Thursday, October 29, 2020

By the Gods!

Guy Madison, Ray Danton and Ferdinando Poggi in a torture scene from SANDOKAN AGAINST THE LEOPARD OF SARAWAK (1964)

The first Sandokan movie with Ray Danton to be released in 1964. Th movie is pretty much a straight up PEPLUM production, with the main cast all actors from PEPLUM movies, including Mario Petri (not seen here) in a major role. Torture scenes in PEPLUM movies are fairly common. Back then one could torture someone without censors making a big deal out of it but today, a scene like this would get it classified as adult stuff. It's one of the many reasons why I like the genre: they got away with so much back then, stuff that wouldn't be acceptable or seen today. This scene would be more effective if the surroundings didn't look like a movie set but the movie was shot in (stunning) locations. Danton is okay as Sandokan but I prefer Steve Reeves. Guy Madison was touted as an up and coming star more than a decade prior to this film's release. I wonder how he felt starring in movies made in Italy/Europe.

Lobby Cards Set: SON OF SINBAD (1955)

Original US lobby cards set of SON OF SINBAD (1955) starring Dale Robertson, Vincent Price and Sally Forrest. The set captures the movie's fun tone. It's light, colourful and filled with beautiful women. One great shot of the star, Dale Robertson (card #5) and one with Vincent (card #2), one with Dale and a bathing beauty (#6), and one with Dale, Vincent and some girls (#7). Good set.
 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

By the Gods!

A scene from CAESAR & CLEOPATRA (1946)

This movie has some of the best matte paintings in any movie. The artist responsible for this amazing work was Percy Day. Now I don't know if Percy was responsible for all the matte paintings in the movie (they often had different artists) but there are other scenes in which I still can't figure out what's real, model work or matte painting. Pretty amazing for an old movie. 

Then & Now: Nancy Kovack

Nancy in JASON & THE AGONAUTS (1963); a photo of a recent public appearance of the actress
 

Monday, October 26, 2020

By the Gods!

Franca Bettoia and Ray Danton in SANDOKAN STRIKES BACK (1964)

This was one of 3 Sandokan movies released in 1964 in Italy. Yes, 3!!! The first movie starring Steve Reeves, SANDOKAN THE GREAT was released in December 1963 (but it got a wide release afterwards around the world) then the two Sandokan movies with Ray Danton were released, including this one, in August 1964 and then SANDOKAN AGAINST THE LEOPARD OF SARAWAK on October 18, 1964. Steve Reeves' SANDOKAN - THE PIRATE OF MALAYSIA was released on October 16. 1964. No wonder the whole series is confusing. The title to the second Reeves Sandokan movie didn't have the name Sandokan in it, only THE PIRATE OF MALAYSIA, maybe to prevent confusion with the Ray Danton ones. Reeves must have been pissed off by this. I'm not familiar with Danton as an actor. Aside from starring as George Raft in THE GEORGE RAFT STORY (1961), Danton mostly appeared in TV shows I've seldom watched. As for Franca, she made a couple of PEPLUM movies, 6 to be exact, including DUEL OF CHAMPIONS (1961), her most famous title. Franca is still alive!

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Argentinian poster of SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959)

Great poster. I want it. The title is different in that it translates as THE BARBARIANS AGAINST ROME. Hmm...more accurate than SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR since there are no gladiators in this.

PEPLUM TV Official store





Friday, October 23, 2020

By the Gods!

Yôko Tani as Princess Ila in URSUS IN THE TARTAR PRINCESS (1961)

A Japanese actress born in Paris, France. She starred in a handful of PEPLUM movies, including this one. She's mostly known for FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS (1960). I like her. Good actress. These screen grabs were taken from a HD version of it. It's very nice. Not as spectacular as the recent CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER one but a definite upgrade from previous versions.

Ettore Manni starred along with Yôko

At the movies...

THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD (1965) playing at the Warner Cinerama theatre in NYC.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

By the Gods!

Jean Simmons is a slave in SPARTACUS (1960)

Simmons was a rare PEPLUM star in Hollywood in that she made a good number of genre films. ANDROCLES AND THE LION (1952), THE ROBE (1953), THE EGYPTIAN (1954) and this one. Aside from ANDROCLES, all other films were big productions and casting her in SPARTACUS made sense. She was a familiar face in such pictures. But she would slowly stop working after this epic, only starring in 6 films in the 1960s after the year SPARTACUS was released. In this story, she's the catalyst in that Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) revolts against the Romans after she is whisked away from the slave camp.

What do you think of her? Any fans out there?

Behind-the-Scenes

Victor Mature takes a photo with one of the extras, who happens to be Ed Fury, during the making of DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

By the Gods!

Giacomo Rossi Stuart and Ferdinando Poggi in THE MYSTERY OF THUG ISLAND (1964)

Rossi Stuart plays Tremal Naik. In our politically correct times, this movie, and other of its kind, are blasphemous. Better save them on your hard drives before TPTB bans them forever. I know the actors are not the right race but both actors look tanned, not in brown or black face. The two look almost identical. 

Rhonda Fleming, R.I.P.

Rhonda in REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960)

Hollywood star Rhonda Fleming died on October 14 at the age of 97. Though she didn't star in many PEPLUM movies, those that she did star in were big titles, at least in regards to the genre itself. She was an actress, singer, and dancer (in Las Vegas). One of her earliest roles was in Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND (1945). She would eventually become lead actress in many movies during most of the 1950s. A lot of her movies are not PEPLUM movies per se but have elements of the genre such as A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT (1948). Her biggest roles would be in SERPENT OF THE NILE, QUEEN OF BABYLON and REVOLT OF THE SLAVE. May she R.I.P..

Rhonda in LITTLE EGYPT (1951). Not a PEPLUM movie but she had a memorable belly dance in it.


Rhonda with Sterling Hayden in THE GOLDEN HAWK (1952). She was the star of the movie, with her name above the title.


THE SERPENT OF THE NILE (1953)
Rhonda as Cleopatra
 
Rhonda starred in this William Castle directed movie made for Columbia Pictures. Raymond Burr co-starred with her. Fun film.





Rhonda in a publicity photo for YANKEE PASHA (1954). Not a true PEPLUM movie. A combination Western/Arabian Adventure. The story takes place in the 1800s and Rhonda's character is kidnapped and sent to Arabia to become a dancing girl in a harem.


QUEEN OF BABYLON (1954)

Rhonda went to Italy to star in this sorta big PEPLUM movie with a 'cast of thousands.' It was quite an ambitious production, an early PEPLUM shot in color. It also starred another Hollywood actor, Ricardo Montalban. Is it accurate in regards to Babylonian culture? Not really but it's fun, sorta influential PEPLUM since it was made way before all the upcoming titles of the late 1950s.

Ricardo, playing Amal, with Rhonda, as Semiramis, in this improbable and yet fun PEPLUM


Rhonda dances up a storm in a massive ceremonial scene.


Semiramis (Fleming) is to be burned at the stake. Big production.




REVOLT OF THE SLAVES
(1960)

6 years after going to Italy to make QUEEN OF BABYLON, Rhonda return to Rome to shoot her best PEPLUM yet: REVOLT OF THE SLAVES. I think it's an overlooked PEPLUM movie which finally got the Blu-ray treatment. One of those PEPLUM movies I watch over and over.

Rhonda Fleming with her co-stars: Dolores Francine, Ettore Manni, Wandisa Guida, and Fernando Rey. Great cast.

Rhonda's character is during the climax imprisoned along with Dolores Francine.


Lang Jeffires and Rhonda in a publicity photo. Both were married briefly after the production was completed.

Rhonda with Serge Gainsbourg and Van Aikens. Serge would become a legendary crooner after his stint in PEPLUM movies.


Monday, October 19, 2020

By the Gods!

Leo Valeriano, Gigi Bonos, and Robert Malcolm in SINBAD & THE CALIPH OF BAGHDAD (1973)

I have so many copies of this movies, it's unreal. And yet finding the perfect one is nearly impossible. Above is a copy in widescreen. Below is another copy I got from a great source. The clarity of the image is better but it's not in widescreen. There is a widescreen version and in English on Youtube but the channel is a scummy one so I won't link to it.

This was Pietro Francisci's last movie. For those who don't know, Pietro directed HERCULES (1958) which started the whole PEPLUM explosion. I like it but some might not. Robert Malcolm makes for an interesting Sinbad, different than all others. Robert made just a couple of movies and disappeared from the face of the earth, like so many other PEPLUM stars. I've read on some forum that he's married and lives in Florida.



PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster of SWORD OF THE EMPIRE (1964)

Great art. Another one for my collection.

PEPLUM TV Official store





Saturday, October 17, 2020

Rhonda Fleming

It was announced yesterday that Rhonda Fleming died on October 14. I'll have more on her career in PEPLUM movies next week.



Friday, October 16, 2020

By the Gods!

Roland Carey and Gabriele Antonini are pursued by the Praetorians and hold Maria Grazia Spina while the men pass by in REVOLT OF THE BARBARIANS (1964)

Got a nice print of this often overlooked movie. I already had some nice prints, including one Fan Dub, but this print, though not quite HD, is very beautiful. I like this movie. It's a 'real' PEPLUM.


BEN-HUR board game

There was a BEN-HUR (1959) board game. Who knew? It sorta looks like the SON OF HERCULES board game. I'll look out for it on eBay. If it's not too expensive, I'll buy it. Of course the game centres around the movie's most famous scene, the chariot race. 

Is Jesus and leprosy part of the game too? 








Thursday, October 15, 2020

By the Gods!

Archimedes (Rossano Brazzi) learns a secret from Diane (Tina Louise) in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960)

This is definitely Pietro Francisci's biggest movie. It's lush, expansive and beautiful to look at. I watched the French version of it last night (I don't have to read subs) and I really like it. The French dub is excellent unlike Tina Louise's other PEPLUM film, SAPPHO. The French dub is horrendous for that title. The English version is still missing in action. Will it ever surface? I like watching it in Italian with subs but watching without subs is a definite plus. I can't wait to get a hold of the English dub. IMO, the only liabilities I can make towards this excellent production is the episodic script. It takes place during decades and the movie sorta loses focus at one point. Also, the color of Rossano's hair is terrible. What were they thinking? But that's it. The rest is top notch!

Lobby Cards Set: MY SON THE HERO (The Titans)

US lobby cards set of MY SON, THE HERO (1962) starring Giuliano Gemma, Serge Nubret and a host of other actors. Fun set of lobby cards. The set showcases almost everything that's good about it and leaves the weak stuff out (mostly about the love story). Only card #7 is weird: I don't know who she is and what she's doing in the set. It's basically a publicity shot of an extra but the other cards are good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

By the Gods!

Miriam (Dolores Costello) is about to be sacrificed in NOAH'S ARK (1928)

This movie has many spectacular scenes, including this one and yet it's rarely brought up when the subject of spectacular scenes from movies set in Antiquity comes up. It's one of the most overlooked films of the era. It's probably due to the fact that the film takes places in different eras, scenes set during modern times to contrast with those set in the past. Dolores, one of the most popular actresses of the silent period, was the mother of future PEPLUM star John Drew Barrymore.

Then & Now: Angela Lansbury

Angela in SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949); A recent photo of the actress

Monday, October 12, 2020

By the Gods!

Giulio Brogi as Aeneas in AENEID (1971)

A mini-series from Franco Rossi who also directed THE ODYSSEY (1968) TV mini-series, which is more known than this one. 7 one hour episodes. A massive undertaking, for the makers and the viewers. Aeneas is a giant in Italian culture/history but almost unknown elsewhere. He is the ancestors of Romulus and Remus, who were the founders of Rome. Aeneas was exiled to Italy after the fall of Troy. The mini-series looks great but more 'groovy' than THE ODYSSEY. Some dated costumes and style. The locations are stunning, many of which were destroyed by ISIS. So there's something truly valuable about this production. The series is in Italian without English subtitles....yet.



PEPLUM Movie Poster

Lebanese poster of REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964)

This is n amalgamation of different posters with some artwork from the movie itself

PEPLUM TV Official store







Friday, October 9, 2020

By the Gods!

Gianna Maria Canale and Claudio Gora in SON OF SPARTACUS (1962)

A TV show in Italy (2018) in which the cast (below) try to recreate scenes from SON OF SPARTACUS, including the one above. I know very little of this but I assume it's a reality TV show of sorts. That's all I can about it. 


The TV show shows clips of SON OF SPARTACUS, including this one with Steve Reeves