Friday, December 3, 2021

Image of the week!

Caesar (Claude Rains), Cleopatra (Vivien Leigh), Britannus (Cecil Parker) and Apollodorus (Stewart Granger) have a chat in the lush CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA (1945)

PEPLUM Books (e-books)

More PEPLUM books, this time a digital edition. Here are 3 additional books from my library. They are added to the list found at the permanent page. 

What do I look for in a book which covers the PEPLUM genre?

I'm basically looking for a fun book filled with reviews, articles on some themes/subjects seen in such movies and a listing of titles, actors, etc. A good index.

The reason why I've asked this is because the 3 following books are not such books. I feel bad 'reviewing' them because they're definitely not the kind of PEPLUM compendium-style books I'm looking for. They're more like the academic kind, which doesn't really interest me. The main reason why: most people who write these books or articles have a superficial understanding or limited grasp of the PEPLUM genre. I still haven't encountered a single mind blowing 'academic book' which appeared to know everything, and I mean everything, about the genre, therefore their opinion would be fascinating to read. So, I always take these kind of books with a grain of salt.

I won't be reviewing them because the first two are not what I was looking for and the third book is in Spanish. I'm just listing them since they are in my collection. I'm also listing a couple of chapter titles to give an idea what the books are about.

Posted at the Permanent page

OF MUSCLES AND MEN - edited by Michael C. Cornelius


This was one of my first digital books I bought and I was looking forward to reading it. I quickly realized it's not what I expected. The author clearly knows his stuff and the intro makes for an interesting read, a quick summarization of the genre. The chapters are not as dismissive as most PEPLUM books out there but the emphasis is still low budget movies, bad dubbing, etc. If one writes an essay or a book on the PEPLUM genre, these details shouldn't even be an issue. One could not if the dubbing or voices are good or bad but dubbing or low budget productions are a fact of the genre. One should get over it.


- Hercules, Politics, and Movies

- From Maciste to Maximus and Company: The Fragmented Hero in the New Epic

- Beefy Guys and Brawny Dolls: He-Man, the Masters of the Universe, and Gay Clone Culture

THE NEW PEPLUM edited by Nicholas Diak


This compilation of essays is interesting in that it covers recent PEPLUM movies, which are often missing or neglected. Note: I was approached by the editor, Nicholas Diak, to write an essay. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't write one even though I did have a subject which would have been interesting to write about. But looking at the other essays, my essay wouldn't have fit in. Unlike most writers I've come across, Diak is a big PEPLUM fan and loves the genre. 


- From Crowds to Swarms: Movement and bodies in Neo-Peplum Films.

- There Are No Boundaries for Our Boats: Vikings and the Westernization of the Norse Saga

- Male Nudity: Violence and the Disruption of Voyeuristic Pleasure in Starz's SPARTACUS



The book chronicles the presence of HERCULES and other heroes in movies, with HERCULES (1958) and subsequent Hercules movies profiled in chapter 3. The book is illustrated with photos and posters.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

By the Gods!

Diane de Poitiers (Lana Turner) tutors Prince Henri (Roger Moore) in DIANE (1956)

I like this movie. It's one good looking movie. Lana Turner did this after THE PRODIGAL (1955) which I mentioned on Tuesday's post. It's interesting to see how her career went from Bad Girl to historical characters like Diane de Poitiers. The production, like THE PRODIGAL, is excellent. Beautiful scenes and composition (like this shot) makes it look like a true Picture Book. I'm amazed how people don't see how aesthetically pleasing both Turner movies were. The role pf Prince Henri was initially set for Edmund Purdom but Turner refused to work with Purdom after he and Lana worked together in THE PRODIGAL. The role went to another young and upcoming British actor, Roger Moore. I'm reading Edmund Purdom's book written by his daughter. It's sorta revealing, a mixed bag of gossip and actual personal anecdotes. The screenshot was taken from a nice quasi HD print I recently got. 


Crew prepping Steve Reeves for a scene on the set of HERCULES (1958)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Clip of the week: GIANTS OF ROME

Richard Harrison is straddled under a catapult and the chain is about to break in GIANTS OF ROME (1964)

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Scenes from THE PRODIGAL (1955)

These are brilliant matte paintings. The one above just shows the surroundings without much fanfare, or low key, giving more realism to the scene. Normally spectacular, if that makes sense. Matte work by Warren Newcombe.

Vintage Article

Not really an article per se but a synopsis of the movie ROMULUS AND THE SABINES (1961) that would be the subject of a TV show in France which was broadcast in Season 2 - August 1968. Where was this published I don't know but it's not a movie program from the 1961 release. Roger Moore, Rosanna Schiaffino and Mylene Demongeot star. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

By the Gods!

Hercules (Mark Forest) meets Prince Maytha (Giuliano Gemma) in HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN (1964)

From a print taken from a TV broadcast in HD. I left part of the channel's logo in the top right. Now this print exists in HD therefore it could be released on Blu-ray and yet it hasn't been released on that format. They probably think the demand is not there yet they did release it on DVD.... If it's good enough for DVD why not Blu-ray? As I stated before, the only fans like me will see these movies in HD is from TV broadcasts or streaming services. It's a sad reality.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

German poster of DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

Eye-catching poster.

Sunday, November 21, 2021


I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again. 

A side note: I'll also take a break during the Christmas / New Year period.

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 19, 2021

Image of the week!

 The construction of the Tower of Babel in THE BIBLE: IN THE BEGINNING... (1966)

At the movies...

QUO VADIS (1951) at the Loew's Grand in Atlanta.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

By the Gods!

Big Dan Vadis, as Hercules, bending bars in HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE (1964; aka Hercules in the Land of Darkness)

I love these scenes in PEPLUM movies but would they work with today's audiences? They're fun and show the actor's acting/believability with his physique, which, in part, is the whole point of these PEPLUM movies.


Behind the scenes from from the set of HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) with Reg Park and George Ardisson waiting. This photo includes those famous 4 columns. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Clip of the week: SOLOMON AND SHEBA

Sheba (Gina Lollobrigida) seduces Solomon (Yul Brynner) in SOMOLON AND SHEBA (1959)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

HD Alert!

Anouk Aimée as the evil ruler 

There's a Blu-ray disc of SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) from Japan. I bought it and got it in a few days (now that's service). Audio only in Italian with optional Japanese subtitles. I have to say that the movie never looked better. If there's one thing I disliked from the many versions I have was the image quality, even from TV broadcasts, was always meh: flat, washed out, uninspiring. Well, the colors from this release are gorgeous. Many scenes pop out now. You can see the careful attention to the look of the movie. The runtime is 117 minutes. I just got it today and watched half of it, in Italian, and I loved it. It moves at a quicker pace. I'll have more on this in a future post. Needless to say, this release is much better than the HERCULES / HERCULES UNCHAINED Japanese BDs.

Then & Now: Luigi Barbini

Luigi in HERCULES THE AVENGER (1965); a recent photo of the actor 

Monday, November 15, 2021

By the Gods!

Fleeing Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus come across a long line of crucifixes in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965)

Whatever you think of this movie you can't deny how visual stunning it is. The movie is often compared to KING OF KINGS (1961) and most people prefer that one, with Jeffrey Hunter as Jesus. I can see why but I feel GREATEST STORY looked more modern, more like a movie from the 1970s. The casting of Max Von Sydow as Jesus is an issue to many folks and Jeffrey Hunter did create an unforgettable Jesus but I believe that movie, even with all its faults, is unjustifiably maligned. I bought the Blu-ray and I'll give my impressions of it soon.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Japanese poster for A QUEEN FOR CAESAR (1962) 

The movie had two endings: one with Pascal Pettit without clothes and one with Pascale covered. From this poster, we know which version was shown in Japan. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Image of the week!

The friendship of Actis (Susy Andersen) and Sappho (Tina Louise) is put to the test in SAPPHO - THE VENUS OF LESBOS (1960; aka The Warrior Empress)

Musings! Nov 12

Searching far and wide for all things PEPLUM! Luciano Marin and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)


According to a review at Amazon Germany of the Blu-ray release of SWORD OF CONQUEROR, a customer wrote that there's a defect on the BR. I played it with a blu-ray player connected to my iMac and I didn't see any problems. I ripped it and made a MKV file and an MP4 file and both files are fine. Did anyone else exprienced problems with that specific Blu-ray disc?

You can read a short review of the Blu-ray at the BY THE GODS! blog.


OK this is silly but a major Joan Crawford fan made deep fakes with Joan in the 1963 version of CLEOPATRA, which starred Elizabeth Taylor in the title role. Check out these images.



The clips are actually in motion, not photos. It actually looks like Joan is in the movie. I found this collection of clips on Tik Tok. It goes without saying: Joan Crawford fans are the most fanatical! 


Amazon has an on-going ad promoting Prime service set in Ancient Egypt. I chuckled when I saw this. 


I mean, really? 


Can you identify the movie from this screenshot? It's in Black and White so this is already a clue.




English title: A FUNNY CHRONICLE OF A DANGEROUS JOURNEY (1986). It's a Jason and the Argonauts musical made in Russia. Think of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR but goofy.



I posted this side by side montage of Steve and Arnold at PEPLUM Channel Facebook account and it went viral. I never thought this would have had such a response. What's remarkable about the replies is that almost everyone voted for Steve Reeves. I was pleasantly surprised. I expected Arnold to garner more votes. Here's an example:



I like this movie. It's sorta odd during the climax (it turns very violent) but all in all this is one of my favourite Tony Russel movies. There's just that scene with Russel in blackface...can this movie be shown anywhere today?


I rewatched it again for the millionth time. It's such a great film. I can't wait to watch it in a beautiful transfer in HD, if it ever happens. A classic.

Hercules (Steve Reeves) finally meets Chironi (Afro Poli) who is nursed by Jason (Fabrizio Mioni)


Speaking of HERCULES in High Definition, a friend in Europe was told that the Artus Films Blu-ray release, announced earlier this year and abandoned, is still in the works. That it's not over yet.

That would be great but I'll believe it when I'll see it.


The blog seen on my new iPad mini. Very cool.


Coming soon:

Edmund Purdom: nasty obituary and that book on his life!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

By the Gods!

Rik Battaglia during the climax of THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958)

This movie was released the same year as HERCULES (1958) and, imo, was an important movie, though not as successful as the HERCULES, in shaping Italian cinema for the next decade. It looks great and it's very entertaining. One odd thing about it: Rik Battaglia doesn't have a close-up in it. He's one of the main stars and yet he wasn't 'important' enough to warrant a close-up. All other main actors, Sylva Koscina, Gianna Maria Canale, Francisco Rabal, and even supporting actors, all have close-ups. Did he pissed off the director? 


Original US lobby cards set of HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS (1964) starring Mark Forest, Jose Greci, Gloria Milland and more. Good set. It's a shame that the photos are in Black & White but the photos themselves are good. Shows Feats of Strength, fights, etc. And Mark Forest as well. Thumbs up!

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Clip of the week: HERCULES (1958)

Hercules (Steve Reeves) lifts statue back in its place during a storm on the sea. Great scene!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021


 The temple in Memphis from TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961)

Excellent matte painting of the temple in which evil queen Tenefi resides. The matte is used during different times of the day, including the spectacular 'Feat of Strength' scene above. Two men are credited for special effects, with one mainly for pyrotechnics, so that leaves the other fellow, Vitantonio Ricci, as the possible artist responsible for the matte work.