Wednesday, August 16, 2017

By the Gods!

Cameron Mitchell and Isabelle Corey in THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS (1961)

This is the ending to the film. A very entertaining movie. There were a bunch of Viking films made during this period and this is one of the best. Fighting scenes from this were also re-used in THE NORMANS. Mitchell made tons of films in Europe. As for Isabelle, her career lasted about 5 years before retiring from acting.

Behind-the-Scenes

Stanley Baker and Anouk Aimee wait for a scene to be ready while filming SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

By the Gods!

Mark Forest as Maciste in MACISTE VS THE MOLE MEN (1961 ; also known as The Strongest Man in the World or Mole Men against the Son of Hercules)

This movie is over-the-top, and that's a good thing. PEPLUM films of the Golden Era were often too timid in going for the startling stuff, well, not this film. There are at least a dozen starling scenes in this odd entry of the genre. The first time I saw this (with a bad copy), I thought to myself, 'Are they serious?' but now after seeing practically every movie made during that period, my admiration for it has skyrocketed. It's definitely Mark's 'crowning' achievement. I give it a ten out of ten. Full movie coming soon to PEPLUM TV.


‘Little Pompeii’ newly discovered in France

Archaeologists working in France have uncovered the remarkable remains of a Roman town from the first century A.D. during an excavation along the Rhone river near Lyon. Their finds are so pristine, in fact, that experts are calling the site a “Little Pompeii,” in reference to another more famous Roman-era city which was preserved like a time capsule beneath layers of volcanic ash after a historic eruption from Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

This newly discovered residential and commercial complex, which was abandoned after a series of fires in the fourth century, is the once bustling city of Vienne, a notable stop along the route between Northern Gaul and the Roman empire in Southern France’s Gallia Narbonesis.

“We’re unbelievably lucky. This is undoubtedly the most exceptional excavation of a Roman site in 40 or 50 years,” archaeologist Benjamin Clement told the Guardian.

More at the site : Observer



Monday, August 14, 2017

By the Gods!

Cesare Borgia (Cameron Mitchell) dictates his will in front of his 'friends' during a banquet in THE BLACK DUKE (1963)

The cast from left to right : Maria Grazia Spina (back to us), Silvio Bagolini, Dina De Santis and Conrado San Martín. I finally got this rare film on DVD, and in English no less, even though my purchase was problematic, to say the least (more on this in a post tomorrow). The cast is a virtual smorgasbord of PEPLUM actors. It's a fun movie, different than the usual stuff. More about Cesare trying to foil his enemies' plans with intelligence and cunning than action. There are action scenes but it's more dialogue than anything else. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised by this production, and Mitchell gives an excellent performance. The story has a sardonic tone to it which I enjoyed.

Movie Poster Mondays

US poster for the Italian film QUO VADIS? (1912)

This poster is registered in the year 1913. It says at the very bottom that this is to be used for cinemas in New York city, Chicago and St-Louis. In the 1951 film made by MGM, Lygia is not bound to a bull but to a post, which, imo, was wrong. This is so much more dramatic.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

By the Gods!

Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is left for dead in CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982)

One of the movies that brought on a second wave of PEPLUM films in the 1980s. They were called Sword & Sorcery but no one calls them that today. It and its sequel inspired tons of low budget movies, made in  the US and in Italy, for more than a decade. Personally, I thought it was way too slow and uninvolving. Regardless, it made a star out of Ahnuld. A sequel to the two films, called THE LEGEND OF CONAN, has been in the works for decades. It's still listed at IMDb.

Video of the week : HERCULES & THE PRINCESS OF TROY - Full movie


Full movie of Hercules & the Princess of Troy starring Gordon Scott, Diana Hyland, Gordon Mitchell and others.

Enjoy!

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Preview of the week : THE OLD TESTAMENT - Preview


Preview of The Old Testament starring Brad Harris, Mara Lane and Jacques Berthier

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Trailer of the week : HERCULES (1958) - Trailer - Steve Reeves


Old trailer for HERCULES (1958) starring Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina. Oldie but goodie.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

By the Gods!

Malik (Giovanna Galletti) assists her Queen (Anouk Aimée) from her roman litter in SODOM & GOMORRA (1962)

That's Pier Angeli and a dismounting Stanley Baker behind Anouk. The slave at her feet is uncredited. I doubt a roman litter looked like that back in the day but it makes for an entertaining presentation. It just doesn't cover enough, certainly with a scorching sun above. I also don't think roman litters were called roman litters when this story took place, just litter. The mileage on this must be very low.

Part of the PEPLUM clichés series

Behind-the-Scenes


A month or so ago I posted a screenshot of Gordon Scott battling with the monster from HERCULES AND THE PRINCESS OF TROY (1965). Here's an article on some of the behind-the-scenes action from this production. It's from Castle of Frankenstein magazine (thanks to HSC).


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

By the Gods!

Mark Forest is THE MAGNIFICENT GLADIATOR (1964)

This movie is a 'twin production' with MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964) which was released first in 1964. It's sometimes hard to tell them apart, even for me. The only big difference between those two films : SPARTA is more 'serious' and 'religious' than MAGNIFICENT. I mean, both productions have Marilù Tolo. A lot of the supporting cast is identical. The same fighting scenes appear in both movies. I personally prefer this one over SPARTA but just slightly. There are some stand-out scenes in SPARTA, including a fight between Forest and a gorilla in the Arena. Honestly, there's almost no difference between the two films but MAGNIFICENT is more sexy and breezy, not as slow. Forest's second to last film before retiring from the world of cinema.

PEPLUM Cliché : Unrequited love!

One of the biggest clichés of the PEPLUM genre is not a muscular hero heaving boulders or bending metal but that of unrequited love. I'd say nearly all films of the PEPLUM genre has this cliché or some variation of it. Since the lead is most often male, the one doing the pinning is a woman. But there are many stories were the lonely Queen is being wooed by a man who wants nothing but be her husband (and ascend to power!).

Here's just a small sample of titles with this cliché.

Posted at the permanent PEPLUM cliché page

Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom) pins for Nefer (Bella Darvi) in THE EGYPTIAN (1954)

The movie's entire story is based on the unrequited love Sinuhe has for Nefer, who leads him to spiritual and financial disaster. Purdom also starred in THE PRODIGAL (1955), another story of a man abandoning everything for a woman.

Astra (Gianna Maria Canale) wants Goliath (Gordon Scott ; Maciste in original) in GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961)

In one of the most intense and sometimes bizarre 'love' story, the human side of the often evil Astra shines through with her adoration for Goliath.

Kirk Morris and Hélène Chanel in MACISTE IN HELL (1962)

Almost all of Kirk's films has a woman pinning for him while he remains aloof and distant.

Cameron Mitchell and Franca in THE NORMANS (1962)

Mitchell's character is after the Queen, who keeps her distance.

Queen Smedes (Chelo Alonso) pines for Maciste (Mark Forest) in SON OF SAMSON (1960)

The Queen wants Maciste and though he briefly enjoys her company, they never live together happily ever after.

Anne Baxter and Charlton Heston in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)

"Oh Moses, Moses!" says Nefretiri as she longs for Moses' love but he wants nothing to do with her. Classic example of this popular cliché.

Monday, August 7, 2017

By the Gods!

Leonora Ruffo, Gordon Scott and Jacques Sernas are victorious in GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961)

The ending to this popular PEPLUM film : is it really good? Everyone is dead except for these three. This includes Goliath's entire village. There's something oddly sad about this ending. Yes, Kobrak has been defeated but at what price? Still this is one of the most popular title of the genre. Even those (many) who don't like PEPLUM films like this one.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of THARUS - SON OF ATTILA (1962)

Great poster. Captures the movie's climax.

Friday, July 28, 2017

By the Gods!


I'm taking some time off. I'll leave you now with King Leonidas (Richard Egan) from THE 300 SPARTANS (1962), saying "From this wall, we do not retreat!"

I'll be back soon enough

PS : If any PEPLUM star die while I'm away, R.I.P..


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In the past 2 months or so the PEPLUM TV channel gained over 4.5 million views!!! And gained well over 5 thousand new subscribers!

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

By the Gods!

Maciste (Kirk Morris) is put to the test in MACISTE AGAINST THE CZAR (1964 ; Atlas against the Czar)

Fun film with Morris in top form. This is one of many time Kirk played Maciste, the mysterious and timeless Angel-like man with super powers. The way Maciste is introduced in this film is great and unique. There are a lot of memorable scenes, including the moment from this screenshot. My only problem with it is that there's some obvious padding here and there but it's a minor gripe over an overall entertaining film. If everything works out as planned (i.e. copyright), I will be uploading this on PEPLUM TV. So support the channel!


Video of the week : SAMSON AGAINST THE SHEIK - Full movie


Full movie of 'Samson against the Sheik' (or Maciste against the Sheik) starring Ed Fury, Erno Crisa, Piero Lulli and Mara Berni

Enjoy!

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A QUEEN FOR CAESAR - Full movie


Full movie of 'A Queen For Caesar' starring Pascale Petit, Gordon Scott and others.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

By the Gods!

Enzo Fiermonte and Steve Reeves, as Randus, in SON OF SPARTACUS (1962)

I like this film. It's the best from future Spaghetti Western director, Sergio Corbucci. I've already stated my reservations for this film (mainly that the ending is a letdown) but in this photo, there's another pet peeve : Steve is a bit too clean cut here. He should have had some stubble or looked a bit more disheveled. It's sometimes hard to see him as a desert warrior of sorts. As for Enzo, he was a regular actor of the genre. He appeared in many films, including the Ten Gladiators series. Good actor.

Behind-the-Scenes

Tyrone Power, Gina Lollobrigida and director King Vidor discuss a scene during the filming of SOLOMON & SHEBA (1959).

Power would have been such a great Solomon but he died during production and Yul Brynner replaced him.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

By the Gods!

Ivan Rassimov as Sandokan in LE TIGRI DI MOMPRACEM (1970)

The Sandokan series of films started with Steve Reeves playing the titular character. Several different actors played Sandokan, including Ray Danton and Kabir Bedi. For me, the question is : how does one go from Steve Reeves to Ivan? The two men couldn't be more different. That's Andrea Bosic on the left. Andrea was also in the two Reeves versions. This movie wasn't translated into English. Any English subs out there?

Then & Now : Geneviève Bujold

Geneviève as Cleopatra in a TV production of CAESAR & CLEOPATRA (1976) ; a recent photo of Geneviève

Monday, July 24, 2017

By the Gods!

Two men are reproached by Abraham after fighting with each other (in mud) in JACOB - THE MAN WHO FOUGHT WITH GOD (1963)

Now this scene might not seem to be that interesting but it is. First, this mud wrestling scene is totally out of character with the rest of the film, which is pretty tame (there's a surprisingly good number of mud wrestling scenes in PEPLUM films). Second, the actor on the right is Salvatore Borghese, who's not listed anywhere, in the film's credits or at IMDb. Salvatore, or simply Sal Borgese, was one of the TEN GLADIATORS, Nino the mute. He's a very physical actor (does his own stunts, etc), so it's no surprise he showed up in this scene. And third, the fellow on the left might be Emilio Messina, also from the TEN GLADIATORS film, amongst other films. It's difficult to say as he's covered in mud and initially, when he starts the fight, we only see him from a distance. If it's Emilio, he's also not credited. This is odd because the actors who played lead roles in these Marcello Baldi films are less familiar than these PEPLUM actors.

An extra note, a PEPLUM friend, Alan, sent me what appeared to be different versions of this film. 6 movie files in total. I studied then and sorted them out and figured out the differences between versions. It was quite a challenge. This movie was re-edited with other films from a set of Biblical films directed by Baldi. The first film, I PATRIARCHI (1963), then JACOB - THE MAN WHO FOUGHT WITH GOD (1963). SAUL & DAVID (1964) and finally, THE GREAT LEADERS OF THE BIBLE (1965). I PATRIARCHI was never released in English, and scenes from it ended up in some versions of JACOB, while another version of JACOB has no scenes from it. Very confusing. But I figured it out. This Biblical series from Baldi was quite an undertaking. I think it would be cool to view all four productions, edited all together in one long film. It would be EPIC.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster for THE NORMANS (1962)

Colourful artwork. The literal translation of the title is THE VIKINGS ATTACK. More interesting than THE NORMANS, which is probably the dullest title of the PEPLUM genre. It's also known as ATTACK OF THE NORMANS but the title of the Fan Dub I've made is the dull one. But the film is not dull. Coming soon to PEPLUM TV.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

By the Gods!

Nando Angelini greets Sandokan (Steve Reeves) in SANDOKAN - THE PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964)

Steve Reeves' Sandokan films are fun films, and this one is no exception. Good productions and above average scripts made these winners. In this scene, Reeves receives some clothes and Nando Angelini gives them to him, meeting him for the first time.

Just prior to this moment, a spectacular scene of people bringing the clothes to the royal palace was re-used in another Sandokan film, LE TIGRI DI MOMPRACEM (1970) starring Ivan Rassimov as the titular character.

Nando Angelini appeared in TONS of films in just a short span : over 80 in less than ten years. Before being a fan of the PEPLUM genre, I didn't know his name. Now, I can recognize him on sight.

Video of the week : URSUS - THE REBEL GLADIATOR - Fight


Fight scene from Ursus - The Rebel Gladiator starring Alan Steel, Gloria Milland and Umberto Silvestri.

Good scene.

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Preview clip : THE NORMANS


Preview clip of THE NORMANS starring Ettore Manni, Philippe Hersent, Piero Lulli and Raf Baldassarre

I just completed a Fan Dub of this and it will be uploaded to PEPLUM TV soon

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

By the Gods!

Peter Lupus manhandles Emilio Messina, as Halina Zalewska watches, in GIANT OF EVIL ISLAND (1965)

Lupus' screen name, back in those days, was Rock Stevens. He made 4 films in Europe before joining MISSION : IMPOSSIBLE TV series. This was his last Italian production. It's a fun film but those who are fans of Peter's unique physique will be disappointed since he keeps his clothes on during the entire film. Messina and Lupus duke it out after this moment.

Behind-the-Scenes

A behind-the-scenes photo of Martin Landau and Elizabeth Taylor preparing for a scene from CLEOPATRA (1963). R.I.P., Martin.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

By the Gods!

Marco Polo (Horst Buchholz) gets to know The Girl With The Whip (Elsa Martinelli) in MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT (1965)

Elsa died on July 8. She was 82. Elsa was one of the best thing in this odd fantasy version of the life of Marco Polo. She wore some outlandish costumes (see here). And her official name in this film is The Girl With The Whip. Elsa was in some other favourite films, including BLOOD & ROSES and OSS 117 TAKES A VACATION. She was a scene stealer. She didn't star in many PEPLUM films, in fact this is her only one, but regardless R.I.P. Elsa!

The purging of HERCULES (1958) from Youtube


HERCULES (1958), starring Steve Reeves and directed by Pietro Francisci, is a public domain film in North America. It's been like this for a long time. The film has been available on Youtube from TONS of different sources since it's a decent film that everyone can upload. Not anymore. Yesterday, I got a message from Youtube (above) that the only clip I had uploaded at my Youtube channel was now blocked worldwide. A company named ONE rpm Entertainment have claimed copyright infringement. Who are they? I have no idea but after looking into it, they're a third party who makes these claims on behalf of a subscriber to their services. So trying to figure out who exactly made this bogus claim is impossible.

I'm not the only one who's affected by this. As I've mentioned, HERCULES was available from tons of channels. Below, the screenshot on the left was taken yesterday. The screenshot on the right was taken today. So the channel VULTURE, which had the film yesterday, doesn't have HERCULES anymore. There are only two channels left that have it, AMPOPFILMS and RBM pictures (the other one is a Spanish version...I don't know if other languages are affected by this). I suspect it's one of these two channels that made this bogus claim.

Youtube is clearly becoming almost impossible to use. HERCULES is my favourite PEPLUM film, and one I should have at my PEPLUM TV channel, and yet I can't upload it because a shady company claims it has the rights to it. Even before this, there were two other companies that claimed it, including the company that manages the MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) series. It's getting bad!



Monday, July 17, 2017

By the Gods!

Rufio (Martin Landau) and Mark Antony (Richard Burton) watch as Cleopatra's golden vessel arrives in Tarsus in CLEOPATRA (1963)

Martin Landau passed away on July 15. He was 89 years old. Though he enjoyed a prolific career, Landau made just a couple of PEPLUM films. His other big film was THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. He's most famous for starring in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, MISSION : IMPOSSIBLE and SPACE : 1999 tv series (the Hitchcock classic and S1999 being favourites of mine). Landau gave a good performance in CLEOPATRA. RIP.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)

Steve Reeves is shown as a gladiator and his character does end up in an arena but he's not a gladiator. I guess this is where the 'legend' of Reeves having played a gladiator started.

Friday, July 14, 2017

By the Gods!

Moira Orfei and Mimmo Palmara are an evil couple in THE TWO GLADIATORS (1964)

Moira passed away in 2015 and Mimmo died over a year ago. Two big genre stars who made a sexy, evil couple. I didn't do a full profile of Mimmo when he died last summer. I feel guilty about it because he's one of the big stars of the genre. Good, solid film. 


Retro Friday : When bad beards happen to good films

(originally posted April 2012)


Guy Rolfe in REVAK THE REBEL (1960)

Alfio Caltabiano and Erno Crisa in SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965)

Dan Vadis in HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE (1964)

Walter Grant in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Paul Muller and Giulio Donnini in CONQUEROR OF THE ORIENT (1960), which is a smorgasbord of bad beards

Thursday, July 13, 2017

By the Gods!

Delilah (Hedy Lamarr) tries to figure out Samson (Victor Mature) and his formidable God-given strength in SAMSON & DELILAH (1949)

Basically, the movie is 90 minutes of a sneaky Delilah trying to get to Samson's secret, who mostly plays coy, up until it was time of the reveal. I like this film and it's entertaining but let's face it, Samson & Delilah is not a complex story and could have easily been told in a short story format. But Cecil B. DeMille toyed with audiences by having the two actors (sexually) flirt which each other for minutes on end.