Friday, February 25, 2011

Favorites :: Mags and Slicks :: Ace-High Detective Magazine #1!

Artist :: Malvin Singer

You know, I've been staring at this cover for awhile now and I still haven't quite figured out the nuts and bolts of that there Chinese deathtrap yet. (I think he's supposed to [mercifully?] chop her head off before she's burned by the binding fuse -- stress on the think.) Regardless, it's a mesmerizing piece. Ace-High Detective was first published in August of 1936 by Popular Publications Inc., an outfit out of Chicago, and only lasted for seven issues. Singer, meanwhile, was an illustrator based in Brooklyn, and would contribute art for the likes of this, Argosy, Redbook and Cosmopolitan.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Favorites :: Behind the Scenes :: Franklin J. Schaffner's The Stripper (1963)

Image courtesy

Paul and Joanne do a wardrobe check between takes.

Originally intended as a starring vehicle for Marilyn Monroe, after the starlet's untimely death, Joanne Woodward was a last minute replacement for the role of Lila Greene. Other points of interest: The original print ads for The Stripper.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Movie Poster Spotlight :: Foreign Jobs :: Kelly's Heroes (1970)

Kelly's Heroes. As a comedy, it's a pretty good war movie. And as a war movie, it's a pretty good comedy. Either way, it's my most favorite bank heist movie of all time!

Japanese One Sheet:

Spanish One Sheet:

Italian One Sheet:

Italian Photobustas:

Polish One Sheet:

Belgian Half Sheet:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Good Reads :: Love on the Docks

It was by pure accident that I found myself reading John D. MacDonald’s The Beach Girls. Inadvertently finding itself into a basket at the local broken spine while a certain non-observant buyer was picking out some Ross MacDonald mysteries off the shelves -- because who doesn’t love Lew Archer, am I right?, I didn’t discover this stray until long after it was paid for and tossed into the massive to-read pile. This accident proved fortuitous, however, and I can now add another author to the must read list as I've been voraciously devouring anything I can get my hands ever since.

Despite the salacious cover -- standard fare on these old Fawcett-Gold Medal pulps -- the grist of this story is a sociological and anthropological study of the hard-drinking and hard-fighting denizens of a a rundown harbor in South Florida; the charter captains, the deck hands, and the women they leave behind, and what all these people do when the sun goes down, the moon comes out and the tide dictates who shacks up with who on a nightly basis.

There’s some added intrigue when one of the less popular tenant’s shady past, involving bilking money from many a jilted lover … some alive, some dead, finally catches up to him in the form of one of his victim’s estranged husbands, who's come gunning for him, and how outside and bent-nosed economic forces are forcing the owner of the harbor to sell out so a resort can be built on the land.

But, frankly, none of that really matters as MacDonald’s strength is his well defined and drawn out characters; and there’s a lot of them, but each is given a chapter to introduce themselves and advance the plot from their own perspective. I found this approach to be a unique and a refreshing change of pace, and even though the ending wraps up a little too neatly for all involved, I found myself having enjoyed the ride so much I really didn’t care.

Also in the pile:
A Flash of Green, The Deep
Blue Goodbye, One Monday We Killed them All.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Trailer Park :: Pissed-Off Yetis, Killer Robots and Barbarian Cavmen of the Future!

When a mysterious stranger saves a couple of simple villagers from a prehistoric monster, they join this lost barbarian on a quest to discover who he is, where he came from, and find others of his kind. A path that leads them into conflict with all kinds of creatures, both four legged and two-legged -- some armed with clubs and spears, others with lasers and killer robots...

Being an unabashedly huge fan of Antonio Margheriti, no matter what pseudo-name he filmed under, and no matter what genre he focused on, be it gialli, pepla, or, especially, his hair-brained sci-fi epics, one could probably guess how I feel about Yor, Hunter from the Future. That's right. Greatest. Movie. EVER! A bat-shit insane mash-up of Margheriti's career up to that point, the film is just a whole six-pack of the awesome. You will believe a barbarian caveman of the future can kill a giant bat with a rock, then fly its corpse into battle against a horde of horny yetis, while a cock-knocking Queenish-soundtrack blares, as our hero lets out his patented war-hoop, and then lets his axe do the rest of the talking for him.


And you know what else makes this movie so awesome? I mean, aside from all the Barbarian and Barbarianette loin-cloth inducing butt-floss? Two words, folks. Reb, and Brown. Who's he, you ask?

Oh, he's only Captain freak'n America.

Anyways ... Based on the Argentinean action-adventure comic, Henga, Yor's prehistoric cum post-apocalyptic pulp adventures were written by Diego Navarro and illustrated by Juan Zanotto, which saw our amnesiac hero roaming the countryside, fighting go-motion dinosaurs, rogue cavemen yetis, faux Tusken Raiders, and writing wrongs for the primitive peoples he came across while trying to suss out his past and find his eventual destiny.

Sure, every tribe he makes contact with seemingly comes to a genocidal end before he busts skulls and moves on, but, eh, he's got more important things on his mind -- like all the cave-women who fall for his roguish charm and bleached out Prince Valiant due. Maybe it's a pheromone thing his advanced species have, combined with all that body grease. (That's me shrugging right now.)
I also love how, about half-way through the film, we radically switch gears from yeti skull-cracking and endless questing to killer robots, space arks, and an evil overlord, complete with evil vocal reverb, after our hero and his companions stumble upon the rear tail-light of an old Taurus that turns out to be a [damned] talking death-ray without batting a plot-eye.

Originally shot as a television mini-series for Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) in 1982, Il Mondo di Yor consisted of four one hour episodes -- meaning that out there, somewhere, there's about a three and half hour cut of this thing. (I think this made for TV origin also goes a long, long way in explaining how a post-nuke Italian flick had zero boob-shots in it.) Margheriti lensed the entire film in Turkey, taking advantage of the plot-enhancing geological areas of Cappadocia and Antalya. After the series aired, obviously, it was cut and cobbled down to about an hour and half and released theatrically. Columbia Pictures brought it stateside in 1983, where I saw it five times at the old Imperial 3. Twice in one day once. And you need to see it, too. A lot.

Now, to do that, to see it, I've got some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news. Though it was released on VHS many, many moons ago, Yor, Hunter from the Future still hasn't had a legitimate DVD release yet. This, is a crime. However, the good news is Amazon currently has an amazingly clean and widescreen print available to rent or buy via there streaming services. And though I can't burn it onto a DVR, a bone I intend to pick at some future date, I went and ahead and bought it. And now Yor is mine to mine forever.

Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983) Diamant Film :: Kodiak Films :: Columbia Pictures / P: Michele Marsala / AP: Sedat Akdemir, Ugor Terzioglu / D: Antonio Margheriti / W: Antonio Margheriti, Robert D. Bailey, Ray Collins(comic), Juan Zanotto (comic) / C: Marcello Masciocchi / E: Alberto Moriani, Giorgio Serrallonga / M: Guido De Angelis, Maurizio De Angelis, John Scott / S: Reb Brown, Corinne Cléry, Luciano Pigozzi, Carole André, John Steiner

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