Friday, October 15, 2021

Image of the week!


The burning of Rome in QUO VADIS (1951), with Lygia (Deborah Kerr) and Ursus (Buddy Baer) right in the middle of it.

Musings! (10-15)

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


NEW BATCH OF TITLES IN HD!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, along with GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS, there is a new batch of titles in HD. I've seen the clips and some of them are spectacular.

I already posted about HERCULES THE AVENGER at BY THE GODS!

Aside from those two titles, there's:

HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH
SIEGE OF SYRACUSE
THE SON OF THE RED CORSAIR
URSUS AND THE TARTAR PRINCESS
ULYSSES AGAINST HERCULES
ATTACK OF THE MOORS
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA
HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS
HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS.
THE SON OF SPARTACUS
CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER

Some of the titles, like ATTACK OF THE MOORS, look like up-conversions but they still look good.

There are more titles but this list has the major titles. All in Italian. I already have CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER and THE SON OF SPARTACUS. They are the same copies I have in my collection. 

Speaking of THE SON OF SPARTACUS, another source, my friend in Europe, found a Fan Dub made with the HD copy of that movie. The Fan Dub is in English. I'll try to get a hold of that one.

And lastly, there's a 720p version of HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN out there, in English. I tried to download it but I could only get 80% of the movie. It looks nothing like the recent the Film Detective Blu-ray disaster.


I'll highlight more of these titles next week.


CINEMATIC CONFUSION


This German VHS cover, front and back, takes the cake in regards to confusion. It's for SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965) but the credits doesn't list the major stars, just the supporting stars, and on the back cover there are photos of other PEPLUM movie, including one with Dan Vadis, presumably from COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA (with stuntman in place of Mark Forest). And the artwork...again, it has nothing to do with the movie even though there are gladiators in it.



RECENT ACQUISITIONS

Small batch of new stuff I got recently.

 

French DVD of THEMAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR and German DVD pack with two movies, including SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS and THE REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) the Mickey Hargitay movie. I already reviewed this pack at BY THE GODS!

 

This hefty book written by 4 writers is not exactly what it looks like...

 

GIGANTI BUONI by Michele Giordano. This Italian softcover book looks like a fun read. The complete opposite of 90% of books on PEPLUM movies. This should be translated into English.


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For years, I mentioned how I would like to create a Youtube channel with short clips of PEPLUM movies, Just short clips. Under 30 seconds. In a way to avoid copyright issues since short clips are permissible. Well, Youtube just created Youtube Shorts, in direct competition to the hugely successful TikTok app. I uploaded a short clip via the YT app on my phone. You can check it out. It's a start. I doubt I'll spend too much time doing this since Youtube is pretty much dead these days.

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No one identified the movie from MUSINGS! (10-01). It was from HEAD OF A TYRANT (1959).


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Coming soon:

Joan Crawford as Cleopatra?




Thursday, October 14, 2021

By the Gods!


Chelo Alonso and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959) 

Great news! This is a screenshot of the movie in HD. Finally! Anyway, this is such good news. The bad news: it's only a clip. The place where I found it also has dozens of other PEPLUM titles in HD. Most of them are also short clips but some are complete movies. It's an Italian source. Now I have to figure out where this fellow got all of these titles in HD. I'll write more on this next week and in upcoming weeks. 




Lobby Cards Set: HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN


Original lobby cards set of HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961) starring Reg Park and Fay Spain. Excellent set in that it showcases many of the best scenes in the movie. The only problem: the cheap printing and colours.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Clip of the week: SIGN OF THE CROSS


Fredric March and Elissa Landi in THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (1932)



Tuesday, October 12, 2021

SPFX DEPT.


Scenes from ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956)

This movie has several matte painting scenes so this post is part 1. Today, I cover the matte paintings during a 'travelogue' scene in which the narrator describes Alexander's conquests with maps superimposed over the matte work of different locations. These scenes are frustrating mainly due to the fact that we don't have a clear view off the beautiful matte paintings. Bob Cuff is credited as the matte artist for this movie (according to IMDb). Again, these matte paintings had to be done with CinemaScope format in mind.





Then & Now: Rosalba Neri


Rosalba in KINDAR THE INVULNERABLE (1965) ; a recent photo of the actress

Monday, October 11, 2021

By the Gods!


King Herod (G. Raymond Nye) and Salome (Theda Bara) in SALOME (1918) 

New footage of this lost film has been found in Spain. It's not the whole movie but it's better than nothing. Quite amazing. This production looks sumptuous, with great costumes and sets. Hopefully the entire movie will resurface one day.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


US poster (?) of SALOME (1918)

Like so many posters of the the silent era, the artwork is fascinating. 

Saturday, October 2, 2021

PEPLUM Break


I take a break roughly every two months so this is that time again. My last break was the last week of July. Seems like such a long time ago.

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, October 1, 2021

Image of the week!


Emiliano (Steve Reeves), aka Goliath, holds Landa (Chelo Alonso) in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)

Musings! (10-01)

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


BLOG NOTES!

I had to set aside many projects since the start of the pandemic. Only now are things settling down into some sort of normalcy. This means that I will have time to focus on the many projects I had to put on hold. This includes books or magazine or zines projects I'm thinking of. I have several ideas (including a PEPLUM dictionary...haha!) but I don't want to promise something I can't complete. 

One thing I have completed is my first *novel* but I need to do a thorough revision of it, which will take some time. The story of this novel is not a PEPLUM in the general sense but it deals with a story arc spanning thousands of years so there's a lot of elements of the genre in it.

As for the health of the blog, it's doing very good. Though the stats are all over the place (as usual), the entire PEPLUM TV presence on the web/social media is quite strong.


BLOG:





FACEBOOK PEPLUM TV (one week):

 



TWITTER PEPLUM TV

 



TWITTER MACISTE

 



CINEMATIC CONFUSION


The cover of a German DVD set with HERCULES AND THE PRINCESS OF TROY, HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS and SLAVE QUEEN OF BABYLON. The name for this DVD set, HELDEN DER SCHLACHTFELDER, translates as HEROES OF THE BATTLEFIELDS. Eye-catching cover but it has very little to do with the movies from this set. Confusing. 

I'm thinking of buying the set only for HERCULES AND THE PRINCESS OF TROY. I wonder if the copy from this set is good.



THE MIGHTY URSUS IN HD


I wrote about THE TROJAN HORSE being available on Amazon Prime Canada in widescreen and in English on Tuesday. Also available on Amazon Prime Canada is an HD version of THE MIGHTY URSUS but in French, called LA FUREUR D'HERCULE. And it's a pretty darn good copy at that. I wrote about it at BY THE GODS!



IDENTIFY THE MOVIE!


Can you identify the movie from this screenshot?


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Coming soon:

Joan Crawford as Cleopatra?




Thursday, September 30, 2021

By the Gods!


Alfio Caltabiano in SEVEN FROM THEBES (1964)

Alfio's best performance in a PEPLUM movie. The stuntman - stunt choreographer acted as well and this is by far his best role. He makes the movie. He's so bad. The movie itself is a serious PEPLUM. I like it even if it has a dour tone and most of the cast are unknowns. I have two copies of this: the Sinister Cinema one (screenshot taken from it) in English, and one in widescreen and better colours but in Italian only and  the resolution is low. This definitely needs an upgrade, in English.



Lobby Cards Set: HERCULES, SAMSON AND ULYSSES


Original US lobby cards set of HERCULES, SAMSON AND ULYSSES (1963 Italy; 1965 US) starring Kirk Morris, Moira Orfei and Iloosh Khoshabe. Good set. It has many memorable scenes. Unfortunately, the printing is terrible and colourized black and white photos look garish. But good set nonetheless. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

HD Alert!


 Steve Reeves, as Aeneas, in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961) 

Amazon Prime in Canada has this movie. It doesn't say if it's in HD or SD but from looking at the image, it's higher than standard definition. The image itself is not too clear because one can't take screenshots of movies or tv shows on Amazon (or at least from my computer) so this image was taken from my phone. This is the best English version of this film yet. Runtime: 99 minutes. It's the only Steve Reeves movie at Amazon Prime Canada.   


PEPLUM Books

More books from my library*. Two of these books are in French which, I know, not everyone can read but since I can I'll give you an idea of what they are.

Posted at the permanent page: PEPLUM Books

DICTIONNAIRE DU PEPLUM by Claude Aziza

 

Good:

- Excellent print material
- Beautiful typeface
- Batch of photos in the centre of the book. Nearly all Hollywood productions. Almost all in color.

Bad:

- Insulting book
- Hollywood-centric
- Inadequate in every way
- Author starts by stating he hates PEPLUM movies

Great idea. Terrible execution. This fellow's idea of the PEPLUM is a joke. He's only someone who has connections in France and got this idea and proceeded to make a mockery of the genre. Some of the stuff I've read in this dictionary boggles the mind. The author thinks he's a 'enfant terrible' and everything is beneath him, well, except for Hollywood movies. I was thinking of doing a dictionary of the genre before buying this. The idea is cool. Unfortunately, this is not it. Someone who doesn't know anything about the genre and reads this first won't be more informed after reading it. I'll have a full review of it soon.


 



LE PEPLUM by Christophe Champclaux and Linda Tahir Meriau

Good:

- Photos, photos, photos
- Easy to read
- More of general overview of the genre than anything else

Bad:

- Too many photos
- Bland
- Authors are not really PEPLUM fans

If you're someone like me, this book is pointless. If you know nothing about the genre though, this is a fun introduction. This book reminded me of the FANTASTIC FIFTIES magazine reviewed previously. It's mostly big photos with generic writing on the genre. The authors have written and published several books on other genres, which told me they weren't really interested in these kind of films. They do have Michel Eloy participate in it, who is a fan of the genre and runs a website on the PEPLUM genre. 


*Note: I didn't buy the book. A friend took photos of every page, which I read. I'm glad I didn't buy it. 



DESCENDED FROM HERCULES by Robert A. Rushing


This review is not like the others I've written before since this book is more of a critique of the genre than a listing of movies, actors, etc. It's academic in nature and very much serious. It's not just a historical overview of PEPLUM movies but a deconstruction of the entire genre, including topics like the hero's skin. The author admits researching and writing the book, his friends 'tolerated' his 'obsession' with these movies. I'm thinking, "I won't expect much of this" and I was right. The author goes over the muscle men, bodies and even skin of heroes in PEPLUM movies. Okay...but do they actually like these movies? The fact that the author wrote pages and pages about the hero's skin and used VENGEANCE OF URSUS as an example and not MACISTE IN HELL (1962) starring Kirk Morris as an example shows the author has no clue of what he's talking about. If there's one more which perfectly exemplifies the use of the hero's physique or skin, it's MACISTE IN HELL. 

There are many of these types of 'academic' books and for me they are totally perplexing. Who are these people? I started the blog in 2010. I've had Youtube channels with PEPLUM movies since 2007. I have tons of contacts of fans and people interested in the genre and yet all of the authors of these types of books are nowhere to be seen. The author lists a number of people who helped him on the subject and oddly enough few of them seem to be interested in the PEPLUM genre. In one line, the author wrote: 

"Anonymous readers and staff at 'Cinema Journal' gave amazing suggestions, as did Amanda Klein and Barton Palmer, editors of 'Multiplicities: Cycles, Sequels, Remakes, and Reboots in Film and Television,' who helped me think through how to give an overview of Peplum history."

I'm like "what?" The author clearly wasn't a fan of the genre if he needed this from 'anonymous readers'  or people with no prior history of covering the PEPLUM genre. BTW, the actual title is "Cycles, Sequels, Spin-Offs, Remakes, and Reboots: Multiplicities in Film and Television."

I'm confused by these 'academic' books. Are they really interested in PEPLUM movies, are they fans or are they someone who's connected and found an easy subject to write about, a subject few people know about and can't critique them correctly since only a handful people out there, like me, know something about the subject. After reading this book and the MACISTE one (both printed by Indiana University Press), I believe it's the latter. 


Monday, September 27, 2021

By the Gods!


Cleopatra (Virginia Mayo) is about to poison her brother (Bart Mattson) in THE STORY OF MANKIND (1957)

Describing this movie as unusual would be an understatement. Seemingly everyone from Hollywood appeared in it, including the Marx Brothers. But their roles amount mostly to nothing more than cameos. How come Virginia looked much younger here than in THE SILVER CHALICE (1954), made a few years prior to this? Vincent Price starred and narrated. Directed by Irwin Allen! Based on an award winning children's book.
 Big crowd scenes from other movies, including LAND OF THE PHARAOHS (1955), were used.

PEPLUM Movie Poster


Japanese poster for THE FALL OF ROME (1963) 

Another striking poster from Japan. Love it! 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Image of the week!


Roccia (Dan Vadis) is killed at the end of THE TEN GLADIATORS (1963), with Jose Greci and the other gladiators surrounding him. Two more movies were made after this...with Vadis as Roccia

At the movies...


Giant cinema publicity for THE GIANT OF MARATHON at the Nakasu Taiyo Eiga Gekijo theater in Fukuoka City, Japan, Thanks to Shingo Nishimura for identifying the theater.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

By the Gods!


Mark Forest and Dan Vadis duke it out in COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA (1962)

This fight between the two American actors / bodybuilders is long and extensive. It's typical for a boisterous Michele Lupo movie. You'd think this match up between these two big guys would have been considered a classic and yet it's not. I think this scene could have been up there as one of the best in the genre but some things about it don't work, including the actors' terrible haircuts. Vadis looks like Gilligan from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. Same thing happened to him in THE TEN GLADIATORS (1963). And his clothes make him look like he's wearing a big diaper. Unflattering. It had potential to be a classic scene but other scenes top it. Vadis always did his own stunts because the Italian film companies couldn't find a stuntman as tall and as muscular as he was. The use of a stuntman for Mark is quite obvious in this scene, another reason why it's problematic even though it still fun to watch. 

Behind-the-Scenes


Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd have fun riding a vespa and a bike on the set of BEN-HUR (1959), shot in Italy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

SPFX DEPT.


The Minoton slides a stone out from of a pyramid in SINBAD & THE EYE OF THE TIGER (1977)

Along with the skeletons and Talos in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, the Hindu statue in THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973), the Medusa in CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981), the Minoton was one of Ray Harryhausen's greatest animated creations. The cool thing about the Minoton is that he's seen throughout the movie. He's not in one scene and that's it. The Minoton was also seen in pratical effects, with a man geared in a full size golden costume but for most of the time, the tall living satue is seen in Dynamation.