Wednesday, May 18, 2022

SON OF SAMSON Blu-ray review...


SON OF SAMSON (1960; 1962 in the US) starring Mark Forest, Chelo Alonso, Virna Silenti, Agelo Zanolli and Frederica Ranchi. Directed by Carlo Campogalliani.

I got the SON OF SAMSON (1960) Blu-ray last Friday and I had the weekend to review it. This release is excellent and should be the model for all future titles. Is it perfect? No but it's close to it.

Right off the bat I'll mention my complaints:

- No extras of the movie
- Audio is sorta weak. I needed to crank it up to the max.
- Only English audio track. No original Italian language option
- This release is not the one release back in 1962 in the US

That's it.

The rest is pretty darn good. Beautiful HD transfer of the first Maciste movie since the silent era. As I suspected, it's identical to the one on Amazon Prime (which was released on the internet before the BD). 

I won't review the movie itself since I've already done this. But even so after watching it fully in HD I feel there are a few things I might change or add to it.

I give this Blu-ray release a 9 out of 10. A must for PEPLUM fans

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How does this version differ from other versions?

I watched the movie along with the RETROMEDIA version and the original Italian version, also in HD. I watched these versions on two computer screens. I compared them and see what was different from each other.

TITLE


The opening title on the Blu-ray is the original Italian title. Below is the title to the RETROMEDIA DVD. If you read the info under A SAMUEL SCHNEIDER PRODUCTION, it states: 'special edition copyright retromedia entertainment, inc'. This RETROMEDIA version is a 'reconstructed' opening credit so it's not how the original US release was. It's still images of an old print (that's available on the 50 WARRIORS DVD pack) and color corrected. So, neither the Blu-ray or the RETROMEDIA prints have the actual, complete English opening credits. 




INTRODUCTION NARRATION

The opening narration between the new BD and the old RETROMEDIA copy are different.

- The voice of the narrators are different

- The narration in the new BD is shorter. It starts and ends at different scenes when compared to the RETROMEDIA version

- Queen Smedes is mentioned in the opening narration in the RETROMEDIA version but not in the new BD.

- The time frame of the story is totally different. The narrator on the BD says the time is the fifth century B.C.. On the longer RETROMEDIA narration, the time is the eleventh century B.C..


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CUT OR MISSING SCENES

Staying in the tradition of CINEMATIC CONFUSION when it comes to PEPLUM movies, some scenes are cut or missing, with no logic to it all.

As I compared the Italian version with the new BD version, and both of those against the RETROMEDIA version, one can one see how things were meant to be seen. The original Italian version is uncut at 94 minutes. The runtime of the new BD is 88 minutes 41 seconds. The runtime of the RETROMEDIA version is 86 minutes 38 seconds.
 



This scene occurs during the assault by the Persians on a village in Egypt. Above is from the uncut Italian version. Below is from the RETROMEDIA DVD. Oddly enough, this brief moment is not in the new Blu-ray release.



 

This scene is missing from the Kino Lorber Blu-ray and the RETROMEDIA DVD. It's on the Italian copy and it's a brief introductory scene.

 

In the most startling scene of the movie, a male shows to Queen Smedes that sh'e not a male by exposing her breast. This scene is in the Italian version and the new Blu-ray but it's partially cut in the RETROMEDIA DVD. In it, we see her opening her shirt but we don't see her breasts.



This brief scene of Maciste telling the women to 'come' with him is on the uncut Italian copy and the new BD but it's missing from the RETROMEDIA DVD.



Having rescued the women from the Persians, Maciste is now struggling to find water for the thirsty women. This scene of the women begging Maciste for water is only found in the uncut Italian version. 45 seconds were cut.



When a woman finds a waterskin a fight erupts between the thirsty women. Maciste goes to the commotion and see what's going on. This scene is uncut on the Italian version and the RETROMEDIA DVD but the fight between the women is abbreviated in the Blu-ray and the scene of Maciste walking up to the quarrelling women is also missing. The scene starts with Maciste already standing there.

 

A rare comical moment. This is not in the Blu-ray edition nor the RETROMEDIA release.



The discussion in this scene lasts about 18 seconds longer than in the Blu-ray or DVD.



Maciste escapes on horseback is cut from the RETROMEDIA print. It's intact in the other two.



Another discussion that lasts longer in the Italian version than the others.



Maciste heading to see the Pharaoh while the two men talk about him is not on the Blu-ray or the DVD.

 

The women from the village are being gathered outside the temple. The scene is cut in the  RETROMEDIA print. The scene lasts about 15 seconds.



This scene is entirely cut from the Blu-ray or DVD. It last almost 30 seconds in the Italian version.


CLOSING



The ending to the new Blu-ray release is the same as the Italian one. The one below is from the RETROMEDIA copy. 


As I wrote above, why some scenes are missing or have been truncated here and there has no logic to it. Presumably, the new Blu-ray print reflects the available English audio but it doesn't explain why some scenes, like the fight scene between women over water and Maciste moving in to stop them was cut when it's on the DVD release. These scenes might appear trivial but looking at the total scenes cut according to the runtime, over 6 minutes of scenes are missing from the Kino Lorber Blu-ray release. 

The Blu-ray is worth getting but it would have even better if the movie was uncut. 


 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

SPFX DEPT.


Brad Harris, as Hercules, and Mara Berni stand before a city at night in FURY OF HERCULES (1963).

The city in the background is a big, intricate model including a wall in the distance. This scene is always fun to watch. It must have taken some time to build all of that. There are even stars in the night sky.






Then & Now: Leo Valeriano


Leo in SINBAD AND THE CALIPH OF BAGHDAD (1973); a recent photo of the actor

Monday, May 16, 2022

By the Gods!


 Pentheus (Alberto Lupo) vs Dionysus (Pierre Brice) in THE BACCHANTES (1961)

The movie is still not available in HD but it is available on Amazon Prime, in standard definition. That version has the original English opening credits. As a reminder, this was the first Fan Dub I ever made, over 10 years ago. Finding an English copy was almost impossible to find and when I found it, the audio was out of synch with the image and the quality was terrible. But I managed to complete a Fan Dub of it, which took time. I eventually uploaded to Youtube and it was a hit, with millions of views. Unfortunately, Youtube yanked it and that was the end of that. The copy would surface here and there all over the internet, including dupes on DVDs. But now the actual English version has been made available on Amazon (and Youtube as well from a channel that I won't mention), my original Fan Dub is not needed anymore. Oddly enough, the image of my Fan Dub is still better than the murky one found on Amazon.


PEPLUM Movie Poster


British quad of THE DEVILS OF SPARTIVENTO (1963), re-titled as THE FIGHTING LEGIONS for its British release.

Not a great poster by any means but still worthy in that it shows that it had a theatrical release in English. There are a couple of interesting things about it.

- John Drew Barrymore is credited as John Barrymore jnr.
- Barrymore is the star of the movie but he's barely featured (he's on the top right)
- In the original Italian poster, the widescreen format is credited as Euroscope but here they only credited: 'SCOPE on the bottom left corner. Lol!
- Great movie!


Sunday, May 8, 2022

PEPLUM Break


I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again. Last full break was the last week of February.

So 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!"


Friday, May 6, 2022

Image of the week!


The gods on Mount Olympus 

Seated: Zeus (Laurence Olivier). From left to right: Hera (Claire Bloom) - Hephaestus (Pat Roach) - Thetis (Maggie Smith) - Poseidon (Jack Gwillim) - Athena (Susan Fleetwood) - Aphrodite (Ursula Andress)


Musings! (May 6)

Searching far and wide for all things PEPLUM! Luciano Marin and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)


SON OF SAMSON Blu-ray


I got an email from Amazon.com about the delivery of the SON OF SAMSON Blu-ray. The BD will be available on May 10 but it will take a week or more to get it.
 Hmm...we'll have to wait and see.




CINEMATIC CONFUSION


Can you spot what's confusing about this French VHS cover for THE GIANT OF METROPOLIS (1961), starring Gordon Mitchell?

The back cover is a photo of FURY OF ACHILLES which also stars Gordon Mitchell. He's with Gloria Milland, who's not in THE GIANT OF METROPOLIS.




RECENT ACQUISITIONS


The only thing I bought recently. The illustrated book of THE ROBE. I got it for $5 on eBay! I'll try to read it this summer.

 



HAVE YOU SEEN...


A SWORD  FOR BRANDO (1970; Una Spada Per Brando) 

A rare Robin Hood movie more often sold as a horror movie than a Medieval flick. In France, the title was VIRGINS FOR SATAN. It's very reminiscent of KNIGHTS OF TERROR (1963). It was directed by Alfio Caltabiano, who was an actor / stuntman in PEPLUM movies of the Golden Era.




IDENTIFY THE MOVIE


Without searching the internet or any books, can you identify this movie starring Gordon Scott? This is the British title. 

No one identified the movie from the last MUSINGS! It was from REVAK THE REBEL (1960). I posted this screenshot because it's unintentionally hilarious. Witness the 'Carthaginian Army.'  




MOVIES I WATCHED...

I've watched too many movies since my last MUSINGS! to list them here!

Yesterday I watched ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS and it occurred to me that even though the English title is ATLAS Gordon Mitchell is called Maciste in the movie. 



"Are you Maciste or Atlas?"


CUT SCENE


In HERCULES THE AVENGER (1964), there's a reused scene from HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961) which is not scene in the latter. It lasts about 10 seconds. In CAPTIVE, this scene starts when Hercules dives into the water while in AVENGER, the scene shows Hercules waking up as the fog dissipates. 


MYSTERY POSTER


This poster and title are not listed anywhere. It's not the official Spanish or Mexican poster. The official Spanish title was simply Hércules or Los viajes de Heracles. So where does this poster come from? Maybe it's fan made but it doesn't look like it with those folds. I can't find any info on its existence. 

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It's always interesting to see how science fiction movies and TV series often used fashions from Antiquity for their futuristic vision. From STAR TREK to LOGAN'S RUN (below), the use of togas and short peplum dresses and tunics is omnipresent. Is this because of a lack of imagination from the costume designer or there's more meaning behind it?


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Coming soon:

Edmund Purdom: obituary and that book on his life!





Thursday, May 5, 2022

By the Gods!


Guy Madison and Rik Battaglia in an intense scene in THE ADVENTURER OF TORTUGA (1961)

This is pretty good movie and I got a copy in English and in quasi HD. I say quasi because it's more of an upscaling than a true and new print in HD. This scene in particular is violent and quick (it probably should have lasted a bit longer). The two men whip each other (Battaglia's character is chained to the wall!). This scene also includes a funny technical goof. Production wise though, it's quite good. Good cast and locations make it a top adventure. My only complaint: at one point the story is set in the jungle and it seems the characters just walk in circles. There's also an unintentionally funny scene with natives. But overall a good actioner.


Lobby Cards Set: FABIOLA (1949)


US lobby cards set for FABIOLA (1949; 1951 US) starring Michele Morgan and Henri Vidal. Nice set but a bit underwhelming. Cards no 2, 7 are the best. Knowing how big this movie actually is, the set could have included much more

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Clip of the week: TAUR THE MIGHTY (1963)


Joe Robinson, as Taur, is in a predicament: on a conveyor belt towards a pit of fire. He tries to save himself but his pal, played by Harry Baird, accidentally makes thing worse in TAUR THE MIGHTY. One unique scene!



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

HD Alert!


David Brandon, as Caligula, and Laura Gemser and Charles Borromel in CALIGULA: THE UNTOLD STORY (1982)

A full HD version of this notorious movie is now available on the the SEVERIN pack. The HD is pretty good, and this movie, as lurid as it is, is filmed better than most of the same period but some scenes are murky and unimpressive, not because the transfer wasn't done properly but because of filming conditions. There's the uncut Italian version, which would shock even the most jaded cinephiles, and there's also the US cut, which is considerably much tamer but still retains the movie's lurid aspects. 



David Brandon, Gabriele Tinti and Charles Borromel. Both Tinti and Borromel starred in PEPLUM movies of the Golden Era. Oddly enough, Borromel played Caligula in THE LAST GLADIATOR (1964; aka Messalina against the Son of Hercules). Tinti and Laura Gemser were married and often worked on the same projects. 

Vintage Article: ALI BABA AND THE SACRED CROWN (1962)


Italian article on ALI BABA AND THE SACRED CROWN starring Bella Cortez and Iloosh Khoshabe. Nice set of photos of the stars.

 


Monday, May 2, 2022

By the Gods!


 Steve Reeves, as Aeneas, in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961)

8 months ago I reported on a quasi-HD print of this movie available on Amazon Prime in Canada. I don't know if the movie is also available in other countries but that print, in widescreen and in English, still hasn't surface anywhere yet, not even at ULOZ. The print itself is not perfect but it is the only version in English and widescreen. 


PEPLUM Movie Poster


French poster of HERCULES (1958)

Nice poster. Great set of photos.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Image of the week!


Queen Smedes (Chelo Alonso) and Pharaoh Kenamun (Angelo Zanolli) greet Maciste (Mark Forest) in SON OF SAMSON (1960)

At the movies...


 BEN-HUR (1959) playing at the Rogers theatre in Chattanooga, Tennessee