Thursday, October 1, 2020

By the Gods!

Basil Rathbone, as Pontius Pilate, and Preston Foster in THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1935)

One of my biggest pet peeves are colonized Black & White movies. They almost always look horrendous. I would rather watch a B&W movie as it was originally made. Well, this colonized copy of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII I recently got sorta made me change my mind. For this movie at least. This is without a doubt the best colonization I've ever seen. Very nice and subtle. Not garish or tacky. An improvement over the original (I'd never thought I'd say this...). Now if this movie gets a HD release hopefully it will include a nice colonize copy too.

Nice!


Looks good!


The statue during the climax. 

Behind-the-Scenes

Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing photographed together during the filming of ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979)

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

By the Gods!

Debra Paget and Ettore Manni in a scene from CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER (1960)

Finally got a HD copy of this and it's almost impossible to believe how crystal clear the image is. The HD is truly HD not some up conversion process. It's so clear you can see the hair on Ettore's arm. Slowly but surely PEPLUM movies will be released in their original spectacular state. I uploaded a clip from this movie at my Youtube channel if you want to see the quality. 

Then and Now: Corinne Clery

Corinne in YOR - HUNTER OF THE FUTURE (1983); a photo of the actress taken in September 2020.

Monday, September 28, 2020

By the Gods!

Edmund Purdom, as Ibrahim Pascià, is comforted by a dancing girl in SULEIMAN THE CONQUEROR (1961)

I got hold of a beautiful print of this movie. What a difference it makes. I have a couple of different versions, including a nearly unwatchable one from Something Weird. The one from the screengrab below was the best I had. It's ok but compared to the new print, it's blah. I uploaded this movie and clips to Youtube and I got claims on it, mainly for the music. Edmund Purdom was a good actor who rejected Hollywood and moved to Rome. His career was spotty, to say the least. But I like him.


PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original US half sheet of ATLANTIS - THE LOST CONTINENT (1960)

Great artwork by Reynold Brown.

PEPLUM TV Official store







Friday, September 25, 2020

By the Gods!

Reb Brown and Corinne Clery in YOR - HUNTER OF THE FUTURE (1983)

If you look at this PEPLUM/Caveman/Sci-Fi hybrid, it's pretty similar to THE GIANT OF METROPOLIS (1961). At one point, Yor is examined in a modern science-fi medical room that's nearly identical to the one in GIANT OF METROPOLIS, with Gordon Mitchell being the guinea pig. This Italian made movie got a wide release in the early 1980s by a major studio, COLUMBIA PICTURES. Corinne is famous for STORY OF O, MOONRAKER, and this 'epic'. Reb once played Captain America. That wig is unfortunate.

Behind-the-Scenes

Behind the scenes photo of Steve Reeves with two actresses who played Iole's handmaidens in HERCULES (1958), including Luciana Paluzzi.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

By the Gods!

Hercules (Mike Lane) and Ulysses (Georges Marchal) converse with an old man over a meal in ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES (1962)

The old man is uncredited. There's a beautiful print making the rounds on them interwebs and this screengrab is from this print. Is it perfect? No the image is not as crisp as other movies in HD but it's quite stunning compared to other prints available in the past. I needed to share this since it's one of my favourites. The location, the stunning Canary Islands, nearly makes the movie. 

Lobby Cards Set: THE BLACK PIRATES (1954)


Original US lobby cards set of THE BLACK PIRATES (1954) starring Anthony Dexter. Since this is a very low budget movie, there are few spectacular scenes to show to entice potential moviegoers. As a set, it's ok if a bit repetitive. It should have had a single card showing a close-up of the main star, Anthony Dexter. Have you seen it?

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By the Gods!

Juno (Yvonne Sire) and Jupiter (Fury Meniconi) look down at earth in VULCAN - SON OF JUPITER (1962)

Probably the cheapest set in any PEPLUM movie. It's odd cause the production of the rest of the movie is fine, or at least not this bad. I like the movie but these Mount Olympus scenes are cringe. Mount Olympus is supposed to be the most beautiful place in the heavens. Well, not in this.

Gordon Mitchell as Pluto. The set looks like an afterthought. 

Identify the movie!

Can you identify the movie from this screen grab?

Orsh identified the movie. It's SON OF CLEOPATRA (1964).

Monday, September 21, 2020

By the Gods!

 Teegra and Larn from FIRE & ICE (1983)

Does anyone like this movie? It rarely comes up anywhere in discussions of the genre, PEPLUM or the Sword & Sorcery trend of the 1980s. Conceived and co-directed by Ralph Bakshi and inspired from the works of Frank Frazetta, the animated movie is sorta forgotten these days. I like it but I find the story very simple or borderline awful, and the animation often looks more like sketches than full blown animation. Frazetta's work, though not intricately detailed, was filled with action, sex and verve. The animation rarely captures that sense in the movie. It feels underdeveloped. It's fun to watch but could have been more elaborate. I prefer these old school type of animated movies than today's variety so that aspect is a definite plus. The backgrounds are beautiful.



PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON (1963)

Great art but oddly enough the action shown is not from SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON. Can you name the movie from which the top art is from? And name the movie with the two fighting men is from? Extra points if you can name all the actors.

Friday, September 18, 2020

By the Gods!

Gordon Mitchell, Pietro Pietro Marascalchi, Pietro Ceccarelli, and Alfio Caltabiano in SEVEN SLAVES AGAINST THE WORLD (1964; Gli schiavi più forti del mondo)

One of those Michele Lupo movies with big close ups of actors' faces. The crowded cast is only partial here. The movie focused a lot on Pietro Marascalchi who, remarkably enough, is not even listed for this movie at IMDb. It's been like that for years. The fight between Gordon Mitchell and Pietro is one of the most extended and frankly over-the-top ever filmed, bordering in the absurd. No bruises on their faces after the fight. Anyway, Pietro was a professional wrestler and it shows in his action scenes. Pietro also played Moloch in HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH (1963). Like so many PEPLUM stars, Pietro disappeared from the face of the earth, never to be seen again. The movie's stunt coordination was executed by Alfio. This was one of his most extended roles. He often played villains and in this movie he's a good guy.

Behind-the-Scenes

Director Viktor Tourjansky and Pascale Petit talk about the script in a behind the scenes look of the making of A QUEEN FOR CAESAR (1962)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

By the Gods!

Yvonne Furneaux as Semiramis in SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON (1963)

SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON (1963) staring Yvonne Furneaux (Semiramis), John Ericson (Kir), Germano Longo (Onnos), Gianni Rizzo (Ghelas), Renzo Ricci (Minurte), Nino Di Napoli (Adath), Harold Bradley, Ugo Sasso, Umberto Silvestri and Annamaria Ubaldi. Directed by Primo Zeglio.

There's a good number of PEPLUM movies set in Babylon. Are most of them historically accurate? Not really but who cares certainly with this one which is so good. The story is that of Semiramis, the legendary Queen of Babylon and wife of Ninus. The script doesn't really follow history. The King is called Minurte not Ninus. In this story, Semiramis is a scheming woman who marries the King for power, is courted by Omnos (Germano Longo) but she falls in love with a Dardanian King, Kir (John Ericson) who is enslaved by power hungry Onnos, only to become a rebel. The movie is all about power, greed and love.

John Ericson as Kir, the Dardanian King turned rebel. Ericsson recently passed away.

Right off the bat, I have to say that this PEPLUM movie is one of my favourites and it's one of the movies which made fall in love with the genre. The acting from all actors is top notch, even with the dubbing. John Ericson is a bit stiff but he's good looking enough to overlook this but the other actors, Furneaux, Rizzo, and Longo turn in all solid performances. Things are made better with Furneaux doing her line reading in English. The dubbing in many scenes is at times flawless.

Germano Longo is so good I believe this is a star making performance. He tries so hard to plot schemes only to be outdone by Semiramis, who out schemes him at every turn. Gianni Rizzo probably gives his best performance in a PEPLUM movie. He's a really good actor. And Yvonne is mesmerizing as Semiramis. Her constant attempt to manipulate everyone and everything is fun to watch. Everyone wants to get rid of Minurte (Semiramis, Onnos and Kir). The story is bathed with power hungry people trying to outdo each other.
Semiramis (Yvonne Furneaux), Adath (Nino di Napoli), Ghelas (Gianni Rizzo) and Minurte (Renzo Ricci)

The best thing about SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON, aside from the acting, is the dialogue. Like REVENGE OF THE BARBARIANS (1960), the dialogue is very good, is endlessly quotable and nearly makes the movie.

"It's in the darkness that treachery hides itself. And it's in the dark that we can disarm an enemy who would otherwise destroy us!" Semiramis says to Minurte. 

Omnos (Germano Longo) longs for Semiramis (Furneaux) who is actually in love with another man.

The one thing that sorta difficult to grasp is the relationship between Semiramis and Kir. It's a love/hate relationship since the moment they first met but by the end Kir becomes a villain of sorts (after suffering from being a slave so it's sorta understandable...) and this makes you wonder why Semiramis is always infatuated with him. Yes, Ericsson is a good looking man but Kir hardly hides his disdain for a things Babylonian from the get go so Semiramis seemed really hard up for love after falling for someone who hates everything about her world.

The action scenes are good with obvious stuntwork coordinated by Alfio Caltabiano, who also has a small role in it. The movie is a combination romance / action. 

And the ending, which I won't spoil, is quite memorable. I must admit it feels a bit rushed but the final shot is effective thanks to Primo Zeglio's direction. 

Nearly nude and in lust! Kir defies a bathing Semiramis. Beefcake and cheesecake galore. 

John Ericson, who mainly worked on television in the US, displays his physique in one of the most daring way. The camera doesn't shy away from scrutinizing his athletic physique. Even today, it's quite bold. Furneaux is seen swimming in the nude but very little skin is actually shown. The focus is clearly on the leggy Ericson.

Umberto Silvestri, Furneaux and Annamaria Ubaldi. And brick wallpaper.

The weakest aspect of the movie is the production, mainly the costumes and some of the props, sets. This being a TWIN PRODUCTION with WAR GODS OF BABYLON (1962), see article I wrote on this, the movie obviously cut corners on the costumes which seems to be a hodge podge of every costumes from previous movies. Mind you, it still looks good. It's just that it looks all over the place. There's very little Babylonian aspect to the costumes. Some props look tacky and out of place. But the movie was shot in actual Cinemascope format which gives the production a top notch quality. The two major sets, that of the exterior of the big temple, and the main interior set (with the honeycomb windows) are also seen prominently in WAR GODS OF BABYLON. Both are great. Not so great are the many interior sets with obvious wallpaper standing in for brickwork. Half of the production is great, and the half it's sorta appears to have been made rather quickly. 

Of the two films from this TWIN PRODUCTION, SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON easily surpasses WAR GODS OF BABYLON. WAR GOOD is good but the acting and dialogue are solid in SLAVE QUEEN.

Fun note: the pronunciation of Semiramis in this movie is my favourite (here's how it sounds). Many pronounce it SEM-MY-RA-MISS which drives me crazy. It's SI-MIR-UH-MIS.

The movie is also filled with numerous familiar faces, like Jeff Cameron, Harold Bradley, Umberto Silvestri, Fortunato Arena, Amerigo Santarelli, etc, which, for fans of PEPLUM movies like me, is fun to spot. 

I have a gazillion different versions of this: I have a Spanish and French versions, and an old US TV version. I also have two Italian versions, one from a TV broadcast and one from a DVD source. The most important one though is the Fan Dub I created (one of the first I've ever made) and which I've uploaded recently to PEPLUM TV Youtube channel. I used the audio from the US TV broadcast copy and it's the most complete English version available anywhere. 

I give it a solid 8.5 out of 10. 

I would have rated it higher if the production, mainly the costumes, had been more consistent with actual Babylonian culture.

The stunning eyes of Yvonne Furneaux!

Lobby Cards Set: MYSTERY OF THE BLACK JUNGLE (1954)

US lobby cards set of MYSTERY OF THE BLACK JUNGLE (1954; I misteri della giungla nera) starring Lex Barker. Remarkably enough, I have yet to see this movie. I have its sequel, BLACK DEVILS OF KALI (1954) but not the first movie. The cast is slightly different than the second movie. Good set. Lex is nearly in all cards so that's a plus. I like it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

BY THE GODS!: Upcoming movie: SPARTACUS…


1959 article on the upcoming SPARTACUS (1960) production.

Only at BY THE GODS!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

By the Gods!

Steve Reeves as Sandokan in SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964)

In this movie, Sandokan is a rebel who goes against British forces. He was hired to work on this British ship. Who would hire someone as formidable as Sandokan to work or infiltrate your fortified ship? I like this movie and watched it many times, and Reeves is great in it but this part of the story never made much sense to me. 

Then & Now: Don Murray

Don Murray in THE VIKING QUEEN (1967); a recent photo of the actor.

Monday, September 14, 2020

By the Gods!

Diana Rigg as Portia in JULIUS CAESAR (1970)

Diana died on September 10 at the age of 82. She was most famous for playing Emma Peel on THE AVENGERS TV series. Her role in JULIUS CAESAR is a brief one, centred mainly around Brutus (played by Jason Robards). She also starred in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1996) mini-series. R.I.P.! 


 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of BLACK DEVILS OF KALI (1954)

I like it. But I don't get why Sandokan is there. Lex Barker plays Tremal Naik but there's no Sandokan in this movie. Hmm...