By the Gods!

Serge Nubret in GOLIATH & THE REBEL SLAVE (1963; aka Tyrant of Lydia Against the Son of Hercules)

Serge was inspired to become a bodybuilder after seeing Steve Reeves in HERCULES (1958). He attained quite a formidable physique and looks impressive next to the men above but when standing next to Gordon Scott, his stature is sorta diminished. He's still super buff though. He only appeared in  two PEPLUM productions. He came in second at the 1975 Olympia with Arnold Schwarzenegger winning the title.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Italian poster of THE GOLDEN HORDE (1951)

Better poster than the US one. Colorful art for a colourful movie.


Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Don't forget to check out PEPLUM Xtra photo blog.

By the Gods!

Princess Miriam (Chelo Alonso) and Dragon Drakut (Lex Barker) in THE PIRATE & THE SLAVE GIRL (1959)

Their 'love story' in this pulpy movie is a tragic one. For some odd reason, this film gets a lot of hate. I have no idea why. While it's not CITIZEN KANE, it's certainly far from being an awful movie. I just don't get the irrational hate many PEPLUM films generate in many people, including this one. Chelo made this right after GOLIATH & THE BARBARIANS (1959). Not bad for a former dancer. This film has two official productions: one made for Europe and one made for the English (US) market.

'Mystery Actor' at the gym

For a long time, the actually real identity of Greek bodybuilder Takis Kavouras was a mystery. He was credited under a different name for most of the PEPLUM films he appeared in, including THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) and SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960). Here he is at a gym in 1960.

Takis appeared briefly in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960) starring Rossano Brazzi

PEPLUM Cliché: "Tied to the mast"

Okay, not always tied to a mast but that's the general cliché.

Uploaded to the PEPLUM Cliché permanent page


Bekim Fehmiu in ULYSSES tv mini-series (1968)

Kirk Douglas in ULYSSES (1954)

From THE GIANTS OF THESSALY (1960) with Takis Kavouras

Richard Harrison in AVENGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1962)

By the Gods!

Dan Vadis is put to the test for spectators in COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA (1962)

Vittorio Sanipoli plays the 'slave owner' who runs a show, in order to attract an audience. At 6'4", Dan Vadis was one of the tallest PEPLUM star. Only Peter Lupus was as tall. He wasn't a great actor by any means but as long as he flexed his muscles and punched everyone. He was a great in action scenes. Not so in dramatic scenes. Dan excelled in this film since he had very few dramatic scenes and nearly all action scenes centered around his physical abilities, which were impressive.

Lobby Cards Set: MIGHTY URSUS (1961)

Lobby cards set for MIGHTY URSUS (1961). Aside from the fact that there's no photo of Moira Orfei, this set is pretty good. It covers nearly all the highlights of the film. And Ed Fury is nearly in every card. Thumbs up!

Then & Now : Peter Lupus

Peter Lupus as Hercules in HERCULES & THE TYRANTS OF BABYLON ; a recent photo of the actor

By the Gods!

Queen Onfale (Sylvia Lopez) and Hercules (Steve Reeves) meet the 'morning after' in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Hercules, who has lost his memory, briefly wonders who Onfale is, as he recalls Iole. Onfale says, "So you began to betray me in your dreams!" I like this line. Her character has great, quotable lines.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Action packed art, just like the movie itself. The problem with the Ten Gladiators series were the titles. The first film was called THE TEN GLADIATORS. There were two other movies made, including THE TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS and this one, which has SPARTACUS before the Ten Gladiators. For film libraries and books, titles are usually listed alphabetically, which places these titles far from each other. This is actually a common problem. Even the Indiana Jones series had to do a work around about this: the first film was RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK but every subsequent film were titled INDIANA JONES &____ . This placed the first film elsewhere than the sequels so they had to re-title the first film, INDIANA JONES & THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

Now playing at the cinema

Showing of CLEOPATRA (1963) at the Dominion theatre in London. Licensed bars!!!

By the Gods!

A movie set from SOLOMOM & SHEBA (1959)

One of the my favourite aspects of PEPLUM films are their movie sets. I really like this set. It looks more authentic than most even if the SOLOMON & SHEBA wasn't anything close to being authentic. Today, it would probably be CGI. This set is the grand courtyard seen when Sheba (Gina Lollobrigida) is introduced to Solomon (Yul Brynner). They don't just make them like this anymore.

Vintage article : SAMSON & THE SLAVE QUEEN

Vintage Italian article on SAMSON AND THE SLAVE QUEEN (1963), also known as ZORRO AGAINST MACISTE. With Alan Steel, Pierre Brice, Moira Orfei and Massimo Serato. Cool photos.


Here's a sample of the many different VHS covers for THE INVINCIBLE BARBARIAN (1982) starring Pietro Torrisi. I think I have this one on VHS somewhere in my collection but I didn't digitize it. I only have a murky Spanish copy of it. The funny aspect of these covers is how the hero has a beard or moustache and yet Pietro is clean shaven in the film. The Dutch cover is the only cover which represents Pietro somewhat correctly (he actually wears pants throughout the movie; see below). I'm still looking for a decent copy of this in English. This movie is also known as GUNAN - KING OF THE BARBARIANS.


New PEPLUM blog: PEPLUM Xtra. I'll only post images there. 

By the Gods!

Alan Steel in SAMSON (1961)

Alan Steel didn't play Samson. Brad Harris played the titular role. Alan, who's real name was Sergio Ciani, played a supporting role which had different names depending of which version you watch. In the original Italian version, the character is called Macigno. In the French version, he became Hercules with the official title being SAMSON CONTRE HERCULE. In the English version he's named as Millstone (but also Hercules indirectly). In the German version, Samson (played by Brad Harris) is renamed Hercules and Steel's role is Macigno. So confusing. Brad was okay in the lead role but Alan stole the show whenever he was on-screen. He was PEPLUM perfection in this!


US lobby cards set for QUEEN OF THE PIRATES (1960): 4 cards with Gianna Maria Canale which makes this a pretty good set, but the dull cards no 2, 4 and 6 bring it down. No 3 is the best card with Gianna and Moira Orfei together and card no 5 with Massimo Serato and Scilla Gabel. Good but could have been greater without those 3 boring cards.

Six degrees of separation: The Last Days of Pompeii

6 degrees of separation between two productions of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII: from big epic film released in 1959 to the mini-series made in 1984.

THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) - Steve Reeves (and Mimmo Palmara)

SON OF SPARTACUS - Gianna Maria Canale and Steve Reeves

THE WARRIOR & THE SLAVE GIRL - Ettore Manni and Gianna Maria Canale

URSUS & THE TARTAR PRINCESS - Maria Grazia Spina (standing) and Ettore Manni (on the far right)

THE BIBLE: IN THE BEGINNING... - Franco Nero (above, with Richard Harris) and Maria Grazia Spina (not shown, in later part of the story)

THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1984) mini-series - Franco Nero (with Leslie Anne Down)

By the Gods!

Lynn Collins, as Dejah Thoris, is being prepared for a marriage in JOHN CARTER (2012)

How many times have we seen scenes like this in PEPLUM films? Even though this movie is billed as science-fiction/fantasy, it's strictly a PEPLUM film. Even the review at LE MONDE called it a 'cosmic PEPLUM'. I'm sure Lynn wished she hadn't agreed to star in this since her career (and everyone else involved with this film) went nowhere. Personally, I didn't like her character in it. Very underwritten.

Wardrobe Malfunction!

An extra's tunic is lifted by a wind gust, revealing modern day Adidas shorts in CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)

The Wardrobe Malfunction page updated!

Preview from THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1935)

Clip preview of the old film. It's one of the best scenes in it. I *didn't* upload this preview. It's an official preview from Youtube Movies.

I searched 'Last Days of Pompeii 1935' on Youtube and below is what pulled up. You can view the 1935 film for $9.99 from Youtube Movies! The first result was my upload of the 1959 version at PEPLUM TV. Youtube is basically trying to muscle me out of the site since I still pull more views than they are.

By the Gods: CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984)

Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas) has plans for Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in this sequel to CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982), directed by Richard Fleischer. It was cheesier and pulpier...therefore more entertaining than the first one? It felt like an old PEPLUM of the Golden Era than the heavy handed one directed by John Milius. Sarah made a great villainess even though she was underused. She wore some decidedly skimpy costumes, while Ahnuld showed more muscle than the first movie, which was a definite plus (anything to distract from his acting). 

Above: Conan is trapped in a hall of mirrors where he has to figure out where the bad guy is. This scene is a near direct copy of the ending from ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (below; 1964) starring Kirk Morris.

Conan battles Toth-Anon (Pat Roach) in one of the movie's better moments. The ever powerful Conan is shown to be vulnerable.

Even though Arnold only made 3 genre films (the two already mentioned plus RED SONJA (1985)), he'll always be associated with the CONAN character.

The film has some nice set pieces (above, with Olivia d'Abo, and below) and the overall fun aspect is greater than the first movie but the screenplay was fairly weak. It had tons of characters (including one played by Grace Jones) with little to do. The quest (or quests) feels like it was padded to extend the length of the film.

Overall, I give a 6 out of 10.

Arnold posing with a happy crew member.