Friday, November 30, 2012

Photo of the Day

Tarl Cabot (Urbano Barberini) and Talena (Rebecca Ferratti) are surviving on GOR (1987)

The basis for the story in GOR is the man-from-our-time-transported-to-another-dimension/planet type so popular in the PEPLUM genre or the Science-Fiction/Fantasy genre. Remember JOHN CARTER released earlier this year? Same thing but with a $250 million budget.

I'm NOT ashamed to admit that I like this film. It gets no respect from everyone including fans of the GOR novels; I tried to read the first novel and I couldn't finish it. Considering that the book was pretty terrible, I'd rather watch the first GOR film than most PEPLUM films of the 1980s. So what if it doesn't follow the novels? Urbano makes for a cool hero: he's buff but not overly so in the then typical Stallone or Schwarzenegger type. And Rebecca is hot and believable in action scenes. The sequel, though, is terrible.


Serge Nubret is having fun with two extras during the filming of MY SON THE HERO (aka The Titans)

Lobby Cards set: WHITE WARRIOR

Excellent lobby cards set for THE WHITE WARRIOR starring Steve Reeves. Aside from 2 weak cards (no 1 and 6), the rest are all excellent, certainly 2, 3, 7 and 8. I've added an enlarged version of card 8, which is a publicity photo I've never see before. If I saw this set in a lobby of a cinema, it would have piqued my interest for sure.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Photo of the Day

Tahitian living from MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1962)

I love films set in the South Seas. They're a distant relative to the PEPLUM genre set in Europe/North Africa. They're NOT like Jungle Adventures which rarely take place on any ocean. South Seas adventures are like Sinbad (sans monsters) stories but in another exotic setting. I'd love to see a fantasy/full PEPLUM style adventure set entirely in that region, with fantastical elements, not necessarily based on history like these MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY films. Maria Montez made a few such colorful films. Heck, I even like Roger Corman's SHE GODS OF SHARK REEF. 

Then & Now: Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson from THE BOUNTY (1984); Mel these days

Same scene, different films

The whipping scene from all three MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY films; top 1935; middle 1962 and bottom 1984.

With the remake craze currently going on in Hollywood I'm surprised they haven't greenlighted a new version.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Photo of the Day

Hulina (Anita Eckberg) is about to whip Amina (Antonella Lualdi) for some crucial information she might know in THE MONGOLS.

This is one of those films which I can watch on a regular basis. Is it historically accurate? Is it politically correct? No and no. But I find it entertaining and somewhat grand in the typical Euro-cult film made during that period. The one thing I wish was different was the score. I absolutely hate the score.

As you can see on the left hand side, Anita is the most popular post from this blog. If you search Anita Eckberg and Mongols in Google, the first and second images are from this blog. If she sees this I'd love to interview Anita!


...or more like PEPLUMINOUS art (ie: extra PEPLUM). Cool cover.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Photo of the Day

An injured Hadji Murad (Steve Reeves) staggers in a room in THE WHITE WARRIOR

"Help me!"

That's what Steve's lips say when you view it but the dubbing has him simply say "I...". This screenshot was taken from the French DVD and it's gorgeous. The best DVD out there even if the image is a bit too desaturated. This is one of those films/roles Reeves said he was disappointed that it wasn't as recognized as his Hercules films: "I only did two Hercules films, but everyone seems to think I did ten."

New (old) release

A scene fron SOLOMON KANE with James Purefoy. Completed in 2009 and released around the world except for North America, SK got limited release in 2012 on this continent. Here's the trailer. Looks good but the music/noise is so generic.

Cinematic Confusion

The title says URSUS AND THE TARTAR PRINCESS but the artwork says BRENNUS ~ ENEMY OF ROME. That's Gordon Mitchell on the cover but the names under "starring" says otherwise. And the film of the photo on the back cover is a mystery.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Photo of the Day

Sabina Crassus (Gianna Maria Canale) and Marcus Virilius Rufus (Vittorio Sanipoli) wonder about the new slave, Amytis (Ludmilla Tchérina) in SPARTACO (Sins of Rome)

I love this photo. The copy I have of this film is so damn dark that looking at this gorgeous photo makes me wish I had a better and clearer transfer. And uncut too. Oh well.

Movie Poster Mondays

Italian poster for HEAD OF THE TYRANT

If you're wondering, the artwork for the current banner is also from HEAD OF A TYRANT. This one is pretty amazing too.

PRINCESS OF THE NILE - Dance Sequence - Debra Paget

I uploaded the main dance number from PRINCESS OF THE NILE starring Debra Paget, Jeffrey Hunter and Mike Rennie. Debra sure knew how to dance even though it has nothing to do with Egyptian culture.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Photo of the Day

Horst Buchholz is Marco Polo in MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT

One of those films which have eluded me for many years. It's a typical all-star cast production from the 1960s which received (and still receiving) brutal reviews. Because I haven't seen it I can't give an opinion about it. The one thing I do know is that the production started filming with Alain Delon but he was let go or had to leave, for unknown reasons, and Horst replaced Delon.

First PEPLUM roles

Above and below: Jeffrey Hunter in the 1950 production of JULIUS CAESAR. This was also his first acting job in a film.

Giuliano Gemma is seen for a few seconds in BEN-HUR (1959). Giuliano appeared in many PEPLUM films after this including the starring role in MY SON THE HERO (aka The Titans)

And another PEPLUM star, José Greci, also appeared in BEN-HUR. She played Mary and is seen very briefly.

What movie?

Can you identify this film?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Photo of the Day

Androclo (Philippe Hersent) makes a toast in honor of Goliath (Mark Forest), with Dejanira (Leonora Ruffo) joining them in GOLIATH AND THE DRAGON

Don't drink the wine!!!!

Friend or Foe

One of the odd things about watching PEPLUM films based on mythological stories and characters is the varying and often contradicting interpretations from the now several films based on those stories or characters. Case in point: Paris and Helen from the Iliad.

In Robert Wise's HELEN OF TROY, Paris (Jacques Sernas) and Helen (Rossana Podestà) are portrayed as star-crossed romantic lovers. In fact, from the way Wise directed the film the story seems to be the greatest love story of all time. Was this accurate or just Hollywood hokum?

In THE TROJAN HORSE, directed by Giorgio Ferroni, Paris (Warner Bentivegna) and Helen (Edy Vessel) are portrayed as evil, conniving, narcissistic and weak. And definitely not in love. The complete opposite to the Robert Wise film. Aeneas was the main character in this film while Paris and Helen were the baddies.

In TROY, directed by Wolfgang Petersen,  Paris (Orlando Bloom) and Helen (Diane Kruger) were seen as neither good or evil. They definitely were not the romantic lovers as portrayed in Wise's version but they weren't as evil as in Ferroni's THE TROJAN HORSE. They never seemed to be happy since their presence brought so much misery and death and the two always appeared frustrated by the ongoing events but they weren't made to look like angels too. In fact, Petersen's take seems to make them look sorta pathetic and useless.

Which of these versions is the correct one?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photo of the Day

Mary Ann (Geneviève Grad) and Sambigliong (Rik Battaglia) hop for a ride on a raft pulled by Sandokan (Steve Reeves) in SANDOKAN THE GREAT

This tracking shot is cool and Steve looks powerful.

Hello Chelo



Love this artwork. Dunno the source (from a film?). I love to see an entire animated film with this kind of design/look.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Photo of the Day

Sabrina Siani, lying on top of Pietro Torrisi, is about to get the point in GUNAN (or Invincible Barbarian)

I saw this film back in the 80s and I have a terrible Italian version of this in my collection. This scene is not that different than the dozens of other seen in PEPLUM films, like Mark Forest strapped to a slab with spears pocking through the ceiling in GOLIATH & THE SINS OF BABYLON. Italian Sword & Sorcery films of the 1980s were almost identical to the PEPLUM films made 20 something years during the PEPLUM explosion. They pretty much followed the same story-lines and concepts. The only big differences: nudity, ultra tiny budgets and sorta entertainingly trashy.


Richard Burton practices his swordsmanship skills with Jeff Morrow during the production of THE ROBE. Richard looks so tiny and thin. They seem to have fun there. This photo is a behind-the-scenes shot as Jeff is wearing a white glove on his forearm which he doesn't in the film.

Then & Now: Philippe Leroy

Philippe Leroy in ALONE AGAINST ROME; A recent photo of Philippe. He still works as an actor.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Photo of the Day

Russ Tamblyn is THUMB TOM

I don't have this film in my collection and I haven't seen it since I was kid. I remember enjoying it even if it was too long and had some pseudo-creepy scenes in it. Definitely a kind of film they don't make today. 

PEPLUM Fashion show

Who knew fashion shows were popular back in Antiquity





Vintage article on special effects in PEPLUM epics

Short but cool article on the special effects/stunts of Hollywood epics. Thanks to Michael O'Sullivan.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Photo of the Day

A chained and blinded Japheth (George O'Brien) is forced to work on a massive stone-mill in NOAH'S ARK (1928)

This film is interesting on a couple of levels:

- This was directed by Michael Curtiz, director of CASABLANCA and MILDRED PIERCE and he also directed the very un-Hollywood epic THE EGYPTIAN. 

- The story is a mixture of modern settings with Biblical settings used symbolically/metaphorically. I honestly don't care much about the then modern storyline, just the Noah's Ark scenes.

- George O'Brien is quite impressive in this. In some scenes he looked like, gasp, Steve Reeves in HERCULES. Of course O'Brien is nowhere as cut and built as Reeves but the passing resemblance in some shots is fun.

- Like so many Hollywood PEPLUM films made during the silent era, NOAH'S ARK was obviously inspired by CABIRIA.

- Some extras drowned during the filming of the flood scenes.

PEPLUM inspiration

Was the lizard man in VULCAN ~ SON OF JUPITER the inspiration for the Lizardmen in FLASH GORDON (1980)? The production design for FG was by Danilo Donati, a one time Fellini favorite (SATYRICON, for example). I think so. The coincidence is just too amazing.


Here are some screenshots of shields from two films.

More stuff uploaded to the SHIELDS page.


The great battle at the beginning is when the bulk of shields in this film can be seen. Above, Roger Browne, as Mars, makes his first appearance to mortals.



SOLOMON & SHEBA has some great shield spotting, including the now famous (or infamous) ending, seen above.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Photo of the Day

Pharaoh Khufu (Jack Hawkinds) is helped by the young Senta (Dewey Martin) through the treacherous maze-like corridors of a pyramid in LAND OF THE PHARAOHS

Not too keen with the Joan Collins storyline which dominates the script but I do love the many scenes with the deathtraps throughout the pyramid. Really ingeniously designed stuff.

Movie Poster Mondays

Spanish poster for A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS (1945)

A beautiful poster even if it's a bit stagey. 

The Slave (Preview Clip)

From the Warner Archive. They don't call it SON OF SPARTACUS. The image is unusually dark. If the image on the newly available DVD is this dark I don't want it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Photo of the Day

Gianna Maria Canale and Jorge Mistral in a posed moment for THE SWORD & THE CROSS (1956)

The beautiful Gianna was 29 years old when she made this film, one of those pre PEPLUM explosion productions which is all but forgotten this side of the Atlantic. Production values are great and the whole thing has an authentic feel to it but trying to find an English version of this film is impossible. Not to be confused with another Italian film starring Yvonne De Carlo with the same title released in 1958. 

Monster in HERCULES: Dinosaur or Dragon?

In HERCULES (1958), Jason has to battle with monster in order to get to the Golden Fleece in the tree. This scene polarizes a lot of viewers. Many find it odd for several reasons: in this scene Jason (seen at the bottom right corner) is the hero even though the film is about Hercules; is the monster a dragon or dinosaur? And for the monster's roar the film utilizes Godzilla's familiar roar. Some have said that the reason the Godzilla roar ended up in HERCULES was because the Italian film's US distributor, Joseph R Levine, also distributed GODZILLA, the version with Raymond Burr. But the Italian version or the one seen in Europe also utilizes the Godzilla roar and Levine wasn't involved in the film's distribution on the continent. Some also dislike it because they dislike man-in-monster-suit monsters.

But I like this scene. I actually like the Jason & the Argonauts twist in this story and I like that Jason briefly becomes a hero and I like the Godzilla roar and I like the man-in-monster-suit. I have NO problems with this scene. In fact, I think it's one of the best dinosaur/dragon scenes from a film made in the 1950s. Unlike other monsters this one is dirty and grungy and dark. Also, the monster looks like it's been there forever and it sorta looks lonely and angry. And it was shot outside not in a studio, which is a definite plus. I'm sure kids loved this scene back in the day. So this scene doesn't cause any major issues for me. The only 2 problems I do have are: first, the action with Jason is a bit sped up, which I never care for but it's not too bad here; and second, what is it supposed to be: a dinosaur or dragon?