Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photo of the Day

Mads Mikkelsen as One Eye in VALHALLA RISING (2009)

Beautifully shot film that's a great showcase for digital filmmaking. Few people like this film because it's not your average action film but the cinematography alone makes this worth watching. I read somewhere someone describing it as a Terrence Malick film with extreme violence.

PEPLUM Behind the Scenes

Steve Reeves steps out of (or in) a Jeep during the filming of HERCULES (1958)

Great photo. Massive arms there. 

What movie is this from?

Clue #1: The film wasn't made in Rome or in Hollywood.

Any guess?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Photo of the Day

No, you're not seeing things. That's Ed Fury in the background in the STAR TREK episode "The Omega Glory" with William Shatner as Kirk, of course.

This was shot AFTER Ed left Italy for good, after starring in a dozen or so Sword & Sandal films, including THE MIGHTY URSUS and COLOSSUS AND THE AMAZON QUEEN only to end up as an extra standing in the background for an episode of a TV series. Ed was the star of many films and yet it meant nothing in Hollywood. This appearance is not listed at Ed' IMDb's profile. Also, having seen everything Ed made, from WILD WOMEN OF WONGO to his last PEPLUM, I've never seen him so out of shape. I find this sad.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster of TOTO VS MACISTE. 

Toto was a huge star in Italy/Europe, not so this side of the Atlantic. None of his PEP films are available in English, dub or sub.

French Parody on the PEPLUM genre

Probably more than any other country, the French really love the PEPLUM genre and they love making fun of it too.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Photo of the Day

Dr. Doug Phillips (Robert Colbert) meets Helen (Dee Hartford) and Paris (Paul Carr) in the episode "Revenge of the Gods" from the sci-fi TV series THE TIME TUNNEL

I like the title of this particular episode. Surprise they haven't used it yet for a film. They use clips from Robert Wise's HELEN OF TROY for the big battles and the Trojan Horse scenes.

Before & After Location: Babylon

Artist representations of Babylon. No real images available from that time. Arf.

Now the question is: how tall was the tower of Babylon?

Below, the ruins of Babylon

CinemaScope distortion

The first film shot in Cinemascope was a PEPLUM film, THE ROBE. The epic quality of the genre was perfectly suited for the then new aspect ratio, for the grandeur and pageantry. In its infancy Cinemascope had some visible limitations and side effects. Close ups were rare (DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS has few close ups) and lenses were limited also in regards to the depth of field. I took two screenshots from THE EGYPTIAN and even though the camera is static you can visibly see a distortion to the image as the actors move away from the camera. The lenses were limited and the image distorts in order to keep it in focus as the actors move about. This was fixed with better lenses but you  can clearly see this distortion in many PEP films made in the early 1950s.

gif maker

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Photo of the Day

Prithviraj Kapoor as Alexander the Great in SIKANDAR (1941); made in India

This is the first film in which Alexander the Great is the main character, preceding the Richard Burton one by a decade. Hmm, I need to see this. There are some clips on Youtube but without English subs.

ADVENTURE STORY - Preview - Sean Connery

Yesterday I posted an image of Sean Connery from ADVENTURE STORY. Here's a rare glimpse of Connery as Alexander the Great. Play by Terence Rattigan. Noel Hood is Pythia, priestess of Apollo.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo of the Day

Sean Connery as Alexander the Great in ADVENTURE STORY, a TV production made by the BBC and broadcast in 1961. Connery did this before DR NO. Adapted from a play written by Terence Rattigan.

I have half (50 minutes) of this tv production (don't ask) and it's pretty good, if stagey but that's normal for TV productions of the time. I'll try to get all of it and play it on PEPLUM TV. It's quite rare and unique. My only complaint is the title. ADVENTURE STORY? Pretty bland.

PEP Inspired Art

Name of the painting: "Hercules lifts the skin of the sea and stops Venus for an instant from waking Love" by Salvador Dali


Wouldn't it be cool if there was a PEPLUM World, a Disney World kind of amusement park with all things PEP. I've always thought that it would be amazing to go to an amusement park, with rollercoasters and stuff, with the entire staff dressed in Sword & Sandal gear, with no exceptions to the rule, in order to recreate a perfect environment set in Antiquity. And there would be feats of strength, reenactments, cool architecture from every kind of locations (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, etc). There are already places like Caesar's Palace or the Luxor in Las Vegas and the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas (last photo) that sorta caters to that idea but I've been to Caesar's Palace and stayed at the Luxor and Caesar's wasn't too Roman-like and the Luxor was dark and sorta tacky. The Atlantis resort looks super tacky as well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Photo of the Day

Tom Savani and Ed Harris look at an article (or ad) about them in a magazine in KNIGHTRIDERS, directed by George Romero.

A film that takes place in modern times but with a traveling troupe reenacting feats as Medieval knights doing sword-fights and jousting with motorcycles instead of horses. Some call it a masterpiece while others say it's Romero's worst film. I have to say that the film has a certain cool charm to it but the editing and certainly the camera composition are pretty blah.


Directed by the notorious Joe D'Amato and made in 1997. I have the film (I have everything PEPLUM so no jokes...lol). The film is easy to obtain online, if that sort of thing interests you.

Hakan Serbes is Hercules

Mount Olympus at the Movies

Above and below: from VULCAN ~ SON OF JUPITER

Above and below: From JASON & THE ARGONAUTS





From the CLASH OF THE TITANS remake



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photo of the Day

Vincent Price and Jeanne Crain in NEFERTITI QUEEN OF THE NILE

Vincent has a ball in this film, camping it up but it's also a quite serious role, more meaty than the one he had in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Jeanne is good but her arching eyebrows are truly distracting. I'll be doing a Fan Dub of this one as well has I just got a great looking print and I'll add the English track to it.

PEPLUM Star in non-PEP film

Giovanni Cianfriglia in CASTLE OF BLOOD (1964). He's credited simply as The Killer.

Uploaded to the HEROES & BEEFCAKE permanent page.

Cinematic Confusion

A few weeks ago I posted about CASTOR & POLLUX and showed a photo from HERCULES and credited the actors Fulvio Carrara (Castor) and Willy Colombini (Pollux). Well while watching HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED recently, just for reference and research, I noticed that the English translation as Fulvio as Pollux and Willy as Castor! I had to double check everything (no pun intended) to make sure I got the correct info and yes the US dub as them confused. I don't know if it's intentional or just a goof.

Here's the IMDb credit for HERCULES.

Willy Colombini and Fulvio Carrara

Addendum: IMDb's info is incorrect 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Photo of the Day

Michael Fassbender runs for his life in CENTURION

Michael sure is the current "It" boy as he's seemingly everywhere in the media these days. I purchased CENTURION via iTunes a year ago but never got to watch it so I decided to watch it last week and 30 minutes into it I had to stop. For two reasons. First, the opening credits are THE WORST opening credits I've ever seen, in a current or old film. Truly off putting. Obviously I thought the film started on the wrong foot but after watching it over 30 minutes, honest to god (or BY THE GODS!) I still couldn't tell who was who. The whole thing was confusing/muddled. Not the story but the characters. Every actor looked the same. The entire film had an anonymous bland feel to it. The choppy editing didn't help but seriously I just didn't know the characters at all so I stopped watching it. The CGI blood was silly. There were also Warrior Women who looked like something straight out from LORD OF THE RINGS. I'm like, huh?

I might try it again one more time in the near future but for now the whole thing was disappointing.  

PEPLUM Imagery in the mainstream media

The final episode of the UK version of DANCING WITH THE STARS started with contestants being transported in chariots...why? I dunno but the Sword & Sandal imagery is alive and well today.

PEPLUM Babe of the Month: LIANA ORFEI

Liana Orfei is PEPLUM Blog's Babe of the Month for January. Liana starred in a dozen Sword & Sandal films and excelled in all of them. She often had elaborate dance numbers including in NEFERTITI QUEEN OF THE NILE and ATTACK OF THE MOORS. Liana was Moira Orfei's cousin and even though they were related the two never appeared in the same PEP film together. Liana is still active today with managing her own circus act.

Uploaded to the BABES & BEAUTIES permanent page.

The three first photos are from HERCULES CHALLENGES SAMSON (or Hercules, Samson and Ulysses)

Liana's dance number in HERCULES CHALLENGES SAMSON


Photo above and below: Liana in THE TARTARS

Liana said that she cherishes her experience in making THE TARTARS more than any other of her films.

Liana and Victor Mature in THE TARTARS

Liana in PIRATES OF THE COAST, one of her many Swashbuckler roles

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photo of the Day

Emperor Justinian (Orson Welles) and Empress Theodora (Sylva Koscina) are getting lectured by Narses (Michael Dunn) in THE LAST ROMAN

I'm doing a Fan Dub version of this which I'll be playing it soon on PEPLUM TV.

Movie Poster Mondays

Colorful Danish poster for MORGAN THE PIRATE. Really cool design.

Aside from some pacing issues, this is one of Steve's best films. I can watch it over and over again.

Pricey PEP books

Why are books about the subject of Sword & Sandal films so expensive? It's a truly bizarre thing. I have WITH FIRE AND SWORD (yes, I paid $99 for it), EPIC FILMS and LASH! I've already reviewed LASH! As for the other two, I've had these for a couple years now but haven't reviewed them yet...I'll critique both books individually in the future. Suffice it to say though WITH FIRE AND SWORD is NOT worth $99.

LASH! seems to be the least expensive but it's just an (incomplete) list of movies with scenes of men being lashed with no photos.  Way too expensive.

I was thinking of buying OF MUSCLES AND MEN but @ $40 for just a collection of essays well that's a bit much (the book is even more pricey on eBay) and after reading this review I think I'll skip it.

Martin M. Winkler has written several books on the subject but I haven't read any yet because $107 is simply too much.

Anyway, you can check my blog. It's free. Arf. Or you can donate something to the blog.