Monday, September 20, 2021

By the Gods!

David Farrar and Ann Blyth, as Princess Shalimar, in THE GOLDEN HORDE (1951) 

A short movie, at 77 minutes. Even so, it's entertaining and the score is robust and memorable. I like this movie even though it had obvious limitations in regards to its budget. The dialogue is lively but sorta repetitive. How many times did they say Samarkand? I feel like I'm the only one who likes it or remembers it.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS (1963) 

Good art. Good renditions.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Image of the week!

Mark Forest as Goliath (Hercules in the original) from GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON (1960)


Steve Reeves and Sylvia Lopez at some soirée for HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959).

Thursday, September 16, 2021

By the Gods!

Ulysses (John Drew Barrymore) tells Aeneas (Steve Reeves) the instructions to the challenge in THE TROJAN HORSE (1961)

I always wonder how Steve was when a fellow actor was from the US and spoke English. Steve was often surrounded by cast and crew that didn't speak English and since he didn't speak Italian, he was pressumably often alone on the set, aside from th translator and such folks. Did Steve and John hung out during and after work? Barrymore was definitely a different type than the health conscious Reeves.

Lobby Cards Set: CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER (1960)

Original US lobby cards set for CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER starring Debra Paget and Ettore Manni.  This set is very good. Since this is more of a drama than action epic, scenes will sorta look like this. Aside from the repetitious scenes with characters leaning down or on the floor, the set really captures the entertaining aspects of this gem.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Clip of the week: SALAMMBO (1960)

Jeanne Valerie and Edmund Purdom. From a Fan Dub I created.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

HD Alert!

Mario Petri and Sean Flynn in a sword fight from THE SIGN OF ZORRO (1963)

Great sword fight filmed at the Monte Gelato waterfalls. As you can see in the top right corner, it says ACTION HD. This movie was shown in France in HD though the movie file itself is not in full HD. The image is also way too dark (a re-occurring issue with these HD transfers). If someone out there has the actual HD resolution with a less dark image, please let me know. 


Searching far and wide for all things PEPLUM! Luciano Marin and Steve Reeves in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959)

Notes on MUSINGS! and the blog

The last time I posted Musings!, it was the end of July. I posted stuff every week for several months. I love doing this. Now that I'm back after August's postings, there'll be some changes. Musings! will be posted every other week. And will be posted on Fridays instead of Tuesdays.

As I tested different posts during August, I decided that all the changes will stay. Meaning, on Fridays I'll post an 'Image of the week' to end the week, and the additional new posts of 'HD Alert' and 'SPFX DEPT.' will stay. I'll be tweaking stuff here and there, in a way to make the blog more cohesive.

The blog's stats have maintained at around 1500 views a day. Except for today, which is now over 3000 views. Again, because of the blog's limitations, I don't know where these visitors are coming from.



In the Musings! of July 20th, I wrote about the trend of adding a second director, usually an Italian one, to the credits of a movie ade in Italy. This included Sergio Leone added to SODOM & GOMORRAH, a movie directed by Robert Aldrich. You can read or re-read what I wrote two months ago. Well, one of the directors often added as 'co-director' is Mario Bava. Fans of Mario have try to give him more credit than anything else. One movie which is a great example is ESTHER AND THE KING (1960). Directed by Raoul Walsh, a great Hollywood director in his own right, the production was moved from Hollywood to Italy because of a writers strike. If one looks at the Italian poster for ESTHER, Raoul Walsh is credited as "A FILM BY RAOUL WALSH" and then "DIRECTED BY MARIO BAVA." See poster below.


So, it's no wonder some of the confusion has occurred on some of these titles. Saying that this was a Raoul Walsh movie but crediting someone else for the direction is, well, confusing. But I believe Bava's name was added to the poster just for marketing purposes. For instance, only Walsh is credited on the French or Spanish posters. No one knew who Bava was in 1960. Putting Bava's name (who was emerging, not established yet) was a way to sell it as an Italian production. At IMDb, Bava is credited for the movie as director for the Italian version. But the Italian version and the US version are the same. More confusion.


This Spanish DVD pack is interesting. It has 3 of Steve Reeves' Pirate movies, which includes MORGAN THE PIRATE (1960), SANDOKAN THE GREAT (1963), and SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA (1964). The pack was re-packaged with a new slipcover. I wonder if it's worth buying. Of course, no English tracks. 


A Spanish edition is currently on sale on eBay right now. See BY THE GODS!


The last sighting of the statue, from 2020. It's still in someone's yard.


The so-called 4K prints of HERCULES (1958) and HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959), which surfaced on Youtube recently, barely got any views. Youtube is most likely shadowbanning the channels carrying them.

Speaking of those classic movies, from a friend in Europe, word is that the ARTUS FILMS HD editions of HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED won't happen.

Are these movies cursed?


Future Musings:

- List of best costumes, for women and for men

- List of movies available in HD / Blu-ray

- PEPLUM Museum?

Monday, September 13, 2021

By the Gods!

Commodus (Alan Steel) shows his fighting abilities in URSUS - THE REBEL GLADIATOR (1962)

I like this film. A good combination of Muscle PEPLUM and Drama PEPLUM. In real life, Commodus was a fighter and fought in the arena in gladiatorial combats. He was quite the Emperor. Commodus was played by Christopher Plummer in THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964), and by Joaquin Phoenix in GLADIATOR (2000). They weren't as brawny as Alan Steel though, who, like the other actors, also gave a good performance.

PEPLUM Movie Posters

German poster of THE TRIUMPH OF HERCULES (1964)

The title translates as THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Simple but eye-catching artwork of Dan Vadis.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Image of the week!

Hercules (Steve Reeves) fights with Antaeus (Primo Carnera) in HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

At the movies...

Crowded event for CLEOPATRA (1963) at the Pantages in Hollywood, California


Thursday, September 9, 2021

By the Gods!

Cameron Mitchell and Edmund Purdom, as King Sveno, in THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS (1961)

Usually, Edmund was subdued and quiet to the point of giving the impression that he's not acting but that's not the case here in this movie. He acted his heart out. Some might say it's overacting, which is not inaccurate, but even so I like it. In contrast, Mitchell, who often overacted in his roles, is restrained. Scenes from this movie were copied in the GAME OF THRONES TV series. 


Chelo Alonso posed for a photo in costume from GOLIATH & THE BARBARIANS (1959)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021


Scenes from THE LONG SHIPS (1964)

Excellent matte paintings by Ivor Beddoes. They're almost seamless. The movie also boasts practical effects or model work of the ships, of course. The list for the SPFX crew is long. 


Then & Now: Gary Raymond

Gary in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963); a recent photo of the actor

Monday, September 6, 2021

By the Gods!

Nancy Kovack, as Medea, in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

Dance / ritual scene from the classic movie. Nancy appears one hour into the movie, rescued from a raft drifting on the sea. Her presence added so much to the movie. 

PEPLUM Movie Poster

French poster oF HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959) 

Great poster! 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Image of the week!

Phaon (Kerwin Mathews) and Sappho (Tina Louise) embrace at the very end of THE WARRIOR EMPRESS (1961; aka Sappho - The Venus of Lesbos)


Gordon Mitchell and Bella Cortez take a photo together on the set of THE GIANT OF METROPOLIS (1961). Below: a screenshot of the scene in the movie.


Thursday, September 2, 2021

By the Gods!

Paul Wynter, Dante DiPaolo and Aldo Bufi Landi in ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1961)

The characters played by Paul Wynter and Dante DiPaolo were villains while Aldo is a good guy trying to keep a low profile. They are watching Atlas going through a 'Feat of Strength' (Gordon Mitchell as Atlas/ Maciste). I always like these scenes. Dante had fun playing the baddie, with Wynter as his bruiser. DiPaolo was married to Rosemary Clooney and therefore was related to George Clooney. Wynter won two Mr. Universe contests. This movie needs an  HD upgrade. 

Lobby Cards Set: HERCULES UNCHAINED (1959)

Original British lobby cards set of HERCUES UNCHAINED (1959) starring Steve Reeves and all. Great lobby cards set. One of the best I've seen. All great photos. No complaints.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

HD Alert!

Steve Reeves in A LONG RIDE FROM HELL (1968)

For Steve Reeves completists, someone uploaded an HD copy of this on Youtube. As I previously stated with SAMSON AND THE LOST TREASURE OF THE INCAS, as odd as it is, there's a Western sub-category to the PEPLUM genre. Movies that were either started as a PEPLUM movie and changed after the success of FOR A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) by Sergio Leone. Studios in Italy abandoned the PEPLUM genre and left many actors and directors without a genre to work with. This was Steve's last film before retiring from acting, which is a shame because he was a charismatic presence on the big screen. Leone apparently wanted Steve to star in FISTFUL but Clint Eastwood was cast instead after Reeves declined the offer. Reeves and Leone worked together on THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959). What's really fascinating about this movie is the fact that many actors of the PEPLUM genre, many of which didn't work with Steve, finally worked with him. This includes Rosalba Neri. As a die-hard PEPLUM fan, it's great to see Rosalba and Steve together. There was a 4 years gap between SANDOKAN - PIRATE OF MALAYSIA and this movie.

Vintage Article

I collect old articles and I have tons of them in folders. This is one of many. I don't know where I got it and the image is not too clear but it's fun to see. It's a summary of HERCULES UNCHAINED from some Italian publication, with a good selection of images. If I recall correctly, the photo of Steve Reeves lifting Primo Carnera is hard to get. I've rarely seen it elsewhere.

Monday, August 30, 2021

By the Gods!

Edy Vessel and Guy Madison in SWORD OF THE CONQUEROR (1961) 

Last week I announced, via BY THE GODS!, that a German Blu-ray of this movie will be released in October. Great news. Made by the same folks who made the classic GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959), starring Steve Reeves, this one pretty much follows the same template with Jack Palance being the unruly barbarian here. I like this movie but in terms of being memorable, it's nowhere near the classic GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS, which has several iconic scenes in it. The movie was already shown in HD on some HD channel / streaming service (notice the MGM HD logo in the top left). This screenshot is from that version which I already have in my collection. The upcoming Blu-ray from Germany will have the English track but it won't have the obtrusive MGM HD logo. The fact this movie is being released in such a great quality is simply because United Artists / MGM actually owns the copyright to this while GOLIATH is without a studio backing it up and is left in limbo. It's sad but that's how the world of copyrights work.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of HERCULES (1958)

One of many posters made for the original release, and they're all great. Excellent likeness of Steve Reeves.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Image of the week!

Messalina (Susan Hayward) congratulates Demetrius (Victor Mature) in winning the deadly contest and, in turn, becoming a free man in DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954)

At the movies...

QUO VADIS playing at the Astor Theatre on Broadway in 1951. 

BY THE GODS!: New Upcoming German Blu-ray release....

 Another title to be released on Blu-ray from Germany...


Thursday, August 26, 2021

By the Gods!

Sylva Koscina as Clio in SIEGE OF SYRACUSE (1960)

Sylva's role in this excellent movie was small. I wished it had been bigger. In fact, I wished she had the leading role instead of Tina Louise. Nothing against Tina, and she does a good job for what was a complicated role (multiple identities, memory lost, etc) but I feel Sylva would have done a greater job, would have been more affecting. It would have been memorable. For now, her role amounts to a little more than a footnote which is a shame. She deserved better.


Kirk Douglas takes a photo with his cast-mates, Jean Simmons and Tony Curtis, on the set of SPARTACUS (1960)

Tuesday, August 24, 2021


The walled city in ANTHAR THE INVINCIBLE (1964)

This movie was directed by Antonio Margheriti who loved working with miniature practicle models and we see a couple of scenes of his expertise. The structure in the middle resembles the temple used in WAR GODS OF BABYLON (1962), in which Margheriti worked on the extensive special effects for the Apocalyptic climax.

PEPLUM Comic Books

The use of comic books to promote a PEPLUM movie was popular back in the 1950s and 1960s. HERCULES (1958) was a great example of its use. Some of these are sorta questionable but for the most part they look great.

If you want to read more comic books, I have three permanent pages dedicated to them, including the two HERCULES prints.

PEPLUM Comix page 1

PEPLUM Comix page 2

PEPLUM Comix page 3

BEN-HUR (1959)




THE 300 SPARTANS (1962) retitled as LION OF SPARTA

Monday, August 23, 2021

By the Gods!

Ursus (Ed Fury) is put to the test working a giant millstone in URSUS IN THE LAND OF FIRE (1963)

This is the third Ursus movie starring Ed Fury. Some say this is the best one of the three. I dunno. I like it and there re some great moments in it, like this scene but the first one is hard to beat. The entire series is filled with the most villainous characters ever put on screen. It's something to behold. After starring in the series, Ed returned to the US and could only pull acting roles as an extra. Ed is 93 years old now.

PEPLUM Movie Poster

Original Italian poster of SIGN OF THE GLADIATOR (1959) 

One of many posters with Anita Ekberg, who's likeness here is on point. The dress painted here is actually not shown in the movie, or only seen from a distance.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Image of the week!

Cain (Richard Harris) and the killing of Abel (Franco Nero) from THE BIBLE: IN THE BEGINNING... (1966)