Thursday, December 1, 2016

By the Gods!

Anthony Steffen and Irène Tunc in APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE

Steffen plays a sculptor who's making a statue of Aphrodite (far left) and Tunc is the woman modelling for him. Very interesting film. It's a kind of film that Hollywood would have never made. It has a purely Italian / European sensibility, which I love! Steffen went on to star in Spaghetti Westerns after the PEPLUM genre died. Tunc had a spotty film career, with a handful of Sword & Sandal films. I wrote a review for the blog ages ago.

Video of the Week : TRIUMPH OF MACISTE - Full Movie

Video of the Week : Full movie of TRIUMPH OF MACISTE starring Kirk Morris, Cathia Caro and Ljuba Bodin

Classic film!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

By the Gods!

A giant mirror weapon is being set-up in preparation for a battle in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE

Epic battle scene at climax of this long but most enjoyable film directed by Pietro Francisci. Probably one of the most epic genre film made in Italy at the time. The idea of mirror weapons invented and created by Archimedes (played by Rossano Brazzi, not shown) is well handled in this : when the battle starts, it is cloudy and the sun is nowhere to be seen so the weapons are powerless. The film was released by Paramount in the US but the English dub track is still missing.


Director Robert Aldrich chitchats with Rossana Podestà and Stanley Baker during the filming of SODOM & GOMORRA

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

By the Gods!

Alain Saury and Belinda Lee in MARIE OF THE ISLES

I have a copy of this film and I tried to watch it but it's in such poor quality that I had to stop. I'll wait to view it in its entirety until I find a better copy. Belinda, who's from Britain, did a number of films in Europe before her untimely death. This is one of them. It's a French - Italian co-production.

Before they were PEPLUM stars

Here's future PEPLUM genre star Lou Degni aka Mark Forest showing how to train one's mid section. Below : Mark in GOLIATH & THE DRAGON

Monday, November 28, 2016

By the Gods!

Hans von Borsody and Antonella Lualdi in MASSACRE IN THE BLACK FOREST

The fellow in the Roman uniform is supposed to be Cameron Mitchell but we never see his face. It's one of the oddest thing in otherwise good production : just with 5 minutes or so remaining of the film, Mitchell, who was previously seen fighting for his life, suddenly disappears and a stand-in takes his place and we never see Mitchell again. Mitchell is main star of the film and yet it ends without showing him. The camera is set-up in a way as not to see who's in the Roman costume. I wonder what happened during the production. I haven't seen any talk about this oddity anywhere on the internet.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster for the film version of the TV mini-series THE ODYSSEY

Interesting take of the (overlong) mini-series. No cyclops or anything else other than Ulysses, Penelope and their son. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

By the Gods!

Channing Tatum in THE EAGLE

Of all the PEPLUM films released recently, this is probably the least offensive of them all. In fact, it's quite realistic looking and it doesn't employ a myriad number of editing techniques loved by too many contemporary filmmakers. Some say it's simply boring. It's good, not great but good.  This was made when Tatum's career was red hot. Today his career is not so hot. Maybe he should revisit the genre.

Video of the Week : ESTHER & THE KING - Wrestling!

Video of the Week : Wrestling scene from Esther & the King starring Richard Egan and Joan Collins 

There's Pietro Ceccarelli and Howard Ross as wrestlers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

By the Gods!

Bekim Fehmiu and Irene Papas in THE ODYSSEY

Bekim is Ulysses and Papas is Penelope. This was a mini-series on Italian TV but it was also edited down and released as a feature film for international markets. I like this production. Not love but like. It's way too long for its own good. This production is the natural progression of the PEPLUM genre that died just a few years before this was made. People didn't want to see these types of films at the movies anymore so a TV mini-series made sense. Bekim had a somewhat short-lived career. I thought he was excellent as Ulysses (better than Kirk Douglas in the 1954 film version). As for Irene Papas, she has had a big film career and has appeared in several genre films and TV productions. Probably the closest to a realistic Greek or Greek-looking couple (I know Bekim is not Greek).


Steve Reeves waits as they set-up a scene in HERCULES UNCHAINED

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

By the Gods!

A behind-the-scenes view of the filming of a PEPLUM film in BOCCACCIO '70

BOCCACCIO '70 is not a PEPLUM film. It consists of 4 short films directed by Monicelli, De Sica, Visconti and Fellini. This scene is from the beginning of the Fellini film. It shows a cheaply made PEPLUM film being made in some public place. Fellini satirized the making of the often considered cheap genre. It's cute. The Hercules here is credited as Giuliano Gemma but his appearance is so fleeting that its hard to say if it's him. Of course, Fellini went on to film an epic PEPLUM film of his own, SATYRICON.

Then & Now : Willy Colombini

Willy in HERCULES (1958) ; a recent appearance of Willy on Italian TV

Monday, November 21, 2016

By the Gods!

Barry Jones and Susan Hayward are Claudius and Messalina in DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS

I didn't much care for Susan Hayward's acting style when I initially saw this film. But I've watched many of her films since, PEPLUM or not, and I've changed my mind for this role. She's pretty good. Yes, her tics and mannerisms are present, which are needlessly distracting, but I now appreciate her take on Messalina. She could have been more cruel but that's how Messalina was written for this film. Barry Jones' British accent in a film with a mostly American cast is also quite distracting.

Good film. Much more PEPLUM-like than its predecessor, THE ROBE. In fact, this is one of the best PEPLUM films made in Hollywood.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster of REVOLT OF THE SLAVES

Pretty good. Covers everything in the film. It's funny that they put Dario Moreno and Rafael Rivelles on top of the credits. They are supporting actors. Hmm...

Friday, November 18, 2016

By the Gods!

Ruth Roman and Akim Tamiroff in THE SINNER (aka Desert Desperadoes)

There's no trailer or clips anywhere of this 1959 Italian-made PEPLUM. It's one of the rarest titles out there, if not the rarest (aside from lost silent films). I can't critique since I haven't seen it. Where is it?

Retro Friday : It must be a cultural thing...

(originally posted November 2011)

Posters for Italian-made PEPLUM films have a tendency of focusing on something...needless to say, many of these posters wouldn't be approved today 😀

Thursday, November 17, 2016

By the Gods!

Mel Welles, Luciana Gilli and Channing Pollock in THE RED SHEIK

A very odd PEPLUM movie (and that's saying something considering the genre) : excellent production values, amazing location filming, a thoroughly well made film and aside from a few familiar names, it stars mostly unknowns. A real head-scratcher. It's like a one hit wonder. Pollock was a magician in the US. Why did they cast him in this film, I dunno. I like it. It's a sumptuous film to watch. I just wished they actually cast bigger names in the lead roles.


Thrilling gladiatorial action from GLADIATORS SEVEN starring Richard Harrison

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

By the Gods!

Sylvia Syms (in blue) and other women ride horses through a river in AMAZONS OF ROME

This scene must have been difficult to film. 20 or so horses and women riding them through muddy waters. This is one of the best scenes in this interesting misfire. IMO, it's a misfire because of the casting. The leads, Syms and Louis Jourdan, are somewhat okay but they have no chemistry. And Jourdan as a barbarian is a stretch. The supporting cast is much more interesting even if there are a few actors amongst them that are annoying, such as Nicole Courcel who's over-the-top. The film is on Youtube for those who haven't seen it.


Sergio Leone gives some direction to Rory Calhoun during the filming of COLOSSUS OF RHODES

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

By the Gods!

Jerzy Zellik as Ramses XIII in PHARAOH

A film set entirely in Ancient Egypt and filmed entirely in...Poland, of all places. Director Jerzy Kawalerowicz recreated Egypt in his home country, with Polish actors. It's really interesting for this aspect alone. The film is spectacular but, like most art films, detached and a bit cold. Many might decry this as cultural appropriation but then are there any direct descendants of Ancient Egypt who are still alive today?

Interview with Pietro Torrisi

I've found this interview with veteran PEPLUM star Pietro Torrisi on Youtube. It's in Italian but it's fun to watch. Includes clips of his PEPLUM films and many others genres.

Monday, November 14, 2016

By the Gods!

 Carmen Sevilla and Ricardo Montalban in DESERT WARRIOR

Great, old fashioned Arabian-style adventure, filmed on location. I did a Fan Dub of this. I'm thinking of uploading it on Youtube (if they allow many restrictions). Montalbano made several films in Europe and his career never really suffered from this, unlike other actors at the time. It was considered a no-no for Hollywood actors to star in 'lesser' grade European films. Even today, this trend is still sorta the same. It's rare to see big Hollywood movie stars, at the height of their careers, in films made in Europe. It happens but not frequently.