By the Gods!

Gordon Scott, as Kerim, is ordered to be whipped by Alberto Farnese and Moira Orfei in KERIM - SON OF THE SHEIK (1962)

When filming this, Gordon Scott was probably thinking: why am I always stuck in these positions? Gordon was often whipped, chained and surrounded by spears. Scott's story didn't end well (maybe I should include him in the tragic stars page?). From what I've read, he wasn't too fond of the PEPLUM genre. This attitude is sorta reflected with almost every actor who had acted in PEPLUM films: they generally didn't like them, or making them. They were physically demanding productions. I recently read a new article of an actor who was a PEPLUM star and he admitted that he preferred doing other films. For a brief second, I thought that I might contact this actor for an interview but after reading the article, and his disinterest in the genre, I thought it wouldn't make much of a difference. The PEPLUM genre gets no respect, even from people who worked on them. I'm still looking for the Egyptian version of this film.


5 comments:

Scott Ochiltree said...


I can understand why actors who specialized in Peplums often disliked the genre.

Their reasons could have included:

(1) Plot quality in Peplums ranged from excellent to silly muscleman stories. Nobody ever won an Oscar for bending metal bars.

(2) Fear of getting stuck in Peplums and thereby denied the opportunity to act in more challenging roles.

Richard Svensson said...

It's odd, because in my opinion Scott was better served by his Peplum efforts than any other films he made. Making his Tarzan movies couldn't have been a walk in the park either. Maybe he just wasn't too keen on working as an actor, but enjoyed the benefits of stardom. He does always look rather glum in his movies.

On the other hand I get the impression that actors like Steve Reeves (who must've been the hardest working Peplum star ever), Alan Steel and Gordon Mitchell enjoyed their Peplum romps. If not, they were indeed better thespians than general cinema critique makes them out to be.

Anonymous said...

I've have met and spoken at great length to Richard Harrison, Reg Park, Ed Fury, and Reg Lewis. Not one of them had a single negative word to say about appearing in Sword and Sandal films. They all seemed grateful for having had the opportunity.

PEPLUM TV said...

Well, that might be but they rarely tried to remind people of the genre. I think that's my position: I'm glad they enjoyed making those films but if these actors were proud of their work, they sure don't advertise about it. It would be easier to promote the genre if those who actually worked on those films (and are still alive) made an effort to showcase their work. I've looked far and wide for any such unsolicited examples and to my disappointment I've seen few of them.

The ones I believe who really enjoyed the genre were Charlton Heston and Mimmo Palmara. Heston kept making PEPLUM films even when they weren't being made. And in all the interviews I've seen with Mimmo, his eyes would always come alive when talking about his experience in PEPLUM films. I'm sure there are other actors who had memorable experiences but there are too many actors, like Gianna Maria Canale, who were big in the genre and retired early and disappeared forever.

Richard, Gordon Mitchell didn't like making PEPLUM films. He stated that he would often curse and swear instead of delivering his dialogue because he said it didn't matter because everything would be dubbed anyway. As for Steve, who did work harder than any other PEPLUM star, I think he was mainly in it for the money. I'm not dissing him. IMO, he's the greatest example of the genre but Steve was paid very handsomely and that was his great motivator. I'm not saying he hated the genre but he was frustrated by it and stated his love for Westerns. He said he was frustrated more than anything else. Everyone remembered him for his role as Hercules (Steve only made 2 Hercules films) and he would always tell people he played other roles.

As for Alan Steel, alas, I know very little about his private life but like Gianna, Alan stopped acting and never looked back.

TC said...

I read in a biography of Clint Eastwood that Sergio Leone wanted Steve Reeves for A Fistful of Dollars, but could not afford him. Of course, at the time, Reeves was probably the biggest star in Italy. So maybe Reeves could have had a career in spaghetti westerns, but it might have meant taking a pay cut, at least at first.

The Avenger has been called a western in a sword & sandal setting, with the villains trying to drive the homesteaders out.

With European action movies-peplum, westerns, spy thrillers-there may be a sort of stigma and stereotype, an assumption that it's the elephant's graveyard for has-been American B-list actors.