Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Clip of the week!

Dan Vadis vs Mark Forest in COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA (1962) 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

By the Gods!

Anthony Quinn as BARABBAS (1961)

In PEPLUM movies, big crowd scenes are often filmed without the main actors present, for many reasons (cost, planning everything...). The big wide shots are filmed with stand-ins or body doubles substituting for the stars, and scenes with the actual actors are edited in between to give the illusion that the actors are really there. Aside from a few exceptions (the climax during SINS OF POMPEII, for example), this is how it usually goes. It happens so often that multiple big scenes of cheering crowds are often re-used liberally in other movies as a cost saving measure. Director Richard Fleischer wisely buckled the trend and placing Quinn with the big crowd of extras during the arena scenes gave the movie an incredible sense of realism seen in few PEPLUM movies. 

Then & Now: Michèle Mercier

Michèle Mercier in THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961); a recent photo of the actress. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

By the Gods!

Pierre Brice is about to be lunch in THE COSSACKS (1960)

The movie itself is a fairly standard period drama made with an entire cast and crew of PEPLUM regulars including Edmund Purdom and John Drew Barrymore.  This scene, is one of the most disturbing ones ever filmed. You watch the movie and everything is fine and good and then this scene, which happens 3/4 into it, comes out of nowhere and bam! It's truly unexpected. I won't describe what happens but it's not fun (if what I think happened happened during the filming of it...).

This is a screengrab of a HD copy I recently got from a great source. The image is nice (as you can see). Still...that scene.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961)

Nice art. They've made Donald look like a kid. I got the new Blu-ray and will be posting a full review of the movie and the BR this week. The French title translates as A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHT. 

PEPLUM TV Official store

Saturday, November 14, 2020


I take a break every two months and my last full time break was at the end of August so this is the time again.

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, November 13, 2020

By the Gods!

Gloria Milland and Brad Harris in GOLIATH AGAINST THE GIANTS (1961)

Nice, autumn-like scene. The cinematography in this movie is excellent and this scene shows it. One of the better PEPLUM movies. I have some excellent copies of this but I'm waiting for a true HD or Blu-ray. It would look spectacular.


Sylva Koscina and Steve Reeves during a promotional tour for HERCULES (1958)

Thursday, November 12, 2020

By the Gods!

Massimo Girotti and Renato Baldini in HEAD OF A TRYANT (1959)

In this scene, the two men and their friends watch a mongoose battling with cobras. Enter Isabelle Corey (below; Judith). Massimo plays Holophernes. Of course, Judith hates what they are watching and betting on. For some this scene might be disturbing but National Geographic has clips of a mongoose and cobra fighting to the death at their website...and there are plenty of clips on the internet of the two animals fighting. So it's not as exploitive as one could perceive it to be.

These screengrabs are from a copy in HD. Aside from some issues with dodgy colours, the print is the best yet. Really great. I love this movie so of course it's a pleasure to view it in such a near pristine condition.

Lobby Cards Set: MARY MAGDALENE (1958)

US lobby cards of THE SWORD & THE CROSS (1958), released as MARY MAGDALENE, starring Yvonne de Carlo, Jorge Mistral, Rossana Podesta, and others. Good set but nothing really stands out of it though. Cards #2 and #6 are from the same scene. They could have removed one. Card #5 is good but the image is not close enough. No cards with Mario Girotti (Terence Hill) or Philippe Hersent. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Clip of the week!

From ATHENA (1954): PEPLUM star Edmund Purdom walks about a mansion and opens a door that unleashes gang of bodybuilders, including Ed Fury, another future PEPLUM star.

By the Gods!

Alissa Jung as Mary in MARY OF NAZARETH (2012)

Have you seen this TV movie? I haven't. It's a German - Italian - Spanish co-production. It doesn't look too bad from the looks of the trailer (below), if a bit bland. The cruxifixction scene is anything but though.

French Fotonovelas of PEPLUM movies

French fotonovelas with mostly female stars on their covers. Here's a handful of covers with PEPLUM movies.

Rossana Podesta on the cover for HELEN OF TROY (1956)

Anouk Aimee from SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962)

Belinda Lee from GODDESS OF LOVE (the fotonovella is not about that PEPLUM though)

Yvonne de Carlo from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)

Danielle Darrieux and Richard Burton from ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956)

Monday, November 9, 2020

By the Gods!

Giuliano Gemma, Pedro Armendariz, and Antonella Lualdi in MY SON, THE HERO (1962; aka The Titans)

There's a copy on Youtube which has been there for a while and is in HD even though it's not. It's a battered print (see the scratch over Giuliano). It was up-converted to HD. The cool thing about it is that the opening credits are in English. I already had one with opening credits in English but it's a poor, discoloured 4:3 VHS source (below). This 'HD' copy is a definite upgrade even if it's not true HD. And one can clearly see how colourful the original version was. Both of these English versions are missing scenes.

In either versions though, that hair on Giuliano...nope. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Yugoslavian poster of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)

 As far as I can see Steve is not featured on the poster which might be a first for a Steve Reeves movie.

PEPLUM TV Official store

Friday, November 6, 2020

By the Gods!

Rory Calhoun and cast in COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1961)

I finally got the Blu-ray for this movie and I have to say it's quite disappointing. Personally, I think it's just an unconverted version of the previous version, from the Warner Historical Epics boxset, which I have. Below is from a HD copy of the Italian print. It's also not stellar but the image doesn't seem overly processed like the US one. If you look carefully, there's more information on the left in the Italian one but then there's more information on the right in the US one.

Why can't the actual print be available everywhere? It's really perplexing. There's a German Blu-ray available and I've seen screengrabs on the internet and the image appears better than the US one but the US copy has opening credits in English. 

At the movies...

BEN-HUR (1959) playing at the Loew's State Theatre in New Your city. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

By the Gods!

Warren Stevens, Patricia Medina, and Lex Barker in DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955)

The question many might think right now: is this a PEPLUM movie? I say yes. It's not a Western. It's not a costume drama (too much action). It has all the elements of a PEPLUM movie, including sword fights, duels, brawls, etc. This is maybe my favourite William Castle mini-movies he made for Columbia Pictures. I already wrote about Castle 9 years ago here. Lex was in between his Tarzan movies and his future PEPLUM movies made in Europe (he had already done those two THUG movies in Italy). Lex is quite impressive in this. He towers over everyone. This movie used to show up all the time on a now defunct Canadian TV channel, DRIVE-IN CLASSICS. 


A behind the scenes photo of Mark Forest. I have no information about it but from looking at Mark was wearing, it's most likely from SON OF SAMSON (1960). The man next to him is Sam Degni, Mark's brother. It has been confirmed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

By the Gods!

Rossana Podesta and Livio Lorenzon in FURY OF THE BARBARIANS (1960; also known as Fury of the Pagans)

As this screengrab shows, this version is from a HD broadcast of the movie in Italy. The broadcast might have been in HD but the recorded file was not. It's still very nice copy though. More and more PEPLUM movies are getting the HD treatment which is great news. Unfortunately, most of these broadcasts are not in English so the option is to do a Fan Dub but doing a Fan Dub of a movie in HD is problematic, on many levels, certainly on working on such a humongous file size. It makes it almost impossible to do. The only option: for the movies to be released on Blu-ray with the English track included. There have been some, such as the recent THIEF OF BAGHDAD Blu-ray from Germany, but it's still pretty rare. So many dilemmas. Haha!

Name the movie!

Can you identify the movie from this screengrab?

No one tried to guess...hmm. Well, it's from CORIOLANUS - HERO WITHOUT A COUNTRY (1964)

Monday, November 2, 2020

By the Gods!

Kit Harington in POMPEII (2014) 

Does anyone like this movie? Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, it's not that different than one of those low budgeted movies made by Asylum. Almost everything about it comes across as fake or forced. It's only 97 minutes long and the destruction scene at the end take a third of that runtime (over 30 minutes...). I'm not a fan of it. It's like a parody of PEPLUM movies. Harrignton is mainly known for being in GAMES OF THRONE TV series and this was the first movie project he decided to make. Big mistake. The movie didn't last long at movie theatres.

The special effects are, for the most part, quite obvious. When there's a scene with special effects the scene usually lasts longer than a couple of seconds, which is what this movie is edited like throughout: a non-stop barrage of quick edits. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original US poster of PIRATE AND THE SLAVE GIRL (1959)

That's Lex Barker? That sorta looks like Chelo. Nice poster. More detailed than many posters from the US. In Colorscope.