Vintage Pulp Nov 30 2022
THE ROAD WORRIER
Tom Neal takes an alternate route directly to trouble.

Years ago we shared a poster for the low budget Tom Neal/Ann Savage film noir Detour, which premiered today in 1945. That promo is a photo-illustration and one of our favorite film noir posters. Above is an alternate poster for the movie, and it's also nice, but not in the same class as the previous piece. We touched on the movie only briefly back then, making a few comments from our memories of seeing it years earlier, but we gave it a close watch yesterday for the first time in a long while.

Tom Neal stars as a nightclub musician who hitchhikes from New York City to Los Angeles to reunite with his girlfriend, who'd gone there earlier to try her luck in show business. He takes a ride from a “Miama” bookie, ends up accidentally killing him, and flees with the car. The next day and a ways down the road he picks up another hitchhiker—Ann Savage—who happened to have accepted a ride from the bookie earlier. Neal has picked up the only person in the world who can turn his bad luck into a one-way trip to the gas chamber. She figures out right away that the bookie must be dead, and uses her knowledge to cruel advantage:

“Just remember who's boss around here. If you shut up and don't give me any arguments, you'll have nothing to worry about. But if you act wise, well, mister, you'll pop into jail so fast it'll give you the bends. [snip] As crooked as you look, I'd hate to see a fella as young as you wind up sniffin' that perfume that Arizona hands out free to murderers.”

You get plenty of film noir attributes here: tough dialogue, voiceover, flashback, nightmare, silhouette, rear projection, rain, fog, bad luck, terrible decisions, lonely highway, and a dangerous femme fatale. Thinking beyond the confines of the screenplay, there's an interesting discussion to be had about why Savage is so mean. There's a suggestion that men have made her that way, and an equal amount of suggestion that she's bad by nature. In either case, she's one of the worst passengers any snakebitten cinematic sap ever picked up on the road. She makes Detour about as good as cheapie film noir gets.
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Vintage Pulp Nov 27 2022
IF TOMORROW NEVER COMES
Seventy-five minutes of movie time never went so slowly.


Above you see a poster for Hold Back Tomorrow, a movie written and directed by Hugo Haas, the man behind numerous low budget noirs, usually with Cleo Moore in a leading role. This effort is more of a melodrama than a film noir, but Haas and Moore dutifully collaborate once again, with Moore introduced to the audience when despondency over her descent into prostitution prompts her to jump off a bridge. Her suicide attempt is thwarted by a passerby and she returns to her lowly room, pretty much beaten by life.
 
Next the audience meets the world's most annoying death row inmate John Agar, who, when promised a last wish by the warden, asks for several ridiculous things, most importantly a woman to keep him company. Just like that two prison officials go to the local dance hall, catch wind of Moore, ask her to keep Agar company, and conduct her, bedraggled and knackered from her near-death experience, to the penitentiary.

Most of the remainder of the film consists of Moore-the-suicidal and Agar-the-soon-to-be-executed getting to know each other in the cozy confines of his cell. Agar sums up the tedium of this with his hilarious line: “Shut up! I didn't ask for a psychiatrist. I asked for a girl!” Nevertheless, Moore keeps digging into that restive brain of his, and the two trade insights, debate finer existential points, talk of their pasts, fall in love, and get married by the prison priest before Agar is marched off to the death chamber for his just desserts. Oops—spoiler alert.
 
The movie is exactly as cheesy as it sounds, and isn't a mandatory watch when there are scores of better period films from which to choose. Seriously—state authorities lock a suicidal woman in a cell with a convicted strangler? Come on. But don't take our word for it. Try it yourself and see if you feel like tomorrow can't come fast enough. Hold Back Tomorrow opened this month in 1955.

I wore my best dress. I hope this isn't too festive for death row.
 
So I hear you're a strangler and dead man walking. That's fascinating. I'm a dancer and part-time hooker.
 
My time in prison has taught me that strangling was always just a cry for help and a substitute for snuggling.
 
Do you think we're in command of our own destinies, or do you think we were always meant to be in such a bad movie?

Screw destiny! I believe in free will and I'm outta here!

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Vintage Pulp Nov 25 2022
LINGERING TENSION
At this point she has no idea which way to turn.


Above is an alternate promo poster for Tension, with cool upside down imagery of a figure representing star Audrey Totter. We say “representing” because it doesn't really look like Totter, but it's her alright. It was modeled after a promo photo. The movie also starred Richard Basehart and the incandescent Cyd Charisse. We talked about this last year, so if you want to know more, click here. And if you want to see more of Totter click here, or Charisse (a must), click here and here. Tension premiered today in 1949.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 25 2022
FEAR WINDOW
Don't look. Don't move. Don't even breathe.

Here's a U.S. promo for Fritz Lang's film noir The Woman in the Window, which premiered today in 1944. The poster is unattributed, but it's fantastic work. There's normally a white border, but the version you always see online omits that. It's also highly saturated. We don't know if the color was the work of an industrious Photoshop user, but we do like it. However, a version that shows its real age—slightly less vibrant but still very nice—appears below. There are other differences too, such as the color of the figures and some of the lettering.

The Woman in the Window was headlined by star supreme Edward G. Robinson, who we love more with each movie we see. In this one he plays an everyman who gets into a nightmare situation over his head. That would be five feet, five inches for Robinson because he was such a diminutive guy, but the tallest man in the world would still be in deep trouble. You have to watch the movie to find out why, but you can read a little more about it and see a Swedish poster here, and a French poster here.
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Modern Pulp Sep 25 2022
MAN ABOUT TOWN
Matt Dillon gets on an unstoppable roll.


Above is a poster for the U.S. movie The Big Town, which is a drama released today in 1987, set in 1957, based on the 1967 Clark Howard novel The Arm. We like 1950s movies. And we like new movies set during the 1950s. It's always interesting to see an interpretation of the era, versus productions actually made during those years. The Big Town is a fun rendition, as pretty boy Matt Dillon plays a skilled young dice shooter who leaves podunkville Indiana for Chicago and experiences all its pleasures and pains.

On the pleasure side is femme fatale fan dancer Diane Lane, and bringing the pain is Tommy Lee Jones as a gambler who runs a crooked nightspot called the Gem Club—and who happens to be married to Lane. It's always a bad idea to bed a bad man's wife, but it's an even worse idea to break his bank for $15,000. Dillon does both. Later he tries to engineer a high stakes double-cross that will allow him to win the Gem Club in a craps game. Along the road from rags to potential there are plenty of subplots, including revenge, good girl redemption, and the struggle to retain's one's soul.

The Big Town is often called a neo-noir, and though any film with a crime focus and numerous night scenes tends to get that label slapped on it, in this case we feel like the designation is accurate. The movie deals not only with crime and gambling, but also takes passes at burlesque, racism, and the culture clash between ’40s style tough guys and new generation hipsters, with their sculpted hair and rock and roll attitudes. On the acting front, Dillon does a good job, and Jones is excellent as always, doing that unique thing he does. If you're looking for a fast period drama you can certainly do worse.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 8 2022
GILDA AS SIN
Rita Hayworthov√° was worth the wait.


This Czech poster for the film noir classic Gilda isn't substantially different from the U.S. promo, but the Czech text makes it worth a share. Rita Hayworthová? Love it. “V titulní roli americkeho dramatu”? That's easy to figure out—“In the title role of the American drama.” The online translator agreed. There's no Czech release date for this, but we can make a guess. It was released in early 1946, played at the Cannes Film Festival in September of that year, and began to reach secondary European markets in early 1947. So it probably reached then-Czechoslovakia in mid-1947. But whenever it showed up, Hayworthová made it a mandatory night at the movies. 

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Hollywoodland Aug 29 2022
SCENIC DRIVES
They're not really going anywhere but they look mighty good doing it.


What's a period drama without a fake driving scene? Nearly all such sequences were shot in movie studios using two techniques—rear projection, which was standard for daytime driving, and both rear projection and lighting effects for simulating night driving. Many movie studios made production images of those scenes. For example, above you see Jane Greer and Lizabeth Scott, neither looking happy, going for a fake spin around Los Angeles in 1951's The Company She Keeps. We decided to make a collection of similar shots, so below we have more than twenty other examples (plus a couple of high quality screen grabs) with top stars such as Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Mitchum, and Raquel Welch. We've only scratched the surface of this theme, which means you can probably expect a second collection somewhere down the road. Incidentally, if you want to see Bogart at his coolest behind the wheel look here, and just because it's such a wonderful shot, look here for Elke Sommer as a passenger. Enjoy today's rides.
Humphrey Bogart tries to fake drive with Ida Lupino in his ear in 1941's High Sierra.

Dorothy Malone, Rock Hudson, and a rear projection of Long Beach, in 1956's Written on the Wind.

Ann-Margret and John Forsythe in Kitten with a Whip. We think they were parked at this point, but that's fine.

Two shots from 1946's The Postman Always Rings Twice with John Garfield and Lana Turner, followed by of shot of them with soon-to-be murdered Cecil Kellaway.
 
Jean Hagen and Sterling Hayden in 1950's The Asphalt Jungle.

Shelley Winters, looking quite lovely here, fawns over dapper William Powell during a night drive in 1949's Take One False Step.

William Talman, James Flavin, and Adele Jergens share a tense ride in 1950's Armored Car Robbery.

William Bendix rages in 1949's The Big Steal.

Frank Sinatra drives contemplatively in Young at Heart, from 1954.

George Sanders drives Ingrid Bergman through Italy, and she returns the favor, in 1954's Viaggio in Italia.

Harold Huber, Lyle Talbot, Barbara Stanwyck and her little dog too, from 1933's Ladies They Talk About.

Virginia Huston tells Robert Mitchum his profile should be cast in bronze in 1947's Out of the Past.

Ann Sheridan hangs onto to an intense George Raft in 1940's They Drive by Night.

Peggy Cummins and John Dall suddenly realize they're wearing each other's glasses in 1950's Gun Crazy, a film that famously featured a real driving sequence, though not the one above.

John Ireland and Mercedes McCambridge in 1951's The Scarf.

James Mason drives an unconscious Henry O'Neill in 1949's The Reckless Moment. Hopefully they're headed to an emergency room.

Marcello Mastroianni driving Walter Santesso, Mary Janes, and an unknown in 1960's La dolce vita.

Tony Curtis thrills Piper Laurie with his convertible in 1954's Johnny Dark.

Janet Leigh drives distracted by worries, with no idea she should be thinking less about traffic and cops than cross-dressing psychos in 1960's Psycho.

We're not sure who the passengers are in this one (the shot is from 1960's On the Double, and deals with Danny Kaye impersonating Wilfrid Hyde-White) but the driver is Diana Dors.

Kirk Douglas scares the bejesus out of Raquel Welch in 1962's Two Weeks in Another Town. We're familiar with her reaction, which is why we're glad the Pulp Intl. girlfriends don't need to drive here in Europe.

Robert Mitchum again, this time in the passenger seat, with Jane Greer driving (and William Bendix tailing them—already seen in panel ten), in 1949's The Big Steal. The film is notable for its many real driving scenes.

James Mason keeps cool as Jack Elam threatens him as Märta Torén watches from the passenger seat in 1950's One Way Street.

And finally, to take a new perspective on the subject, here's Bogart and Lizabeth Scott in 1947's Dead Reckoning.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 27 2022
ANN, VERY FRANK
This is the point at which most men realize I'm way too much woman for them to ever satisfy. But no pressure.


Her name is Ann Atmar. She's appeared here before, back in 2014 as part of an issue of Adam magazine, the U.S. version. She acted in three movies, including 1959's Street-Fighter, and several television series, one of which was the small screen serialization of the classic film noir The Third Man. You're thinking: “There was a series based on The Third Man?” Indeed there was, and Atmar graced a single episode. Sadly, she died early, in 1966 aged twenty-seven, which means her career never quite took flight. The above shot came from Girls of the World magazine, which is an all photo publication that as far as we know never had copyright dates inside. However, the magazine launched in 1968, which means Atmar's photo is posthumous. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 24 2022
FALL GUY
In film noir you always need to watch your step.


A long while back we talked about the 1948 thriller Pitfall and shared a rare insert poster. Today we're showing you the standard size, usually referred to as a one sheet. Pitfall is worth a watch for a couple of reasons, but mainly because Dick Powell is a very watchable star. When we began this website, back when he was new to us, we called him “solid.” All these years later we now think of him as one of the better stars of his era. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 15 2022
KIND FOR KIND
Jane Russell poster reveals more to citydwellers than to heartlanders but in the end it's all the same.


We already talked about the Robert Mitchum/Jane Russell film noir His Kind of Woman, which premiered in the U.S. today in 1951. We recently stumbled across the above curiosity. You may remember our exploration of overlays in mid-century pin-up art (fascinating examples here, here, here, here, and here) and as it turns out, Russell received similar treatment. The cover-up on the second poster isn't an overlay. It's printed onto the paper. But the result is the same. Cleavage be gone! If we had to guess, the modest poster probably was issued everywhere in the U.S. except large cities. But the thing is, such a clumsy reworking—as opposed to just using a different image of Russell entirely—clearly serves to tell viewers they've been denied something, which we suspect was almost as effective at drawing traffic into cinemas as revealing what was covered. But only almost. Which is why at Pulp Intl. we always reveal everything.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 01
1955—Rosa Parks Sparks Bus Boycott
In the U.S., in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city's racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott resulted in a crippling financial deficit for the Montgomery public transit system, because the city's African-American population were the bulk of the system's ridership.
November 30
1936—Crystal Palace Gutted by Fire
In London, the landmark structure Crystal Palace, a 900,000 square foot glass and steel exhibition hall erected in 1851, is destroyed by fire. The Palace had been moved once and fallen into disrepair, and at the time of the fire was not in use. Two water towers survived the blaze, but these were later demolished, leaving no remnants of the original structure.
November 29
1963—Warren Commission Formed
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However the long report that is finally issued does little to settle questions about the assassination, and today surveys show that only a small minority of Americans agree with the Commission's conclusions.
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