Thursday, May 31, 2012

Photo of the Day

Deron McBee is one of the TIME BARBARIANS

How did I miss this one? Looks like trashy fun!

Real PEP News: Deepest Roman shipwrecks found near Greece

Two Roman-era shipwrecks have been found in deep water off a western Greek island, challenging the idea that ancient shipmasters stuck to coastal routes.

Link (sorry, daily male mail)

Lobby Card Set: THE GODDESS OF LOVE (1957)

US lobby cards set of GODDESS OF LOVE (1957) starring Belinda Lee, Jacques Sernas, and Massimo Girotti. Not bad but should have contained a few more stand-out scenes from the film, like the one on the beach. I guess that was too racy. The best card is the top right one. This set proves the movie was released in English, the English version is still missing in action.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Photo of the Day

Poppaea (Maria Grazia Buccella) and Nero (Pippo Franco) squabble in their huge marble bath in NERONE (1977)

Is there an English version of this film? Another one of those wacky and bawdy Italian PEP comedies laced with nudity/sex. The opening sequence is a stand-out!

Location: The Monsters of Bomarzo

A park in Italy with larger than life sculptures. The location was sometimes used in PEPLUM films, like THE ADVENTURES OF HERCULES (last photo). Looks like a cool place.

Hannibal and his elephant

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Photo of the Day

A young Jeffrey Hunter and Debra Paget in PRINCESS OF THE NILE

I have this film but the person who gave it to me messed it up with his computer and there are weird "artifacts" throughout, which makes it unwatchable.

Then & Now: Rhonda Fleming & Mamie Van Doren

Rhonda Fleming and Mamie Van Doren (with Jeff Chandler) in YANKEE PASHA; Mamie and Rhonda today


I'm not historian and I can't claim to be an expert in furnitures but this sofa/bench seen in FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE is, imo, way too modern to be seen in Antiquity. It looks good but is it realistic? Any experts out there?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Photo of the Day

Scene from HELEN OF TROY (1956), taken from a European lobby card

In the movie, this scene looks slightly different: the camera is straight in the middle and at a much lower level, which robs this crucial sequence of all of its spectacle. With the lower camera angle you just don't see the stuff as clearly as you see in this photo.

Movie Poster Mondays

French poster for THE BACCHANTES

Great poster that embellishes a bit from the actual film; the artist made Pierre Brice look like a little kid. I'm going to make a banner of this. I'm currently working on a Fan Dub of this rare film as I finally got hold of the film with an English dub. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Photo of the Day

Gordon Scott is the HERO OF BABYLON

Great photo for great PEP film!

PEPLUM Special Effects

The matte painting process for BEN-HUR (1959). The artist uses a B&W photo taken from the sequence itself and created the painting around it on a sheet of glass. The black space is actually a clear part of the glass where the live action will appear in. I always loved these.

Article on the PEPLUM genre

A month old article on what's good and what's bad about current PEPLUM productions. Written by Jason Apazzo, of Libertas Film Magazine, a blog that does articles on the PEPLUM genre on a  irregular basis which I always seem to miss. The article is fun and even though I agree with a few points (certainly the one about the Goddesses and CGI armies) I have to say that I disagree with most of the rest. The comments section is close at the Libertas web site but people can still reply at Huffington Post (cough!). Here's what I wrote (abbreviated at HP):

Well I agree with some points but I mostly disagree with the article on many points, certainly the most important aspect:  Spoiled Heroes with Super-powers and Abs.

If you look at old PEPLUM flicks, one of the main characteristics was the hero was often if not always shirtless, showing abs, showing legs, etc. Steve Reeves, Mark Forest, Ed Fury, Gordon Mitchell, Alan Steel, etc all displayed their physiques. They weren't called musclemen films for nothing. Heck even Charlton Heston was often with nothing but a so your complaint that today's heroes are obsessed with abs rings false because it's simply traditional to the genre but also because today's heroes do not show a lot of skin certainly compared to films made 50 years ago (you'd think it would be the opposite). 

Except for 300, the SPARTACUS tv series and few other titles, the heroes in current Sword & Sandal films are covered from head to toe: Sam Whatshisname in CLASH OF THE TITANS remakes (as shown in the photo in the article!). Russell Crowe in the (overrated) GLADIATOR. The list goes on and on. I'd rather watch the old films because they had a much healthier attitude towards display of skin than today.

I agree that fake digital armies are a let down but the same thing can be said about big digital monsters. The Kraken in the CLASH OF THE TITANS remake was terrible. Because they can make anything with digital imagery doesn't mean it'll actually work in the final film. 

Another aspect which you didn't mention is that today's films are way too serious. IMO, what makes old PEP films fun to watch is the often jovial aspects which are simply none existent in super serious films like TROY, IMMORTALS, 300, SPARTACUS tv series, etc. They are so oppressively serious that I find them claustrophobic, borderline unwatchable. Give me a Pietro Francisci film anytime over these films. Pietro knew how to balance humor with action and drama with some kitsch and camp along with the beefcake and cheesecake.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Photo of the Day

Christopher Plummer is OEDIPUS AND THE KING

I've never seen this film but I always thought that something really cinematic could be made with this story (see post below).


Oedipus & the Sphinx, painting by Francois Xavier Fabre

Why can't a film look like this? It would be cool!

Update: Beauties & Beefcake

José Greci


Uploaded to BABES & BEAUTIES

Pietro Torrisi




Friday, May 25, 2012

Photo of the Day

Lex Barker holds Chelo Alonso in THE PIRATE AND THE SLAVE GIRL

This photo is spoilerish but I had to post it

Behind the Scenes

Alan Steel getting pumped


More of those amazing & crazy Fotobustas...I already posted some here




Thursday, May 24, 2012

Photo of the Day

Emiliano aka Goliath (Steve Reeves) lifts Igor (Livio Lorenzon) in GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS

Did Steve really lift Livio on his own? He was probably aided by some cable.


I finally got hold of an official DVD of MARS - GOD OF WAR, one of my favorite PEPS and was ready to ditch the VHS copy to oblivion but then I watched it and in many parts it's so damn dark, you can't see anything. Does anyone who makes these transfers even watch the film they just printed? Seriously, the VHS is fuzzy and the image wobbles and the sound buzzes but at least we can see something. In the "bright" scenes the sharpness of the DVD wins hands down but the DVD is way too dark. And, just a note, except for the fist example with Roger Browne, the other screenshots of the DVD were taken from a rip that I brighten. The first screenshot, with Roger, shows how dark it is directly from the DVD.

I'm keeping my VHS copy.

Who wore it best?

Mark Forest in MACISTE VS THE MOLE MEN or Pietro Torrisi (below) in SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Photo of the Day

Annie Gorassini is Venus in VULCAN - SON OF JUPITER

The new banner above for this part of the month is from the same movie. 

This is a mini-Venus/Aphrodite day!

Aphrodite/Venus in name only

Aphrodite/Venus is often used in films/film titles to evoke beauty and love but it's rarely about the actual Greco-Roman goddess. In PEPLUM films, Aphrodite/Venus is synonymous with beauty/love the same way Goliath or Samson is synonymous with strength and heroism.

Tina Louise is Sappho - the VENUS of the island of Lesbos

Jackie Lane appears as VENUS in MARS - GOD OF WAR but it's only a mirage

Belinda Lee is as beautiful as Aphrodite in GODDESS OF LOVE

Isabelle Corey and Irene Tunc (below) from APHRODITE GODDESS OF LOVE

Both women are an amalgamation of APHRODITE/VENUS

Valerie Kaprinsky is the beauty comparable to Aphrodite in, well, APHRODITE

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Photo of the Day

Galley scene from the silent version of BEN-HUR

This photo shows how more sophisticated people were in the past regarding nudity. You couldn't see this in the 1959 version or even any version today.

Cyclops trailer

Another contender for worst PEPLUM ever?

Lobby card sets: SON OF SPARTACUS

As a movie poster collector I've always loved collecting lobby card sets. The problem I always had with lobby cards is that they often show boring scenes and/or show spoilers. Here's a first set of lobby cards profiled here at the blog. There are many memorable scenes in this film (Steve in bed; Steve on horseback with helmet, etc) which are nowhere to be seen in this set. But nothing too spoilish too. The best card is the 8th and last one. I rate it a 6 out of 10. Could have been much better.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Photo of the Day

 George Eastman in IRONMASTER

He wears a head of a lion, sorta like Hercules did, after killing the animal with his new weapon, an iron shard. George's performance makes the movie. With a few reservations, I like this Umberto Lenzi flick.

Movie Poster Mondays

Danish poster of SPARTACUS

When I saw this I literally laughed out loud. I never thought of seeing a "cute" poster of SPARTACUS but here it is, a cute poster of SPARTACUS. It only went for $29 at a recent auction (link). That's low.