Wednesday, January 16, 2019

By the Gods!

Paul Wynter, as Bangor, is about to be impaled in MACISTE - STRONGEST MAN IN THE WOLRD (1961; aka Maciste against the Mole Men)

This 'Feat of strength' scene is one of the best scenes in PEPLUM history. It's almost impossible to explain what's going on in a few words. Paul is immortalized forever with this scene. You can watch the entire film at my PEPLUM TV channel.

Paul Wynter, RIP

PEPLUM star Paul Winter died on January 14. He was 83. Even though Paul only made two PEPLUM films, his impact on the genre is undeniable. He won the Mr Universe contest in 1960 and in 1966. He made his two movies in between those wins. I like him a lot and wished he had made more genre movies, with a lead role, as Bangor! RIP!


Paul played Bangor, friend to Maciste (Mark Forest, below), who rescued him from certain death. This is a top notch PEPLUM.

Mark Forest and Paul Wynter as a team worked great in this over-the-top PEPLUM

Paul played the strongman for the Queen (Chelo Alonso). Dante DiPaolo also starred. Another classic PEPLUM film.

Gordon Mitchell with Paul

Powerful Paul carries big Gordon Mitchell on his shoulders!

Double Mr Universe winner Paul chats with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would eventually star in his own PEPLUM flick,  CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982)

Paul and his wife, Mary. The most recent picture of the actor/bodybuilder

Paul Wynter, RIP

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

By the Gods!

The Three Stooges are galley slaves in THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962)

The slave driver displayed by John Cliff. And that's Quinn K. Redeker next to Larry. One of the better scenes in this PEPLUM comedy. Though film was shot in Black & White and regular aspect ratio, it didn't stop Columbia Pictures from using exterior boat scenes footage from THE WARRIOR EMPRESS (1960; aka Sappho - The Venus of Lesbos), which was shot in color and in widescreen.

New CLEOPATRA project goes viral (PC culture)

Yesterday, the name 'Cleopatra' was trending on Twitter. Why? Because the long delayed film project on the Egyptian ruler, first conceived with Angelina Jolie in mind, became yet another victim of the political correct nonsense going on in our culture these days. Many were upset that Cleopatra was being cast with white women in mind. They argued that Cleopatra was black, not white. This is an on-going argument which has lasted decades now. To make things more messed up, Lady Gaga is fighting to play the role. Of course, people weren't too keen on this since the pop star now actress is a believer of all things identity politics and think she shouldn't even think about it. For a long time, historians have been saying Cleopatra was of Macedonian/Greek descent. It was impossible for her to be black. But those who believe Cleopatra was black only think in the terms that she was a ruler of an African country, therefore she must be black.

Regardless of this nonsense, isn't Angelina is a little too old to play Cleopatra, who was reportedly in 18 years old when her rule began? As for Lady Gaga being cast in the role, that's totally ridiculous.

Good luck with the makers of this ill-fated project.

Monday, January 14, 2019

By the Gods!

Roger Browne and Pietro Torrisi in SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965)

Directed by Michele Lupo, who's movies are filled with over-the-top action and boisterous, brawny men. Both Roger and Pietro are still with us in the land of the living. Roger was interviewed recently over his film career and aside from Lupo's films, he admitted that he didn't care much for them. He thought they were too difficult to make (which I can image they were). His career continued with Eurospy films and exploitation films in the 1970s. It eventually died out during the 1980s. As for Torrisi, his career , he continued on appearing in plenty of movies, mainly in small supporting roles during the 1970s but experienced a big comeback during the 1980s, with a series of super low budget Italian movies inspired by the success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982). I recently watched a film called HERCULES AGAINST KARATE (1973), in which Torrisi has a small role (during a bar brawl).  If you blink, you'll miss him. It would great to have an extensive interview of him. I'm sure he had fun making these films. I'm sure he has tons of stories to tell.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster of REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960)

TCM will showing this film (in the wee hours of the morning). I already have a great copy of this so I really don't care which version they'll show. I just wonder if it will be complete or cut.

Friday, January 11, 2019

By the Gods!

Samson Burke (as Ursus) and Wandisa Guida rule over the kingdom in VENGEANCE OF URSUS (1961)

Typical happy ending seen in PEPLUM films. Samson looks bored but Wandisa radiates. I made the one and only Fan Dub of this and it's everywhere on Youtube. The main observation taken from viewers was "When I saw VENGEANCE OF URSUS for the first time it looked terrible and I thought this movie was awful but this brand new copy makes it look so much better. It's actually a good film". The difference a nice copy in English makes to a maligned movie. That's the PEPLUM genre in a nutshell.

My latest acquisitions

No DVDs to report even though I've acquired many new copies of titles from the internet (exchanges).

I've been a movie poster collector since I was 14 years old. I've stopped collecting full time and simply collect stuff that I like. So, for today, I'll mention two nice vintage movie collectibles I've acquired.

I purchased a beautiful poster of GOLIATH AGAINST THE GIANTS (1961). It's not a reprint.

I've also purchased a movie book from LUX films and when it's unfolded, there are four upcoming PEPLUM titles: MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960) with Steve Reeves, SURCOUF - PRINCE DES CORSAIRES (196?) with Jean Marais, THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961) with Donald O'Connor and THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) with Steve Reeves. It's absolutely gorgeous and in excellent condition. Well worth the paltry $30 it cost.

Now, the second title, SURCOUF - PRINCE DES CORSAIRES apparently doesn't exist. It seems changes were made to the cast: Jean Marais was out and Gerard Barray starred. The crew also changed. This new re-arranged film was released in 1966 as SURCOUF - LE TIGRE DES SEPT MERS. In English, the title was THE SEA PIRATE. So, the poster art with Jean Marais is a rare thing!

And finally, I subscribed to ANCIENT HISTORY magazine and got the printed copy in the mail. I like it but I have to admit that the service from the company was chaotic. The topic: Apollo and Artemis. I haven't read it yet but it's a decent publication. It has a section devoted to how ancient history is portrayed in movies.

That's it for now.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

By the Gods!

A wasted Achilles (Gordon Mitchell) in FURY OF ACHILLES (1962)

This is one rare instance in which the main character is portrayed as unsympathetic and yet it doesn't diminish the empathy one feels towards his pre-destined plight. It's Mitchell's best role.


For a change, I used the Italian "fotobustas" of HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) instead of the US lobby card set. They are bigger than standard lobby cards and are more detailed but they're basically the same thing. This is a great set if a bit repetitive, with 4 cards with Steve in almost  the same pose. I have no complaints with it except that it does miss out on many classic scenes including the one with Steve and a lounging Sylvia watching the dancers. A fotobusta of the other members of the cast (Castor & Pollux, the Argo, etc) would have been cool but this is a very colorful set.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

By the Gods!

The bodies of Polinices (Mimmo Palmara) and Eteocles (Sergio Fantoni) on a funeral pyre in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

This scene irks me to no end. Dramatically speaking, it's an important moment and yet the framing and the duration of this shot is terrible and destroys any chance of an adequate closure to the main story which propelled the film. It's super brief, often truncated even more from the already short duration in the original version. And we barely see the faces of the men. It's feels rushed. One bad moment of an otherwise excellent production from Pietro Francisci. I wonder what happened during the filming of this scene. A last minute decision?


Producer Charles H.Schneer and Ray Harryhausen on the set of THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD(1973)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

By the Gods!

Mark Forest in MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964; aka Tyrant of Rome against the Son of Hercules)

TCM will be showing this film which will be interesting. Will it have the convoluted US title or the Italian one? Will it have the SON OF HERCULES opening and closing music? There are some good copies out there but seeing an 'official' TCM version of this will indicate how these films will be perceived by them.


As I mentioned yesterday, TCM will be showing PEPLUM films every Thursday in January (except for Jan 31). This is great and also not so great. The selection is interesting, and yes they included Italian-made films. Yeah. So, what's the bad news? They'll be showing these films in the dead of night.

Now, since I don't have TCM I wold to get some input and maybe some copies of these broadcasts. Not the big films like BEN-HUR and SPARTACUS (they're easily available) but the rarer titles, including ATLAS (in widescreen?), THE TYRANT OF LYDIA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (1963; aka GOLIATH & THE REBEL SLAVE), THE TERROR OF ROME AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (1964; MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA), HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963) and HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS (1964).

I need to see these. If TYRANT and TERRO OR ROME have the SON OF HERCULES music at the beginning (I hope not), will they be shown in widescreen, will they be cut, etc.

My Fan Dub version of HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS, which was the best English version available anywhere and viewed nearly 4 million times at PEPLUM TV, was recently removed by Youtube with no explanation given. Hmm...I wonder if any of this had anything to do with this unexpected removal.

Here are the films scheduled to be shown. Like I said, they start the first film at 8 pm EST and the other films will play up until the early morning. Not really the best time to view these films, except maybe for people on the west coast. The films on January 24 are the ones which interest me the most (and ATLAS).

Monday, January 7, 2019

By the Gods!

Charlton Heston in BEN HUR (1959)

Classic scene from the Oscar® winning film. TCM (USA) will be showing a PEPLUM epic every Thursday during the month of January (except for Jan 31). I don't have TCM and even if I did I'm in Canada and the US schedule doesn't match the Canadian one. For those who have TCM, check it out. I tried finding any information on why they're doing this at their website and couldn't find any. They just updated their website and here's a page about this: SWORD & SANDAL THURSDAYS. I'll have more about it tomorrow.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of JASON & THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

Nice to see a Italian version of a Hollywood production.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019

By the Gods! (blog note)

Mark Forest and Franco Cobianchi celebrate during a feast in MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964)

Be careful what you drink and who you drink with tonight, if you celebrate New Year's Eve. Haha!

On a side note, because the holidays fall at the beginning of the week and I'll be very busy for the next few days, there won't be any posts until next week (there's not point of posting for a day or two). The blog will return 'full time' on January 7.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster of WAR OF THE TROJANS (1962; aka The Avenger)

The French title translates as HEROIC CONQUERORS in English. For some odd reason, this film has a plethora of titles, in any language, which really don't suit it. It's not a bad title, it's just not very descriptive, like THE AVENGER. I prefer the UK title, WAR OF THE TROJANS. Great looking poster!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

I wish all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Actor profile: Jacques Berthier

Jacques Berthier was a French actor with a career that began in the 1930s and ended in the 1980s. With 43 film roles to his credit, he only appeared in 3 PEPLUM films. He provided very good support, mainly playing the villain. His two stories set in Antiquity were directed by Gianfranco Parolini. Not a long list of titles like other actors I've previously profiled but I thought his two major PEPLUM roles were good enough to merit a mention.

Jacques had a small role in this excellent production. He had a special mention during the opening credit.


This movie has tons of characters and even with all of them, Berthier stands out from the crowded pack. Both he and Mara Lane (pictured below) were the villains and they were good in their roles. His first film with Brad Harris (not pictured here).

Berthier and his 'partner in crime,' played by Giuseppe Mattei (aka Pino Mattei)

When Berthier made this film, he was 46 years old. He didn't look like it.


Berthier was the villain in this episodic film. Without his presence, the movie would have been much less memorable. His performance basically grounds the somewhat convoluted story.

Berthier with Brad Harris. His second film with Harris and director Parolini

Berthier relished this role with some panache and vigour 

Previous Actor profiles:

Aldo Pini

Ursula Davis

Philippe Hersent

Thursday, December 20, 2018

By the Gods!

Gustavo Rojo and Barbara Steele in REVENGE OF THE MERCENARIES (aka Rampage of Evil; 1962)

Directed by Sergio Grieco, which means bold, boisterous, over-the-top adventure. Grieco directed Rojo in JULIUS CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES (1962), which is one of my faves. Gustavo was a very good actor, and he shoe in the latter film (even if he was miscast) and he's excellent in this film as well. Barbara appeared in no traditional PEPLUM film set in Antiquity but appeared in a lot of Italian horror films and Swashbucklers/PEPLUM such as this one. It's a shame because she was memorable in all of her roles. Though this scene has both actors together, Barbara spends most of her time with Mario Petri. This film is one of those Cinematic Confusion films I wrote about, with the title that I always confuse with other films.

Lobby Cards Set : Gold for the Caesars

US lobby cards set for GOLD FOR THE CAESARS. Very good set. Covers pretty much everything. No close-ups of the actors but there are two cards with Jeffrey Hunter and Mylene Demongeot which is good. Above average set.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

By the Gods!

Edmund Purdom and Liana Orfei in NEFERTITI - QUEEN OF THE NILE (1961)

The relationship between Purdom and Orfei in this is much better than the one between Purdom and Jeanne Crain (Nefertiti). This happens a lot in PEPLUM movies: the secondary love affair is more interesting than the main one. The costumes in this production are good. It's a nice looking film. It's on the slow side but I like it.

PEPLUM publicity

A truck carrying a bunch of bodybuilders advertising THE GIANT OF MARATHON starring Steve Reeves.