Category Archives: Pulp Fiction Thursday

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Graham Greene

Graham Greene blurred the lines between literary and genre fiction. He was fascinated with the criminal element and spies but had an elegant prose style. He was quite simply one of the best writers of the mid-20th Century.

Here’s  a selection of some of Greene’s pulpier book covers:

Greene’s fertile brain also came up with the story and screenplay of The Third Man, which is one of the greatest films ever made.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Big Steal

Don Siegel week continues here at First Draft. The Big Steal was Siegel’s first opportunity to direct a first rate cast and he made the most of it.

It’s trailer time:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Devil Rides Out

The infernal New Orleans summer heat has me in a devilish mood. Hence this cover.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Dally With A Deadly Doll

It’s another entry chosen for its lurid title. They resisted the temptation to use Dolly instead of Doll. I’m not sure that I could have.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Donovan’s Brain

Curt Siodmak wrote the screenplay for one of my favorite Universal horror movies, The Wolf Man. He also wrote novels. Donovan’s Brain was his biggest hit as a writer. I think the original cover had something to do with its success.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Dark Wanton

Peter Cheyney was a British crime fiction writer who was very successful between 1936 and 1951. One reason was his “Dark” espionage series. Dark Wanton was one of that series. Given the fact that two of the people on the cover appear to be Chinese, it’s also a helluva pun on the word wonton. Rumor has it that I like puns.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Journey Into Fear Comics No. 20

After doing the Blue Oyster Cult post, I googled grim reaper. This was my favorite image from that search.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Tropical Disturbance

I wasn’t planning to post another Robert McGinnis cover. I stumbled into this one because it’s the first day of hurricane season. So it goes.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Robert McGinnis Meets Perry Mason

I wrote about artist Robert McGinnis at the end of April in a Saturday post. Here are two covers he did for Perry Mason novels. The feline Della Street approves.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Made Up To Kill

This cover gives an entirely new meaning to the Britism green fingers. That’s green thumb to us Yanks. I have the opposite talent, a black thumb. I can kill a plant just by being within hailing distance. So it goes.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Coffin For A Cutie

It’s weirdo title time here at First Draft. A pin up girl on a coffin? Oy, just oy.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Maquis

It’s time for a rule bending PFT. Maquis by George Millar is not fiction. The cover, however, is as pulpy as all get out. I wanted to post something about the French resistance this week in the wake of my Vichy On The Potomac post. This is it.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Crime On My Hands

I’m not sure if Carl G. Hoges spun a “sensational suspense story” but the cover art and tagline are both swell.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Eunuch Of Stamboul

This post was inspired by the Pulp Librarian’s Twitter feed. I’d never heard of The Eunuch Of Stamboul before. It turns out to have been a wildly successful thriller that has been reprinted many times hence all the swell covers below.

That was a hardback edition. Let’s move on to the paperbacks but first it’s time to don a fez:

The book was made into a movie in 1936. They changed the title and made it less eunuch:

I’ve never seen the movie but I’m interested because I love James Mason and Valerie Hobson. I couldn’t find a trailer but one cover has given me a benign earworm. Here it is:

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Murder In The Navy

This week’s book cover is unexceptional with one, uh, exception: the blurb. The rave comes from Evan Hunter one of whose pen names just happened to be Richard Marsten. That’s right, he wrote a superb blurb for his own novel.

Hunter had many pen names, the best known of which was Ed McBain. In fact, Evan Hunter was a pen name that morphed into a legal name when he was 26.  He was born Salvatore Albert Lombino. I guess he always wanted to be a WASP.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Kiss Me, Deadly

There was an unexpectedly poignant moment in the last episode of Feud: Bette and Joan. Robert Aldrich (Alfred Molina) asked Jack Warner (Stanley Tucci) if he could be a great director. Warner’s response was NO. In fact, Aldrich was an outstanding genre film director who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Robert Wise and Anthony Mann and direct “prestige” pictures. The irony is that neither Wise nor Mann’s films were as good or distinctive when they left the world of genre films.

Genre films were not respected in 1962 when Feud: Joan and Bette is set. Aldrich continued to make thrillers, action movies, and westerns, which were more entertaining than many bloated big budget prestige pictures of his time.

The best movie Aldrich ever made was based on Mickey Spillane’s Kiss Me, Deadly. Spillane was a legendarily lowbrow writer but he was a good storyteller: Kiss Me, Deadly is his masterpiece. Aldrich’s  film adaptation of it is now regarded as one of the best films of the 1950’s. What’s not to love about Mike Fucking Hammer?

It’s time for a pictorial look, PFT-style, at Kiss Me, Deadly. We begin with two paperback editions of the book:

Robert Aldrich elevated Spillane’s gritty tale but it was a low-budget film without movie stars. Aldrich once mused that it would have been better with William Holden as Mike Hammer. My reply: most movies in that era would have been better with Bill Holden in the lead. He was *that* good. Ralph Meeker, however, gave the performance of a lifetime in Kiss Me, Deadly.

Kiss Me, Deadly may have come from a lowbrow crime fiction writer but Aldrich elevated the material enough for it to be released as a part of the Criterion Collection. It doesn’t get snootier or film buffier than that:

The movie has been remade but stick to the 1955 original. Here’s the trailer:

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Here’s Blood In Your Eye

I know nothing about Manning Long’s work but I know a good title when I see one.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Terror Tales

It’s pulp magazine time here at First Draft. Terror Tales specialized in damsels in pulp distress covers. Here are two good examples:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Rodent Mutation

A friend of mine has a vexatious critter in her attic. I hope it’s not one of these suckers:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Eye Of Karnak

Apologies for not posting more yesterday. My Ash Wednesday penance has taken the form of a vile stomach flu so it’s hard for me to sit up and write.

This week’s cover has nothing to do with the Johnny Carson character but apparently has something to do with belly dancing. Why? I’ll never know.

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