Friday, August 12, 2022

Image of the week!


Mary Magdalene (Yvonne de Carlo) and Gaius Marcellus (Jorge Mistral) watch Jesus on the cross in the last scene from THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1958)

PEPLUM Books



100 BIBLE FILMS by Matthew Page

This informative book lists and reviews 100 well known and not so well known movies based on the bible. This book points out the interesting aspect of the PEPLUM genre and why the term PEPLUM is important  as an umbrella term. As I've mentioned for over a decade here at the blog, many people categorize films set in the past as the same. Epic movies. Historical dramas. Sword & Sandal. Biblical, etc. HERCULES (1958) is not a biblical movie like the THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956) and yet a big chunk of the population out there actually don't see a difference between the two. The stories of both films are set in the past. People were togas or similar looking costumes. There are chariots in HERCULES and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. The list goes on. So once one sorts out the movies based on the bible, like this book does, an entirely different picture is created. 

There are still super-productions like COMMANDMENTS or BEN-HUR (1959) but there's no CLEOPATRA (1963) or SPARTACUS (1960) or THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (1964). With so many big titles from Hollywood missing or Italian productions, one can see how many movies based on the bible were actually made. Of course, the list is incomplete. The author, Matthew Page, had to pick and choose the most prominent ones or the most interesting ones. Page writes on his selection at the beginning of the book.

This means many Italian titles like THE SWORD AND THE CROSS (1958) starring Yvonne de Carlo or PONTIUS PILATE (1962) starring Jean Marais, or the numerous movies with Christians being persecuted, like THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII (1959) or REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960), are not listed.

Even with this fault, I recommend this book. It's one of the best books on the PEPLUM genre or the biblical movies. With so many books on the PEPLUM genre that hates the genre itself, it's refreshing to read a book that doesn't denigrate it. I don't necessarily agree with some of his reviews, which is fine. There are interesting tidbits on the making of these movies, like the production issues behind KING OF KINGS (1961). There are tons of photos and the format and layout make the book easy to read or simply peruse. As I'm thinking of publishing my own book or books on PEPLUM movies one day, the format I'm thinking of closely resembles this one though with different layout. 

I bough the paperback version which goes for around $35 in Canada and $26 in the US. The book was creased during the delivery so thanks Amazon. :(

If you want to know more on Matthew Page, he has a great blog called BIBLE FILMS. He goes over every bible movies, including those he didn't list in the book. Make sure to check it out.

Posted at the permanent PEPLUM Books page.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Musings!


Romulus (Roger Moore) is visited by Venus (Rosanna Schiaffino) and Mars (Jean Marais) in ROMULUS AND THE SABINES (1961)

I like almost all PEPLUM movies, including this one even if sorta leaves me indifferent. The production is excellent, the cast is brilliant. There are great scenes like this one, a dream sequence of sorts, which is the highlight of the entire movie even if it's brief. The only big problem this movie has is that it suffers from an identity crisis. Is it a comedy? A historical picture? A historical comedy about...rape? It didn't know how to approach the touchy subject. Even the trailers for the movie are confusing, trying to make it appear as a light, fun movie about the kidnapping of the Sabine women. La Dolce Ratto? PEPLUM comedies are almost always the same. Not funny in a ROTFL way but not clever enough to be viewed as a sophisticated production. Scenes of bare-breasted Sabine women were cut from the US release but can be seen in the French version, which has all the scenes intact.


Behind-the-Scenes


Lana Turner keeping warm on the set of THE PRODIGAL (1955). Below is the scene/costume in the movie.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Clip of the week: HERCULES AGAINST THE SONS OF THE SUN (1964)


Mark Forest and Giuliano Gemma in action during the action-packed climax! 



Tuesday, August 9, 2022

HD Alert!


Massimo Serato and Jayne Mansfield in THE LOVES OF HERCULES (1960)

A screenshot from a HD print from a streaming service in Europe. The image clarity is stunning. The movie looks great. What's remarkable is how Jayne and Mickey Hargitay look slim or not as pudgy as in the older prints. Very odd. Not available on Blu-ray anywhere yet.


Vintage Article



Here's an old article on the career of Steve Reeves. Great set of photos.



Monday, August 8, 2022

Musings!


Maciste (Kirk Morris) is put to the test in ATLAS AGAINST THE CZAR (1964) 

The US version starts with a pre-credit message: KIRK MORRIS - The Legendary Atlas Now Known as "MACHISTE". The title is Atlas but in the movie he's called 'Machiste' or Maciste. This is one of many Feats of Strength scenes in this fun movie. It takes a while for Maciste to show up, and it's in a quite original way which adds to the lore of Maciste. Non-PEPLUM fans might think very little of these movies but for me, I absolutely enjoy them.
 


PEPLUM Movie Poster


French poster of SODOM AND GOMORRAH (1962) 

Nice artwork but it could basically represent any PEPLUM movie.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Image of week: DUEL OF THE TITANS


Julia (Virna Lisi) surrounded by her handmaiden Estia (José Greci) and Curzio (Jacques Sernas) in DUEL OF THE TITANS (1961)

Lobby Cards Set: THE WHITE WARRIOR


US lobby cards set of THE WHITE WARRIOR (1959) starring Steve Reeves, Scilla Gabel and others. Very good set with many cards showcasing Steve. The producers realized Steve was the best selling point of the movie and I'm sure this set drew attention to the movie, as it was designed to do.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Musings!


Millstone (Alan Steel) and Samson (Brad Harris) team up to topple the evil ruler in SAMSON (1961)

Though Brad was good in his starring role, imo, Alan Steel stole it from Brad. He was so much more charismatic and he eventually became a PEPLUM star. This movie was always available in a decent print so it's odd that a HD print of it hasn't surfaced yet. The French version is called SAMSON AGAINST HERCULES with Steel as Hercules. That's Irena Prosen.

Behind-the-Scenes


Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina have fun on the set of HERCULES (1958)

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Clip of the week: THE MIGHTY URSUS


Ursus (Ed Fury) gets caught in another trap but don't worry he gets out of it!



Tuesday, August 2, 2022

SPFX DEPT.


A scene from THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN (1963)

Matte paintings in Italian PEPLUM movies were pretty rare and whenever one shows up, I take notice. This night scene has Susy Andersen (in white) as a captive of the Amazons. Nice atmospheric work here. Dino Galiano is assumed to be the artist responsible for it.

 




Then & Now: Giulia Rubini


 Giulia in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS (1959); a recent photo of the actress

Monday, August 1, 2022

Musings!


Daniela Rocca is Galla Placidia in REVENGE OF THE BARBARIANS (1960) 

This is one of my favourite PEPLUM flicks and I just uploaded it to my Youtube channel. The image is okay but a bit too dark. A beautiful copy in HD would be great. The dialogue and twists and turns in this film are very entertaining. Daniela's best PEPLUM role. Is it historically accurate? Not all of it and yet it's all well made and flows beautifully. Never a dull moment.  


PEPLUM Movie Poster


Original Italian poster of THE WARRIOR AND THE SLAVE GIRL (1958) 

Nice poster that captures the movie's essence.