By the Gods!

Steve Reeves as Hercules in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Yes, by the GODS!!!

Anyway, today I've introduced a new Youtube channel. Youtube is something that's almost impossible to work with these days. So, we'll see what's going to happen with this new channel. My approach to it will be totally different than the main channel. I'm still working on many aspects of it behind the scenes but it will be in conjunction with the new website BYTHEGODS.CA and a soon to be announced project. Stay tuned!

New Youtube channel: BY THE GODS!

This is a new venture on Youtube. It will be different than the main Youtube channel. More things to come. Make sure to subscribe to it and click the notification bell to get new updates.

This is also in conjunction with a new website: BY THE GODS!

Things are still in the early stages so stay tuned!

By the Gods!

 Ted Neeley as Jesus in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1973)

Yesterday I was thinking of this movie and I suddenly realized that I actually never posted about it in the 9 years of this blog's existence! So, here's a post. I've seen it a couple of times in the past and I liked it but it sorta left me indifferent as well. What do you think about it? Does anyone like it? It is a product of its 'hippie' time, which actually makes it fun to watch.


US lobby card set for REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964; La vendetta di Spartacus; also known as The Revenge of Spartacus). Very generic set. Almost no stand-out card. Cards 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8 are from the same scene. This set needed more variety. It is action-packed though.

Can you spot the PEPLUM star?

Vintage bodybuilding magazines. One cover has a future PEPLUM star. Can you guess who he is?

(note: I removed their names from the cover)

By the Gods!

Norman Wooland and Valentina Cortese in BARABBAS (1961)

Valentina died on July 10. She was 96 years old. A critically acclaimed actress who appeared in such films as Truffaut's DAY FOR NIGHT (1973), Valentina appeared in few PEPLUM movies but more in period pieces. Of the 91 movies, she also starred in SHADOW OF THE EAGLE (1950), BOTHER SUN, SISTER MOON (1972) and THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1988). But as performance in a PEPLUM film, I'll always remember her as Julia in BARABBAS. R.I.P., Valentina.

Valentina with Jack Palance and Norman Wooland in BARABBAS

Then & Now: Gianni Garko

Gianni Garko in THE AVENGER (1962; aka War of the Trojans); A recent photo of the actor. It was his birthday yesterday.

Whatever happened to...

This unlikely story, of US marines ending up in Ancient Rome, was touted years ago as a new film project inspired by a REDDIT thread (link). Warner actually bought the rights to the 'story.' Years later the project is nowhere to be seen. A mock trailer was even made. Not to be confused with ROME AGAINST ROME (1964) starring John Drew Barrymore.

By the Gods!

Dan Vadis, as Hercules, leaves a village in HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE (1964; Ercole l'invincibile; aka Sons of Hercules in the Land of Darkness)

Nice matte painting work. The scene lasts just a few seconds so that's a lot of work for a brief moment. This movie is odd in that its production values are pretty solid (case in point) and yet the editing and the overall direction is sorta lackadaisical and scattershot. Fun movie but uneven in this regards.

Vintage Article: HERCULES in Danish magazine

Danish magazine with an article on HERCULES (1958) published in the summer of 1959. The title 'Master Af Muskler' translates as 'Lots of muscles' (according to Google Translate). 


VHS covers for A QUEEN FOR CAESAR (1962) starring Pascale Petit. 

Spanish cover. Fairly standard.

Colorful cover from the Netherlands. The title is in English but it's not the English release. I like it.

German VHS cover

French VHS tape and cover which is a reproduction of the original French poster.

By the Gods!

Harry Hamlin (Perseus) and Burgess Meredith in CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)

Back when movies set in Ancient Greece looked like they were set in Ancient Greece. Those were the days.

Cinematic Confusion

...starring Gordon Scott as Steve Reeves in THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959)


On DVD. The got the other actors right so why couldn't they get Steve right?

Even with the DVD double feature.


I just came across this at a website selling posters:


US lobby cards set of HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963) starring Mark Forest, Jose Greci, Ken Clark, Maria Grazia Spina, Nadir Moretti, and Howard Ross (aka Renato Rossini). It's a shame the set is in black & white since the movie is actually beautifully shot and it doesn't do it justice. If it had been in color it would have been a kick-ass set. Nearly all action scenes from this movie, one of my favourite. Even in B&W it's still pretty good.

By the Gods!

Helen (Christa Linder) lends a helping hand to Ottone (Don Backy) in HELEN, YES...HELEN OF TROY (1973)

In this scene, Ottone and his friend pretend to be shipwrecked (popular PEPLUM cliché; last image) to attract Helen's attention, who's busy making love with Paride (Peplum veteran Howard Ross aka Renato Rossini; below). The dubbing is quite horrid. Redoing the dubbing could vastly improve this horny quasi-soft core PEPLUM. As silly as it is it's actually one of the better PEPLUM soft-core flicks from the 1970s. Don Backy (aka Aldo Caponi) was a quasi-superstar in the 1970s. He's also a singer.


Behind the scenes photo of Pascale Petit during the filming of A QUEEN FOR CAESAR (1962)

PEPLUM Cliché: Suggestive pose

I didn't know what to call this popular PEPLUM cliché so I just kept it simple: suggestive pose. I wanted to call it "Hmm...what's going on here" pose but I thought that was too long. I also thought of 'Submissive pose' but that's something else altogether.

Posted at the permanent page: PEPLUM Clichés

Publicity photo from DAVID & BATHSHEBA (1951) starring Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward. Hmm...

Omphale (Sylvia Lopez) begs for Hercules (Steve Reeves and his formidable legs) to stay with her in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959). Very suggestive scene.

US poster for ESTHER & THE KING (1960). This wouldn't be accepted today.

Moira Orfei and Richard Harrison in REVOLT OF THE PRAETORIANS (1964). It doesn't get more suggestive than this...

...oh wait. Here's a scene from ZAN - KING OF THE JUNGLE (1969) starring Kitty Swan and the recently deceased Steve Hawkes. Hmm...

By the Gods!

Redilly B. Rajapa and Mimmo Palmara, as Parvati Sandok, in TEMPLE OF THE WHITE ELEPHANT (1964)

Mimmo as a South Asian man. Would this be acceptable today? He does have a look which can appear to be of different ethnicities, with or without makeup. This movie is one of the many made at the end of the PEPLUM craze which are part of a very confusing set of titles. Mimmo's character is named Sandok and the original Italian title uses the name, 'SANDOK, IL MACISTE DELLA GIUNGLA' (Sandok - Maciste of the Jungle) even though he's more of a supporting character than the main one, played by Sean Flynn. And then there's TEMPLE OF THE WHITE LIGHT (1965) starring Richard Harrison. That movie was released on DVD in the US as SANDOK even though there's no character named Sandok in it. These movies are often confused with the many SANDOKAN movies made during the same period and with a variety of different titles and actors playing the titular hero, including Steve Reeves. Then there are those THUG ISLAND and KALI YUG movies and the whole thing is confusing. I need to sort these titles out.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of THE WARRIOR AND THE SLAVE GIRL (1958; La rivolta dei gladiatori)

Colorful poster with excellent art. The one issue: the resemblance of the actors is not that accurate. The man on top doesn't look like Ettore Manni and there's a slight resemblance to Gianna Maria Canale but I've seen better artwork of her. Otherwise top notch. Below 'SUPERCINESCOPE' it says 'Production: COMPTOIR FRANCAIS'.

Special effects, PEPLUM-style

Matte special effects from THE PRODIGAL (1955). An intricate effect shot which includes several elements. It starts with a wide exterior shot of a combo of actors, sets and matte painting and it pans to the left, into an interior shot with Lana Turner and others. The pan to the left is smooth if a bit too straight but it's excellent nonetheless.

By the Gods!

Hélène Chanel and Kirk Morris in MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (1964; La valle dell'eco tonante; aka Hercules of the Desert)

Hélène and Kirk made 4 films together: MACISTE IN HELL (1962), DESERT RAIDERS (1964), CONQUEROR OF ATLANTIS (1965) and this one. I wonder if they were a couple. They worked great together, certainly in MACISTE IN HELL and in this movie. Kirk is still around, appearing on TV from time to time but Hélène has disappeared from the face of the earth.

JASON & THE ARGONAUTS - naughty editing

That's Honor Blackman (aka Pussy Galore) as Hera in JASON & THE ARGONAUTS (1963) which changes to a dancer doing some moves on the ground. This cross-dissolve is quite naughty. With my years of experience in editing this was totally intentional, done by horny editor and director.

Through the years: CALIGULA

Caligula is one of the most famous, or infamous, historical characters in Roman history. His name will live on in infamy till the end of time. Many actors have played the sex crazed Emperor, including in many TV shows not listed here but here's a comprehensive list.

Emlyn Williams in the legendary Korda/von Sternberg non-completed I, CLAUDIUS film

Jay Robinson played Caligula in THE ROBE (1953) and DEMETRIUS & THE GLADIATORS (1954)

Charles Borromel in THE LAST GLADIATOR (1964; aka L'Ultimo Gladiatore). 

Very good but he's not often on screen.

John Hurt was Caligula in the I, CLAUDIUS (1976) mini-series

Malcolm McDowell in CALIGULA (1979), possibly the most famous (or infamous) portrayal of the deranged Emperor

Caligula was played by Gino Turini in the trashy x-rated CALIGULA & MESSALINA (1981)

This movie used tons of footage from old PEP film between the sex scenes.

David Cain Haughton (as David Brandon) in the explicit CALIGULA THE UNTOLD STORY (1982). On the right is Charles Borromel, who played the same role in THE LAST GLADIATOR.

The late Alexis Arquette (before transitioning) in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS tv series.

By the Gods!

Richard Harrison and Lisa Gastoni in THE LAST GLADIATOR (1964; aka Messalina against the Son of Hercules)

A summation of situation a hero faces with a evil Queen (or Empress Messalina here). Invitation, frustration, seduction. Both Gastoni and Harrison are still with us. It would be great if they had a reunion of sorts. Fun film directed by the always reliable Umberto Lenzi.