By the Gods!

Jesus (Claude Heater) crucified in BEN-HUR (1959)

It was traditional for films featuring Jesus to keep his face hidden. I sorta understand that. What actor can be pious enough to play Jesus? Though there were films made during the silents era which showed Jesus, more modern films like KING OF KINGS and THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD broke that tradition once and for all.

For those who celebrate the holiday, have a happy and blessed Easter!

The Ten Commandments tomorrow on ABC

Charlton Heston as Moses

For those in the US and Canada, don't forget to watch THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Saturday on ABC, 7:00 pm EST. It's an annual tradition.

By the Gods!

Gianna Maria Canale and Rik Battaglia are about to kiss in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (1958)

Next week, I'll write about this film and the missing kissing scenes, certainly this one. From the looks of it, the two were supposed to kiss but it was cut in all the versions that I have in my collection. The English full screen version fades to black but the audio is still present. The black screen remains for 14 seconds with swirling romantic music. What happened to this kissing scene?

By the Gods!

Michèle Morgan and cast in FABIOLA (1949)

One of the misconceptions of the re-emergence of the PEPLUM genre is that it started with the success of Hollywood productions like SAMSON & DELILAH (1949) and continued on QUO VADIS (1951) when in Europe the genre was also a hot commodity with successful films like FABIOLA or MESSALINA (1951). And since QUO VADIS and other Hollywood productions were made in Italy (BEN-HUR, LAND OF THE PHARAOHS, to name a few), it was only normal that the genre would eventually explode into what it became a few years afterwards. So the re-emergence of the genre wasn't only a Hollywood thing. Originally at 164 minutes, the film was released in the US two years later, in 1951, at 98 min. Michèle passed away in 2016. 

Behind-the-Scenes

Steve Reeves in attendance at the French premiere of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)


By the Gods!

Georges Marchal enters the arena in THE WARRIOR AND THE SLAVE GIRL (1958)

Directed by Vittorio Cottafavi, this early entree in the 'new' style PEPLUM films (along with HERCULES) was a showcase of stand-out scenes, certainly this one. We see Marchal exiting the gladiator quarters and enter the arena, in one straight shot, as the camera follows him from behind giving a vivid impression of the location / setting. It brings the audience right in the middle of the action. One of the best shots ever. Cottafavi was the most experimental director of the PEPLUM genre and this 1950s production is a good example. Some scenes might fall flat while others, like this one, stand-out from the rest.

Blog notes



I'm taking some time off starting next week. I've been blogging non-stop since January. It's been a very busy period, more so than any other time since I created the blog back in 2010.

I need to take some time off to focus on many things, mainly my PEPLUM TV channels. I've undertaken a lot since my last break: new Youtube channels, THE SINNER fotonovela, reviews, etc.

All of these things will resume after the break, including THE SINNER serialization. I'm not abandoning it.

Articles will still be posted while I'm away (wait and see).


PEPLUM TV blog

Daily views for the blog have grown exponentially, which is good but also not so good in that I feel that I need to work more now. It gets 2000 views a day!

Add this to the Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr views and the daily views reach nearly 8000 a day! Twitter alone gets nearly 2000 impressions a day.

One of the negative aspects of higher views is more spamming. If you look at the left hand side, at the most popular posts, the 'Then & Now: Paola Pitti' one is quickly gaining ground. Why? I dunno but that post is being bombarded by spam on a daily basis, even with the blogs spam filter on. It's the most bizarre thing ever! See below for examples of this spamming.


Since all of this is a one-man show, I'm thinking of maybe finding someone to assist me. The issue is money, of course. And control over content, which I like to have.


Youtube channels

All my Youtube channels are going great, certainly the main one. The stats are amazing.

My new 3 channels, PEPLUM TV RETRO, PEPLUM TV WORLD and PEPLUM TV FIRE & SWORD are doing good.

Unfortunately, while I created these new channels, Youtube changed their policies making it harder to have a fully certified and monetized channel. One of the prerequisites: a channel needs to have over 1000 subscribers to be even considered (and then it still might not be accepted). Because of this there's some delay in uploads and stuff (even though I've uploaded tons since their initial creation).

The list of titles blocked or claimed by others on Youtube is an issue. For example, I've wanted to upload some movies for Easter and most of the titles which deal with the reincarnation of Jesus are blocked, claimed or not available.

I'm trying to find alternatives. Dailymotion doesn't seem to gather many visitors so that might not work in the long run.

There's something called BitChute, which is a 'peer to peer' site that can be viewed like Youtube. The site is still in the process of trying to figure out how to run things so I'll wait until things are legit before joining them (if ever).

There are additional frustrating things about Youtube, aside from their crazy policies these days everyone hates.

One of the most frustrating thing is finding 'dead' Youtube channels (it's literally a cemetery out there), abandoned for a long time (maybe due to the fear of getting strikes) and a lot of these dead channels always have one or two PEPLUM movies which have garnered amazing number of views. This makes my task in uploading original 'new' content that much harder since dozens and dozens of 'dead' channels have these titles already monopolizing viewership. One such 'dead' channel has GOLIATH & THE SINS OF BABYLON with over 5 million views. Why bother uploading it to my channel, right?

Well, no. I think of my channels as one-stop place where everyone can view movies under the PEPLUM TV brand. Also, I try to upload the best quality available (with Fan Dubs and stuff) so I can still have an edge over them. The problem really (and this really irks me) is that those dead channels uploaded specific titles when movies weren't blocked but have become blocked since, meaning I can't upload titles because claims / copyrights have changed so often in the past 5 to 10 years. For instance, I can't upload SON OF SAMSON but some channels have that movie because they were uploaded before changes to claims took effect. It's a strange state of limbo.

And finally, there's a major issue with my videos and with Youtube, and some others channels which I can't talk about (without giving them free publicity). It's an annoying and stupid situation, and adds needless frustration, more so since I can't talk about it.

On a side note, here's a graph showing the PEPLUM TV Youtube channel demographics:




The channel is overwhelmingly viewed by men, with women making just a small percentage of viewership.


Other PEPLUM stuff



The list of books covering the subject of the PEPLUM genre keeps growing to the point of saturation. This is sad because I'm seriously thinking of writing my own book.

Most of these new books are disappointing (which is no surprise, really).

The blog's far reaching success (there were few PEPLUM books before the blog came along) seems to have given the impression to a lot of authors out there that they can cover this subject in a superficial manner and that's good enough since the no one takes the genre seriously. These books need to pass the smelling test, and as the creator of this blog, the information in these books is often quite pitiful.

I'll compile all the books out there (or those that I've purchased) and review them for an 'Article of the week.'

By the Gods!

Alan Steel as Hercules (Samson in the original Italian version) in HERCULES AND THE BLACK PIRATES (1964)

It's one of those PEPLUM movies which transcends many genres. It's a PEPLUM but it's also a Swashbuckler. I didn't know if I should upload this to the FIRE & SWORD channel or the main PEPLUM TV channel. I opted for the main channel. It is a movie filled with all the regular PEPLUM clichés, which I love. Someone once told me that Alna Steel (née Sergio Ciani) resembled Liberace. I was like 'What?' Alan is one of many PEPLUM stars from Italy, not the US or elsewhere.

Movie Poster Mondays

Norwegian poster of HERCULES (1958)

Rare poster. According to Google Translate, the literal translation into English is 'HERCULES AND HIS WONDERFUL BUSINESSES.'

This year is the 60th anniversary of the film's release, and to celebrate it I'll dedicate an entire week for this classic.

By the Gods!

Serge Nubret in THE TITANS (1962 ; also known as My Son, The Hero)

Serge was 24 years old when he made this film. Just a few years back, in 1958, Serge decided to become a bodybuilder after he saw Steve Reeves in HERCULES (1958). He won The World's Most Muscular Man competition, which took place in Montreal in 1960. 2 years later, he starred in this movie. Serge only appeared in two PEPLUM productions. I'm currently working on a video profile on him and will be doing more profiles on actors and directors on a regular basis.

By the Gods!

Mitsuko Takara gets branded in SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962)

Mitsuko, credited as Mitzuko, only made a handful of films before disappearing from the face of the earth. She's probably the most interesting casting choice in that crowded film. Whatever happened to her?

Behind-the-Scenes

Behind the scenes photo of Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner shaking hands during the filming of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)

By the Gods!

Mark Forest as Maciste in SON OF SAMSON (1960)

That's Vira Silenti in the yellow dress. This scene is cut from the US edition. Why? I dunno. The original Italian title translates into English as MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS. This was Mark's second film. When Mark started he was big but by the time he made HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS, his musculature had diminished considerably and he looked fit but not humongous. This entertaining PEPLUM is blocked on Youtube. I'm trying to think of alternative ways to upload this. I'm thinking of Dailymotion but no one goes to that site. Dailymotion also limits the length of uploads to one hour. So I would have to split the film in two. It might be better than nothing.

Star Ciné photo novels

French photo novel publisher had several different editions: STAR CINE ROMAN was basically focus on love stories, PEPLUM or not, while STAR CINE BRAVOURE published adventure photo novels.


WAR OF THE TROJANS (1962)

Update: It's KNIGHTS OF TERROR but they used a photo of Steve Reeves!!!

L'ÉPÉE DU VENGEUR Il terrore dei Mantelli Rossi/Les cavaliers de la terreur, Mario Costa, 1963 Tony Russel, Scilla Gabel



DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)



MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960)


THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959)



SWORD OF EL-CID (1962)



THE PHARAOHS' WOMAN (1960)

By the Gods!

Debra Paget and Ettore Manni in CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER (1960)

This is an interesting movie, behind the scenes and the film itself. The original Italian version has nothing to do with Cleopatra. US distributors bought the rights to this and changed the storyline in order to capitalize on the soon to be made super hyped Hollywood film, CLEOPATRA (1963). This 90 minutes movie is more entertaining than the 3+ hours of the Elizabeth Taylor film (depending on which version). I really like it, whichever version I watch. This screenshot is taken from a French copy which I've uploaded to PEPLUM TV WORLD. I'd like to do a Fan Dub with it but the image, as nice as it is, is quite soft / blurry. I'll have to think about it. Paget retired from the wicked film industry and became a born-again christian.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spectacular Italian poster of THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959)

Great poster. Really captures the essence of the movie!

By the Gods!

Alfio Caltabiano and Mario Novelli in THE REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964)

One of the 3 'Slave' films by Michele Lupo. The same cast and crew, and they somehow all look the same but they're not sequels or have anything to do with each other. And like all Michele Lupo movies, it's a somewhat odd mixture of super serious drama and uber slapstick action. Alfio Caltabiano is also credited as 'Maestro d'armi' or 'Master of arms' for this movie. Practically all productions he worked on, he also worked as the stunt or swords specialist. His stance in this screenshot is his signature stance. If I see actors in such a stance, I know Alfio worked on that movie, even if he's not acting in it.

This Lupo movie is sometimes known as REVENGE OF SPARTACUS. In addition, this movie is not to be confused with another movie released the same year called REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS, starring Mickey Hargitay.

Fotonovela: THE SINNER (part 4)


part 4 of serialization of THE SINNER fotonovela. Click on image to see a larger size.







Added to the permanent blog page of THE SINNER


By the Gods!

Sybil Danning and Ingrid Anderson in HERCULES (1983)

Not that anyone is paying any attention to them but the costumes for this movie were so cheap looking. It's one of those things that makes you appreciate the films of the Golden Era, in that practically all (not all but most) of the costumes were beautifully designed and made. They always gave an aspect of quality to the productions, even in films when the costumes were reused. The 1983 version of HERCULES, not so. But like I said, in this particular instance, I don't think anyone noticed.

By the Gods!

Alan Steel (aka Sergio Ciani) as Hercules showing off his 'might' in SAMSON & THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE (1964)

Hercules is pulling a sunken ship out of the ocean. Since this is a spoof, very little drama or tension exists. As a spoof, it's a hit or miss but the makers of this movie knew all the standard PEPLUM clichés which, IMO, makes it fun to watch. This entire scene, o Hercules getting the sunken ship, is a bit overlong and it could have been done in a more rapid and humorous way. The movie itself is not perfect but it's fun, and it's often the target the derision for those who dislike the PEPLUM genre. In fact, this movie was re-dubbed with ridiculous dialogue and re-released in Australia. Personally, the original version is funnier.

This screenshot sorta encapsulates the difference between Hollywood and Italian cinema, in regards to the display of masculinity.


Behind-the-Scenes

The cast of VULCAN - SON OF JUPITER (1962): Bella Cortez, Iloosh Khoshabe, Annie Gorassini and Roger Browne

By the Gods!

Mylène Demongeot, as Andromeda, in THE GIANT OF MARATHON (1959)

This screenshot is from an HD broadcast of the film. I have to do a Fan Dub of this. Every other copy pales in comparison to this one. It's not 100% perfect (dark scenes are a bit too murky) but it's such a vast improvement over anything out there. I have so many Fan Dubs to make maybe I should hire someone to help me...naw.

By the Gods!

Dan Vadis and Jon Simons in HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE (Hercules in the Land of Darkness ; 1964)

This is one of those Hercules films made just for fun, with nothing to do with Greek mythology or anything to do with the actual Hercules. It's just a (goofy) action movie to please audiences (small kids) with general beefy mayhem, with Simons (his real name: Mario De Simone) playing the Annoying Sidekick. Dan Vadis wasn't a good actor by any means but he knew how to carry himself on screen and was very athletic, doing crazy stuff most other stars didn't dare to do. His barely-there costumes often switches in continuation errors throughout the movie. I have to figure out how to upload this on Youtube.

Movie Poster Mondays

Russian poster of GIUDITTA E OLOFERNE (1929)

Rare stuff. It's hard to find anything on this film.

By the Gods!

The Moloch statue, with open fire pit, from CABIRIA (1914)

The grand daddy of all sacrificial movie props. None have topped it, not even the excellent one from TRIUMPH OF MACISTE I posted yesterday. Babies, including one girl called Cabiria, are placed in the ceremonial platform which is levered upwards, making the offering of living flesh and blood fall into the  fire. This takes place in Carthage. Recently, archeologists have discovered actual evidence of these sacrifices.

By the Gods!

The 'God of Fire' statue from TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961)

Remarkable enough, this is one of the best statues in any PEPLUM film of the Golden Era. The victim to be sacrificed is on the platform which rises and makes them tumble into a pit of fire within the statue itself. It resembles the most of what historian believed what Moloch looked like, though in this story the deity is not named Moloch but simply the 'God of Fire.'

Behind-the-Scenes

Behind the scene photo of the filing of HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959). The crew is preparing a scene with Sylvia Lopez. The man with the moustache is director Pietro Francisci. The place where I got the photo described the actress as Sylva Koscina. Cool photo.

By the Gods!

Lana Turner, as the High Priestess Samarra, in a publicity photo with the statue of Moloch in THE PRODIGAL (1955)

This is one of the more creative renditions of a gaudy statue representing a deity. I used a publicity photo because we really never get a good view of the statue in the movie itself. Personally, I think it looks more Asian than Middle Eastern. This statue was reused more effectively in ATLANTIS - THE LOST CONTINENT (1961). See more here.

Upcoming PEPLUM films + new crop of low budget movies

In regards to mainstream Hollywood films, the PEPLUM genre is pretty much dead. Aside from 2 films about Jesus, there's very little to look forward to. In contrast, there's a plethora of uber small budget movies produced by companies like THE ASYLUM which are churning out movie after movie. Are they worth watching?

PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST (2018)



I've already mentioned in several post throughout the many years of making this blog about about the lack of films chronicling what happened after Jesus was resurrected. Here's one film that's coming out, which I'll probably won't see. It's a sequel to THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST (2004), directed by Mel Gibson. I have to be honest here, I refuse to watch PASSION OF THE CHRIST. It seems so bloody, demented and negative. So, I think I'll skip this one if it's in the same mode.


MARY MAGDALENE (2018)

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara in MARY MAGDALENE

The trailer is out (click here). It doesn't look bad. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Peter. Yes, it's PC.

As for the new batch of super low budget movies, do these continue in the long tradition of PEPLUM movies of the Golden Era?


TROY THE ODYSSEY (2017)


It looks like a typical PEPLUM but is it fun? I can watch old PEPLUM films over and over again, I never tire of them. Somehow, I think I'll struggle watching this one. But I have to say that some of the fighting seems good.

IN THE NAME OF BEN HUR (2016)



I have to say that seeing the name of this movie and the trailer made me laugh out loud.

There are any more titles, too numerous to mention, at the Asylum Youtube channel.

By the Gods!

The erecting of the statue of Chemosh in THE STORY OF RUTH (1960)

I don't know if the design was historically accurate, I never cared much for the look of it. Not menacing or impressive enough. There were much better 'evil' statues in other films. From the same team that made THE ROBE (1953). Some historians say that Chemosh is the same deity as Moloch. This is my only major complaint about this otherwise 'serviceable' movie. 

Movie Poster Mondays

Rare Hong Kong poster of COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA (1962)

I think it should be DEATH IN THE ARENA. This is not the first time I've seen some sort of dubious misspelling with a copy (film or poster) from Hong Kong. The two actresses in this film, José Greci and Scilla Gabel, don't look like the woman in this poster. She's made to look Chinese. Aside from those two points, good poster. 

By the Gods!

Caroline Munro, as Margiana, and John Philip Law, as Sinbad, in THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973)

The days of the hero's beautiful love interest in movies are over. Every female character has to be able to defend themselves and kick-ass, or else it's sexism. One has to watch old movies, like this one, to see such characters. Not every man or woman can be THE hero, and so it was okay for the love interest to simply be beautiful. A lot of these PEPLUM movies would be seen as utterly outdated and super sexist, even if the hero shows as much skin (sometimes more) than her.

Fotonovela: THE SINNER (part 3)


part 3 of serialization of THE SINNER fotonovela. Click on image to see a larger size.






Added to the permanent blog page of THE SINNER