Thursday, August 13, 2020

By the Gods!

Kirk Morris as Maciste in TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961)

I'm currently reading a book on the Maciste movies of the silent era. It's meticulously researched. But looking at the index I don't see any mention of the resurgence of the Maciste character in the 1960s. The Maciste character was so popular back then that the actor who played him in CABIRIA (1914), Bartolomeo Pagano, changed his name to Maciste. He made dozens of Maciste movies but most of them were set in contemporary times, not in the distant past. Aside from a couple of movies, most of the Maciste movies were not PEPLUM at all. And yet the character became famous, later on, as a major character of PEPLUM movies. From what I've read, the author is fixated with CABIRIA and Maciste having influenced Federico Fellini and his movies. In fact, the author starts by writing about Fellini and Maciste in the Acknowlegments chapter. From what I can tell, no mention of any PEPLUM movies of the 1960s with Maciste (unless the author didn't index it). It's very odd. How can someone write a book on the influence of Maciste on Italian culture and not mention the popular Maciste movies of the Golden Era. Again, not respect for the genre.

Bartolomeo Pagano in MARVELLOUS MACISTE (1915). This was the first Maciste movie made after CABIRIA. It's set in modern times, not in the past. 


Original US lobby cards set of GOLIATH & THE SINS OF BABYLON (1963) starring Mark Forest, Jose Greci, Mimmo Palmara and host of other actors. Very good set. Even though there are two cards for the same scene (the famous Goliath sprawled with spears around him), it's still a good set. The chariot race is missing though. I'm not too sure about the use of yellow but overall I'd want it in my collection.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

By the Gods!

Hercules (Alan Steel) lifts up a soldier and is about to toss him into a barrel in HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964)

This photo above shows the scene (below) from a slightly different angle and different framing. I love the way it's framed in the movie but I have to say that it also seems incomplete compared to the photo above. Seeing his feet pressed against the staircase while lifting up the man gives the scene a lot more power. Steel actually lifts up the stuntman without any assistance. Yes, he was strong. Fun, colourful film. 


Pier Angeli poses with a prop from THE SILVER CHALICE (1954)

Monday, August 10, 2020

By the Gods!

 Jesus (Robert Le Vigan) is judged by Pontius Pilate (Jean Gabin) in GOLGOTHA (1935) 

This rare PEPLUM movie from the 1930s is pretty good. It's a French production and I have the French version but I'm currently watching the English dubbed version and it's excellent. One of the best dubs ever made. It almost sounds like the original production was in English. It's also one of the best Biblical movies I've ever watched. It's a short but there's something great about a production from the 1930s, which were meticulous with so many details, that makes it extra special. The runtime for the original is 95 minutes. This English copy is 92 minutes. Overall, it's a classy production. Also known as BEHOLD THE MAN.

PEPLUM TV Official store

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Belgian poster of SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953)

Beautiful poster. I want it.

Friday, August 7, 2020

By the Gods!

Jerome Courtland and Lisa Gastoni show their love for each other in THARUS - SON OF ATTILA (1962)

Nothing says love like a burning building! Anyway, this movie is often overlooked and some who know about it don't like it. Personally, I like it. It's not the greatest PEPLUM ever but it's very entertaining. It's not boring that's for sure. Lisa is still with us while Jerome died in 2012. 

Lobby Cards Set: THE SILVER CHALICE (1954)

Original US lobby cards set of THE SILVER CHALICE (1954) starring Jack Palance, Virginia Mayo, Paul Newman and all. Very good set. An excellent selection of scenes which showcases all the major actors. It makes the movie look good. Thumbs up!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

By the Gods!

Diomede (Alessandro Fersen) tries to jog the memory of Ulysses (Kirk Douglas) in ULYSSES (1954)

This screengrab is from the recent Blu-ray release. I didn't retouch it. For the most part, the quality of the image is quite good. One can really appreciate the details in the costumes and sets. The audio is a whole other issue though. I'll have a full review of it at the BY THE GODS! blog soon.


Gabriele Antonini (Ulysses) and Steve Reeves (Hercules) are resting, and maybe chatting, during a break from filming HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959). I don't know if Gabriele spoke English. If he didn't the two men couldn't carry a conversation. Cool photo though.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

By the Gods!

John Saxon as Prince Voldi in THE BIG FISHERMAN (1959)

John Saxon died on July 25 at the age of 83. Saxon appeared in over 100 films but this is only his major PEPLUM movie. Since THE BIG FISHERMAN was never released on DVD or any other format, it's difficult for most to remember him in it but he's very good in the role as the man who's in love with Princess Fara (Susan Kohner (below)) and goes after her after she goes on a quest. R.I.P..

Then & Now: Susan Kohner

Susan in THE BIG FISHERMAN (1959); the most recent photo of the actress.

Monday, August 3, 2020

By the Gods!

Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938)

Olivia died on July 26 at the age of 104! The superb actress didn't star in any PEPLUM movie set in Antiquity but she did star in this classic tale of Robin Hood, with Errol Flynn (below) in the titular role. Her movies of stories set in the past were all period pieces or 'costume dramas'. This is not necessarily because she disliked doing them but that during the bulk of her career, from the 1930s and throughout the 1940s, few PEPLUM movies were made. She would been great in a story set in Ancient Rome. R.I.P.!

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960)

A mix of artwork and 'fotobusta'. I need to get this one if it's available.

PEPLUM TV Official store

Friday, July 31, 2020

By the Gods!

Renato Baldini, Gianna Maria Canale and Roger Pigaut in a tense moment in THEODORA - SLAVE EMPRESS (1954)

"You live like cattle! And you're proud of it" Andres (Pigaut) tell Arcas (Baldwin) and Theodora (Canale).

I'm not familiar with Roger Pigaut's career as he practically stopped working in the 1960s. Gianna Maria Canale is, of course, the Queen of Cinecittà. The most prolific female actress of the PEPLUM genre. And then there's Renato Baldini who almost steals the show from under everyone as the hot-tempered and boisterous on and off lover of Theodora. A great movie directed by Riccardo Freda. 

At the movies...

SPARTACUS (1960) playing at the De MILLE theatre. Below is the flashy billboard advertising the movie and cinema.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

By the Gods!

Rosalba Neri and Mimmo Palmara in KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE (1965)

The two are the villains in the story and the casting couldn't have been better. The two should have made tons of movies together. They were a match made in heaven (or is it hell?). Alas, it didn't happen. One of my favourite PEPS. 

Interview with Roland Carey

A true find: an interview with the ever elusive Roland Carey, star of THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960), SWORD OF EL CID (1962), and  REVOLT OF THE BARBARIANS (1964). The interview is in French but I'm fluent in French so I got everything.

This interview is really fun. Roland seemed to be a fun guy, with a good sense of humour. He does drop a lot of names here, including auditioning for Sergio Leone for the role that Clint Eastwood eventually got. According to Roland, Leone wanted an American actor and the moment Leone saw he wasn't American, he said the audition was over. He mentioned that he and Clint both dated Linda Christian and became friends from this relationship. He mentioned that he filmed a pilot for a TARZAN TV series but he had to refuse the series since the contract was for 7 years. He said he didn't want to be tied to a TV series for so long. Lotsa fun trivia in it. Roland died last year so this interview is a keep. It shows clips of his movies, including his PEPLUM ones.

Roland as Jason in THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960)

Monday, July 27, 2020

By the Gods!

The sacrificial ceremony scene from CARTHAGE IN FLAMES (1960)

This scene is way too brief in the gargantuan movie. I don't know if that's Anne Haywood being help up, sans clothes, or a body double. The identity of the actor who played the sacrificer is unknown. Both are basically nude. Quite daring for 1960. I don't know if Anne's voice was used for the English dub. It's my favourite scene from this epic. It's really spectacular but unfortunately it's short. They should have stretched this scene for all its worth (big sets and all). Oh well...

PEPLUM Movie poster

French poster of THE LAST GLADIATOR (1964; aka Messalina vs the Son of Hercules)

Great art. A popular design with PEPLUM posters: having the Hero appear between a gladiator's legs. 

PEPLUM TV Official store

Thursday, July 23, 2020

By the Gods!

Richard Burton as Alexander in ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956)

For some reason, this movie on the legendary life of the Greek leader draws vastly different views. It's sorta polarizing. Some people hate it. Personally, I like it. It's aloof (like many movies back then) but the production is excellent, the cast is excellent, the look of the movie is very good. But the episodic screenplay is sorta flat. So much to cover in so little time. Will there ever be a film or TV series that will do justice to it? With the current political correct/cancel culture/ anti-Western culture hysteria going on at the moment, would people watch something based on a conqueror?

Steve Reeves' leading ladies: who's your favorite?

Steve Reeves made 14 PEPLUM movies and of those movies he starred along beautiful leading ladies. He often had two female characters he was besotted by (or vice versa).

Note: I only included those who were lovers of Reeves' characters, or women who tried to seduce him. For example, I didn't include Gianna Maria Canale from SON OF SPARTACUS because she doesn't try to seduce him or show any interest in Reeves' character, Randus.

Who's your favorite?

HERCULES (1958) - Sylva Koscina

Sylva Koscina played Iole, the fated daughter of King Pelias. Her family goes through a lot once Hercules (Reeves) shows up to help Pelias with training his soldiers. A perennial favorite. 

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) - Sylvia Lopez

The statuesque Sylvia Lopez played Omphale in this sequel to the popular 1958 release. Omphale tried to make Hercules forget all about Iole.

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) - Sylva Koscina

Sylva reprised her role as Iole even though she had to 'share' screen time with a rival in Omphale.

THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) - Giorgia Moll

The comely Giorgia Moll was the 'nice' love interest to Steve's character. This was her first of two films she made with Steve.

THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) - Scilla Gabel

Scilla Gabel played the bored princess who sympathized with Agi Murad (Reeves)


Cuban-born Chelo Alonso was the hip shaking love interest to Reeves' Goliath. Another perennial favorite of many fans.

THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) - Christine Kaufmann

Christine's first big role in a PEPLUM movie was being the leading love interest to Steve Reeves. She was 14 years old when she made the movie!

THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959) - Mylène Demongeot

Mylène Demongeot was the moody leading leading in this Steve Reeves action epic. 

THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959) - Daniela Rocca

Daniela Rocca's character tried to seduce Phillipides (Reeves) to no avail. 

MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960) - Chelo Alonso

Chelo and Steve returned in this excellent pirate movie. She loved Morgan but Morgan had his eyes set on someone else.

MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960) - Valérie Lagrange

Valérie Lagrange was the chaste love interest to Reeves' Captain Morgan. 

THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) - Giorgia Moll

Giorgia and Steve were re-united for this colorful fantasy adventure. 

THE THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) - Edy Vessel

Edy Vessel played a seductress who tried to kill Karim (Reeves). A brief but memorable role.

THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) - Juliette Mayniel

Juliette played Creusa, the tragic wife of Aeneas. 

THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) - Edy Vessel

Edy Vessel, as Helen of Troy, was a seductress to Reeves' Aeneas. 

DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961) - Virna Lisi

Virna Lisi was cast as the love-interest to Reeves' Romulus.

SON OF SPARTACUS (1962) - Ombretta Colli

Ombretta played a slave that Randus (Reeves) saved.

THE LAST GLORY OF TROY (1962) - Carla Marlier

Carla was the moody love interest to Reeves' Aeneas in this sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE.

SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963) - Geneviève Grad

Geneviève Grad and Reeves' characters became romantically involved during their arduous struggle.

SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964) - Jacqueline Sassard

Jacqueline was the chaste love interest to Reeves' Sandokan. There's very little romance in it but a Hero always had to have a leading lady to support him.

That's it. A pretty good list of beautiful and interesting characters.

So, who's your favorite?