Thursday, September 20, 2012

PEPLUM Clichés : Crossdressing

One of the oddest clichés to be found in PEPLUM films is crossdressing: men dressing as women. It's usually done for laughs but for a macho genre it's sure is popular.

Uploaded to the PEPLUM Clichés page:

Above & below: SEVEN REBEL GLADIATORS; Roger Browne is drag in the above image


From MORGAN THE PIRATE: the entire Morgan crew dress up in women's clothes to entice an ship

Above & below: the Ten gladiators make for dubious women but that doesn't stop the soldiers to fancy them; from TRIUMPH OF THE TEN GLADIATORS


From COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA; Maciste's buddy dresses up as a fetching woman

Tawny Kitaen just helped Brent Huff get in some female soldier's gear in GWENDOLINE


JimF said...

The strange thing is there all these examples, but they have never depicted Hercules cross-dressing from the real Greek myth of him being a slave to Omphale for a year as penance for something bad he had done in anger.

Anonymous said...

From Plutarch's Life of Pelopidas, chapter 11, 1-3. Use of cross-dressing for military advantage, Thebes 379 BC:

Now that the fitting time for their undertaking seemed to have come, they sallied forth in two bands; one, under the lead of Pelopidas and Damocleidas, against Leontidas and Hypates, who lived near together; the other against Archias and Philip, under Charon and Melon, who had put on women's apparel over their breastplates, and wore thick garlands of pine and fir which shaded their faces. For this reason, when they stood at the door of the banquet-room, at first the company shouted and clapped their hands, supposing that the women they had long been expecting were come. But then, after surveying the banquet and carefully marking each of the reclining guests, the visitors drew their swords, and rushing through the midst of the tables at Archias and Philip, revealed who they were. A few of the guests were persuaded by Phillidas to remain quiet, but the rest, who, with the polemarchs, offered resistance and tried to defend themselves, were dispatched without any trouble, since they were drunk.

For complete text see:*.html

Anonymous said...

The same cross-dressing ruse is also described in Xenophon's Hellenica. I can definitely see all this happening in a peplum film ! The extract is from:

3After a certain interval Melon, accompanied by six of the trustiest comrades he could find among his fellow-exiles, set off for Thebes. They were armed with nothing but daggers, and first of all crept into the neighbourhood under cover of night. The whole of the next day they lay concealed in a desert place, and drew near to the city gates in the guise of labourers returning home with the latest comers from the fields. Having got safely within the city, they spent the whole of that night at the house of a man named Charon, and again the next day in the same fashion.

4Phyllidas meanwhile was busily taken up with the concerns of the polemarchs, who were to celebrate a feast of Aphrodite on going out of office. Amongst other things, the secretary was to take this opportunity of fulfilling an old undertaking, which was the introduction of certain women to the polemarchs. They were to be the most majestic and the most beautiful to be found in Thebes. The polemarchs, on their side (and the character of the men is sufficiently marked), were looking forward to the pleasures of the night with joyful anticipation.

5Supper was over, and thanks to the zeal with which the master of the ceremonies responded to their mood, they were speedily intoxicated. To their oft- repeated orders to introduce their mistresses, he went out and fetched Melon and the rest, three of them dressed up as ladies and the rest as their attendant maidens.

6Having brought them into the treasury of the polemarchs' residence, he returned himself and announced to Archias and his friends that the women would not present themselves as long as any of the attendants remained in the room; whereupon they promptly bade all withdraw, and Phyllidas, furnishing the servants with a stoup of wine, sent them off to the house of one of them. And now at last he introduced the mistresses, and led them to their seats beside their respective lords. It was preconcerted that as soon as they were seated they were to throw aside their veils and strike home.

7That is one version of the death of the polemarchs. According to another, Melon and his friends came in as revellers, and so despatched their victims.