Photo of the Day

Frank Gordon as Hercules in the comedy MACISTE AGAINST HERCULES IN THE VALE OF WOE

No one knows who Frank Gordon is. He's most likely Italian but there's no info about who this bodybuilder (?) is. This is his only film. A real mystery.

9 comments:

S.R.Orsulak said...

The soldier at the left of the screen has his shield upside down. Do you think this was on purpose or part of the comedy?

PEPLUM cinema said...

I think it's an accident.

Pat Powers said...

This image points out something I have noticed happens rather regularly in peplum: the male leads appear throughout the movie in little more than leather diapers, while the female leads, and indeed the entire female cast, appears dressed in flowing grounds that hid a great deal of their bodies. There are exceptions, of course, but mostly this is the case, from the peplum I've seen.

I ascribe this phenomenon to an awareness on the part of the directors that censors of the time were insensitive to male nudity, so long as the butt and groin were covered, but VERY sensitive to female nudity. However, women were appearing scantily dressed in American films ... I'm reminded of the almost naked dancer in "Cleopatra" from 1963. So I could be wrong. You guys know the field much better than me, what's your opinion?

Pat Powers said...

er, that should be "flowing gowns" in my post above.

PEPLUM cinema said...

You have to remember that most of these films were made during the PEPLUM explosion also known as Musclemen movies. Filmmakers needed to showcase as much muscles as possible to attract audiences, including kids who enjoyed big burly guys. Muscles were big back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was all new to them. It was a selling point.

Just the inclusion of John Gavin in Stanley Kubrick's SPARTACUS shows how much beefcake was a major selling point back then. His role is totally unimportant and yet he's barechested through a good portion of the film.

But the films have to reflect the reality of when the story takes place and historically, men wore very little or much less than what they were in those films. Gladiators were often almost naked except for shields and stuff. Today, aside from the SPARTACUS TV series, you won't find a lot of near naked gladiators in today's Hollywood films. 300 is the exception because it was based on the comic book's vision which had the Spartans wear next to nothing but they're not gladiators. Russell Crowe was almost covered from head to toe in GLADIATOR, which is not historically accurate. Every drawing, painting, sculptures made in Ancient times depict gladiators as wearing next to nothing.

But historically speaking, women wore more back then than men. Women had to cover up. They had to be chaste. It's as simple as that.

So if you see a movie that takes place in Ancient times and the men are wearing clothes from head to toe and the women are scantily clad, it's inaccurate and only reflects the director's or producer's lusty vision, not that there's anything wrong with that but the Sword & Sandal genre almost always had barechested men or men wearing next to nothing. Check the PEPLUM introduction link on the left to give you an idea.

Pat Powers said...

I haven't particularly noticed historical verisimilitude being important in peplum. A few films maybe, you get a range from "Fury of Achilles" to "Thor vs. the Amazon Women" kinda thing.

Pat Powers said...

That IS an important point about musclemen being a new element in film of the time, I'll have to think on that for a bit. Thanks!

ToRo said...

I have a copy of this movie... it can't be taken seriously. There's a scene where Hercules battles the most anemic, frail looking Minotaur I've ever seen. The comment made by the principal characters made you aware how awful this film was.

PEPLUM cinema said...

It's a comedy about 2 modern men traveling to Ancient Greece so of course it can't be taken seriously. :-)