Thursday, October 20, 2016

By the Gods!

A scene from SON OF SAMSON

One of the most tedious dismissive critiques against the PEPLUM genre is that those films were low budget affairs. Does this look like a low budget film? Italian films made in the 1980s were low budget productions but many films of the Golden Era had medium sized budget. Though not really up there in regards to Hollywood films, which averaged between $6 to $15 million, it was normal for Italian productions to have a budget of $1 to $5 million (HERCULES & THE CAPTIVE WOMEN).

Video of the Week : THE GIANT OF MARATHON - Wrestling

Video of the Week : Wrestling scene from The Giant of Marathon starring Steve Reeves and Daniela Rocca

Good scene, maybe a bit too brief and dark.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

By the Gods!

Jeffrey Hunter and Debra Paget are hot for each other in PRINCESS OF THE NILE

Fun B-movie that's 100% improbable. The setting is Ancient Egypt even nothing looks like Egypt. It's entertaining nonetheless. It's only 71 minutes long. Both Hunter and Paget were young when they made this (Paget was 21).


Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, director Pietro Francisci and Primo Carnera in a production photo taken while shooting HERCULES UNCHAINED

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

By the Gods!

Ennio Girolamo (second from left) and Gordon Mitchell get ready for some challenges in FURY OF ACHILLES

The Olympic style games in are okay but they're not as elaborate and impressive as those in other PEPLUM films, including HERCULES or THE TROJAN HORSE. It's one of the few 'fun' scenes in an otherwise very serious film (it becomes very serious at the end of it). It's a film which has grown on me. I always watch this followed by THE TROJAN HORSE. One of the best 'double features' ever.

Same prop, different films

Prop seen in PONTIUS PILATE (1962) was also used in ATLAS VS THE CZAR (1964), starring Kirk Morris

Monday, October 17, 2016

By the Gods!

An assassin (Giuliano Gemma) is about to kill Messalina (Belinda Lee) in MESSALINA

And you know who's going to end up dead here (it's not Belinda). A wildly uneven film, in tone and quality. Is it a comedy? A black comedy? A mix of comedy and drama, etc. Vittorio Cottafavi directed this and there's excellent quality in almost every frame but it's a bit confusing in tone. I believe something might have happened during the production, something that's not known yet. Cottafavi is known to make wild films (GOLIATH & THE DRAGON, for example) but this looks more like a straight forward 'serious' production...which happens to have bits of slapstick in it. Belinda played a lot of these vampy women during her short career. This is one of Giuliano's first big break as an actor. It's a brief role but memorable.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of SWORD OF DAMASCUS

Nice, rich colours. BTW, this is a comedy.

Friday, October 14, 2016

By the Gods!

Reg Park, as Hercules, has thwarted a mutiny in HERCULES & THE CAPTIVE WOMEN

This location was used a couple of times in PEPLUM films, including JASON & THE ARGONAUTS. The way they used it in this film is quite spectacular. I already posted about it here at the blog. Park is fun as Hercules but Steve Reeves tops him by a mile. Park, big and impressive, ins't as agile and athletic as Reeves. I like this film. It's one of those I can watch over and over again.

Retro Friday : Every shade of Moira Orfei

(originally posted on September 19, 2011)

The many shades of colour of Moira Orfei displayed in REVOLT OF THE PRAETORIANS.

Before Cher, there was Moira Orfei.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

By the Gods!

Pietro Torrisi and Sabrina Siani are meant to be with each other in THRONE OF FIRE

The formula of the 1980s Sword & Sorcery films : have a He-Man and a She-Woman. This film, along with others of the same period, follow the exact same formula of Italian films made during the Golden Era of the PEPLUM genre, with additional violence and nudity (or less clothes). Though Sabrina was new to these kind of films, Pietro was a veteran. He was an impressive supporting actor of many classic films made 20 years prior to this one, including the Ten Gladiators series. He's one of the few who achieved success during the two eras.


Steve Reeves demonstrating his might in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

By the Gods!

Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Stewart Granger and Rossana Podestà confronted Stanley Baker in SODOM & GOMORRAH

Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? Well, at first it's easy to know but director Robert Aldrich tried to show that almost everyone had some bad in a not so successful way. It's a film that pleased few : religious folks avoided it and fans of lurid action were disappointed by it. It wasn't salacious enough. I'm not much of a fan of it BUT I do love watching it because of the fact that a BIG chunk of regular actors of the PEPLUM genre worked in it. Since I'm a big fan of the genre, it's fun to watch the mostly sexy cast of Italian or European actors play part of the convoluted cast of characters.


Dan Vadis takes a photo with two fans during the filming of SEVEN MAGNIFICENT GLADIATORS

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

By the Gods!

Mark Forest, as Kindar, tries to negotiate a deal with Rosalba Neri in KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE

One of my favourite PEPLUM flicks. I admit that the climax could have been more robust but the rest of film is beautiful and flows perfectly. Mark as never looked more impressive and Rosalba as never looked more beautiful. They make a great couple but alas, she's a villain and of course the two can't be together. A sometimes poetic PEPLUM film.

Identify this film

Can you ID this film from this scene?


Monday, October 10, 2016

By the gods!

Alessandra Panaro and George Nader become lovers in THE SECRET MARK OF D'ARTAGNAN

A lot of pairings in PEPLUM films don't work but this one does. George and Alessandra make a nice couple in this film. The villain is played by Georges Marchal. A good production and good cast with an okay story. What more do you want from a movie?

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster for ALONE AGAINST ROME

Striking design. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

By the Gods!


Good film. More serious than the usual PEPLUM film. It still plays up the Hercules aspect of having a muscular actor like Scott but it's not a Hercules-style film. The only big detriment is the constant use of stock footage which can be annoying in some parts. As in all of his PEPLUM films, Scott wears some of the shortest tunics of all genre stars. That's Philippe Hersent on the far left.

Retro Friday : Production design: Quo Vadis

(originally posted on June 2, 2011)

From production artwork to how it actually looked like in the film (below). I love this stuff.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

By the Gods!

Vincent Price, as Benakon, tries to overthrow Nefertiti (Jeanne Crain) in NEFERTITI - QUEEN OF THE NILE

Good film. A tad slow and uneventful but since it's more of a Romance story set in Ancient Egypt I'm fine with that. Vincent starred in a couple of PEPLUM productions, major and minor, like the spectacular THE TEN COMMANDMENTS or the tacky SON OF SINBAD. He was a pro with these kind of stories. As for Jeanne, this was her first film of the genre. She would star in a couple of other films made in Europe before retiring from acting in the early 1970s. I love PEPLUM films set in Egypt and this one satisfies my cravings. In fact, I did a Fan Dub of this.


Video of the Week : Feat of strength scene from Hercules against the Mongols starring Mark Forest and Maria Grazia Spina

Cool scene

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

By the Gods!

Rossana Podestà and Philippe Leroy in ALONE AGAINST ROME

The two actors made a series of films together in the 1960s, with this one being the first. I don't know if they dated but they sure look like they enjoyed working together. This is good film. Not great but good. Lang Jeffries, who's the main star, has one expression throughout the film. His acting sorta drags the whole respectable production. Many scenes from this film were re-used in other productions, including FALL OF ROME.


Steve Reeves on a break during the filming on THE GIANT OF MARATHON

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

By the Gods!

Iloosh Khosabi and Bella Cortez are lovers in ALI BABA AND THE SACRED CROWN

I got a nice widescreen copy of this extra rare film. The image is not pristine (as the screenshot shows) but it's great to see it as it was originally shot. This is a very rare film. This is the second film Iloosh and Bella starred together, with VULCAN - SON OF JUPITER being the other film. They make a great couple. The only copy out there is a terrible one from Something Weird video. A Fan Dub is in order.