Tuesday, January 22, 2019

By the Gods!

Hercules (Peter Lupus) is challenged by the rulers of Babylon (Livio Lorenzon, Tullio Altamura and Helga Liné) in HERCULES AND THE TYRANTS OF BABYLON (1964)

A very entertaining PEPLUM that hits all the right notes. Directed by Domenico Paolella, who made some of my favourites genre movies. I had this one uploaded to PEPLUM TV and a Bollywood company claimed copyright ownership for this old Italian production. I had to remove it. Yes, Youtube is insane.

Then & Now: Caroline Munro

Caroline in THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973); a recent photo of the actress


Monday, January 21, 2019

By the Gods!

Zoroaster (Arnoldo Foà) warns Mirra (Jackie Lane) of impending doom in WAR GODS OF BABYLON (1962)

I believe that this is the only PEPLUM film to have the prophet Zoroaster in its story. Zoroaster was the one who founded Zoroastrianism centuries before Christianity. It's a unique religion in that one can only be born in it. Arnoldo, who died in 2014, lived to 97 and acted in over 100 productions, including other PEPLUM productions. He was a very good actor even though Zoroaster probably didn't look like that. I like this film, with all its faults.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster of TWO GLADIATORS (1964)

A colourful poster which has little resemblance to what happens in the film. It could be artwork for any gladiator movie. The French title in English translates as THE FURY OF THE GLADIATORS.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

By the Gods!

Todd Armstrong, as Jason, is caught by the tail of the Hydra while trying to get the Golden Fleece in JASON & THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

Ray Harryhausen loved mixing up things when making his films. In CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981), he incorporated the Kraken with Greek mythology. The Kraken is Scandinavian mythology. In this film, the Hydra beast is actually associated with Hercules, not Jason. Hercules confronts the Hydra as part of his twelve labor. Even so, this scene is great, with the help of the powerful Bernard Hermann score. The scene after this, when the corpse of the hydra is pulverized, it's even better than this moment.

Lobby Cards set: SON OF SAMSON


US lobby cards for SON OF SAMSON (1960), Great set. Every card is good…well no 6 is a bit dull but that's okay because the rest is so good: great photos of Mark Forest and Chelo Alonso. This is the way to do a lobby card set. Well above average and one of the best of the bunch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

By the Gods!

Paul Wynter, as Bangor, is about to be impaled in MACISTE - STRONGEST MAN IN THE WOLRD (1961; aka Maciste against the Mole Men)

This 'Feat of strength' scene is one of the best scenes in PEPLUM history. It's almost impossible to explain what's going on in a few words. Paul is immortalized forever with this scene. You can watch the entire film at my PEPLUM TV channel.

Paul Wynter, RIP


PEPLUM star Paul Winter died on January 14. He was 83. Even though Paul only made two PEPLUM films, his impact on the genre is undeniable. He won the Mr Universe contest in 1960 and in 1966. He made his two movies in between those wins. I like him a lot and wished he had made more genre movies, with a lead role, as Bangor! RIP!


MACISTE - STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD (1961)

Paul played Bangor, friend to Maciste (Mark Forest, below), who rescued him from certain death. This is a top notch PEPLUM.


Mark Forest and Paul Wynter as a team worked great in this over-the-top PEPLUM


ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1961)
Paul played the strongman for the Queen (Chelo Alonso). Dante DiPaolo also starred. Another classic PEPLUM film.

Gordon Mitchell with Paul

Powerful Paul carries big Gordon Mitchell on his shoulders!


Double Mr Universe winner Paul chats with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would eventually star in his own PEPLUM flick,  CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982)



Paul and his wife, Mary. The most recent picture of the actor/bodybuilder

Paul Wynter, RIP

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

By the Gods!

The Three Stooges are galley slaves in THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962)

The slave driver displayed by John Cliff. And that's Quinn K. Redeker next to Larry. One of the better scenes in this PEPLUM comedy. Though film was shot in Black & White and regular aspect ratio, it didn't stop Columbia Pictures from using exterior boat scenes footage from THE WARRIOR EMPRESS (1960; aka Sappho - The Venus of Lesbos), which was shot in color and in widescreen.

New CLEOPATRA project goes viral (PC culture)

Yesterday, the name 'Cleopatra' was trending on Twitter. Why? Because the long delayed film project on the Egyptian ruler, first conceived with Angelina Jolie in mind, became yet another victim of the political correct nonsense going on in our culture these days. Many were upset that Cleopatra was being cast with white women in mind. They argued that Cleopatra was black, not white. This is an on-going argument which has lasted decades now. To make things more messed up, Lady Gaga is fighting to play the role. Of course, people weren't too keen on this since the pop star now actress is a believer of all things identity politics and think she shouldn't even think about it. For a long time, historians have been saying Cleopatra was of Macedonian/Greek descent. It was impossible for her to be black. But those who believe Cleopatra was black only think in the terms that she was a ruler of an African country, therefore she must be black.

Regardless of this nonsense, isn't Angelina is a little too old to play Cleopatra, who was reportedly in 18 years old when her rule began? As for Lady Gaga being cast in the role, that's totally ridiculous.

Good luck with the makers of this ill-fated project.

Monday, January 14, 2019

By the Gods!

Roger Browne and Pietro Torrisi in SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS (1965)

Directed by Michele Lupo, who's movies are filled with over-the-top action and boisterous, brawny men. Both Roger and Pietro are still with us in the land of the living. Roger was interviewed recently over his film career and aside from Lupo's films, he admitted that he didn't care much for them. He thought they were too difficult to make (which I can image they were). His career continued with Eurospy films and exploitation films in the 1970s. It eventually died out during the 1980s. As for Torrisi, his career , he continued on appearing in plenty of movies, mainly in small supporting roles during the 1970s but experienced a big comeback during the 1980s, with a series of super low budget Italian movies inspired by the success of CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982). I recently watched a film called HERCULES AGAINST KARATE (1973), in which Torrisi has a small role (during a bar brawl).  If you blink, you'll miss him. It would great to have an extensive interview of him. I'm sure he had fun making these films. I'm sure he has tons of stories to tell.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster of REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960)

TCM will showing this film (in the wee hours of the morning). I already have a great copy of this so I really don't care which version they'll show. I just wonder if it will be complete or cut.

Friday, January 11, 2019

By the Gods!

Samson Burke (as Ursus) and Wandisa Guida rule over the kingdom in VENGEANCE OF URSUS (1961)

Typical happy ending seen in PEPLUM films. Samson looks bored but Wandisa radiates. I made the one and only Fan Dub of this and it's everywhere on Youtube. The main observation taken from viewers was "When I saw VENGEANCE OF URSUS for the first time it looked terrible and I thought this movie was awful but this brand new copy makes it look so much better. It's actually a good film". The difference a nice copy in English makes to a maligned movie. That's the PEPLUM genre in a nutshell.

My latest acquisitions


No DVDs to report even though I've acquired many new copies of titles from the internet (exchanges).

I've been a movie poster collector since I was 14 years old. I've stopped collecting full time and simply collect stuff that I like. So, for today, I'll mention two nice vintage movie collectibles I've acquired.

I purchased a beautiful poster of GOLIATH AGAINST THE GIANTS (1961). It's not a reprint.

I've also purchased a movie book from LUX films and when it's unfolded, there are four upcoming PEPLUM titles: MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960) with Steve Reeves, SURCOUF - PRINCE DES CORSAIRES (196?) with Jean Marais, THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961) with Donald O'Connor and THIEF OF BAGHDAD (1961) with Steve Reeves. It's absolutely gorgeous and in excellent condition. Well worth the paltry $30 it cost.

Now, the second title, SURCOUF - PRINCE DES CORSAIRES apparently doesn't exist. It seems changes were made to the cast: Jean Marais was out and Gerard Barray starred. The crew also changed. This new re-arranged film was released in 1966 as SURCOUF - LE TIGRE DES SEPT MERS. In English, the title was THE SEA PIRATE. So, the poster art with Jean Marais is a rare thing!

And finally, I subscribed to ANCIENT HISTORY magazine and got the printed copy in the mail. I like it but I have to admit that the service from the company was chaotic. The topic: Apollo and Artemis. I haven't read it yet but it's a decent publication. It has a section devoted to how ancient history is portrayed in movies.

That's it for now.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

By the Gods!

A wasted Achilles (Gordon Mitchell) in FURY OF ACHILLES (1962)

This is one rare instance in which the main character is portrayed as unsympathetic and yet it doesn't diminish the empathy one feels towards his pre-destined plight. It's Mitchell's best role.

Lobby Cards set: HERCULES UNCHAINED


For a change, I used the Italian "fotobustas" of HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) instead of the US lobby card set. They are bigger than standard lobby cards and are more detailed but they're basically the same thing. This is a great set if a bit repetitive, with 4 cards with Steve in almost  the same pose. I have no complaints with it except that it does miss out on many classic scenes including the one with Steve and a lounging Sylvia watching the dancers. A fotobusta of the other members of the cast (Castor & Pollux, the Argo, etc) would have been cool but this is a very colorful set.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

By the Gods!

The bodies of Polinices (Mimmo Palmara) and Eteocles (Sergio Fantoni) on a funeral pyre in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

This scene irks me to no end. Dramatically speaking, it's an important moment and yet the framing and the duration of this shot is terrible and destroys any chance of an adequate closure to the main story which propelled the film. It's super brief, often truncated even more from the already short duration in the original version. And we barely see the faces of the men. It's feels rushed. One bad moment of an otherwise excellent production from Pietro Francisci. I wonder what happened during the filming of this scene. A last minute decision?

Behind-the-Scenes

Producer Charles H.Schneer and Ray Harryhausen on the set of THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD(1973)


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

By the Gods!

Mark Forest in MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA (1964; aka Tyrant of Rome against the Son of Hercules)

TCM will be showing this film which will be interesting. Will it have the convoluted US title or the Italian one? Will it have the SON OF HERCULES opening and closing music? There are some good copies out there but seeing an 'official' TCM version of this will indicate how these films will be perceived by them.

SWORD & SANDAL THURSDAYS on TCM (US)


As I mentioned yesterday, TCM will be showing PEPLUM films every Thursday in January (except for Jan 31). This is great and also not so great. The selection is interesting, and yes they included Italian-made films. Yeah. So, what's the bad news? They'll be showing these films in the dead of night.

Now, since I don't have TCM I wold to get some input and maybe some copies of these broadcasts. Not the big films like BEN-HUR and SPARTACUS (they're easily available) but the rarer titles, including ATLAS (in widescreen?), THE TYRANT OF LYDIA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (1963; aka GOLIATH & THE REBEL SLAVE), THE TERROR OF ROME AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (1964; MACISTE - GLADIATOR OF SPARTA), HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963) and HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS (1964).

I need to see these. If TYRANT and TERRO OR ROME have the SON OF HERCULES music at the beginning (I hope not), will they be shown in widescreen, will they be cut, etc.

My Fan Dub version of HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS, which was the best English version available anywhere and viewed nearly 4 million times at PEPLUM TV, was recently removed by Youtube with no explanation given. Hmm...I wonder if any of this had anything to do with this unexpected removal.

Here are the films scheduled to be shown. Like I said, they start the first film at 8 pm EST and the other films will play up until the early morning. Not really the best time to view these films, except maybe for people on the west coast. The films on January 24 are the ones which interest me the most (and ATLAS).





Monday, January 7, 2019

By the Gods!

Charlton Heston in BEN HUR (1959)

Classic scene from the Oscar® winning film. TCM (USA) will be showing a PEPLUM epic every Thursday during the month of January (except for Jan 31). I don't have TCM and even if I did I'm in Canada and the US schedule doesn't match the Canadian one. For those who have TCM, check it out. I tried finding any information on why they're doing this at their website and couldn't find any. They just updated their website and here's a page about this: SWORD & SANDAL THURSDAYS. I'll have more about it tomorrow.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of JASON & THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

Nice to see a Italian version of a Hollywood production.