Friday, May 31, 2013
I just created a new Fan Dub of this film (I've been on a roll) and yes I'll be playing it on PEPLUM TV. While making the Fan Dub I was surprised by how simple the storyline is. If your brain sweats while watching this you'll need psychiatric help 'cause it's very black & white simple. The film is not bad. In fact it's pretty good but I just wished the script was more elaborate. Production design is good but the costume steal the show. They're excellent, for both women and men.
Some PEPLUM stuff in Japan.
Japanese poster for HERCULES UNCHAINED. Fantastic poster.
Japanese poster for SON OF SAMSON
Recent artwork on gladiator action. Great stuff.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Luisella Boni is being programmed into submission with hypnotism in FURY OF HERCULES
I made a Fan Dub of this film. The US copy is horrible so a Fan Dub was in order. This film is not as good as SAMSON, which is almost identical in every aspect except for a polished final film. FURY OF HERCULES feels like they collected scraps of footage left on the cutting room floor from SAMSON and they strung up a film together. It's amazing that you can have the same team, crew, actors, etc, and have two films end up being so different in quality. It's watchable and there are some good moments here and there but there are several truly terrible sequences in it, mostly to do with a myriad number of poorly scripted and acted subplots including this one about people being hypnotized into slaves for the villains' nefarious evil plots.
I was thinking of doing a special PEPLUM edit and delete most of these scenes (mostly of people crying, confused or dying) out of it which I might do later on. The film will be very short. Also, as in SAMSON, Alan Steel has a supporting role and though he wears a snazzy uniform he's sorta wasted in it. His role and presence is so much better in SAMSON.
I'm going to play this on PEPLUM TV this Saturday, including a couple of other Fan Dubs and Fan Subs I completely this week!
When the iPad tablet was introduced folks had a field day comparing the new tablets to those Moses carried from Mount Sinai. If you google tablet + Moses, you'll see many mock images, including many portraying the late Steve Jobs as Moses.
PEPLUM star Harry Baird, who starred in two TAUR/THOR films, went on to star in the short-lived sci-fi TV series UFO in 1970. He was one of the interceptors on the moonbase. As opposed to the two Italian-made films you can hear his real voice in the series.
Harry in TAUR THE MIGHTY costarring Joe Robinson
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Bill Cord is given a lei by Lisa Montell as Don Durant looks on in SHE GODS OF SHARK REEF
This is a screenshot from the film's trailer which is in amazing quality compared to the quality of the film itself available out there, on DVD or the internet. Because it's in the public domain the chance of the film getting this rejuvenation treatment is unlikely but would be great. Roger Corman directed this film and he says it's one of his favorite films. It took two weeks to film and the Hawaiian location was a dream location. I posted this at PEPLUM X.
Variations of the same prop, first seen in COLOSSUS OF RHODES (two first images), were later seen in many other PEPLUM films. There are two types. Obvious alterations were made to them but it's from the same mold.
Above & below : URSUS & THE LAND OF FIRE
TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS
LOST TREASURE OF THE AZTECS featured both variations, the big one on the top left and also on the wall on the right next to Alan Steel.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Eve (Christiane Martel) and Adam (Carlos Baena) are tempted by an apple in ADAN Y EVA (or Adam & Eve).
Made in 1956 in Mexico. What's with Mexicans and Adam & Eve films? Seriously, though this murky image can't really show it but Christiane, a French model, is quite beautiful from certain angles. I posted a shot at PEPLUM X. As for Carlos well he's no Jorge Rivero.
It's amazing that King Pelias is still with us! He's 89 years old and was still acting up until 2009. Now I'd love to interview him. He must have tons of cool stories and information.
New dramatic TV series from the History channel. As long as it doesn't include cgi blood flying everywhere I would watch something like this.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Gladiators salute Valentiniano III (Roldano Lupi) in REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS
Not to be confused with another film with the same English title starring Gordon Mitchell and Roger Browne. This one stars Mickey hargitay, José Greci and a couple of well known actors stuntmen like Giovanni Cianfriglia (second from the left) and Benito Stefanelli. The interesting thing about this seldom seen film are the gladiators pictured here known as The Invincible Six. This group of gladiators is just one of many which became popular in PEPLUM films in the early 1969s after GLADIATOR OF ROME (see a few posts below), like THE TEN GLADIATORS, GLADIATOR 7, THE SECRET SEVEN, etc. I played this film last Saturday when during GLADIATOR day. Did you watch it? The ratings were good and I'll definitely do another all Gladiator day in the near future. Who doesn't like gladiators!?!
Sunday, May 26, 2013
There's almost an identical scene (or I should say shot) in SPARTACUS with Peter Ustinov looking down at Spartacus and Varinia who are about to make love. The difference here is...well...we almost get a great view of what Anthony Steffen is made off (thank god they didn't do this with Ustinov!). I'm thinking director Robert Aldrich tried to be shocking (for that period) as every time I see this shot it stands out, for better or for worse.
That film was, like the mythical twin cities themselves, doomed from the start. For me the end product is disappointingly not very Gomorrah-like. I don't find it shocking in any way whatsoever. In fact, it's at times more corny than anything else. But I'm sure Aldrich, with his kinky tendencies (see THE LEGEND OF LYLAH CLARE...), wanted to go further but in 1962 there was so much one could show before being censored.
And here's the thing, the audience for this BIBLICAL film were Christians or Catholics, not necessarily the type to see some tawdry 2 hour long film. It basically was in a lose-lose situation which is why the $7 million film wasn't a hit (except in the UK). Critics savaged it (tacky is the word they used to describe it) and even composer Miklos Rozsa hated it. Part of the criticism was probably in part due to the fact that this was a Franco-Italian production via Titanus studios. The film is a real who's who of PEPLUM stars.
Now if Cecil B deMille had directed this it would have been equal parts staggering pseudo religious mumbo jumbo AND a definitive orgiastic masterpiece with the sinners getting their spectacular comeuppance. deMille took his orgies and sinners seriously.
Saturday, May 25, 2013
I'm currently working on a Fan Dub of this film. The copy I have in English is simply unwatchable but fortunately the sound is ok. When I watched the terrible copy I didn't realize how beautiful Wandisa was in this film due to the terrible image quality. This screenshot is from the official DVD and she's simply luminous.
Wandisa is a wonderful and expressive actress. During the late 1950s, Wandisa's career was heading towards major Hollywood productions but something happened during the early 60s and her career didn't catch fire as it should have. Her appearances after making this film shows some strain. She's also often saddled with awful wigs (see GLADIATOR OF ROME as example) but here she's fine.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Gordon Scott riles up his gladiators in GLADIATOR OF ROME
Notes from this film:
- I finished a FAN DUB of this film, which I've listed as one of the worst PEPLUM films ever. Looking at it now, after working on the Fan Dub, I still think it's poor BUT it's mostly poor because of the poor or uninspired direction and a clunker of a script. There are worst PEPLUM films out there but as one made during the Golden Era, it's fairly average. And there's so much talking in it.
I'll be playing this Fan Dub tomorrow, Saturday May 25, on PEPLUM TV.
- Gordon Scott is in top shape.
- In the screenshot above, Gordon Scott pats his tiny tunic down (after crouching down). It's surprising this scene made it in the final cut but Italians didn't seem to care back then but it looks like Gordon is feeling himself up.
- Gordon's love interest is not Wandisa but Ombretta. I wished it was Wandisa instead. Wandisa is attached to Roberto Risso who, though fit (he has a gratuitous shirtless scene), is an unlikely PEPLUM star.
- Wandisa's hair is a hot mess in this.
- The screenplay is very convoluted even if the basis of the storyline is quite simple.
- The screenplay is repetitive: Gordon's character is nearly killed or maimed twice but stopped by order of generals who admire his fighting skills and physique. This happens twice by two different officers. Gordon gets captured three times : by net, surrounded by multiple soldiers holding spears and slightly wounded to the abdomen.
- The icon for my blog or Youtube channel or Facebook page is taken from this film: Gordon on a St-Andrew's Cross. This image is great and iconic but not so great for the film itself as Gordon doesn't join in in the action. It makes for a disappointing ending if you want to see Gordon fighting and in action.
- It probably has more villains in it than any other film from the genre.
- The film starts with veteran PEPLUM star (and villain) Piero Lulli, who only has a supporting role.
- The Italian cast is AMAZING. It's a virtual who's who of the PEPLUM genre. In addition to Gordon Scott, look who else is in this film:
And as the gladiators:
Pietro Ceccarelli (bald fellow in top picture)
Nello Pazzafini (behind Gordon in top picture)
AND uncredited are Umberto Silvestri, as the gladiator trainer, and Claudio Scarchilli, as one of the gladiators, the bearded fellow on the left in the picture above.
So this film is worth seeing just for the great PEPLUM cast. But with such a cast you'd think the result would have been greater.
- Spoiler: The scene in the screenshot is one of the best because the Annoying Sidekick just died....yeah!!!
- According to IMDB, this film came out in Italy on the same day as COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA, which also stars many of the gladiators listed above.
- Even though it's not sold as such, I think this was the first film of the genre to utilize the TEN GLADIATORS motif: a bunch of rowdy gladiators forming an allegiance to fight the bad guys. Those red tunics were re-used in future films.
- This film is one of those which belong to the Cinematic Confusion file: It's sometimes listed as GLADIATOR OF ROME or GLADIATORS OF ROME. It's also confusing or misleading title since the story is not set in Rome and the gladiators or Gordon Scott never fight in Rome.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The quintessential cliché in a PEPLUM film: orgies or pagan feasts. These scenes were big draws back in the day. They even mentioned these moments on their movie posters. I posted most of these at PEPLUM X yesterday but thought it was too good not to post it here.
Reposted at the PEPLUM Clichés page
Reposted at the PEPLUM Clichés page
A devilish looking orgy from HELEN OF TROY (1956)
A civilized feast in ALEXANDER THE GREAT; Danielle Darrieux is courted by handsome suitors
The wild feast/orgy in JULIUS CAESAR AGAINST THE PIRATES
The boring and sedated orgy in CONAN THE BARBARIAN
Gina Lollobrigida provides some excitement during a ritualistic feast in SOLOMON & SHEBA
An orgy in THE LAST ROMAN
PEPLUM star Isabelle Corey's first appearance in front of a camera. Isabelle's film career lasted 5 years but she appeared in several PEPLUM films including APHRODITE GODDESS OF LOVE, HEAD OF A TYRANT and THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Titra studios were a big post production sound studio (in New York city, as the credits says) and one can see their name on certain films. Not all PEPLUM films were dubbed by them. There were different studios, including many in Italy, but Titra dubbed big titles like GOLIATH & THE SINS OF BABYLON (above) and GOLIATH VS THE DRAGON (below).
"Titra Sound studios is an American dubbing studio. The studio was responsible for dubbing numerous foreign films, including Mothra vs. Godzilla 1964 as well as the Speed Racer cartoon series (produced in Japan) and the original Ultraman TV series.
Among the many actors who worked for the studio were Peter Fernandez and the future Barney Miller star Hal Linden."