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Tina Louise as Sappho, Warrior Chariotrix!

It was a feast for the eyes to see Tina Louise playing Sappho and at the reins of a chariot in The Warrior Empress!

I took these shots awhile ago, so I can’t even remember the plotline, but Kerwin Mathews, aka Sinbad of beloved Ray Harryhausen fanboy memory, played her stalwart lover. Yes, I know Sappho was a lesbian, and was a poet and not a warrior empress, but this was a 1960 sword-and-sandal movie, so…allowances must be made. And it was Tina Louise at her most beauteous!! It was fun.

Of course I had to include a shot where she looks sternly at somebody. Love my dominatrixes! 😉

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2022 in Erotica, Femmes Fatale, history of erotica

 

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Wandering through The English Mansion!

I’m really addicted to thoughts of sexually dominant women in many forms, whether it’s a model in an online swimwear catalog who looks like she’s ready to kick my ass for daring to ogle her, or a mid-20th century Sax Rohmer pulp novel about a domineering female supervillain named Sumuru…or in writing about dommes in my freelance social media assignments, or in fiction like The Revenge of Adorable Gwen which I talked about in my last blog post here. Yes, I am preoccupied with The Dominatrix.

If you’ve read the previous post you know that the Adorable Gwen story, which I wrote to original paintings by the great British artist of femdom fantasy Sardax, took place in a small, imaginary gynocratic nation Sardax dubbed “Masotopia,” after Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, the 19th century Austrian writer from whose name we get the word “masochism.” Now the Gwen novella is being serialized current on The English Mansion site here, which is kind of like a femdom nation unto itself too!

Mistress Sidonia welcomes us to her realm!

It may be a website, but in a larger sense it also an onscreen utopia of the entire spectrum of BDSM and femdom dreams brought to vivid cinematic, photographic, and written reality by glorious mistresses who really live the life, who are skilled performers and professional dommes who demonstrate an inner passion to rule submissive men and teach them their proper places.

Whether I was watching the Mansion’s webmaster Mistress Sidonia in her full domina regalia talking to a hapless chained slave in a POV style video…

Mistress Sidonia’s verbal intensity is as strong as any slave chain!

…or observing her performance alter ego “Miss Eve Harper,” described on the site as “the boss from hell and a wife that will take strict charge of you in a FLR,” I found myself swirling in a vortex of so many emotions: arousal, laughter, submission, desire–and sheer overall admiration for the encyclopedic kinky splendor of Mistress Sidonia’s throbbingly accomplished site.

One movie called “Sales Deal or No Deal,” showed her in Miss Harper mode as a businesswoman taking charge of a salesman trying to get her to place an order with his company; there was wry comedy as the unsuspecting, naive fellow attempted to sell her in the normal manner, and then exciting femdom interaction as Miss Harper made it apparent she was a sadist and he’d have to appease her needs in that bizarre regard in order to close the deal! Whether getting the fellow in line verbally and ordering him to strip, or with the use of implements to warm his soon-naked behind, Eve drove a pleasingly hard bargain!

It slowly dawns on him that Miss Eve Harper is one tough customer! 😮

Miss Eve Harper demonstates that she is indeed a sadist!

In another clip called “Night Pit Punishment,” she is Mistress Sidonia, taking a naked slave out into the darkness of night on the grounds around the Mansion to punish him for his day of ineptitude and insubordination. She orders him to get into a hole, several feet below the surface, under a metal grate that serves for him to temporarily extend his head to receive obediently her humiliating fluids to keep him warm inside when she leaves him alone in the chilly outside.

In an update this week, the well-known Canadian domme Mistress T has her “office bitch” worship her nylon-clad legs and then deliver the fucking she needs. This gives a hint of the range of activity found on The English Mansion: it is vast! If a lady needs to be serviced by a cock in a hardcore scene, the appropriate man, whether submissive or bull, delivers the meat; or if she wants to dish out pain or punishment, the proper minion or sissy is there for that treatment.

Who wouldn’t want to hurry back to office life with a routine like this?? 😉

The site is exceptionally well organized, with photo galleries accompanying the movies. And the videos are broken up into manageable parts so you can watch them piecemeal at your convenience if you don’t want to view a whole film all the way through at once. And, almost as the cherry on top of the sundae, is Mistress Sidonia’s exceptionally interesting and well-written blog here–which you don’t have to be a member to read–and which always has something captivating to say about a range of topics, whether kinky, femdom, or otherwise.

Top dommes of England, Europe, America, and Canada have all appeared at The English Mansion, a place which I think both John Willie or Leopold von Sacher-Masoch would find exceptionally admirable in scope and satisfaction! It’s well worth a visit for its membership price. I really enjoyed spending time wandering through the Mansion, in a manner of speaking (and I only scratched the surface!), while preparing my post about The Revenge of Adorable Gwen.

And yes, now I have lots more domme thoughts in my noggin to contemplate! 😉

 

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Writing a story to the paintings of Sardax in homage to the great fetish artist John Willie

Every once in a long while, if one is lucky, there comes along a special project which seems to capture the preoccupations of one’s entire career. Thus it was for me when my British friend and colleague Sardax, the formidable master artist of femdom fantasy and erotica, asked if I would like to write a story to go along with paintings which were inspired by the works of John Willie, the pioneering fetish artist who in the 1940s and ’50s created the great damsel-in-distress comic Sweet Gwendoline. Sardax’s approach, of course, was to turn the tables and make the Gwen in his paintings a dominatrix, along with her friend Secret Agent U-89.

These are the first John Willie magazines I ever saw. I purchased them instantly! 

Besides being a terrific artist, Willie had also been a fine writer, whose witty and sexy copy accompanied his paintings, drawings, and photographs in the pages of his self-published magazine, Bizarre. I liked Willie’s words as much as his art–I loved his satiric, arousing, and also compassionate take on the many aspects of kinky behavior, from crossdressing to bondage–and so I relished the opportunity of paying my homage to him by transforming his dastardly creation Sir Dystic d’Arcy from a mustachioed “villain” putting the helpless Gwen in bondage, into a closet submissive male who yearns to experience femdomination instead.

John Willie’s Sir d’Arcy captures Sweet Gwendoline with the help of the Countess.

And so, with a few tweakings I gave to the names, our heroine became Adorable Gwen aka Mistress Gwen; Agent U-89 became Agent 399 aka Mistress Carlotta; and Sir d’Arcy became Sir D’Evious Dalrymple. On a visit to a unique femdom resort in the Carpathian Mountains, which Sardax dubbed “Masotopia,” off went my imagination along with Sir D’Evious to see what happened in a castle compound full of dommes ruling over those members of 1930s English and European male society who craved the firm hand of Feminine Rule!

Sardax turns the tables on Sir d’Arcy, who’s revealed as a not-so-secret subby!

Although I am as far from being a British aristocrat as one can get (Chicago-born of Romanian and Ukrainian Jewish ancestry), I found myself getting deeply into the head of Sir Dev, as I grew to call him, because like myself, I saw him as both attracted to femdom, but blustering in eternal embarrassment by his desire for it. This conflict has been a central theme in my femdom fiction for decades, both serious and humorous, and I was able to explore through the story of Sir Dev in Masotopia, under the control of Mistresses Gwen and Carlotta, the absurd yet understandable ambivalence of the sophisticated man who fervently wishes to feel himself, as he was brought up to be, the master of all situations–but nonetheless, with a stubborn and therapy-resistant persistence, erotically craves being under the sweetly shod feet and sharp potency of the disciplinary devices and whips of damnably commanding women. “Blast these hussies!” as Sir Dev might say. And let us kiss their arses and whatever adorable vistas are permitted the devotions of our yearning lips.

So–lest my approach sound “heavy,” I want to emphasize that it is not, and I had a great deal of naughty fun writing the story, inspired by the incredible costumes and predicaments Sardax put Sir Dev into under Gwen’s guidance. Using the opportunity to indulge my pleasure in richly descriptive yet understated prose in homage both to John Willie’s style and kind of sly humor I enjoy, I found it ironically amusing as well as exceptionally stimulating to visit Masotopia in the company of Sir D’Evious Dalrymple. More than once during the writing of the story I envied the curmudgeonly gentleman his proximity to these masterful ladies, especially when he was bound in weird attire or posed in deliciously degrading situations for the amusement of the amazons of this small but potent nation!

All this is to say that YOU can take a trip to Masotopia via the fabulous femdom paysite The English Mansion here. Helmed by Mistress Sidonia von Bork, who is a terrific writer herself as evidenced by her blog here, The Revenge of Adorable Gwen has been serialized in eight chapters since April in a section dubbed “Sardax’s Garret,” with a new story chapter accompanying a new painting by Sardax uploaded on the first of each month. The fifth chapter has just gone up for August 2022.

I can remember what I was doing on the day John Alexander Scott Coutts, aka John Willie, died–August 5, 1962–but only by default. Marilyn Monroe’s death had hit the Chicago papers on Sunday morning August 5 (she’d died late the night before) and it was a big event, even for a kid like myself who didn’t know much about her other than she was a super-famous and beautiful movie star. I can’t recall now if I’d even seen any of her films yet at that point–maybe I’d seen The Seven Year Itch on tv, but I can’t be sure; but her dying so young, and presumably by suicide, was so shocking I can remember where I was when I heard it: standing in the bathroom, listening to the news on a transistor radio. I called out to my mother, who was in the kitchen, “Ma, Marilyn Monroe died!” Why would someone so famous and beautiful kill herself? One of the great mysteries of life was thus first introduced into my consciousness.

John Willie died at 59 in England on that same Sunday, but I wasn’t to discover him for approximately another eleven years. By 1974, I was living in Manhattan, and discovering my taste for Times Square and the great informal museum of porn that was 42nd Street. One night I walked into one of the seediest shops in the area–it was located on Seventh Avenue around the corner from 42nd Street–and it was basically a small but cavernous store with tables of magazines and nothing on the beige walls. After looking through some typical photo magazines, I came upon a cardboard box of items on one table that looked different from the usual ’70s smut pix of grungy chicks and hairy studs, and took into my hands elegant digest-sized periodicals wrapped in plastic with artist-rendered covers. One cover had a pretty girl in heels and chains with a devil leering behind her. Another cover was a painting of high heel shod feet with the ankles bound together with decorative ribbon. The title on both magazines was Bizarre, and I didn’t have to look inside to know that these items were worth purchasing sight unseen (the cranky looking clerk probably wouldn’t have let me open them anyway). They were $3 each then, or $18 in 2022 money; so although they sound cheap now, they weren’t: to put it into perspective, I could get two eggs, toast, potatoes and coffee for breakfast at a diner in 1974 for 79 cents, and my weekly rent for a room in a residential hotel was $23 a week, or $92 a month. In any case, I didn’t have much dough to spend from the temporary office work I did at the time, but I had to have these magazines. In the budding stages of my collecting habit, I bought them. I’d been introduced earlier to the work of Gene Bilbrew through reprints of his femdom imagery in Nugget magazine in 1973, but the creator of these Bizarre magazines was new to me, and it was the beginning of an admiration that continues to this day. I still have those issues, too. And it’s odd to me also that I can so distinctly remember the way the store looked, wherein I purchased them. I guess in a way it was a kind of momentous event! 😉

So I was very happy to come full circle, in a sense, and pay a modest literary tribute to one of my personal heroes of erotica. I hope you’ll join The English Mansion to enjoy Sardax’s gorgeous paintings and my story, and peruse too the other many delights of the site, which you can read more about here. For more info on Sardax, visit his website here.

UPDATE: Sardax just did his own blog post today (9/1/22) about the series and you can find it here!


 

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Dianne Foster’s sultry 1950s glamour

Writing-wise, it’s been busy lately, for which I’m very grateful in these uncertain times. Just wrote a lot of erotic fiction for one online client, while doing scores of tweets for a femdom site that I work for daily, and also writing video descriptions for a bondage site and doing preliminary research for an ebook about a famous dominatrix.

Yes, being a freelance porn/erotica writer is sometimes like being the guy who used to balance whirling plates on sticks on the old Ed Sullivan Show here.  Of course, that’s a description that could fit freelance writers of many genres.

Anyway, I post at least once a month on this blog. I’m working on another post, about a collaboration I recently did with the British femdom artist Sardax, which I plan to have up in a few days; it’s just taken me a little longer than I’d expected.

Sardax did a series of paintings inspired by the bondage artist John Willie’s Sweet Gwendoline comics, but with a femdom slant instead of JW’s usual gals-in-ropes approach, and I wrote the story to go along with it. It appears in the section called “Sardax’s Garret” on The English Mansion here, the fantastic paysite run by the well-known British dominatrix Mistress Sidonia von Bork. It was a fun project and I’ll have some interesting things to say about writing it.

Meantime I have these pretty pictures for you. One thing I enjoy doing to relax is what I like to call “time-traveling” by perusing vintage magazines, and it’s especially fun with the British movie magazine  Picturegoer from the 1950s.

Covergirl Dianne Foster, who died just three years ago at the age of 90, made some very good movies and worked with a lot of great actors. She also did dramatic tv in the ’50s and ’60s before retiring to raise her children. When I think of Dianne–who was born and bred in Canada and was of Ukrainian descent–three films that come to mind are 1954’s Drive a Crooked Road, where she memorably plays a deceitful but remorseful temptress to a naive race car driver (Mickey Rooney); 1957’s The Brothers Rico, where she is the sensual but overwrought wife of an ex-mobster (Richard Conte), in a story in which she’s desperate to adopt a child and afraid it won’t happen; and 1954’s Three Hours to Kill, where she plays a saucy lady of the Old West, running a hotel, who pines for Dana Andrews, who’s come back to town to find out who framed him for a killing.

Dianne had a great voice too and established herself, before films, as a radio star in Canada. Another movie of hers that I enjoyed was 1961’s King of the Roaring Twenties, The Story of Arnold Rothstein, in which she played opposite David Janssen, who had the title role before he starred so indelibly in the tv show The Fugitive–on which Dianne had a 1965 guest star appearance, too. Miss Foster was also in The Last Hurrah (1958) with Spencer Tracy, and Night Passage (1957) with Jimmy Stewart, Dan Duryea, and Audie Murphy.

Read more about Dianne in a good short biographical article here.

I love the leggy pinup cover shot from 1955, and the sultry glamour pose from another issue in 1953. Gorgeous lady and a fine actress! I sure dig the style of these vintage photos. So evocative and inspiring, always.

 

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Self-portrait through 4 books…

I went to my storage space yesterday to pay the monthly bill & as usual I couldn’t resist bringing home a few books…I realized the ones I chose give a good view into my personality & concerns. Not my totality, but a quick sketch!
I love classic horror movies..and literary fiction (Alberto Moravia also wrote some pretty kinky stories as well, including an amazing book, Conjugal Love, about a man who gets his wife to cuckold him)..of course I have my interests in BDSM and femdom, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog and my erotic fiction available on Amazon Kindle here  ..but I also like to read philosophy & the quest for a sensible, moral life is something I think about and, probably too feebly, try to put into practice.
What 4 books would give a glimpse into who YOU are, with your contradictions & complexities?
 

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That time I glimpsed Claudia Cardinale…

Somebody on YouTube posted some pictures of Claudia Cardinale here, the wonderful Italian actress, and I remembered the time I glimpsed her in passing for about two or three seconds. When I was in college in the Midwest the early ’70s, I got a summer job in New York City as an NBC page. (Even though it was supposedly only for the summer, I’m sorry I didn’t try to hold onto that gig instead of going back to school. Who knows, I might’ve ended up working on Saturday Night Live as a writer, or doing any number of other interesting things. But thinking conventionally as I was wont to do in those pre-porn days of my life 😉 , I went back to college at the end of the summer…)

Anyway, one of my duties was sitting at the information desk. Late one afternoon the elevator doors opposite my desk opened and out came Claudia Cardinale, who’d been upstairs taping an appearance on The Tonight Show. She wore a black dress that showed so much cleavage that they had to keep her in a tight closeup during the show, which I saw later (they were more strict about bustlines on tv in those days). Her hair was long, wavy and in a similar shade as in the picture below, and her skin had a golden hue. She was gone in a flash around the corner, but I can still see her famous smile as she exited that elevator…that smile, one of the greatest in all cinema, I think!

She certainly was one of the great erotic icons of the ’60s and ’70s. Nary a lad can be found who didn’t thrill to her feisty performance in The Professionals!

Here is a link to a good interview with her from ten years ago, which I found via this site where I found the pic above.

And I found the pic below here.

 

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Elegy for a post office box…

On April 27, 2022 I ended a relationship of about forty years.

I closed a post office box I’d first opened circa 1982.

At the time I’d gotten it, I lived in a walk-up apartment right in Times Square, on the same block where the old offices of the show biz newspaper Variety had been located; where one of the top burlesque agents of the 1950s once had his headquarters; on the same block where the fictional public relations flack “Sidney Falco,” played by Tony Curtis, had his home/office in the 1957 film noir masterpiece Sweet Smell of Success; and a block away from where the great model Bettie Page had lived in the ’50s in an apartment I once read described as “turbulent.” In the building where I lived, I had a tiny mail box in a vestibule that had no security or locked front door (since there were businesses like a rehearsal studio and a musical instrument repair shop upstairs too), so to get packages of any size I needed a secure p.o. box, which I got nearby at Rockefeller Center.

The great Gil Elvgren seems to have done pinups that can match almost any theme!

In the ’80s I ordered things such as my first videocassettes of obscure horror and noir films from companies like the great Sinister Cinema and had them sent to the box. And, in those days when mail order was still a big part of the erotica business, I collected leg art photos and magazines from the likes of Elmer Batters and other creators and vendors of fetish or femdom themes.

When I moved away from Times Square in the ’90s, I held onto the box as it still was convenient to get mail, although I used it less and less. I mostly got announcements and catalogs connected to the movie memorabilia shows I liked to attend before the pandemic, and hope to get back to attending sometime soon.

In recent years I held onto the box because I told myself it would come in handy if I ever decided to conduct a mail order writing workshop to make some extra money, but I never went ahead with that.

I also simply liked to walk over to Rockefeller Center and check it now and then. The post office was near the yearly Christmas tree so I always took a look at that. Its location also gave me motivation for a decent walk (I still live in Midtown) and was also nostalgic because my first job in New York City, in summer 1971, was as an NBC page at the studios at 30 Rock, so I just liked to go over there. In a lot of ways the interior of the complex has changed, but in others it remains the same–for example, the fantastic mid-20th century murals in the main lobby are still there–and also I’d walk by the place where the tourist information desk used to be, where fifty-one years ago I’d sat and sometimes see celebrities such as Claudia Cardinale come out of the elevator after doing Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. I even met a girl once when I was working that desk, and we had a nice evening together wandering around the area. I remember she was a vivid redhead like Ann-Margret, but with a much bigger butt. She wore a summery dress and we sat for awhile at the fountain in Bryant Park as the sun went down…

Anyway, when I went over to the usual p.o. box location near 49th Street earlier this week, it was gone!  Renovation work had started in the last couple of weeks in that underground concourse near the famed ice skating rink, and the entire post office had been relocated over to 51st Street in the building upstairs. When I went to check my box at the new p.o., my key didn’t work, because all the boxes had new locks. I was going to renew it again (I always renewed at the end of April) and get the new keys, but the price had been raised quite a bit so I decided it was time to give up the box, which I really didn’t use very much at all anymore.

Ah, but it used to be fun to get videos of obscure Mario Bava movies like The Devil’s Commandment from Sinister Cinema (in business online here) and copies of the late Elmer Batters’ leg art zine showing up in my box!

Obviously this is not a picture of me at my p.o. box–it would be far less photogenic!–but rather a pinup by the wonderful Gil Elvgren (I did a Google search on “pinup art with postal theme”). You can get this art for yourself at Zazzle here in various forms like posters or refrigerator magnets or postcards. (I’m not connected to this site, just giving credit for my source of the image!)

As a side note, it’s great to see the proliferation of pinups in recent years. Back in the ’70s and even the ’80s, the stuff was still rare and hard to find in any forms!

 

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Fiction breeds hope amid the chaos of our reality

Reading fiction seems to be my best way of escaping from the oppressive weirdness of our reality, the utter strangeness of the mental, emotional, and physical landscape of our current era.

The books are not comforting in their storylines–I like a lot of noir, mostly–but they give me hope because they are reassuring in their artistry, in their authors’ commitment to rise above humanity’s baseness and portray life with honesty and compassion.

Two I enjoyed recently, one from almost thirty years ago and one just published at the end of 2021, exemplify to me the best qualities of storytelling.

Richard Matheson’s THE GUNFIGHT from 1993 (I read it in this 2009 paperback edition) tells how in a Texas town in 1879 a girl’s careless lie to make her boyfriend jealous sets off a wave of gossip that leads inexorably to a gun battle to defend her honor. In particular the novel shows some truly loathsome human specimens who, smug in their self-righteousness and stupidity, are ready to direct others to carry out a pageant of death in the name of manhood and insulted innocence. It’s an old story, perhaps, but master Matheson brings to life all sides of the conflict spiraling to the inevitable tragic conclusion. The suspenseful chapters leading to the showdown show Matheson in top form, with the strong silent and admirable former Texas Ranger John Benton (easy to imagine Randolph Scott or Gary Cooper in the role) trying to figure out a way not to kill a young man against whom he holds no grudge but is forced to fight by the twisted backward demands of the society he lives in. Brilliant novel, a wonderful read. You can find it on Amazon here in ebook and hard copy formats.

Jay Cameron Parker’s MACHINE OF WAR from 2021 is a novel I stumbled on through a chance encounter on Twitter and couldn’t put down. It’s also available on Amazon here in ebook and paperback format. (I get no compensation from this link or the one for the Matheson; I’m just trying to spread the word about books I like.)

A young veteran, Tom Armstrong, returns to his Illinois hometown from World War 2, damaged by his experiences but still in prime fighting form when it’s called for. (Imagine a young Robert Mitchum in a movie version of the role, particularly the strong but vulnerable character he played in 1950’s Where Danger Lives.) Tom Armstrong doesn’t want to fight anybody, but circumstances thrust him into a crime scene from the first page and then into a larger tragedy involving another veteran who also came back damaged from the service as well as from earlier experiences. Adding to this powder keg of pain is the moral corruption of certain individuals in the town, and we get a story of noir intensity set in 1946 that leaves us feeling the terror of human vulnerability and the necessity for love to combat its endless onslaught on the spirit. Yet there are flashes of wry humor in the story too, with just the kind of lines Mitchum himself would have delivered so wittily and well. What a book! With this first novel, Parker shows himself the equal of a legend like Matheson in his ability to tell an unputdownable story of mystery and suspense. And the mystery angle is quite twisty and unpredictable.

After I read HOTEL ROOM (see my previous post here), I wondered what memorable novels I would come across to follow it up. I knew I’d find them eventually, but maybe not right away–but I did. HOTEL ROOM remains in a class by itself, unforgettable in a uniquely dramatic way and dealing with the topic of prostitution in 1950s New York City with unusual honesty for its era (it was published in 1953); but THE GUNFIGHT and MACHINE OF WAR are its equals in insightful characterization, gripping plot, and evocative atmosphere. These novels especially bring to life the small towns in which they take place.

More and more in these crazy times, I read fiction to remind myself people can rise above insanity and chaos with art and compassion. And as ever, I read to deepen my own knowledge of fictional craft as much as to be entertained and think about life. I always want to keep learning how to tell my own stories better and better.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2022 in Amazon.com, ebooks, Kindle, New York City

 

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The hell in her hotel room…

Do you love film noir? Then imagine this cast: Montgomery Clift as a vain but charismatic pimp named Eddie; Marilyn Monroe as Marie, the naive small-town girl turned prostitute who loves him and whose sexual favors he peddles to johns; Joseph Cotten as Thomas, their most addicted customer and hanger-on; and Richard Conte as Joe aka “Mr. Brown,” the gangster who runs the major vice racket in town.

Picture the setting: New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in the early 1950s. If you’re a noir fan, you’ve no doubt seen loads of black and white footage and photos of that area in that era: the gritty asphalt and skyscraper jungle; the dark rain-splashed streets, the lonely warehouses, the bleak side street hotels.

The film, of course, does not exist, but if Natalie Anderson Scott’s remarkable 1954 novel HOTEL ROOM, originally published as The Little Stockade, actually had been filmed, this would have been an excellent cast.

The beautiful cover art is what initially drew me to the book, along with the story about prostitution in NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen of the ’50s.

If you’re familiar with The Big Combo, the 1955 noir by Joseph H. Lewis, you know that Richard Conte did indeed play a top gangster called Mr. Brown in that production. But The Little Stockade came first. Maybe screenwriter Philip Yordan read the book and borrowed for his script the idea of the evocatively bland name for a menacing crime overlord? Just thinking out loud here; it’s possible.

The phrase “the little stockade” refers to the work of the pimps who peddle their girls independently of the major vice operation in the city, known as “The Big Stockade.” And “stockade” is right. The primary female character, Marie, is kept in the hotel room where she services customers as if it is her cell in a prison.

Much of the book takes place in a squalid all-night restaurant in the Thirties between 10th and 11th Avenues called “Steve’s.” It reminded me a lot of the diner that was an important setting in The Deuce, the recent HBO show about the ‘70s/’80s NYC porn business. Maybe David Simon and his writers read HOTEL ROOM and were inspired to pay it homage and utilize a similar setting in their portrait of a demimonde full of pimps and prostitutes?

Steve’s is where the various hookers, policemen, and other pimps hang out, and where Thomas (who would be perfectly cast as Joseph Cotten), a newly divorced, “respectable” middle class man from outside the city, has been steered by a Broadway bartender in Thomas’ quest to taste the sleazier aspects of life now that he’s on his own. He becomes basically addicted to Marie after Eddie introduces them, and gradually becomes almost like Eddie’s go-fer as well as a steady trick. There is a strange symbiosis between Thomas and Eddie that is not explicitly homoerotic but the author subtly makes the point that Thomas is as enslaved to Eddie as Marie is.

There is nothing light-hearted about the obsession that Thomas, one of Marie’s “johns,” has for her. It is tragic for both, yet leads Thomas to a strange heroism in the end.

The hotel and room where Marie works are so well-described, especially the lonely winding corridors leading to the room, that you almost feel like you’re walking down those halls yourself.

Eddie is a dandy, a snappy dresser who lives not with Marie but with his family elsewhere in the city, who maintains the fiction with the sadly gullible Marie that she is his fiancee, and that once she helps him with her body to get out of a dangerous debt, they will be married. Eddie, who reads psychology books and likes to discourse in a pseudo-intellectual way about the craft of being a pimp (although he never calls himself that), charges way above the going rate for Marie’s services, attracting an upper-class clientele, until one day Mr. Brown comes calling to tell Eddie his days running a little stockade are over, and he’ll be working for the Big Stockade from now on. (This is not a spoiler; the reader sees it coming.)

So, this is a bare bones description of one of the most unforgettable novels I have ever read.  I couldn’t put it down for two days, and it concludes in a shocking but inevitable act of self-sacrifice and redemption that is ultimately very moving.

Recently the critic Andrew Nette wrote on Crime Reads here about George Simenon’s “hard novels” and how they often portray middle class protagonists walking on the wild side of low life, usually with dire consequences. I didn’t think of Simenon when I read this book, and it is not at all like Simenon in its style, but Thomas could be one of Simenon’s characters, certainly. He loses his way in sexual obsession, although he is essentially a good man. Another memorable character in the novel is Janet, Marie’s aunt (in a film she could have been played by Joan Bennett or Laraine Day), who has come to the city to find her niece, and who suspects the truth of what is happening. She sits day after day in Steve’s restaurant, reading a newspaper and waiting for her chance to save Marie. She’s another fascinating character, ambiguous, driven, who becomes friends with Thomas–even though she knows that he is one of Marie’s johns.

Truly, this is a book of admirable complexity that deserves to be remembered. It was written by the Russian-born Natalie Anderson Scott (1906-1983). Her real name originally was Natalie Sokoloff, which she Americanized on the advice of her agent; she wrote quite a number of now-obscure books, including a bestselling 1947 novel about alcoholism called The Story of Mrs. Murphy.  One thing that stands out is Scott’s lack of judgment about her characters, viewing them dispassionately as she incisively delineates the tragic obsession of a prostitute’s insatiable customer, or the menacing business-like attitude of a Mr. Brown. She shows the way the prostitution racket of the time worked via journalistic details that move the story forward at the same time. The long scene where Mr. Brown confronts Eddie about coming into the Big Stockade would have been amazing in a film, something Elia Kazan could have had a field day directing. Conte would have been perfect as Mr. Brown, the antagonist of an Eddie played by Montgomery Clift in a villainous yet complex role unlike any other Clift had ever played; and in fact, Conte’s character in The Big Combo is very much like the Mr. Brown of HOTEL ROOM which, for all its blandness as a title, is perfect for this absorbing novel. Maybe Stark House Press can look into reprinting it?

There was always something of the victim in Marilyn Monroe’s screen persona (I think of the strangely passive expression she gave Joseph Cotten as he murderously approached her when she was cornered in the climax of Niagara), and it would been have both a challenge to her as an actress, and intriguing to the audience to see her, in the role of a young woman manipulated and befuddled into sexual slavery by a handsome, silver-tongued man on the dark night side streets of Manhattan.

Finally, I just want to mention that I had never heard of this book until I saw this post on Pulp International here. Although I’m always pledging to myself to not buy any more books (!) as I certainly have more than enough (well that’s what I tell myself), the beautiful cover by Rafael DeSoto and the novel’s Hell’s Kitchen setting were irresistible, so I sought out a reasonably priced copy of the 1955 Popular Library paperback online. I’m glad I did. (Although the “come-on-and-buy-me” paperback art does not accurately portray the somber sadness of Marie or the faux-elegant villainy of Eddie.)

I hope HOTEL ROOM aka The Little Stockade by Natalie Anderson Scott can once again find the audience it deserves.

 

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Be dominated in the privacy of your home!

If you enjoy looking at and/or reading my blog, savor one or more my ebooks too. They are available in the Amazon Kindle stores worldwide. Most of them are only $2.99 (or the equivalent in your country’s currency) and you can download them right to your phone, tablet, ebook reader or computer, to be read with the free Kindle app.

How two apartment house neighbors explored femdom desires safely during the pandemic in NYC 2020

For fans of femdom erotica, my stories and novellas offer “armchair encounters” with some of the most potent dommes anywhere. These are femmes fatale I’d like to meet myself but, quite honestly, I probably couldn’t handle them (based on what I learned from the experiences I did have in real life)! So maybe it’s better I dream up stories instead. 😉

And so, like myself–especially if you’re on a limited budget or don’t want to get entangled in real-time with temptresses who could drain you of your very essence 😉 –you don’t have to leave the privacy of your home to feel yourself under the spell of fascinating, controlling women who will do everything that comes into their mischievous minds!

Experience, in the comfort of your imagination, the hard points of their spiked heels, hear the spicy snap of their humiliating words, and inhale the aromas and taste the liquids of their recently “alpha-male”-pleasured bodies as they parade their accomplishments in brazen cuckoldry before their obedient “beta” slaves! My stories are designed to linger in your mind, too. Long after you finish them, you’ll be wondering what could happen next to the men who fall into the seductive webs of these mistresses. Chances are, you’ll identify with those men or, if you are a woman, you’ll want to dominate those submissive males yourself.

TAMARA takes you back to 1978 NYC in all its sleazy allure

My most recent book, TAMARA, ETERNAL DOMINATRIX, is a special treat with a cover by the renowned British artist of femdom fantasy, Sardax. Read more about his creation of the cover here. It’s only $5.99 and, at almost 75 pages long, can give you an evening’s worth of femdom erotica reading pleasure! It takes the average reader about 90 minutes to read, or about the length of time you’d spend enjoying a good classic movie.

Two of my other recent books, SO YOU WANT ME TO DOMINATE YOU? and THE SLAVE YOU WERE MEANT TO BE, are also novella length and can easily provide an hour or two of kinky adventure.

She took him deeply on a journey into the intense fantasies he yearned to explore

I have 29 femdom-oriented erotica ebooks so far to choose from. With the current snowstorm that hit the Northeast, I spent time over the weekend on Twitter promoting SUBMIT IN THE SNOW, a very short tale (at only 99 cents too) that shows a kinky angle on a walk in the drifts during a previous NYC blizzard.

Some guys want dommes brandishing whips, but others want something a little different…

So head over to your “local” Amazon Kindle site and check out my ebooks tonight!

 

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