but we care about you, and now maybe you'll watch a better movie, or read a good book, or drink a bottle of mezcal and hurl, or get an eyelid tattoo, or have someone smash your fingers flat with a meat tenderizer on a marble countertop. All are better options than Luigi's cut price western. How bad are we talking? In the wide shots we kept expecting to see cars passing and—bingo!— at moment 36:34 in a stagecoach scene, there it was. No horses were harmed in the making of Anche per Django le carogne hanno un prezzo, but numerous careers should have ended up in the glue factory.
The weather is warm but the amenities leave a lot to be desired.
This is a great poster for a forgotten b-movie, proving yet again that even the most minor productions often had unbeatable promo art. Hell's Island premiered today in 1955 and starred John Payne, Mary Murphy, and Francis L. Sullivan. Payne plays a casino bouncer who's promised $5,000 to fly to the fictional Caribbean island of Puerto Rosario to locate a valuable ruby. Unfortunately, his employer has selected him because one of the thieves might be amenable to Payne's persuasion—namely his ex-girlfriend Mary Murphy. Naturally, once he arrives in Puerto Rosario he gets romantically tangled up with her again. She's married, which is a bit disloyal, but her husband is unjustly imprisoned on a nearby island. She still believes in that “for worse” thing enough to ask Payne to rescue her spouse, so he tries to make a deal: the husband for the ruby. But Murphy claims to know nothing about the gem. Is she lying? Have another look at the poster. Does that look like an honest person to you?
To get to the heart of the matter, Hell's Island is one of those mid-budget thrillers meant to feature fast paced, hard boiled dialogue, but which is saddled with unintentional laugh lines thanks to an inferior script. For example, at one point Payne lays in agony on an operating table awaiting surgery, and asks the doctor, “Can I have a cigarette?” The doctor's response? A shrug and, “Why not?” We don't think doctors—who saw a lot of tar-filled lungs up close in surgery—were cavalier about smoking, even back then. Here's another funny line: “About an hour ago he takes his fighting cock and goes away.” There are many more. But what we can say in film's favor is that it improves once it stops trying to be sly. The latter half speeds toward a climax that's just good enough to save the movie from the avoid bin. It's unusual to encounter a film that's part unintentionally comic ineptness, and part competent adventure, but that's what you get here. Proceed accordingly.
Sometimes it even has a small calibre firearm.
We have two brilliant items above—a pair of Italian promo posters for When Danger Lives, starring Robert Mitchum and Faith Domergue. The first was painted by Averardo Ciriello, and the second is the work of Giorgio Olivetti. Both artists are geniuses. In Italy the movie was called Una rosa bianca per Giulia. That would translate as “a white rose for Julia,” which was the working title of the movie while it was under production. The Ciriello poster is similar to the U.S. promo, but executed with more detail. Not to be outdone, Olivetti is less intricate but depicts a more desperate struggle, electing to paint Domergue unarmed—unless she's holding a gun to Mitch's head, in which case it would be a very short struggle. However, while Mitchum is getting the better of her on both posters, in the movie she tries to smother him with a pillow, so their relationship is—in a weird way—equal. You can read more about it here. After premiering in the U.S. in 1950, Where Danger Lives opened in Italy today in 1951.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
The Battle of Normandy, aka D-Day, begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of northern France in an event codenamed Operation Overlord. The German army by this time is already seriously depleted after their long but unsuccessful struggle to conquer Russia in the East, thus Allied soldiers quickly break through the Nazi defensive positions and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
1963—John Profumo Resigns
British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigns after the revelation
that he had been sexually involved with a showgirl and sometime prostitute named Christine Keeler. Among Keeler's close acquaintances was a senior Soviet naval attaché, thus in addition to Profumo committing adultery then lying about it before the House of Commons, authorities pressed for his resignation because they also feared he had been plied for state secrets.
1939—Journey of the St. Louis
The German passenger liner MS St. Louis, carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps. The event becomes the subject of a 1974 book, Voyage of the Damned, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, and is later adapted into a film with the same title, released in 1976.
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