Monday, August 20, 2018

By the Gods!

The opening shot from THE ROBE (1953)

There's something very interesting about this shot, which happens at the very start of THE ROBE, as the film introduces CinemaScope. Can someone tell me why?

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster of COLOSSUS OF ROME (aka Hero of Rome ; 1964)

Brutal poster! I have it in my collection.


Preview starring beefy Alan Steel. A PEPLUM Western. Yes, there's such a thing.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Blog Note

A note: the Wardrobe Malfunction page has been updated.

I will update it on regular basis.

By the Gods!

Cathia Caro, Luciano Marin and Takis Kavouras in THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960)

In this scene, Cathia's character is a stowaway and she expresses her love for Marin who is being punished, as is the character played by Takis (who wanted to rape the stowaway). Both men are tied to the mast while the crew decides on their punishment. 'Tied to the mast' is a definite PEPLUM cliché. I'll make a compilation of this. As a side note, the identity of Takis was unknown for many years (he was credited Taki Karas, many believed was a female name) but thanks to my sleuthing and the help of a few others out there, I was able to determine his identity, mainly from spotting him in other PEPLUM films where he was credited correctly.

Retro Friday: SPARTACUS : through the years

Most people think that Kirk Douglas' interpretation of SPARTACUS (1960) was the very first one ever portrayed on screen. This is incorrect. Here's a quick overview of the actors who played the legendary slave turn rebel since the beginning of cinema.

An actor as Spartacus in the 1830s

Mario Guaita Ausonia played the famous rebel slave in SPARTACO (1913)

Gianna Maria Canale and Massimo Girotti in SPARTARCO (aka SINS OF ROME). One of the best Spartacus films of the bunch. The producers of the Stanley Kubrick production bought the rights to this film in order to keep it out of circulation (out of the public mind) while they prepared their own version.

Kirk Douglas as SPARTACUS (1960) probably the most famous of all the Spartacus productions.

Rocca (Dan Vadis) tries to convince Spartacus (Alfredo Varelli) that he's not the enemy in SPARTACUS & THE TEN GLADIATORS. Spartacus has now entered the Pulpy world of action films.

Livio Lorenzon enjoys tormenting Spartacus, played by Peter Lupus, in CHALLENGE OF THE GLADIATOR. Probably the beefiest Spartacus ever.

Croatian actor Goran Visnjic played the Thracian rebel Spartacus in a TV mini-series.

And last but not least, the late Andy Whitfield was Spartacus for one season  (13 episodes) for the TV series SPARTACUS : BLOOD AND SAND before dying of cancer. Liam Mcintyre (below) replaced Andy as Spartacus for one more season.

(originally posted June 2012)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

By the Gods!

Helen of Troy (Hedy Lamar) mourns the death of Paris (Massimo Serato) in THE LOVES OF THREE QUEENS (1954)

A difficult film to get a hold of. I have two copies of this: one in black & white and the a murky, fuzzy one in color. The color one is much better than the B&W copy but it's still poor quality. It was produced by Hedy herself (A Hedy Lamarr production) along with Victor Phalen. It's an anthology of sorts with Hedy playing different 'queens' set in different periods. It seems the rights to this film is still controlled by the daughter of producer Victor Phalen but I believe it's in the public domain in the US: it seems Warner Brothers bought the rights for the US distribution with the intent of never releasing it since they were making HELEN OF TROY (1956) and wanted this film out of circulation. The original title, L'AMANTE DI PARIDE, translates as THE LOVER OF PARIS.


Starring Kirk Morris, Lucianna Gilli, Piero Lulli, Andrea Scotti and Hélène Chanel.


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PEPLUM TV Double Feature: HERCULES THE AVENGER (re-upload)

Starring Reg Park, Gia Sandri and Giovanni Cianfruglia. I had to re-upload because of some issues with Youtube.


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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

By the Gods!

A disheveled Alan Ladd and Franca Bettoia in DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961)

For some reason, this film is very polarizing. I have this film uploaded at my PEPLUM TV channel and the comments are either pure hate or 'Oh that was good.' So, it's either absolutely awful or it's good (but not great). I wonder why the disparity. I think it's good but not great like HERCULES (1958). I sorta see why some think it's unsuccessful, with the majority saying Ladd acts indifferently. But Ladd's lackadaisical acting sorta goes with the nature of his role. Franca has appeared in several PEPLUM films. She's a good actress who often played the 'strong, regal but cold female' type. This is one of the few shots in the movie with actors' faces are in the same frame. I love old films but this one of those annoying things about old movies: it's always head shots after head shots with little involvement with actors. The direction is sorta indifferent, even with two directors involved (and it looks like a difficult, cold shoot) but there are good scenes in it, the cast is good and the score is beautiful.


Behind the scenes photo of Ken Clark and Renata Monvteduro (still in costume) during the filming of DEFEAT OF THE BARBARIANS (1961).

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

By the Gods!

Hadji Murad (Steve Reeves) and Prince Sergei Vorontzov (Gérard Herter) in THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959)

This is one of those films difficult to categorize. Is it a PEPLUM film? I say absolutely yes but the setting is sorta modern compare to stories set in Antiquity. It's a PEPLUM because it follows the familiar PEPLUM formula, including beefy Hero and slimy villain. Directed by Riccardo Freda, a PEPLUM veteran, also helps determine that this is one. I like this film. Steve has never been better (or more buff) and Herter is perfectly the point that he renders the character totally unlikeable (sometimes villains can be bad but in a fun way). The annoying thing about it is how there are few great copies out there. Yes, the French DVD is pristine (a bit too pristine) but the company which released it is notoriously Youtube copystrike happy so I can't use that one. I have a pseudo HD copy of this, from an Italian TV broadcast. Unfortunately, there's a massive VOD graphic for several minutes at the start of the film, which renders it useless. Not many choices out there. Cinematography by Mario Bava. BTW, the Italian title, AGI MURAD IL DIAVOLO BIANCO, translates as Agi Murad The White Devil.

Identify PEPLUM film!

Can you identify the film from this screenshot?


Monday, August 13, 2018

By the Gods!

Maria Grazia Spina and Mark Forest in HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963)

This is one of the most popular films at PEPLUM TV channel. It's a Fan Dub I've made. There's a reason why it's so popular: it's fun. I like these improbable devices of restraint, with big chains everywhere. Spina plays a truly evil woman who eventually helps Hercules at the very last minute.

Movie Poster Mondays

Portuguese poster of THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958)

Great poster. Great likeness of both actors. 


Dance scene with Julie Newmar. Richard Conte and Terry Kilburn are the non-dancers. Good scene!

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

By the Gods!

Julie Newmar as a 'dancer-assassin' in SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953)

This movie gets an undeserved rep. Yes, it's sorta uninspired. Yes, it's low budget. Yes, the exteriors look like California! Yes, some of the acting is bland but you know what? I like it. It was directed by William Castle and it's one of several films he made for Columbia Pictures before his foray into the horror genre which made him famous. Of all his PEPLUM films, it's the most solid one. It sorta looks like an episode of STAR TREK (overlit sets, garish colours, etc) but with all its faults, the film actually creates some pathos and it has a couple of stand-out moments, like this dance scene.


Starring Tony Russel and Scilla Gabel. Rare widescreen print in English!

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A bunch of clips featuring a hero battling a (mostly plastic) crocodile. With Alan Steel, Mark Forest, Kirk Morris and Ricardo Montalban. Youtube 'restricted' this compilation. LOL!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

By the Gods!

Talos in JASON & THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

One of the best scenes in any PEPLUM, from the US or Italy. The great thing about Talos' robotic walk is that it made sense since he's a statue, making his appearance that much more uncanny. My only complaint about this scene is how Talos dies. It's sorta anti-climatic. The location, Palinuro Arch in Campania, was previously used in HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS (aka Hercules & the Captive Women).


Todd Armstrong and Stuntman #4 film a test shot to be used later by Ray Harryhausen to guide him for the Skeleton scenes in JASON & THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

By the Gods!

Sappho (Tina Louise ; middle right) and her fellow students carry a wounded Phaon (Kerwin Mathews) in SAPPHO - THE VENUS OF LESBOS (Aka The Warrior Empress ; 1961)

This is one of three films director Pietro Francisci made that was released by a Hollywood studio after the success of HERCULES (1958). SAPPHO was released by Columbia Pictures. The other two were SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (for Paramount) and HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES (for MGM). This was quite a feat for an Italian director back then. Though the English dub is still missing for SIEGE, the English trailer shows that they didn't use Tina's voice for it while Tina's voice was used for SAPPHO (thank god!). With this film, Francisci created a world unto itself, which is why I really like it. It almost sets itself apart from the other PEPLUM and yet it's most definitely a PEPLUM. And, yes, there are some wardrobe malfunctions in this.

Wardrobe malfunctions!

Actors in PEPLUM films often wear skimpy costumes so wardrobe malfunctions were a common thing.

There are many more examples. I'm thinking of doing a permanent page for this subject (and other revealing moments in PEPLUM films) and update it periodically. Agree or not?

Anyway, I created a permanent page for this topic: Wardrobe Malfunctions and Other Revealing Moments!

Tina Louise in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960) falls on the floor on a ship after being pushed (which causes amnesia) and her brief stunt work inadvertently exposed her right nipple. I wonder how this got past censors.

Mark Forest in HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN (1964), his super short toga meant a lot of exposure including this scene during the exciting climax. Oops...

This might not be considered a 'wardrobe malfunction' since she's not wearing any clothes but it's the same thing. Honor Blackman in THE LAST ROMAN (1968). She's taking a bath and the water undulates, which briefly reveals her nipples. I uploaded this film last week on Youtube. Someone flagged it and it has been set on restricted adult mode just because of this short scene. I had to remove the movie from my channel.

Brad Harris in 79 AD: THE DESTRUCTION OF HERCULANEUM (1962) revealed more than was intended. In the full screen version (above), an animated red dot was added by censors to cover the wardrobe malfunction. In the widescreen version (below), this scene is cropped out at the bottom. Carlo Tamberlani seems to notice the malfunction.

The love scene in SALAMMBO (1960) with Jacques Sernas and Jeanne Valerie. A brief but visible wardrobe malfunction. This shot was cut from the US version.

Spartaco Nale drops in and flashes his rump to the audience in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961). There are plenty of wardrobe malfunctions in this film.

Monday, August 6, 2018

By the Gods!

Linda Cristal as Cleopatra in LEGIONS OF THE NILE (1959)

For a film set in Egypt, it doesn't look that much like Egypt. This is one of the most 'Egyptian' scenes in it. I like it. It's directed by Vittorio Cottafavi. It's good but oddly not very Egyptian. Linda was 25 when she made this.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster of KNIGHTS OF TERROR (1963)

Simple and stark poster with a helpless Tony Russel on a St Andrews' cross. Tony's name is misspelled on this poster.