I got nuthin’! Well, not quite nuthin’. I got a cold. Which tends to make me nostalgic for my sense of smell, so is that why I’m featuring a vintage perfume ad?

Not quite. I was googling the keywords “amok” and “1933”, just to see what the poster for Fedor Ozep’s Pathe-Natan release AMOK looked like, and I came across this ad for a fragrance by Bourjois. A movie tie-in, or just a cash-in? I suspect the former, the perfumier being a bit too high-class for unauthorized bandwagon-jumping. But the movie’s orientalist aesthetic, plus the coincidence or name, place and year, certainly convince me there’s a deliberate connection.


BLACK NARCISSUS springs to mind, but that’s a movie based on a book named after a perfume. For the opposite route, one really needs to consider Alain Delon’s personal scent, Samourai

Or there’s always THIS —

10 Responses to “Sniff”

  1. La Faustin Says:

    And to make things even more intriguing, the blurb is in Spanish. Obviously, this is the kind of perfume that breaks hearts in Paris, disappears, then reappears — but is it the same perfume? — in Mexico. David Wingrove will have to elucidate.

  2. Reminds me of the time I was hit on my first day of work by another new hire, “You smell nice, what is that?” to which I answered in absolute truth, “Tide!”

  3. I am the proud owner of a pack of “Alain Delon” brand cigarettes. Needless to say I don’t smoke.

  4. Amok was later remade in Mexico, of course. Suggestive but inconclusive.

    I’d smoke Delon, and I don’t smoke, and I’m straight!

  5. She DEFINITELY smoked Delon

  6. And I’m sure she inhaled. (I have no idea what I mean by that.)

  7. Intriging I’m sure there were many more film ties in. I supect Shirley Temple toys …

    Hope your cold is better

  8. Getting there!

    Commercialism is nothing new. Just saw a product placement for Coke in Our Blushing Brides (1930). Scandalous, since star Joan Crawford would later defect to Pepsi.

  9. chris lanier Says:

    I believe that MANDOM (seems to warrant all caps) spot was directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi, of HAUSU fame. On the one hand, that seems to make the advert more knowing about its ridiculousness, which is a bit of a disappointment (it’s more funny if you assume the ad is the result of a combo of cross cultural transubstantiation and Ed Woodsian earnestness). On the other hand, through Obayashi, there is a direct link between Charles Bronson and a piano that dismembers and eats a Japanese schoolgirl. Which is weirdly satisfying in its own right.

  10. Wow! I never thought to look for an auteurist link. Bronson becomes the missing link between Michael Winner and Obayashi. I guess we can say the ad is the result of a consciously ridiculous sensibility bashing up against unconscious cultural cluelessness. Beautifully.

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