Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

By the Gods!

Jean Marais, as Pilate, in a spectacular scene from PONTIUS PILATE (1962)

Does anyone like this movie? Personally, I like it but I don't love it. I *love* looking it but I don't like watching it, if that makes any sense. The production is excellent: beautiful photography, sets, costumes, settings, cast, all A+. Visually, it's PEPLUM porn. Unfortunately, the screenplay is a C-. Such a beautiful looking movie saddled with a disappointing script (from 7 writers). At one point, there's an 'arena' scene with men in boats trying to stay afloat while battling crocodiles in a quarry filled with water. Pontius watches on. It's supposed to be spectacular but it's more awkward than anything else. The scene lasts about two minutes but the setting up of the set and cast must have cost a lot. Jean Marais as Pilate was perfect casting. There's so much going for it. One could view this simply as a PEPLUM version of Pontius Pilate but it's not satisfying enough on that level (it's more drama than action). Scenes of the construction of the aqueduct were re-used in other PEPLUM movies.

Then & Now: Ida Galli

Ida in WAR OF THE ZOMBIES (1964; aka Rome against Rome); a recent photo of the actress

Monday, December 28, 2020

By the Gods!

Gloria Milland and Mimmo Palmara are the evil power couple in GOLIATH & THE REBEL SLAVE (1963)

So much alike that they both wear lotsa mascara. Seriously, Gloria's roles often flirted with villainy but in this one she's bad to the bone. Mimmo has always played bad guys.  I have so many different versions of this movie it's insane. The runtime listed at IMDb is 105 minutes. The Spanish, German, and French copies I have are all cut. Only the Sinister Cinema version is that long. Unfortunately, it's the only copy I have that's not in widescreen. Most copies have many scenes cut which makes for bizarre viewing once you know which scenes are missing. For example, the German copy is only 76 minutes long. That's a whopping 29 minutes cut from the original version. The genre had and has very little respect and this big differences in runtime between versions from different countries is an example of this. Hopefully it'll be shown somewhere uncut and in HD. Also known as ARROW OF THE AVENGER. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Italian poster of SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962)

I like it. General mayhem of the destruction. 
 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Merry Christmas!

The Three Magi following the Star of Bethlehem from BEN-HUR (1959)

There aren't that many PEPLUM movies which celebrates the birth of Jesus (you think it would!). Anyway, this was supposed to be the Clip of the week but Facebook prevents it from being embedded. Click this link to view it on Facebook.

Merry Christmas everyone!


New 'Star of Bethlehem'

Star of Bethlehem will be seen for the first time in 800 years.

According to Christian tradition, the Star of Bethlehem, was followed by the 3 Magi —Bithisarea, Melichior, and Gathaspa— to reach the birthplace of Jesus Christ. 

During this Christmas season, humanity will be able to enjoy an astronomical event that has not happened in 800 years: the alignment of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, better known as the Star of Bethlehem, which according to Christian tradition was followed to reach the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

Photo of alignment aka Star of Bethlehem


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

By the Gods!

Luciano Marin, Steve Reeves, and Giulia Rubini in a photo from a lobby card set of GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)

You know you're a PEPLUM fan when you see an image (the one above) and think 'that's not in the movie'. And it isn't as seen in the screenshot below. It's publicity shot (and a nice one at that with Steve looking amazing!), one that recalls the scene from HERCULES (1958) with Herc cooking a big rump at the beginning.

The fact that this movie is still not available in HD is a crime against humanity. Seriously, the print from the US DVD was terrible. And prints from other countries weren't that much better. So, where's the stunning, super clear HD broadcast or Blu-ray? 

José Greci in BEN-HUR

The nativity scene from BEN-HUR (1959). José Greci as Mary, and Laurence Payne as Joseph.

We barely see José's face but this Italian magazine, Orizzonti Settimanale Cattolico, had her front and center. 


Blog notes & stats

As 2020 is about to end, here's a brief overview of the blog and what's in store for the future.

Pandemic

Because of the pandemic, which began here back in March, all of my projects outside the blog were put on hold. I was working on a magazine, or zine, and other stuff which I had to stop. A big chunk of my time was spent in helping others cope during the pandemic. 

Stats

Things have never been better in regards to stats. Previously, views of the blog ranged between 900 to 1500, with an average at around 1000. But for most of this year, views ranged between 1200 to 1500, with average views being slightly over around 1200. That's a healthy increase, the biggest and most sustained since I began the blog over 10 years ago. This is quite rewarding and inspires me to keep on doing what I'm doing.





External links

One of the reasons the blog's stats increased this year is the increase of websites or forums with articles or mentions of the blog, with actual working links. Below are some examples. It's nice to see stuff like this.


And of course the blog's presence on social media had a direct effect on the increase in visitors. Just one tweet at the PEPLUM TV twitter account got over 14.5K impressions. 


 

So, the blog's health is fairly strong. Hopefully, 2021 will be as successful as this year and will have additional time to focus on the projects I had to stop.

Addendum: The blog reached over 3000 views on December 31! 



Monday, December 21, 2020

By the Gods!

Livio Lorenzon and Lex Barker in THE SECRET OF THE BLACK FALCON (1961)

Lex started to look a bit tired here. It's one of his many 'Swashbucklers' that could be interchangeable with others like TERROR OF THE RED MASK (1960) or ROBIN HOOD AGAINST THE PIRATES (1960). It's directed by Domenico Paolella, who's one of my favourite directors. He directed HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963) and HERCULES AGAINST THE BARBARIANS (1964), two classics in my book. So watching this I was a bit disappointed by it. It's not bad by any means but it's not very memorable. Lex would eventually move on to his WINNETOU movies after a couple of other PEPLUM productions. Barker worked nonstop.

I have two versions of this movie: one in Italian at 97 minutes long. And one Fan Dub at 86 minutes (taken from a German source). So a big chunk was cut for the German print. The ending are different. The German print/Fan Dub ends approximately 2 minutes before the Italian one. If you look at both, it's sorta odd how the German print/ Fan Dub ends.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959)

I'm trying to figure out if this poster is flattering to Steve Reeves. I like the art but Steve's expression is a bit funny.


 

PEPLUM TV Official store

BUY NOW - NEW DESIGNS COMING 2021

Friday, December 18, 2020

By the Gods!

Larry, Moe and Shemp, the Three Stooges, in MUMMY'S DUMMIES (1948)

A Three Stooges short set in Ancient Egypt. Only 16 minutes long. Made before THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962). A fun short movie. If you haven't seen it it's available at Dailymotion.

Behind-the-Scenes

Jean Simmons and Laurence Olivier take a break smoking cigarettes during the filming of SPARTACUS (1960)

 

More Blu-ray news at BY THE GODS!

Screenshot of the upcoming German Blu-ray edition of DUEL OF THE TITANS starring Steve Reeves and Virna Lisi.

At BY THE GODS! I have plenty of info on upcoming Blu-ray releases. Make sure to check it out.

BY THE GODS!

Titles include:

SODOM & GOMORRAH (1962; German Blu-ray)

IRONMASTER (1983; US Blu-ray)

DUEL ON THE MISSISSIPPI (1955; German Blu-ray)

HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN (1961; US Blu-ray)

DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961; Romulus & Remus; German Blu-ray)

NEFERTITI - QUEEN OF THE NILE (1961; German Blu-ray)

Problems

There are already problems on these upcoming titles. If you go to Amazon.de and look up DUEL OF THE TITANS without being logged in, it'll show that the movie is available. If you log-in to Amazon.de, the title will show that it's temporary out of stock. It seems Amazon doesn't want people outside of certain regions to buy these Blu-rays.

The DUEL OF THE TITANS link also shows that the movie will be released on Dec 31, 2021, NOT THIS YEAR. I believe this is an error but if it's not, wow!

If I try to purchase these titles at Amazon.de it will say the they won't ship to my location (Canada). I never had any issues buying from Amazon.de before. Too many people from outside Europe buying these German or Europeans Blu-rays, after reading my articles.

There are even more issues after trying to buy NEFERTITI - QUEEN OF THE NILE.

All the information at BY THE GODS!


Thursday, December 17, 2020

By the Gods!

Ida Galli and John Drew Barrymore in ROME AGAINST ROME (1964; aka War of the Zombies)

This movie needs an HD upgrade. Finding in widescreen such as this one is a good find but an HD print would be revelatory. This film has always been saddled with terrible prints that it's hard to give a genuine assessment of it. I assume that most of the quality of the movie will remain excellent for most of it except for the big battle scenes at the end. The movie didn't have a big budget and the big 'spooky' battle scenes at the end are its weakest part, which might look pretty bad in HD. The beautiful Ida is still with us while John died 16 years ago. 

Lobby Cards Set: THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1956)

Original US lobby cards set of THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1956) starring Gianna Maria Canale and Jorge Mistral. Probably one of the worst sets I've ever seen. The movie itself is gorgeous: beautiful cinematography, sets, costumes, cast, etc. But from looking at these cards, you'd think it was a cheap production. The lack of close-ups of actors, certainly Gianna, is a mistake. Oh well...

- not to be confused by the Yvonne De Carlo 1958 movie with the same title. This one was released in 1960 in the US. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Clip of the week: THE TROJAN HORSE (1961)

Steve Reeves vs Mimmo Palmara (with stuntwork by Giovanni Cianfriglia)

 




EXTRA CLIP OF THE WEEK!

Clip from the CORIOLANUS HD Fan Dub I created.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

By the Gods!

Babylon seen in SLAVES OF BABYLON (1953)

Directed by William Castle, this often misunderstood mini-epic from Columbia Pictures boasts many dazzling matte paintings. It's one of the reasons why I like it. The artist, or artists, responsible for these fun works of art is not known. I'll have more on this in a future post.

Different titles: THE CONQUEROR OF CORINTH (1961)

Today, it's THE CONQUEROR OF CORINTH (1961) starring Gianna Maria Canale, John Drew Barrymore, Geneviève Grad, Jacques Sernas and Gordon Mitchell.

Since acquiring the new HD print, I decided to do this one. Not many variations with this movie. The titles are almost all the same except for the French one, and the US title, which was THE CENTURION. Of course, as is often the case, the original US title is missing in action. The English title here is the International English title, presumably for the UK and Hong Kong, Australia, etc.


Original Italian title. Taken from the HD print.


The English, or International English title. The title for the US release was THE CENTURION. 


The French title translates as THE BATTLE OF CORINTH


The German title is the same as the Italian one.


This is the US title, misspelled. CENTURIAN should be spelled CENTURION, like its movie posters.


Gianna Maria Canale and Jacques Sernas, from the new HD print.


Monday, December 14, 2020

By the Gods!

Gordon Scott in CORIOLANUS - HERO WITHOUT A COUNTRY (1964)

This screenshot os from a HD version of the movie. It's beautiful. And I made a Fan Dub of it. I was actually working on a Fan Dub of this movie taken the Spanish DVD version when I got this one from my amazing source. I decided to do an upgrade and used this beautiful print instead of the one from the DVD. This my first Fan Dub in full HD. It's cool. Unfortunately, I uploaded to Youtube and they blocked it (even if it's available on other channel in albeit poor copies...). I have to find a new place to show these movies/Fan Dubs. Youtube has been on a blocking spree in recent weeks. Anyway, I'm pleased with the result. I'll try to upload a short clip of it.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of O.K. NERO (1951)

A comedy, and like so many comedies of the PEPLUM genre, it starts in modern Italy and the story goes back to the days of Ancient Rome. Not to be confused with NERONE E MESSALINA(1953), also starring Gino Cervi. Nice poster.

PEPLUM TV Official store

BUY NOW - NEW DESIGNS COMING 2021

Friday, December 11, 2020

By the Gods!

Gianna Maria Canale in CONQUEROR OF CORINTH (1961; aka The Centurion)

Gianna in HD. These screenshots were taken from a beautiful new HD print I recently got (thanks to my amazing source). Gianna looks stunning. One of the better new HD prints. Now if only these prints were available in English! Click on images to view details.

Geneviève Grad, Nando Tamberlani, Gianna. Beautiful image.

At the movies...

CLEOPATRA (1963) playing at the State Lake cinema in Chicago

Thursday, December 10, 2020

By the Gods!

Anouk Aimée, as The Queen, has a chit chat with her brother, played by Stanley Baker, in SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962)

One screengrab is from a recent copy broadcast in HD. And the other is a screengrab of the regular DVD. Which is which?

The one on top is the Italian broadcast in HD and the one below is from the German DVD. Aside from the stretched image issue, they're virtually the same. The HD print is not really a new HD print but the old one broadcast in HD. Remarkably enough the HD broadcast version is severely cut. I didn't have time to see which scenes were cut. The DVD itself had many odd issues so one day the movie will have a stunning HD transfer. 

The Queen and her brother are supposed to be lovers and this scene was shot in a way to hint at their sexual relationship.


Behind-the-Scenes

Steve Reeves carries Sylvia Lopez for a candid photo while filming HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Clip of the week: GOLIATH AGAINST THE GIANTS (1961)

Brad Harris as Goliath showing his strength! 



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

By the Gods!

Vittorio Gassman in THE VIOLENT PATRIOT (1956)

A very well made movie directed by Sergio Grieco. Sergio went from somewhat quaint historical/costume dramas to uber macho action movies, set in the past or present. I think this was his transitional picture as some scenes are quite violent. I like it but some might not as it tends to be in the 'Melodrama' style of the 1950s. It doesn't bother me but some might have issues with this approach. This scene takes place at the end. It's very memorable and theatrical, the best scene of the movie. This is from an HD version but the image, as good as it is, is not pristine as most films in HD. Also known as JOHN OF THE BLACK GANGS, which I have in English. 

Then & Now: Noëlle Adam

Noëlle in THE WONDERS OF ALADDIN (1961); the most recent photo of the actress

Monday, December 7, 2020

By the Gods!

Walter Chiari, Abbe Lane and Ugo Tognazzi in TIBERIUS (I Baccanali di Tiberio, 1960)

Just got a beautiful copy of this in HD (screengrab was taken from it). I never really had a bad copy of this movie but the English version, which played on TV in the US, is still missing. Since the movie is a comedy and there's plenty of dialogue, following it in Italian is a bit hard (but doable). Abbe is really cute in this. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of GOLIATH & THE CONQUEST OF DAMASCUS (1965)

Nice, simple art. But he doesn't look like Peter Lupus.

PEPLUM TV Official store





Friday, December 4, 2020

By the Gods!

Kirk Morris as Maciste in TRIUMPH OF MACISTE (1961)

One of the many 'Feats of strength' in this classic PEPLUM which desperately needs an HD upgrade. I doubt it will ever get the Blu-ray treatment therefore a TV broadcast in HD will most likely be the only chance to view it in high definition. 



Behind-the-Scenes


Photos from the premiere of HERCULES UNCHAINED at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1960. Jack Lemmon with a bunch of babes dressed in Greek costumes. Below: Mitzi Gaynor is helped by two muscular men, including Gordon Mitchell on the right.