Christine Kaufmann and Steve Reeves in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)
The first film in which Steve played a Roman centurion. He would also play one in SON OF SPARTACUS. He looked great in both films and he was believable, more so than Robert Taylor in QUO VADIS, who, imo, was miscast. Reeves as a centurion = PEPLUM perfection! This film was the source of inspiration to Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR. They pitched the idea of making one of those old Steve Reeves gladiator films. Ironically, Reeves never played a gladiator in any film, including this one. His character does end up fighting in an arena during the climax but not officially as a gladiator, just as a centurion trying to save Christians from hungry lions. As for Kaufmann, she made a couple of other PEPLUM films but this role would be the one she would be remembered the most for. She was very young in this. I like this film a lot. The pacing is a bit slow but aside from that I have very few complaints in regards to this spectacular epic : great cast, great production, great score!