Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo of the Day

Vincent Price torments Giulia Rubini in RAGE OF THE BUCCANEERS (aka Gordon the Black Pirate)

Vincent made this film straight after NEFERTITI - QUEEN OF THE NILE, another Italian production. Like so many of his performances, every time he's on screen he always steals the show.

Pietro Francisci's Films: Life's a Beach

Classic beach scene from HERCULES (1958): Hercules tries to revive Iole

This scene is from HERCULES UNCHAINED. It's a beautiful moment. If it doesn't ring a bell it's probably because it has been cut from most versions out there: Penelope listens to a sea shell, waiting for Ulysses' return. While some might say that the scene doesn't add anything important to the story imo it shouldn't have been cut since it's sweet and a typical Francisci touch.



Above & below: From HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES

THE TRAMPLERS Trailer starring Gordon Scott

I've rarely posted stuff from Spaghetti Westerns on this blog even though most stars from the PEPLUM genre transitioned into Spag Westerns when the PEPLUM genre died a quick death. Here's the Italian trailer for THE TRAMPLERS starring Gordon Scott. Action packed and full of quick edits.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Photo of the Day

Slave Eunice (Marina Berti) practices her love for Petronius with the bust of his likeness (modelled after Leo Genn) in QUO VADIS (1951)

I always wondered what exactly director Mervyn LeRoy tried to achieve with this scene. I believe it was meant to be a sweet scene but with Petronius and others being completely clueless about the slave's feelings at that point in the story, even joking about her, it might come across as someone desperate or even silly to some. Regardless, it's a memorable scene, certainly considering it happens just after Marcus' triumphant and spectacular march in Rome.

Pulp PEP

Always love these vintage PEPLUM-inspired pulp novels

Pietro Francisci's Films: Ships!

Ships, ships, ships! Pietro Francisci's films almost always had a ship or two or a bunch in them. Most were models and were beautifully rendered. PEPLUM films being a close cousin to Swashbucklers, it's not surprising that they're often featured with sea-faring heroes like Jason or Sinbad.







Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photo of the Day

Brent Huff is ravished by a bunch of naked women while Bernadette Lafont watches on in GWENDOLINE (or the Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of Yik Yak)

In the background are a bunch of gladiatrices/chariot pullers waiting for action. Not that different from THOR & THE AMAZON WOMEN but the beginning is more RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Many people hate this film while some, like me, enjoy it even if it's not great art.


ARELATE is a Franco-Belge comic book based in the Arles region of southern France where there's a Roman arena for gladiatorial action. Arles also hosts a PEPLUM festival every year (see here) which takes place in that arena (I believe). Not too familiar with this one but looks interesting. The French really love their PEPLUM.

Pietro Francisci's Films: Wagons and chariots!

Continuing with the special details found in the films of Pietro Francisci, one of the first thing that popped out from his films was his adoration of filming long dialogue filled scenes which take place on a moving chariot or covered wagon. No other PEPLUM director created elaborate scenes like these.  These scenes are very tricky: mostly filmed in studios, the illusion of movement and the outdoors have to be recreated but most directors wouldn't bother with all the trouble except for Francisci who obviously loved the theatricality or quaint aspects of such scenes and he had one in all of his PEPLUM films. It's uniquely Francisci, whom I believed looked at these as some sort of fetish. I love watching these scenes.

From THE QUEEN OF SHEBA: Prince Rehoboam (Gino Leurini) tries to seduce Balkis (Leonora Ruffo) as they both ride on a chariot towards her Kingdom. Beautiful scene. Very dreamy.

Sophia Loren rides a horse-drawn wagon in ATTILA; probably the shortest scene of the bunch but it's still present. Lotsa eh jewellery jiggling. 

From ROLAND THE MIGHTY: Aude (Lorella De Luca) rides a covered wagon with a man playing a lute for her. In the background we see soldiers on horseback following the wagon.

From HERCULES (1958). One of the few scenes actually shot outside: Hercules (Steve Reeves) and Iole (Sylva Koscina) fall madly in love during this chariot ride.

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Probably the most famous of such scenes from a Pietro Francisci film: Hercules (Reeves) is teased by Iole (Koscina) and Ulysses (Gabriele Antonini) in HERCULES UNCHAINED. Classic scene, which lasts several minutes.

Iole (Koscina) sings Evening Star from HERCULES UNCHAINED. Ulysses (Antonini) enjoys the melody. Nice scene. Again, there's a dreamy quality to it.

One of the few scenes not filmed in a studio: Castor (Willy Colombini), Laertes (Andrea Fantasia) and Pollux (Fulvio Carrara) ride a fast chariot as they gather all the men to rescue Hercules in HERCULES UNCHAINED.

Gorgia (Enrico Maria Salerno) tries to convince Diana (Tina Louise) of his lust love for her in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE. This scene lasts several minutes. I love it. 

Screenshot from SIEGE OF SYRACUSE. A brief scene of Archimedes (Rossano Brazzi) riding a chariot with Tiresias (Walter Grant). Instead of trees moving in the background, we see leaves flowing around them to create the illusion of movement. 

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Tina Louise, as Sappho, whips her horses during a chariot race. Love this scene. From SAPPHO - VENUS OF LESBOS.

Above & below: And last, but not least, in what's probably the most over-the-top wagon/chariot sequence from any Francisci film, Hercules (Kirk Morris) and Delilah (Liana Orfei) have a nice little chit chat while they're moving along towards action. The maidens in the back are cooking or playing music. Talk about luxury. From HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo of the Day

Amal (Ricardo Montalban) listens to what Semiramis (Rhonda Fleming) did in order to save his life in QUEEN OF BABYLON

This image doesn't do Rhonda justice. Some weird coloring and image processing going on here. Ricardo's unique voice was dubbed by someone else which is a bit difficult to take but overall, a fun film.

BEN-HUR for the modern age

OK, this is an old newspaper article so modern age wouldn't be exact way to describe it but those motorcycles still look awesome today.

Pietro Francisci's films: Shepherds & pan flute

A shepherd plays the pan flute in HERCULES (1958). This is the very first image from the film.

Yesterday, I made a video montage of maidens or Ladies-in-Waiting from PEPLUM master Pietro Francisci's films. Every day of this week I'll post some fun aspects of his films that many might not know. Today, 3 of his films start with shepherds or fisherman and pan flutes. All of his films should have started this way.

In SIEGE OF SYRACUSE, at the very start of the film we see a shepherd disturbed by the two soldiers on horseback. The shepherd is not playing a pan flute but it's probably in his pocket.

Again, the very first image in HERCULES, SAMSON & ULYSSES is Mario Novelli playing the pan flute. He's not a shepherd but a fisherman (or shepherds of the sea). The entire beginning was removed for the US version but this is how the film was intended to start in Francisci's original Italian cut. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Photo of the Day

Both Atahualpa (Christopher Plummer) and Francisco Pizarro (Robert Shaw) get to know each other in THE ROYAL HUNT OF THE SUN

I haven't seen this film even though I've heard a lot about it (mostly bad ie campy). Based on a popular play.

(I'm still pretty much sick but I'm able to stare at the computer screen without everything getting blurry. There's nothing worse than a cold in the's really hot outside and with a burning fever = feeling of death)

Movie Poster Mondays

German poster for ALONE AGAINST ROME

Hmm...what can I say about this poster? She doesn't look like Rossana one bit and there's chariot race in the film, or like how it's portrayed in the artwork. And Lang Jeffries' name is incorrect. The poster is not bad it's just that it's not about the film at all.

Running maidens/Ladies-in-Waiting in the films of Pietro Francisci

A signature aspect in Pietro Francisci's films: we see a group of maidens or Ladies-in-Wainting running away or strutting with their ruler. This is just one of the many signature details in his films which makes them fun.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

No posts for Sunday

I'm slightly under the weather (with a summer cold) so I won't be posting anything today.

I should be back tomorrow or soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Photo of the Day

Queen Smedes (Chelo Alonso) has special intentions for Maciste (Mark Forest) in SON OF SAMSON

Classic scene from a classic PEPLUM

Who wore it best?


The Colossus of Barletta

Impressive statue in the city of Barletta in Italy.

From Wikipedia: 

The statue reportedly washed up on a shore, after a Venetian ship sank returning from the sack of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204, but it is not impossible that the statue was sent to the West much earlier. The identity of the Emperor is uncertain.

Imagine finding such a statue while walking on some shore.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo of the Day

Merit (Jean Simmons) and Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom) share a meal and philosophical musings in THE EGYPTIAN

"The grave is the only cure for our vileness."

Not your usual Hollywood epic.