Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Clip of the week: ATTILA (1954)


Irene Papas makes some predictions during a sacrifice. With Henri Vidal and Anthony Quinn as Attila.


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

HD Alert!

There are no new Blu-ray releases in the forceable future so let's talk about some old releases...

 


Ray Harryhausen's SINBAD movies, THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1958), THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973) and SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977), are available on Blu-ray, individually or in the RAY HARRYHAUSEN THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION pack, which has the 3 Sinbad movies, plus 4 other movies, including JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963). I don't mind the other movies but what if I just want to buy the 3 Sinbad movies? Buying the 3 movies individually would cost more than the ULTIMATE COLLECTION, which is around $60

A SINBAD boxset was released in the UK but look at the price. 


 

Why don't they release a boxset in the US/Canada with just the 3 Sinbad movies at a reasonable price. 


Then & Now: Giovanni Cianfriglia


 Giovanni in IRONMASTER (1983); a recent photo of the actor

Monday, September 26, 2022

Musings!


 Henry Cavill as Theseus in IMMORTALS (2011)

Does anyone like this movie? I often ask this question and there's no exception for this movie. PEPLUM films are adulated to incredible heights, like GLADIATOR (2000) or SPARTACUS (1960) while many others are all but forgotten. Even though this movie is only 11 years old it's, imo, already forgotten. I never hear anyone talk about it. Personally, I'm not a fan of it. It looks great but the direction is so obtuse that it's impossible for me to get into it. The film is also extremely stylized, with conflicting looks of cultures and in the end it doesn't look like something that's supposed to be based on Greek Mythology. The Gods of Olympus are made to look like the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in action. It's really odd. Oh well...



PEPLUM Movie Poster


 Spanish poster of ULYSSES (1954) 

Great artwork. Very evocative. It does amplify things a bit much like the Trojan Horse which appears just for two seconds. And Kirk's physique.


Friday, September 23, 2022

Image of the week!


Karim (Steve Reeves) on his tumultuous journey to find the blue rose in THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)

At the movies...


 CALIGULA (1979) playing at a movie theatre in New York City.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Musings!


Salammbo (Jeanne Valérie) makes an unexpected appearance to the surprised fighting men in SALAMMBO (1960; The Loves of Salambo US)

This is one of my favourite scenes of any PEPLUM movie. The set-up and everything is perfect. Scenes like this make me realize why I love the genre so much. As much as I love this movie, I admit that it's wildly uneven. Some truly beautiful, near breathtaking stuff with some wild overacting and cringe scenes. It's too bad because the brilliant stuff is really brilliant. Sergio Grieco went all out and even though this approach gave us some amazing stuff, he had difficulty controlling himself which resulted in some of the  bad stuff. The US version was severely cut to the point of being unwatchable. The score is excellent but very boisterous. I made the first Fan Dub of this years ago. Except for PEPLUM fans like me, it's pretty much forgotten today. Does anyone like it?

Behind-the-Scenes


 Elizabeth Taylor and costume designer Irene Sharaff on the set of CLEOPATRA (1963)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Clip of the week: IRONMASTER (1983)

Giovanni Cianfriglia vs Sam Pasco. With Elvire Audray.



Tuesday, September 20, 2022

SPFX DEPT.


A scene from THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960)

This scene has a pretty darn good matte painting in a movie filled with special effects, like practical effects of the Hydra, Tree-Men, and monster in full hairy costume, etc. From what I can tell, this is the only major matte painting in the entire production. And this scene was cut from the US version! As nice as it is, the elements don't work in the movie as the real landscape wobbles while the painting itself is still. I can see why the scene was cut. It's even more obvious in the HD copy I have than the lower quality copies. Even so, it's still a good one. Maybe the stabilizing issue in this scene could be fixed with a computer.


Irene Papas, RIP



Irene Papas died on September 14 at the age of 96. Like so many actors and actresses of the past, Irene starred in PEPLUM films before moving on to critically acclaimed films. She only appeared in 8 productions, movies and TV, that would be considered PEPLUM. She made three movies by Michael Cacoyannis based on Greek Tragedies. Though her roles became more complex and layered, her two early movies, in ATTILA and THEODORA, will always be memorable to me. And her role as Penelope in the TV mini-series showed what an excellent actress she was. RIP.



Irene's first PEPLUM role was in THEODORA - SLAVE EMPRESS (1954), directed by Riccardo Freda. She played Theodora's jealous sister. She made an impression in this excellent production. The main photo above is from that movie.

 

Immediately after THEODORA, Irene appeared in ATTILA (1854), directed by Pietro Francisci, and staring Anthony Quinn. Like her role in the previous movie, it was a supporting role and she shone in all of her scenes.





Irene starred in ANTIGONE (1961), an excellent Greek PEPLUM in the old Italian style. Her next movies would follow suit but be different as well.



The first of three Greek Tragedy movies she would make with director Michael Cacoyannis, ELEKTRA (1961). This movie was more art-house style than the previous ANTIGONE. 



Irene starred in THE ODYSSEY (1968), an excellent TV mini-series with Bekim Fehmiu as Ulysses. One of Irene's best roles. She was superlative. 

 

Irene was in THE TROJAN WOMEN (1971), with an ensemble cast that included Kathryn Hepburn (below). The second Greek Tragedy movie she made with director Michael Cacoyannis.





Irene's third and last Greek Tragedy movie directed by Michael Cacoyannis, IPHEGENIA (1977). It's co-starred Panos Mihalopoulos.



Her PEPLUM productions:

THEODORA - SLAVE EMPRESS (1954)

ATTILA (1954)

ANTIGONE (1961)

ELEKTRA (1961)

THE ODYSSEY (1968; TV)

ANNE OF A THOUSAND DAYS (1969)

THE TROJAN WOMEN (1971)

IPHIGENIA (1977)


Monday, September 19, 2022

Musings!


Messalina (Susan Hayward) inspects gladiators in DEMTRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954)

I was watching an old episode of WHAT'S MY LINE? and the mystery guest was Van Johnson. One of the panels hosts, Arlene Francis, asked Johnson if he starred in a Biblical movie and Johnson said no. A surprised Arlerne then said, "Everyone starred in Biblical movies..."

Though Biblical movies were all the rage back then, they were also, to a certain extent, looked down upon. The panel's reaction to the fact that a famous actor didn't appear in a Biblical movie was telling. Hitchcock apparently hated these movies too. Susan Hayward was one of those stars who actually loved making Biblical movies, or epics, or PEPLUM movies. Her performance as Messalina shows she 'got' the genre. That's Ernest Borgnine behind Susan and Barrys Jones to the left. Ed Fury was one of the gladiators but he's not in this shot.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Spanish poster of TWO NIGHTS WITH CLEOPATrA (1954) 

Colourful, comical poster. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

Image of the week!


Hercules (Mickey Hargitay) is seduced by Hippolyta in the image of Queen Deianira (Jayne Mansfield) in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960)


Note: I'll have an overview of Irene Papas' career in PEPLUM movies next Tuesday!

Lobby Cards Set: SAMSON (1961)

British lobby cards set of SAMSON (1961) starring Brad Harris, Alan Steel, Serge Gainsbourg and others. I have to say that this set rocks! Excellent set. It's a shame it's in Black & White but even so it's much better than most in (often terrible) colour. I want it. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Musings!


David Carradine, as Kain the Warrior, gets a bath in THE WARRIOR AND THE SORCERESS (1984)

Bathing scenes are a cliché in PEPLUM movies, including the Sword and Sorcery kind of the 1980s. It's either Bathing Beauty or Bathing Beefcake, and well, I wouldn't call Carradine Beefcake so it's more like Bathing Hero, or in this case, Bathing Anti-Hero. Of all the Sword and Sorcery flicks of the era, this one is one of the oddest (and that's saying a lot!) and most obscure. Carradine plays his usual anti-hero role. It's sorta entertaining but it drags a lot in many places. The highlight of the movie is the dance number, with a topless dancer, has to be seen to be believed. It's the best scene in the movie. Filmed in Argentina.


Behind-the-Scenes


Jayne Mansfield and husband Mickey Hargitay during a break on the set of THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960)

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Clip of the week: THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962)


The Three Stooges end up in Ancient Greece and Curly Joe gets the nutcracker treatment from Hercules, played here by Samson Burke.



Tuesday, September 13, 2022

HD Alert!


THE THREE AVENGERS (1964) will have a Blu-ray release in France. It will be available on October 4. You can pre-order now, for those who are interested.

I like the movie. It's fun. Alan Steel (below) clearly had fun making this movie. But we live in a world where this movie gets a Blu-ray release and HERCULES (1958) doesn't. 



Vintage article


Old article on Iloosh Khoshabe, aka Rod Flash or Richard Lloyd, in some Italian magazine. It shows his workout routine which sculpted his formidable physique  Iloosh starred in many memorable PEPLUM productions, including playing Samson in HERCULES, SAMSON AND ULYSSES (1963).
 





Monday, September 12, 2022

Musings!


 Alfio Caltabiano is a gladiator in SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST ROME (1964) 

The English dub of this movie has been missing forever. Someone on the internet contacted me to say that they had the English version, from a VHS source. I was "Hurray! Finally." Unfortunately, a trade with this fellow didn't pan out. I believe the VHS was from Finland. It wasn't a scam or anything. The fellow was confused and thought I traded in Kung-Fu movies or something like that. Anyway, at least I know the English version IS out there, somewhere. Hopefully, it will show up one day. The screenshot above was taken from a Spanish HD streaming service. Very nice copy but only in Spanish. 


PEPLUM Movie Poster


Original Italian poster of ERIK THE VIKING (1965)

Great poster. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

Image of the week!


Nahum (Richard Conte) saves King Cyrus (Terry Kilburn) from assassination by a dancer (Julie Newmar) in SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953)

VHS Covers



Above: VHS cover of SANDOKAN AGAINST THE LEOPARD OF SARAWAK (1964). It was re-titled as THRONE OF VENGEANCE for the VHS release. This is NOT a Steve Reeves Sandokan movie. Ray Danton starred as the the titular hero. Ray was fit but nothing like the cover. Below is the less flashy Spanish VHS cover.