PEPLUM Books


Here's a quick overview of all the PEPLUM books I have in my library.




WITH FIRE & SWORD by Patrick Lucanio

An expensive book (over $100.00), it was seemingly published more for Academia than for the general public. 

Good:
- Great format and text. Easy to read.
- A good overview of the genre, no matter how error filled it is
- Great name for book

Bad:
- Unnecessarily repetitious and padded
- Many errors
- Dubious knowledge of the genre
- Super expensive
- Few images or illustrations





RETRO STUD by David Chapman

The first PEPLUM book I ever bought. Like almost all books listed here, this one has good aspects to it and some truly horrendous ones as well (yes, horrendous!). I don't even know where to start!

Good:
- Good layout
- Excellent selection of posters




Bad:
- Author dislikes the PEPLUM genre (!!!)
- A boatful of titles that don't exist
- Generally lazy




CINEMA ITALIANO by Howard Hughes

Well, I won't beat around the bush with this book: avoid

Good:
- None to list

Bad:
- Doesn't care for the genre
- Out of 300 pages, only 75 pages dedicated to the PEPLUM genre
- Expensive







LE PEPLUM by Laurent Aknin

A small book (123 pages or so) that's nearly all about Hollywood. 

Good:
- Covers recent PEPLUM films
- Good layout
- Cute


Bad:
- Little interest in Italian PEPLUM films
- Nearly all Hollywood





EPIC FILMS (second edition) by Gary Allen Smith

Very well researched and the layout is beautiful. Needs updating though.

Good:
- Excellent layout
- Well researched
- Includes titles of projects that weren't completed.

Bad
- Missing titles or genres (like Arabian genre...but all PEPLUM books have this problem...)
- Pricey!






IL GRANDE LIBRO DI ERCOLE by Steve Della Casa and Marco Giusti

Reviewing this hefty book is difficult since it's in Italian.

Good:
- Actors list, with photos, is excellent
- Good but not great layout
- Illustrated

Bad:
- NO INDEX
- Authors favour Hollywood films
- Missing titles, genres, etc
- Name of the book doesn't make any sense




ITALIAN SWORD & SANDAL FILMS  by Roy Kinnard and Tony Crnkovich

This 'book' only contains listings. 

Good:
- Nothing

Bad:
- Everything. A rip-off.











FANTASTIC FIFTIES - PEPLUM edition

This magazine (is it really a magazine?) covers the subject of films from the 1950s (and early 1960s). 

Good:
- Glossy publication
- Rare interview with Steve Reeves

Bad:
- Photos, photos, photos
- Expensive (nearly $40.00 with shipping and handling)








HEROES NEVER DIE! by Barry Atkinson

One of the latest books covering the genre.

Good:
- Excellent publication (print, design...)
- Illustrated (photos, posters...)

Bad:
- Dubious reviews of movies that are impossible to get
- Overwrought writing style
- Comes in two editions: black and white, and in colour. The colour edition is very expensive.




NOTE:

Here are 3 additional books from my library. They are added to the list found at the permanent page. Note that the formatting of the reviews is different since the old reviews were published using the old Blogger formatting which is not available anymore.



THE ANCIENT WORLD IN THE CINEMA by Jon Solomon


Good:

- Includes Italian productions
- Some interesting features, including a five page historical timeline
- Author clearly likes these movies
- The least expensive PEPLUM book I ever bought: $8.00

Bad: 

- Confusing chapters: categorized by subject which often muddles up things.
- Dismissive of Italian movies
- Terrible cover
- Many mistakes including incorrect photo credits!

I'm glad I have this book in my library and it was so cheap that I can't complain about it but I don't recommend this confusing book. 



GUIDA AL CINEMA PEPLUM by Oscar Lapena Marchena


Good:

- Lists movies by year of release, which gives a good chronological overview of genre and how it progressed
- Book translated in English
- Lists X-rated PEPLUM movies of the 1970s and 1980s
- Chapter on directors
- Eye-catching cover


Bad:

- Horrid page layout and photos which look like photocopies.
- Index is incomplete (only titles)
- Incomplete
Book translated in English but I don't have it yet. If I had known the book was translated in English I probably wouldn't have bought this version.

This book was originally published in Spanish. I got the Italian one. I like this book because there are some good ideas in it but it was clearly not made by professionals. 




MUSCLES, MYTHS, AND MOVIES by Stephen Flacassier


Good:

- Pretty good overview of the genre
- Author clearly likes these movies
- Includes cool icons or illustrations indicating what is included in movie. For instance, if there are monsters in the story an image of a monster is included within a square with 4 illustrations.

Bad:

- Nothing really bad about it
- Reviews based from viewing poor copies of movies.
- More zine than book
- Incomplete
- Published before the internet so errors are understandable

The author was kind enough to send a free copy.
 I like it. An update would be fun.


More to come...

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