A year after Get Carter (1971), director Mike Hodges and star Michael Caine reunited for this comic crime thriller. Caine stars as Mickey King, a writer of cheap paperback detective novels, living in Rome and cranking one noir book after another. King is approached by Ben Dinuccio (Lionel Stander) and offered an abnormally large sum to ghost write the autobiography of a mystery celebrity. The intrigued King agrees and is transported to a remote island where he meets his subject, Preston Gilbert (Mickey Rooney), a one-time movie star known for playing gangsters and notorious for hanging out with real-life mobsters off the set (a sly jab at Frank Sinatra and George Raft). Now dying of cancer, Gilbert wants King to jot down his life story before he dies. Although he's an abusive jerk, Gilbert's had an interesting life and King sets about getting it all down on paper, but then the star is murdered at a party, leaving King with no conclusion to his tale. Playing detective like the heroes of his stories, King pieces together a mystery involving Gilbert's past, his ex-wife, a transvestite who's supposed to be dead, and an Italian prince running for office. Though largely dismissed at the time of its release by fans and critics disappointed at its dissimilarity to Get Carter, Pulp (1972) was championed by a few and became something of a cult favorite over subsequent decades.
by Karl Williams synopsis