Friday, June 26, 2020

PEPLUM Break



I'm taking a break from posting. I'll be back soon enough. You can read my post at BY THE GODS!

I usually post a scene from THE 300 SPARTANS when I take a break but this break is slightly different. There's so much stuff I need to catch up with (delayed because of the coronavirus situation) that I need some Herculean strength but it shouldn't be too long. My list of things to do (for this blog and other PEPLUM projects, which includes new designs for merch, magazine project, book, etc) is long but it's doable. I just need some extra time to get them going.

Thanks all and stay tune! Great things are coming your way.

By the Gods!

Kirk Morris as Maciste in MACISTE IN HELL (1962). Directed by Riccardo Freda.

Yesterday I mentioned a book on Riccardo Freda and well, today I have to say that I'm already disappointed by it. I won't give a full critique of it here but suffice it to say, it's not what I expected it to be. There is some excellent information in it, stuff you wouldn't find anywhere else but the writing style, although excellent, is not what I thought this book would be. It reads more like a novel. God, this book was expensive. Oh well...

POMPEI footwear


POMPEI footwear is a familiar name seen during many PEPLUM movies' credits. The company is still going strong and it lists PEPLUM titles at their website. Here's a short list. 

THE IRON CROWN (1941)

QUO VADIS (1951)

HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

BEN-HUR (1959)

SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960)

COLOSSUS OF RHODES (1961)

and CLEOPATRA (1963) 

There's more listed below, and even more titles not listed. Dozen upon dozen PEPLUM movie used their footwear. I'm glad they included Italian PEPLUM titles, certainly for an Italian company. 



PEPLUM TV Official store






A follower at the PEPLUM TV Twitter account sent me a photo of a t-shirt they bought. Pretty cool. If you ever purchase some merchandise, please send a photo and I'll post it here at the blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

By the Gods!

Béatrice Altariba and Brett Halsey in THE SEVENTH SWORD (1962; Le sette spade del vendicatore)

This won't be a review or even an overview. It's just a mention. Directed by Riccardo Freda so you know this will be good. And it is. Certainly the climatic swordfight which is stunning. It's difficult to take a screengrab of it since the print I have is very dark but wow, even as dark as it is, the whole sword fight is a stand-out. Freda was really a great filmmaker. This, btw, is a remake of Freda's first film, DON CESARE DI BAZAN (1942) starring Gino Cervi.

And just by coincidence, I acquired the biography called RICCARDO FREDA: THE LIFE AND WORKS OF A BORN FILMMAKER by Roberto Curti. It took forever to arrive and it cost a lot of money but I can't wait to read it. 



Behind-the-Scenes

Jane Russell visits her friend Vincent Price on the set of SON OF SINBAD (1955) to wish him a happy birthday. Dale Robertson joins in the celebration. Vincent and Jane both worked on HIS KIND OF WOMAN (1951) and THE LAS VEGAS STORY (1952). Unfortunately, Jane never made a PEPLUM movie.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

By the Gods!

Micah (Edmund Purdom) inspects slaves for sale in THE PRODIGAL (1955) 

Joseph Wiseman is Carmish and James Mitchell is Micah's assistant, Asham (behind Purdom). Will scenes like this, depicting slaves and slave markets (correctly or incorrectly), doom the movies they're featured in? Right now everything is being canceled so I highly doubt movies like this one will be shown any time soon.

Then & Now: Yann Larvor

Yann in SAMSON & THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964); a photo of the bodybuilder (his whereabouts are unknown...is he still alive?)

Monday, June 22, 2020

By the Gods!

Nello Pazzafini and Alan Steel are about to go head to head in a fight in THE THREE AVENGERS (1964)
 
This movie suffers from an identity crisis. No existing title, in any language, makes sense in regards to the movie itself. The Italian title, GLI INVINCIBILI TRE, translates as THE INVINCIBLE THREE. The slight change for the English title, from 'Invincible' to simply 'Avengers', makes a big difference. But the original title was most likely a humorous one since it's a PEPLUM action/comedy and two of the three men are anything but 'Invincible'. They're more like sidekicks than anything else. Ursus (Steel) is invincible (sorta) but why name the movie with such a title? So a title change made sense but then are the three really 'avengers'? Not really. So, they're not entirely invincible and they're not really avengers. The French title is THE INVINCIBLE URSUS, which is okay but too generic. What title would suit it? Aside from Ursus' two sidekick, who are annoying, this movie is pretty good. The cast alone is excellent. But it always seems to fall under the radar.

I recently acquired a French version which has English credits, and it's in widescreen. I already had a copy with English opening credits but that copy is unwatchable in 4:3 aspect ratio and discoloured image. All other versions I have (which is plenty), the credits and title are in Italian, including a Fan Dub someone made. I guess I need to do a Fan Dub of this new copy.

The movie was shot in Tunisia. The good thing about it is a movie like this could afford hundreds of extras, which adds to the epicness of the story.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Italian poster of THE SILVER CHALICE (1954)

This is from the 1970 re-release. The poster makes it look like one of those tawdry quasi-porn Italian PEPLUM movies of the 70s. It's anything but that.

PEPLUM TV Official store






Friday, June 19, 2020

By the Gods!

Jayne Mansfield, as Hyppolyta as Deinira, is trapped in the arms of a cursed treeman in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960; Hercules vs the Hydra; Gli Amori Di Ercole)

In this scene, Hyppolita is in the form of Deinira. Once she dies, she returns to her form as Hyppolita. The 'Treemen' look like Gumby. Whatever you think of this scene, a lot of effort was put into it. 

At the movies...

The premiere of HERCULES in Boston in 1959.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

By the Gods!

Samson (Antony Hamilton) is about to become blind...(the extras don't even look serious...)

SAMSON AND DELILAH (1984) starring Antony Hamilton, Belinda Bauer, Max von Sydow and Daniel Stern.

A TV production of the story of Samson and Delilah. I'll be blunt: it's not very good. I won't summarize the very familiar storyline. In this meagre production, Samson is portrayed as a cocky spoiled man who upsets marriage plans between families. During this turmult, Samson meets Delilah (Bauer) and the rest pretty much follows the usual storyline.

Production wise, this TV movie is dire. It looks like it was shot in some Beverly Hills mansion massive backyard. All the interiors look like they were shot inside modern day homes. They weren't shot in California but Mexico. And it shows. Like a lot of TV productions (past and current), the story set in Antiquity looks more like a story set in the middle ages. It's more ROBIN HOOD than biblical with Mexican architecture.

LOL! This was literally shot in some mansion's yard.

The acting ranges from passable to mediocre, even from the usually reliable Max von Sydow. But the production is not inspired so the acting is equally uninspired. I doubt anyone was excited to be in this thing. They just wanted a paycheck.

Sidka (Max von Sydow) captures Samson (Hamilton) after his hair was cut by Delilah. The set literally looks like the interior of a modern day mansion.

Antony Hamilton is totally miscast as Samson. Physically, his body is on point but his acting is limited and his long hair, often attached in a cheap looking pony-tail, makes him look ridiculous. If the main character's hair looks really fake, what hope can the movie have in being good?


Belinda Bauer is a forgettable Delilah (above). She's very plain and she seems like she's playing along, not inhabiting a role.

The story demands some spectacular scenes which I knew, as I watched this, wouldn't meet expectations. This includes the scene when Samson kills 100s of Philistine soldiers with the jawbone. Or the conclusion, when Samson pulverizes the temple. It's very oddly made. It's more of an arena (with 100 people) and some structure in the centre of the arena coming down on the spectators. All these scenes fall short of being successful.

Antony Hamilton and Daniel Stern. A fake christening at the beginning of the movie.

The TV production is clearly focused on sex. Hamilton's buff physique is displayed when things get boring, with sex scenes looking like typical 1980s Soap Opera sex scenes. In fact, the story starts with Samson 'kidnapped' by fellow soldiers, stripped off of his tunic and thrown into a lake. It's all for fun but I must admit it was a good way to start a movie. In fact, the movie pretty much follows every known PEPLUM cliché. Right after this revealing Bathing Beefcake cliché, we see Samson battling a lion, which looks as something straight out of an Italian production: badly edited mix of shots of Hamilton with the lion along with shots of an animal trainer with the lion. 

The emphasis is on sex. The only thing missing is some saxophone music (the lighting is bad)

There's very little to recommend, aside from Hamilton's physique. The rest is part and parcel of a cheaply made TV movie that's more ambitious than successful. I don't even mind if someone made a 'horny' version of Samson & Delilah but even this falls short of that. The Mexican setting, modern and old, is so distracting that it makes the movie almost unwatchable. They didn't even try to make it look like it took place in Israel.

The only copy I have is a murky one that I downloaded from god knows where (not Youtube). The movie is not easy to find (addendum: the movie is available on Amazon Prime. The print is the same one I have). 

4 out of 10.

How long before the clothes come off?

Guess the titles!

Without going to IMDb or do a Google search on the internet, can you guess the movies from these French titles? I find these different variations fascinating.


This translates to GOLD AND BLOOD (or The Gold and the Blood, which sounds awkward). If you get this one without a search on the internet, you're good.


This translates into MACISTE AND THE 100 GLADIATORS. But no such title exists in English. What's the actual English title?


This translates as THE FURY OF THE GLADIATORS. Again, this title doesn't exist in English. What's the original English title?

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Articles at BY THE GODS!



Are there any other novelizations like this one? I'm looking for stuff like this.





Ad advertising upcoming movies with a Steve Reeves connection… 





List of new titles includes ULYSSES (1954)



PEPLUM Xtra: Hercules against Moloch - Pietro Marascalchi


Don't forget to check out:


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

By the Gods!

Maciste (Reg Park) talks to a tribal chief in MACISTE IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1964)

There's a direct connection between PEPLUM movies and Jungle Adventures or Tarzan, or Tarzan-like, movies. For a lot of people, PEPLUM just means one thing but many genres and sub-genres fall under the PEPLUM umbrella. And Jungle Adventures are one of them. And this movie is a perfect example of this. I think they should be included as sub-genre. I'll write about this.

There's nudity in this scene, with the women being topless. Would this be considered an example of Wardrobe Malfunction? Or it's different when nudity is from tribal women?

This movie needs to be released on Blu-ray or broadcast in HD somewhere. It's a great looking PEPLUM and would look amazing in HD.



Fabrizio Mioni, R.I.P.


Italian actor Fabrizio Mioni died on June 8 at the age of 89. He's best known as Jason in HERCULES (1958). He only appeared in a couple of PEPLUM movies. He moved to Hollywood and mainly starred in TV shows. His role in HERCULES was integral to the storyline and he figures prominently throughout the classic film. R.I.P..


ROLAND THE MIGHTY (1956)


Fabrizio had a prominent role in this most excellent movie directed by Pietro Francisci. He and Rik Battaglia (below) really played off of each other beautifully. 



HERCULES (1958)


Fabrizio starred along with Steve Reeves in HERCULES (1958), also directed by Pietro Francisci. The entire storyline centers around Jason and his ascent to the crown of Jolco. He is very good in it.

Jason (Mioni) is prophesied to lose a single sandal and he does in this memorable scene.

Jason (Mioni) and the crew of the Argonauts finally have the Golden Fleece.


Antea, Queen of the Amazons (Gianna Maria Canale) and Jason (Mioni)


HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Fabrizio had a small role in the sequel to HERCULES. With Sylvia Lopez.


Monday, June 15, 2020

By the Gods!

Samson (Alan Steel) lifting a locked gate in SAMSON & THE SLAVE QUEEN (1963; Zorro contro Maciste)

Would a scene like this make it in an action picture today? I highly doubt it. Brawny action is not in vogue these days. This is why these old movies are worth more today than back then. And Alan (née Sergio Ciani) was always up to the challenges.

I'm about to complete a Fan Dub of this movie. It's been a long and arduous process. The *only* English audio available anywhere, which I have, is in terrible shape and it's missing some crucial scenes. I tried  to do it years ago but I thought it was too difficult. Well, the Fan Dub is nearly finished. It's a fun film and it's fun dubbing fun movies like this one but wow, was it difficult. Though the story is simple enough, the direction by Umberto Lenzi makes it's more complex and elaborate than the story itself. 

Now, what will I do with it? I don't want to upload it to Youtube. Personally, Youtube has been such a constant negative force against me that I'm reluctant to upload any of my new stuff there. I'm thinking of doing a Patreon account but the last time I created one I only got 2 subscribers!. Would anyone be willing to subscribe to a Patreon account if I upload my work there?

PEPLUM Movie Poster


French poster of ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979)

Very colourful poster. I like it.

PEPLUM TV Official store





Friday, June 12, 2020

By the Gods!


Hugh Griffith as Sheik Ilderim in BEN-HUR (1959)

With the current political correctness madness going on around the world, with statues being removed and movies and TV shows canceled or unlisted from streaming service, how do you think PEPLUM movies, such as this one, will survive? HBO has already removed GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), and the BBC has removed many British comedies. If this keeps up, the PEPLUM genre will be devastated. Not just for these type of roles, which exist but aren't that many. No, it's also for the content and religious aspects. It's a shame that one horrendous incident with police violence has lead to this censorship. 

Charlton Heston, as Ben-Hur, and Hugh Griffith in brown face. Will this movie be censored now?

Wardrobe Malfunctions



Added a couple of images of 'wardrobe malfunctions' from PEPLUM movies at the permanent page.


Jane Seymour in SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977)


Thursday, June 11, 2020

By the Gods!


Goliath (Mark Forest) is surrounded by soldiers and their spears in GOLIATH AND THE SINS OF BABYLON (1963; Maciste, l'eroe più grande del mondo)

This one of the few ways to stop a muscular hero: surround him with deadly spears even though the spears here don't look too deadly. Usually, once surrounded, the Hero is a captive and his brought to a King or Queen for some judgement. In this case, Goliath escapes this PEPLUM cliché with Mimmo Palmara and Giuliano Gemma, on horseback, coming to his rescue. An awkward rescue.