Thursday, August 22, 2019

By the Gods!

George Chakiris and Yul Brynner in KINGS OF THE SUN (1963)

What do you think of this movie? I watched it last night and I'm conflicted with this one. Part of it I really like (production values), parts of it I really do not like (story). It's like a pulp magazine cover from MAN'S WORLD come to life. There are so many things to say about it, a lot negative and positive stuff. Today, in these politically correct times, this movie would be seen as racist. Chakiris is an odd casting choice. Some of the costumes, though nice, look more like 'costumes' than something someone actually wore back in the day. Then there's Brynner who's nearly naked throughout. His body is in full display. There are so many issues with it but the main one which irks me is the fact that in reality the two groups wouldn't be able to communicate since they spoke different languages but in this movie, they're able to communicate with ease. No language barrier. I know most films are like this, from Hollywood or Europe, but for some reason this obvious important detail makes it appear less realistic.


Here's a two-page ad for SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959) in Movie News magazine. I scanned it from the magazine itself. It's interesting. The magazine is from Singapore and the ad shows that the movie was distributed by the Shaw Brothers. The title is also different. The US title is SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR and yet this one is titled THE SIGN OF THE GLADIATORS, in plural with a THE at the beginning. It's even more funny as the movie has no gladiator or gladiators in it.

Anita Ekberg, Georges Marchal and Chelo Alonso are showcased prominently. No Jacques Sernas who was the lead actor in HELEN OF TROY (1956) just a couple of years before. Not even a credit.

As I noted at BY THE GODS! website, the magazine cover has Steve Reeves on it but it mis-identify the movie as HERCULES & THE QUEEN OF LIDIA (aka HERCULES UNCHAINED) and not the actual movie which is THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)



Someone sent me a photo of a hoodie (extra large) with the PEPLUM TV logo on it. Very cool.

If you purchase anything, take a photo and I'll post it here.

(and no, that's not me)

Monday, August 19, 2019

By the Gods!

Rossano Brazzi and Gianna Maria Canale in REVENGE OF THE BLACK EAGLE (1951)

A very good movie with some pleasant and not so pleasant surprises. Directed by Riccardo Freda. The first thing which stands out from this movie is the commanding and forceful performance by Brazzi. It's no wonder he became a big star. You can't take your eyes off of him. In contrast, Canale's performance is surprisingly weak. If there's one thing that you can depend on in PEPLUM movies it's a good performance from her but in this she comes across as unsure. I was quite  taken aback by this. She clearly became a better actress by the time she starred in SPARTACUS - SINS OF ROME (1953), also directed by Freda, who became her husband. The little boy actor who has a substantial role was clearly inexperienced and yet it still worked. Music score from this movie was re-used in SPARTACUS. That score has been re-used so many times I wonder if this is the original source of it. This is a scan from a lobby card I recently acquired. You can see the Canadian certification stamp on it.

PEPLUM Movie Posters

Italian poster of THE SEA PIRATE (1966)

Nice art but he doesn't look much like Gerard Barry or Antonella. 

PEPLUM TV store ad

Saturday, August 17, 2019

BY THE GODS! website

New website for upcoming BTG projects is live! Make sure to bookmark it.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

By the Gods!

Jezebel (Paulette Goddard) is greeted by Jehu (George Nader) in SINS OF JEZEBEL (1953)

If there's one story that deserves a major big budget production, it's this one. Jezebel, King Ahab and Elijah. The only film made was this one. It's okay but not really impressive. Production values are low and the acting is stiff, delivery stilted dialogue. Paulette is actually good (if a bit too old) and gives her all but the rest of the cast is not adequate. Eduard Franz is miscast as Ahab who should have been way more sinister. And Nader is stiff. There is an elaborate dance number to the pagan god. The film is not dark enough and key events of the story are wrong or not well thought out (Jezebel and Jehu falling for each other, the ending, etc). It comes across more like a community theatre production shot on film than anything else. Passable but underwhelming. Obviously shot in California. In ANSCO color!

Lobby Cards Set: THE MINOTAUR

U.S. Lobby cards set for THE MINOTAUR (1960). Excellent set. There's a card with the actual Minotaur in it which must fetch more money than the other cards. Funny enough, card #3 is a scene that's not in the movie, in any different versions I have. I have to make a compilation of such 'missing' scenes seen in lobby cards sets of different movies.


Different titles of URSUS AND THE TARTAR PRINCESS (Ursus e la ragazza tartara; 1961) starring Joe Robinson. Unfortunately, no original Italian title or Spanish title have yet to surface somewhere...anywhere. But there are two different English titles!

The International English title. This title is available indifferent copies. This screengrab was taken from a Dutch VHS transfer.

I'm assuming this is the US TV broadcast title. I'm not certain if it was released in theatres. I've never come across any US movie posters or any memorabilia from the US for this title. 

German title which translates as THE HORDES OF KHAN

The French title which translates as THE DAUGHTER OF THE TARTARES

Monday, August 12, 2019

By the Gods!

Federica Ranchi and Gerald Landry in THE BLACK ARCHER (1959)

A fun old fashion actioner with some surprising twists. Landry is an interesting actor. He was born in 1912 and was 47 years old when he made this movie. He started acting in the early 1930s. He appeared in a handful of PEPLUM productions, including DEFEAT OF THE BARBARIANS (1962). As for Ranchi, she acted in just a handful of films, most notably GOLIATH & THE DRAGON (1960) and SON OF SAMSON (1960).

It will premiere on BY THE GODS! channel on Thursday August 15 at 8pm EST.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


This is the poster for the 1978 re-release. Very nice.

New: My PEPLUM Movie (By the Gods!)

I participated in the making of a short PEPLUM movie. In this video, I break down what happened.

Make sure to subscribe to new channel, BY THE GODS!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

New: PEPLUM TV official merch!

PEPLUM TV finally has official merch (aka merchandise). This is a commercial for the store. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

By the Gods!

Caroline Munro and John Phillip Law in THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973)

How many PEPLUM movies can you name off the top of your head that have the word GOLDEN in their titles? There is a good number of them.

PEPLUM Location: Museo Della Civilta Romana

The Museo Della Civilta Romana was a popular location for PEPLUM movies. The grand architecture made for an easy and quick way of establishing some sort of grand setting without having to actually build anything. The complex is spread out and different parts of the museum were filmed individually in other movies. Here's a sample of movies which filmed in the courtyard/parking area of the museum (I didn't include all titles, like SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959) or THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958))

Above and below: FRINE - COURTESAN OF THE ORIENT (1953) starring Pierre Cressoy and Elena Kleus

Above and below: TWO NIGHTS WITH CLEOPATRA (1954) starring Alberto Sordi and Sophia Loren.

Above and below: QUEEN OF BABYLON (1954) starring Rhonda Fleming as Semiramis (with Amerigo Santarelli)

Above and below: APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE (1958) starring Germano Longo and Irene Tunc. Directed by Mario Bonnard who also directed FRINE - COURTESAN OF THE ORIENT.

Above and below: THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) starring Roland Carey, Mario Novelli, Nando Tamberlani and Cathia Caro

Above and below: THE LOVE OF HERCULES (Hercules vs the Hydra; 1960) starring Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay.

Above and below: GOLIATH AGAINST THE GIANTS (1961) starring Brad Harris and Gloria Milland.


Barry Coe died on July 16 at the age of 84. His death made headlines just recently. Coe starred in THE 300 SPARTANS (1962) along with Richard Egan (above). He was Phylon, and his love interest was Diane Baker (below).

He was also in THE WIZARD OF BAGHDAD (1960) in which Diane baker also starred and their characters were also romantically involved.

George Hilton (born Jorge Hill Acosta y Lara) died on July 28 at the age of 85. George was mainly known for his Spaghetti Westerns and Giallo type of movies but he did appear in THE MASKED MAN AND THE PIRATES (1964).

R.I.P. to both men.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Blog note

I'll be posting only twice a week during the month of August. Blog posts will return full time in September.

By the Gods!

Daniela Rocca and Rod Taylor in COLOSSUS & THE AMAZON QUEEN (1960)

According to legend, Amazon warriors had one breast cut off, in order to help with their fighting or aim during battle. This aspect of the Amazons has never been shown authentically in any movie I've seen, and certainly not in this lightweight comedy. But a clever comprise was made: their uniforms had one great covered and padded down while exposing the other. It gives a faux impression of them having one breast. I always thought that this was a creative way of achieving this aspect of the female warriors. A comedy with excellent production values (from left-overs of SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960))

PEPLUM Movie Poster

US poster of THE QUEEN OF SHEBA (1953)

Very rare. I like it. Captures the film's 'barbaric splendour.'

New: PEPLUM TV merch!

PEPLUM TV finally has official merch (aka merchandise). I've worked non-stop in these (it took 5 hours just to set up store correctly). Support the blog, PEPLUM TV and BY THE GODS! channels, and upcoming ventures by purchasing some cool stuff.

I'll be adding new designs quite often so make sure to check out the store on a regular basis. Below are some of the designs available. Side note: the store is based in the US and they ship stuff from the US and or from the Europe, for those across the pond.

Friday, July 26, 2019


I take a break every two months and my last break was near the end of May. Yes, we're already 2 months into summer. How time flies!

Stay tuned!

I'll leave you now with King Leonidas (Richard Egan) from THE 300 SPARTANS (1962), saying "From this wall, we do not retreat!"

By the Gods!

Sandokan (Steve Reeves) brings breakfast to Lt. Clintock (Nando Gazzolo) in SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964)

This movie is one of those rare instances when the sequel is as good as the first film, SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963). Directed by Umberto Lenzi, it's quite a solid auctioner. In this scene, rife with subtext (like many others in it), the Lieutenant says Reeves looks more like a pirate than a cabin boy. Reeves' appearance arouses suspicion in the man and yet he asks the muscular cabin boy to fetch his sword (he does this in between a slight interruption I didn't grab). Now would you ask a pirate to get a sword that he might use in combat and kill you? Sometimes PEPLUM movies are not very logical. Or maybe...the lieutenant was just smitten with the formidable cabin boy.

Lobby Cards Set: Fellini's SATYRICON

US lobby cards set of Fellini's SATYRICON (1969): this film is filled with stunning imagery so any lobby card set of this would be underwhelming because of the limited number of scenes it can show  but it's actually pretty good. Covers almost all the important scenes.

Patricia Laffan Mystery Solved

Patricia Laffan played Poppaea in QUO VADIS (1951). For years, there was a mystery over if she was dead or alive. She was born in 1919 and just a few years ago there was no date of death attributed to her anywhere, not even at IMDb. I've noticed this as well years ago, wondering if she was one of the last stars of the film to be alive. It seems that by 2016 the date of her death was finally known. She died on March 10th, 2014. That was five years ago. And many are only learning about it now. IMDb has also been updated. A belated R.I.P.. Thanks to Graham for this tidbit of information.