Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By the Gods! (Blog note)

Kirk Morris in ATLAS AGAINST THE CZAR. Or me against Youtube.


Thanks to all of the support. It really means a lot to me.

I need to clarify a few things since my post yesterday.

At the moment, Youtube's claim is that I didn't infringe on someone's else's content (the channel doesn't have a copyright strike) but that the channel was restricted because of 'duplication.' The term is very vague but from the videos on Youtube about this very subject, I've realized that a channel can be penalized if the content is:

1- Repetition.

If the titles of the uploads are too much alike, Youtube's bots will consider the channel as spamming. This is a problem with the genre since PEPLUM titles pretty much sound alike. In fact, it's one of my constant subject here at the blog since the beginning: CINEMATIC CONFUSION. A lot of titles sound alike. I have clips of the same film, which makes my channel appear to be spam. And the actors in these films are nearly always the same: Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott, Mark Forest, etc. So it's difficult for the channel not to appear to be spam when this aspect is innate to the genre itself.

2- A lot of people have uploaded my content to their channels.

Bots see the same videos across dozens of channels. The bots then decide that my channel is made up of duplicated content. I've had channels since 2007. I've closed many channels since then. My old uploads still show up on other channels. In fact, I regularly get comments on my channel saying that this video or that one was already available on someone's else's channel. This happened when I uploaded an old clip for HERO OF BABYLON, which I've created for a previous channel. Now this video might be a source of problem if it's still available on someone's else channel.

This channel has uploaded almost all of my videos. Months ago, I complained to Youtube about it. I alluded to this problem without mentioning the situation:

And finally, there's a major issue with my videos and with Youtube, and some others channels which I can't talk about (without giving them free publicity). It's an annoying and stupid situation, and adds needless frustration, more so since I can't talk about it.

Youtube didn't do anything. Now because my content is available on other channels, my channel was struck down for 'duplication.' That channel is one of the main reasons for my problems.

Youtube's attitude is I need to make a copyright complaint if other people steal my stuff but I can't since these films are in the public domain. Anyone can steal my stuff which is one of the reasons why I didn't want to mention this problem before.


3- Blacklisted

In the email I got from Team Youtube about this duplication issue, they stated that my channel wouldn't be blacklisted, that my videos will keep the same ranking. Here's a screenshot of the stats since they penalized my channel:



They are clearly lying.


4- Start again

The only solution to this issue is to delete nearly all my uploads and start anew but with all different files. I can't use any of my previous works. This would be very time consuming but it also won't stop others from uploading my content to their channel and create this duplication problem again.

All the content I've uploaded to PEPLUM TV was edited and created by me. Fan dubs, compilations, etc. I've never taken anyone else's stuff from someone else's channel and directly uploaded to my own channel. So this duplication issue is awful. I'm in a catch-22 situation.


Then & Now: Franca Bettoja

Franca in DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961) ; a recent photo of Franca


Monday, September 17, 2018

By the Gods! (Blog note)


Karim (Steve Reeves) steals from corrupt Gamal (Daniele Vargas) in THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961)


I started this blog back in 2010. At that time I already had a Youtube channel, which I created in 2007. I decided to make this blog for many reasons, mainly because the genre as a whole is seriously underrated but I also created it as an extension of my Youtube channel. To have people who visit the  blog to check out my Youtube channel as well. Since 2007, I've had numerous different incarnations of Youtube channels. From the get go, I've experienced numerous problems and set backs that would make one's head spin. Last week, out of nowhere, Youtube placed a restriction on my entire channel. PEPLUM TV has been put under some sort of lock down. It has been entirely demonetized and 'blacklisted' from being seen as recommended videos. I have a month to appeal the decision but aside from that there's nothing I can do. The decision they gave is extremely vague and doesn't exactly pin point to what upload (or uploads) triggered this problem. I have to guess it. And I have to say that I don't even have any copyright strikes. So, Youtube placed a permanent restriction on my channel even if I don't have any strikes. Amazing! It irks Youtube to no end that the content I upload is public domain and they can't copyright strike my uploads.

Basically, my Youtube channel is dead and even if I re-apply to change the decision in 30 days, there's very little chance the decision will be overturned.

I can't create a new channel. I already had 3 different channels which have also been rejected by Youtube.

I spend an enormous amount of time in creating Fan Dubs, uploading videos, choosing clips, etc, and in creating this blog. The video editing part has basically dominated my life for the past 4 years. Now that the only platform in which I was able to showcase my works is not available anymore, I've decided that I won't be uploading anything at PEPLUM TV. I won't be uploading anything anywhere. I know some people will say to go the Patreon way but I've already tried Patreon and it didn't work out (I only got 3 patrons).

Right now, at the moment, my mindset is not clear enough to post stuff here at the blog. I'm not abandoning the blog because it basically has a life of its own separate from PEPLUM TV but as I already stated above, I created the blog to help promote my Youtube channel(s) and now that the channel is pretty much dead, there's a part of me that feels that it's pointless to keep posting here. A PEPLUM blog without PEPLUM TV is pointless. It feel like I'm going backwards, not forward.

I won't be posting as often as before, mainly until I figure out what's in store for this blog or anything to do with PEPLUM stuff. The only thing I know is that PEPLUM TV on Youtube is dead (unless there's a miracle and the decision is overturned). Ultimately, I would like to do a documentary or, to be more realistic, to write a book on the genre, which means I need to focus all my attention on this which means I'll have even less time for the blog. I have over 8 years of material here. I've been rereading old posts and I'm amazed by how much information I have that few have seen. I'll be re-posting old posts on and off for now, until I figure out things. I'm at a certain point in my life in which I need to move forward, to be as productive as possible. And continuing the blog **full time** without PEPLUM TV is not part of it.

The latest incarnation of PEPLUM TV has been enormously successful. The channel has over 128,000 subscribers with over 55 million views (it's lower now since I deleted many uploads). I have many videos with millions of views. Its success is most likely the reason why a restriction was placed on it. Once a channel surpasses 100,000 subscribers, someone (not a bot) is assigned to the channel and they look over the channel to help promote it even further. This person probably saw the content of my channel and it was sent to the Youtube gulag (among other reasons including people uploading my videos to their channels subsequently making my content look like it's not original).

The videos uploaded there will stay, as a permanent exhibit of the PEPLUM genre. I had so many things planned for PEPLUM TV but all of this is now flushed down the toilet.

Thanks for your understanding.

Movie Poster Mondays

US poster for THE SIN OF ADAM & EVE

R rated! For the nudity because this movie is totally benign. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Article of the week: Sergio Leone and the PEPLUM genre

Sergio Leone shares director credit with Robert Aldrich. A rarity.


Sergio Leone is considered the genius behind the popular Spaghetti Western movies released in the 1960s and 1970s. His first western, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) starring Clint Eastwood, became a world wide hit and a flood of westerns made in Europe dominated movie screens for more than a decade.

Remarkably, few people know that Leone was also instrumental in making the PEPLUM genre the success that it was back in the late 1950s to mid-1960s.

Sergio Leone only directed 7 films but assisted to over 30 films, including titles such as THE BICYCLE THIEF (1948). Of the PEPLUM genre, here's a partial list of the titles Leone worked as assistant director or second unit director:


FABIOLA (1949)

He was assistant director for this major PEPLUM production that's often cited as one of the films which helped re-ignite interest in the genre. How much of his input ended up on screen is difficult to say but since he was Assistant Director, his input was most likely considerable.


QUO VADIS (1951)

Another major production which helped create the interest in PEPLUM films, Leone was Second Unit Director to this Hollywood super-production that was filmed in Italy.


FRINE - COURTESAN OF THE ORIENT (1953)

Assistant Director to this film directed by Mario Bonnard. Leone and Bonnard worked together in future projects. I guess they got along.


HELEN OF TROY (1956)

This Robert Wise epic was filmed in Italy. Leone was Second Unit Director, most likely participating in filming the many big battle scenes.


SON OF THE RED CORSAIR (1958)

Assistant director to this big Swashbuckler starring Lex Barker and Sylvia Lopez. Director Primo Zeglio and Leone have worked on other titles together.


APHRODITE - GODDESS OF LOVE (1958)

Leone was Assistant Director but also co-wrote the screenplay. Love this film directed by Mario Bonnard. Both Bonnard and Leone would work together again on THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (see below).


SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959)

Leone was Assistant Director and one of many writers who worked on this problematic production. Other directors associated with this film: Riccardo Freda, Michelangelo Antonioni, Michele Lupo! Amazing!


THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)

Leone replaced Mario Bonnard as director when Bonnard fell ill during the start of the production. Leone is credited as director (2nd unit) but the opening credits still show Bonnard as the director. His experienced making this and other films most likely helped him with his following project, BEN-HUR. Steve Reeves (above) and Leone apparently got along so well that Leone wanted Reeves to play the role Clint Eastwood made famous in his Spaghetti Westerns.




BEN-HUR (1959)

Leone was Second Unit Director to this Hollywood super-production. According to Wikipedia (I know), Leone was Senior Assistant Director and he was also responsible to film retakes for the chariot race scene.


COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1961)

Leone's first film as director was a PEPLUM (yeah!). He was also one of the main writers for the somewhat convoluted screenplay. That's Leone will Rory Calhoun in the photo below.



SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962)

As seen in the screenshot at the very top, Leone is credited along Robert Aldrich as director in the opening credits for the Italian version. I'm sure Aldrich wouldn't be happy about this but Leone's input was more than just Assistant Director therefore his co-director credit is justified.


Credit as writer:

Aside from the titles already mentioned above, Leone was also writer (credited or not) for these PEPLUM titles.


THE SEVEN REVENGES (1961)

One of many writers for this most excellent PEPLUM starring Ed Fury (above).


DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

Leone contributed to the story and dialogue for this film starring Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves.


SLAVE GIRLS OF SHEBA (1963)

Leone was the main writer for this seldom seen PEPLUM film starring Linda Cristal.

----

That's quite an impressive list of titles!

So, as you can see, Sergio Leone's input in the PEPLUM is considerable and yet it's nearly totally overlooked. Many Spaghetti Western fans are often surprised of Leone's beginnings in the world of cinema. You seldom hear SW fans laud the PEPLUM genre and yet the greatest filmmaker responsible for the Spaghetti Westerns was also instrumental in the creation of PEPLUM films.

posted at the permanent Article of the Week page


Movie Poster Mondays

German poster of VALLEY OF THE DOOMED (1960)

A PEPLUM Western. Colourful poster, with Chelo Alonso front and center.


Friday, August 31, 2018

PEPLUM Break


I usually take a break every two months! It's that time again.

As a side note, I'll take an extended break in the near future. I need to focus on several projects I'm working on and I need all time I can get, which means a break from the blog.

I'll keep uploading stuff at my PEPLUM TV channels so keep an eye on them.

I'll leave you now with King Leonidas (Richard Egan) from THE 300 SPARTANS (1962), saying "From this wall, we do not retreat!"


My recent acquisitions


Since my previous post about the books in my library, I've acquired a few additional books and DVDs.

The books:

THE ANCIENT WORLD OF CINEMA by Jon Solomon.

It was pretty cheap: $8 Canadian!!! Anyway, I found glaring mistakes in it when I perused through it. I'll write about this in a later post.


GUIDA AL CINEMA PEPLUM by Oscar Lapena Marchena.

Interesting Italian book (translated from a Spanish book) even though the images/photos are horrid. Cover photo is quite eye catching. LOL!


MUSCLES, MYTHS, AND MOVIES by Stephen Flacassier

Small book (nearly 70 pages long). The author was kind enough to send a free copy of his work. He warned me that this was printed before the age of the internet and it has obvious mistakes in it. I like that each title has a set of 4 icons explaining in images what the films contain: Muscleman, monster, etc. Good idea. I'll write more about this in a future article.


DVDs:

HERCULES French DVD which is the same print as a previous one released several years ago. Disappointing.

SAMSON & THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE French DVD. Excellent release though it doesn't have an English track.

SLAVES OF BABYLON ; Excellent print. Not disappointed by this at all.

And a various different titles from Sinister Cinema. I won't be reviewing these DVDs.


Thursday, August 30, 2018

By the Gods!

Iloosh Khoshabe, Mario Novelli and Ursula Davis (back to us) in THE INVINCIBLE BROTHERS MACISTE (1964)

This is the ending to the film. What do you notice about it? (this includes the shoulder the far right) The woman with her head on Iloosh's shoulder is supposed to be Gian Sandri but it's actually a stand-in. And the shoulder of the man on the far right is supposed to be that of Anthony Steffen but it's also a stand-in (see below ; he doesn't look like Steffen at all). This is not the first time this has happened in a PEPLUM production but it's quite remarkable that not one but two actors went missing. I wonder what happened.




Wednesday, August 29, 2018

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott and Gabriella Pallotta in COLOSSUS OF ROME (aka Hero of Rome; 1964)

The ending to the movie. Don't you miss these types of endings? Many think they're corny but I like them, certainly for this movie after what both characters went through in this excellent PEPLUM directed by Giorgio Ferroni. It's know as HERO OF ROME but in the UK it's known as COLOSSUS OF ROME, which is the literal translation of the original Italian title.

Behind-the-Scenes

Dewey Martin in 1954 posing with a Vespa while in Rome filming LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955)


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

By the Gods!

Anthar (Kirk morris) confronts a rhinoceros in ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (1964)

A nice change from the usual 'lions, tigers and bears' variety. This scene is actually pretty well shot. A good, fun film that needs a Fan Dub treatment (yes, I'm working on it). Boneheaded US title: DEVIL OF THE DESERT AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES. The original ANTHAR title is much better.






PEPLUM Location: Monte Gelato waterfalls (2018)


These photos were taken at the Monte Gelato waterfalls this past summer by Alan. These are the famous waterfalls seen in many PEPLUM productions. As you can see the vegetation is overgrown. If a new PEPLUM movie would be made, they have to film a scene there. Thanks to Alan for the photos.




The sign above mentions ROLAND THE MIGHTY (1956), directed by Pietro Francisci, for making the waterfalls famous. Though some movies had filmed there before ROLAND the success of the Francisci production helped put it on the map, with a boatload of other productions following suit.




José Greci and Giuliano Gemma in GOLIATH & THE SINS OF BABYLON (1963) standing in front of the famous Monte Gelato waterfalls.

Monday, August 27, 2018

By the Gods!

Dancers in THE MINOTAUR (1960)

The film starts with this scene (right after the credits). I like this scene. It's a good way to start a movie: show dance number and move on with the story. The dancers are uncredited. I believe the male dancer is the same one seen in THE INVINCIBLE BROTHERS MACISTE. The costumes of the female dancers here also showed up in SAPPHO THE VENUS OF LESBOS.

Movie Poster Mondays

Original Italian poster of SAMSON & THE SEA BEAST (1963)

Great poster.A mix of PEPLUM and Swashbuckler.


Thursday, August 23, 2018

By the Gods!

Hector (Jacques Bergerac) and Patrocles (Ennio Girolamo) fight for their lives in FURY OF ACHILLES (1962)

A very good PEPLUM. You know it's good when even Jacques Bergerac, who used to play himself in every film or tv program, gives a good performance. One of the stand-out though his Ennio Girolamo as Patrocles (or Patroclus). This scene is especially riveting. Ennio died a five years ago. A thoroughly enjoyable film with just a few reservations.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

By the Gods!

Goliath (Brad Harris) tries to save his friend, Briseo (José Rubio) in GOLIATH AGAINST THE GIANTS (1961)

I love these scenes. Those 'Improbable Death Contraptions' are unique of the genre. In this one, there's a bunch of slaves being whipped in some separate room, who pull the circular device towards Briseo. It's Goliath's turn to reverse the trajectory of the device, so now it becomes a power struggle between Goliath vs a dozen desperate men. Brilliant! There were those kind of contraptions in old serial films and also in TV series like BATMAN TV series but the ones in PEPLUM films are totally different. I always wonder: who came up with these amazing ideas?

Behind-the-Scenes

Elizabeth Taylor checks her makeup during the filming of CLEOPATRA (1963)


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

By the Gods!

Malisa Longo and Aldo Canti in AMAZONS AGAINST SUPERMEN (1974)

One of many Amazons movie of the early to mid-1970s. This one takes the prize as the oddest one of  the bunch. Amazons, Kung-Fu, PEPLUM elements and Canti playing his usual 'Superman' role, jumping about in acrobatic feats. Nothing like you've ever seen...literally. 

Then & Now: Linda Cristal

Linda in LEGIONS OF THE NILE (1959) ; A recent photo of Linda


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.


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)